They Come with the Building

Friday, September 19, 2008

Who are the they you ask?

The cons.

The homeless.

The mentally ill.

The abused.

After you've had your last service in your home or hotel and you're in your building you can expect these souls to show up at your church's doorstep.

The Cons
Some of the stories are so over the top you know immediately that there's not a shred of truth to what they're saying. But they will press you hard for your cash and say whatever they need too to get you to part with it. We found more times than not drug use was at the root of these elaborate stories.

We encountered one woman who claimed to have run from an abusive situation with her children from another state. We never saw the children. They were always with someone else which we found odd since she was new to the city. We called the shelter where she was supposedly moved to by police escort just to validate her story. Someone at the shelter confirmed her story but it still didn't sit right. We used a bit of wisdom and only parted with some household items and a few groceries. She came a few times and again never with the kids and then we never heard from her again. We tried to followup but to no avail.

The lesson here is to use wisdom. Validate and confirm stories if you can and follow the Holy Spirit's leading. I know some churches and pastors never give out cash. Having a stash of gift cards for gas, groceries, fast food restaurants, etc. may be a far better option.

The Homeless and the Mentally Ill
At our first Hallelujah Night celebration, I'll never forget the lady who was told by the maintenance crew to stay in the bushes in front of the church for the night since she had no where to go. Apparently she had just gotten off a Greyhound bus and was trying to find family here in Houston. Her mental health wasn't stable and after the service we started calling around to different shelters to see if they could take her in.

That's when I learned the important lesson of keeping a list of nearby shelters handy. That day I also discovered that all the shelters in the area had a 5 p.m. check in time and if you weren't in by then you were forced to sleep on the street. So we paid for her to stay in a nearby motel for the night, bought her a meal and for that she was extremely grateful.

After that experience we introduced ourselves to assistance ministries and shelters in the area. We also mapped out all the motels within a five-mile radius of the church too. We didn't have the capacity to take these people in and needed to know where to direct them when they showed up at our doorstep.

The Abused
This is a very real issue in the church today. Women who are battered by their husbands, boyfriends will call on you for help. You'll need to direct them to a safe place. And know that even if you lead them to a safe place, sometimes they go back to their abusers or they enter new relationships with the same type of man. Sometimes they do the hard work of looking inward and allow Holy Spirit to change them and heal them.

In all these instances it's important to show the love of Christ and exercise wisdom and discernment.

I highly suggest you compile your own list of motels, homeless shelters and women shelters when you do finally crossover into your own building. Because the hurting in your community come with the building.

Be blessed,

Pastor Lisa


Pastor as Manager

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In the beginning stages of ministry you're most likely to have a core group of believers who get along well. But the day will come when the ministry will grow and personality conflicts will arise and you'll discover that your calling to pastor is also a call to manage. For instance, how do you deal with those who are highly opinionated and very vocal with their opinions? How do you protect the sheep from their vocal opinions and still nuture the call of God in this person? Believe it or not we all come with our issues and we all fall into certain personality characteristics and yet God still calls us.

In addition to being a pastor my husband works a traditional 9-to-5. He is a supervisor at a very large corporation and has had the benefit of management training through the company. This training has served the ministry well. Because part of his training included understanding personality traits, managing people of various traits and getting them to work together for the overall goal of getting the job done.

How do you do this you ask?


Pastor Chuck Smith said that wisdom is the implementation of knowledge. So knowledge gained through life experiences, Holy Spirit's teaching and even corporate training properly implemented is wisdom in action.

The first thing my husband told me was not to take any of it personally. You work for God Inc. if you will and represent your CEO. And like God told Samuel when the Children of Israel clamored for a king, it's not you they've rejected but me. You'll be able to think and respond clearly to any situation if you don't take any of it personally. The minute you do, your feelings get in the way, you start to make assumptions and you can't make a wise decision or hear Holy Spirit speak for that fact. Do not take any of it personally. This can be hard to do but it is possible and required if you want to effectively manage and lead the group God has given you. It is definitely a goal to aspire to.

While we don't believe or support zodiac signs there are personality traits that have been researched, categorized and written about to help those in management positions. These group studies help you understand just who you're working with and how to interact with them and most important how to get them to work together.

