The Deep and Wonderful

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Coming to a new church plant near you.

If you haven't experienced the deep and wonderful patient you will.

Pastor Elgin and I were having dinner with another couple in ministry and we discussed this phenomenon. The deep and wonderful come to "help" you with your small fledgling upstart of a ministry. They know more than you do and you should be overwhelmed with gratitude that they have come to bail you out. They want the pulpit, they want access to the sheep and they can't wait to get the microphone.

Our pastor friend said one such person approached them and stated that they had come to help him in ministry. Our friend responded...I'm not looking for help. My wife and I are doing just fine...what we need are committed and faithful people to submit and support the vision of this house. That was enough to send the deep and wonderful packing.

As we were beginning in ministry God spoke to watch out for those who offer "help." He spoke that their real purpose was to change the spirit of what was Zion and we would be in great error if we allowed that to happen.

I spoke with another pastor and they told me that "prophet so-and-so" came to their church and wanted the pulpit. Wanted to be ordained immediately. My pastor friend said that was nice but what they needed was to go through new members class first and foremost. Well prophet so-and-so wasn't about to have that. They went to the church down the street and tore it up. The church ended up splitting behind prophet so-and-so's foolishness.

And apparently small new church plants aren't the only targets for the deep and wonderful. You've got to read the experience first hand of good friend Pastor Deanna. She and her husband pastor the Northside Assembly of God Church in Florida. And their ministry is well-established and flourishing! It was absolutely hilarious. You can read about her encounter here.

So as you begin in ministry, know that it's only a matter of time before the deep and wonderful show up offering their help. Show them the love of Christ, hold on tight to your microphone and keep preaching the Gospel. Your ministry may be small right now but you're in no way desperate. God's word will be fulfilled and you don't need or want a contrary spirit/vision loose in the ministry.

Be not weary in well doing; for in due season you will reap if you faint not.

No matter how attractive their help seems; wait God out to fulfill His word.

Be blessed today,

Pastor Lisa


Character and Integrity Matter

Friday, August 29, 2008

As you start off in ministry know that your character and integrity matter.

What we see now in the body is a lack of these attributes of those in ministry positions.

But character and integrity count - especially now.

If I could encourage any new pastor, minister, evangelist it would be to remain focused on the One who called you; not the calling itself. Where character and integrity come into question is when something else has taken priority; when your vision shifts. And it's so easy to do. You get wrapped up in finding a building, furnishing the facility, maintaining the facility, evangelizing, reaching out to members and the list goes on and on. To stay in that place of preoccupation can lead you down a path you never intended.

Staying madly in love with Jesus will be the key to maintaining your character and integrity. Your love for Him won't let you willingly dishonor Him, the position you hold, your spouse and family and those you lead.

When it becomes our church, our members, our plans we surely set ourselves up to an attack on our character and integrity. All of a sudden there are shades of gray where there were none before. The power you walk in can be intoxicating and many have fallen thinking that they controlled the power. Not so.

Character and integrity says what you do in private counts.

Character and integrity says how you live outside the church counts.

Character and integrity says how you handle your personal business counts.

Character and integrity says how you treat your spouse counts.

Character and integrity says how you interact with your children counts.

Eyes firmly attached to the Promise Keeper and not so much the promise will keep you when your character and integrity even your faith are challenged.

Be blessed everyone,

Pastor Lisa


Please and Thank You Required

Thursday, August 28, 2008

As a leader these should not be foreign words you use to those who help support the vision.

Armor bearers aren't personal servants, errand boys/girls and even if these precious people do go beyond the call of duty and minister in this way; please and thank you ought to be uttered frequently and sincerely.

Want to keep your support staff? Show them appreciation for all they do. One sure way to keep a revolving door in your ministry is to not show appreciation to those work closely with you in supporting the vision. They don't have to do what they do. There are hundreds of other ministries where they could serve.

Ungratefulness and the attitude that that's what they're supposed to do will surely have you surrounded by people who don't have your back 100 percent and that will reflect in the way they serve.

Want to build a support staff that will fight for the vision? Show them the appreciation they deserve.


When Good People Leave

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It happens to every pastor.

The abrupt departure of good key people from your ministry. Some people you're happy to see go (I'm just being real here) but others leave and it hurts.

A close pastor friend counseled me that people will leave...let them go. When bitter people leave definitely let them go and don't grant them an exit interview. This usually turns into a trash you and the church session which you're not called to endure. Wise words.

A young couple joined our ministry right after we started and left just after our first church anniversary. I was wounded. I felt betrayed! God hadn't told us that there stay was going to be short. We thought these would be pillars in the ministry. And at first I responded like most hurt folk...I cut her off. She left our church! And this is such a common response in the body and it's really sad because it shouldn't be this way.

After a year, she and I reestablished our relationship. We've gone out to lunch, we pray for one another, we encourage one another and even though the relationship is different it's one I'm glad to have.

One Sunday while I was ministering she walked through the door with another young lady! She told me after service that Holy Spirit spoke to her and said she had to be in Zion with the young lady. This was of the utmost importance. So they came and the word was in an in season word for the young lady who came. She has committed to come back.

Now had I still been full of myself and tripping, yesterday would have never happened. She would not have felt comfortable stepping foot in our ministry if the relationship was still strained.
We have to allow Holy Spirit to heal us when good folk leave and come to grips with the fact that people are redirected. When we first started in ministry God said you have no people. Those I put in your care are mine. Well that will keep your perspective straight. And if He redirects people, allows them to leave we have to be OK with what God allows. And know that the Father sees and knows and is not going to leave you without help to support the vision.

So when good people leave your ministry...and they will...allow Holy Spirit to heal the hurt and disappointment. As much power resides in you try to live peaceable with all men. Try and keep the relationship even though it will obviously be different. You never know if they'll come back and bring someone to your ministry for you to care for.


How Not To Do It

"Don't lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example." - 1 Peter 5:3 NLT

Are you called to be a leader in the home, the workplace or the church? Do you aspire to leadership? If so, you need to know thisabout the current generation: they are unwilling to submit to (or even follow for that matter) those who practice the old "top down" style of leadership that says, "I'm in charge, and the sooner you figure that out the better." You cannot demand leadership; you must earn it every day. How? By being a servant!

By putting others first and yourself last, you model the very truth Jesus taught and practiced. None of us have been called to be at the top of the pyramid. That position belongs to Christ. The New Testament model for leadership is an inverted pyramid with you at the bottom, supporting the others, holding them up, bringing out the best in them, laying aside your own comfort and desires to serve those you're called to lead so that the job can get done with efficiency. This means gently correcting mistakes and tying up loose ends while people learn. It also calls for breaking a sweat and getting dirt under your fingernails.

A.W. Tozer wrote: "A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit, and the press of the external situation. A person who is ambitious to lead is disqualified as a leader. The true leader will have no desire to lord it over God's heritage, but will be humble, gentle, self-sacrificing and altogether as ready to follow as to lead, when the Spirit makes it clear that a wiser and more talented man than himself has appeared."

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