There's a personality trait called "The Sniper." This person waits for the right opportunity to unload a criticism, judgement in order to do the most damage. You never hear from them otherwise, but out of the blue they come with this one shot that's intended to kill! But no weapon formed against us prospers right? So knowing that you're not to take it personally, you know that this is the persons Modus Operandi, you can draw on your knowledge and respond in wisdom. Especially if "The Sniper" holds any leadership positions within the ministry.

Understanding personalities and how to work within them in order to get people to work together to support the vision of the house and advance the Kingdom is key for God Inc. managers (i.e. pastors).

There are many personality trait articles you can reference online. They're all pretty consistent and will benefit you as a pastor. Recognize these traits, learn the best ways to work with people who possess these traits and allow Holy Spirit to display wisdom through you in the most difficult or troublesome situations.

The person who successfully pastors understands those whom he leads and knows how to get God's best out of them.


You can preach and teach the house down...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

And some people will choose to walk away.

God can give you a word for them that will change their very lives and they won't listen.

They won't put the word in action.

The pull of the world, the pull of old lovers, the pull of the old lifestyle is great and they succumb.

We have had people tell us that they knew for a fact that God had sent them to our ministry. That in Zion is where their deliverance and spiritual growth lied. This is what they told us. They sought us out and pledged their dedication and commitment. They stay for a few Sundays, start to miss a few, and then they're MIA.

As much as I want these precious souls to walk out their faith, to trust God with their lives, to depend and lean on the Word of God, I can't do it for them. And I tell them so. We are all responsible for working out our own souls salvation.

But it hurts sometimes. You preach, you teach, you pray, you labor, you're their biggest cheerleader and they walk away. They willingly decide to go back to their old lives. I hurt and not because I feel I've wasted time or energy. I grieve because I know this grieves the heart of the Father. I hurt because I know that they've rejected God not me. You see great potential, great giftings and callings being wasted and neglected. You see the enemy further tightening his grips and you want to set them free. But they are not looking to be free. They willingly go back. They willingly embrace this dance with the devil. They choose not to fight. They believe the lie that living for God is too hard and they are incapable of doing so.

You want to shake them and yell at them that they can do this but that might be viewed as assault and land you in jail. So you're left to pray for those saints out on the lam.

One day they may return and as the word declares more than likely with seven other devils that will need to be cast out. Be prepared. Love 'em unconditionally. Pour into them what God gives you. This time they may very well stay long enough to become totally rooted and grounded in their faith.

So even though you preach the house down, you teach with all clarity some folk will opt out. They'll look at God's offer on the table and say, "No thank you." Some will reject the call.

Keep preaching, keep teaching and keep praying.

Because someone will hear the word and it will be life for them. The word you preach will be light turned on in their darkness. Keep sowing man and woman of God.

Be blessed,

Pastor Lisa


My favorite resources

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

When we first started out in ministry we were on a very tight budget and had to find some resourceful ways to get things done. I've also included a few of my absolute must-haves! So without further adieu ... here we go!

1. - You can find used church pews, church chairs by region on this site. All priced for the small budget.

2. - This was my favorite place to shop when we first started. Find your city and start browsing. We bought our sound equipment from a seller on Craigslist. The seller had acquired all the sound system from the Compaq center here in Houston before its conversion into a mega church! We bought our Hammond organ from Craigslist at a incredible price! Our organ even comes with a bit of history and we have a picture of the original owner!

3. - We purchased our communion ware and hymnals from eBay from a local Houston seller! We've even bought cassocks and our wooden podium from eBay.

4. Uniflex - The customer service is unrivaled! They are a Texas church chair manufacturer and I can't say enough good things about this company. If you're going to pay in excess of $30/chair buy from someone who offers impeccable service!

5. - The saying one man's trash is another man's treasure is lived out on this site. You join the community nearest you or your church. When someone is giving away something you can use, you send the poster a request. We used Freecycle for our children and outreach ministry. We received lots of construction paper, wrapping paper absolutely free.

Then there are a few resources I've grown to rely on in ministry. They are featured in the ad to your right.

1. Inspired by the Bible - Audio version of the Bible in mp3 format. Great for the commute for the working pastor.

2. Breaking Intimidation - This book ought to be required reading for all those starting out in ministry. Pastor Elgin and I HIGHLY recommend this book! Add it to your library today!

3. Roget's Bible Thesaurus - We've found this tool to be indispensable! Search the scriptures by theme! Wonderful aid for preparing your messages!


Pastor Lisa


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