Why Churches Should Be In The Habit Of Spilling The Beans

I spilled the beans the other day at work.  No, I ‘literally’ blew coffee beans all over the place while trying to suck them out of the espresso hopper.  What I didn’t realize is that someone had left the vacuum hose attached to the wrong end, blowing beans into the air and all over the floor and counter.  It was quite a scene.

Where certain sayings come from is fascinating to me.  So, I looked up Don’t Spill The Beans and found this popular source of origin.

A popular folk etymology for “to spill the beans” claims that in ancient Greece, applicants for membership in secret societies were voted upon by having the existing members drop beans into a pottery jar. Those who approved of the potential new member would signal an affirmative vote by adding a white bean to the jar. A black bean indicated a negative vote. The story goes that on occasion, when the jar was accidentally knocked over, the beans poured out and the vote was revealed prematurely. Somebody had “spilled the beans“.

beans2

This got me thinking about leadership in our churches.  In almost all situations, we know that God works in the Light and the enemy does his thing in darkness.  Way too often, churches choose to lead and do business in the dark.  This comes in the form of secrete ballots for voting, allowing anonymous notes and emails to affect the staff, holding ‘unofficial’ side discussions outside of official meetings, and ignoring valid concerns of unhealthy trends within the congregation hoping they will eventually go away.

At a very basic level, these things create distrust, worry, and skepticism of the leadership and among the people in the church.

“The more a church can truly be open about everything, the fewer dark places there are for the enemy to succeed in dividing the Church”

Leaders, are there issues that you’ve been keeping from your church people under the excuse of protecting them?  Imagine the new credibility you could gain from them if you were to allow them into the leadership struggles you are facing.  Imagine what might happen if you allowed them to partner with you and the leadership of your church in prayer…together as a real family.

Don’t underestimate the strength and maturity of your congregation.  Their purpose extends far beyond making coffee, paying a tithe, and listening to a sermon.

Open up to your people, spill the beans and watch God do his best work in the light.

 

Comments below are welcome.  You can also subscribe to this blog here!

 

 

Why You’re Being Attacked

Does God’s Spirit ever hit you on the head when you are reading the Bible or a good devotional?  Well, that happened to me today.  And this quote particularly stuck out to me.

blessed.001.jpg

There’s a reason you are being attacked.  (If you’re not, go encourage someone who is)  You are blessed and favored by our Father in Heaven.  And the enemy…well, he comes after the blessed and favored.

By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.  But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever. – Psalm 41:11-12

Yes…God does delight in YOU!  Keep your eyes laser-focused on Him and maintain your integrity.  The only power/influence the enemy has over you is what you give him.  We have already won because He already has the victory.

This is as much a reminder to myself as for anyone, but I thought I’d pass it on to you as well.  Hang tight….your current struggle is not without purpose and Jesus IS walking with you every step of the way.

 

Leave a comment below.  You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram.

3 Things Every Church Leader Should Produce

Is there anything ‘good’ in what you and I produce as church leaders that God would consider honorable?  This passage struck me this morning.  Check it out.

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.  Proverbs 3:9 (NLT)

Photo credit: christianityworks.com
Photo credit: christianityworks.com

Granted, this is mainly addressing our income…what we earn for our work.  But the Lord also challenged me in the second half of this verse.  What am I responsible for producing?

Here are what I would consider to be 3 main things every church leader should be producing.

1.  Disciples | This includes everyone in our churches, as well as our own kids and spouse.  I don’t know about you, but there have been many times when I have put more effort into discipling church folks more than my own family.  Ouch!  That’s not easy to put out there, but recognizing it helps to bring forth change.

2.  A strong marriage | For those of us who are married, we owe it to Jesus, ourselves, our kids, and everyone we influence to authentically model a healthy marriage relationship. Not perfect…..just healthy.  If our spouse can’t respect us in our home, how can we expect anyone else to respect us in the church or in our community?

3.  Personal integrity | As ministers and church leaders, are we being intensional about staying connected to Christ in His Word and through prayer?  Are we taking the initiative to build accountability into our lives.  Is the person others witness at church on the weekend the same person our family lives with during the rest of the week?  Difficult questions, but left unasked we will most likely not notice.

Is there anything you would add to this list?

The bigger question I am wrestling with is, “Am I truly honoring God in what I’m producing in these areas?”

Please join the discussion and leave a comment below.

That pedestal is not ours

photo by: prayerthoughts.com

Whether you are a Lead Pastor or associate staff pastor/director, I have a question for you.  Do others think too highly of you as a leader?  Have you ever known a church leader who people had placed on a pedestal?  Don’t get me wrong.  Strong, Godly leadership should be recognized and appreciated.  The very real danger, however, is that we can come dangerously close to elevating a pastor’s status to not so far from God.  Take a look at an example that even Jesus set for us on this topic.

Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”  

“Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”      Matthew 19:16-17 (NLT)

This young man was asking Jesus about having eternal life.  Aside from the fact that Jesus is who he is, he answers by clarifying a huge point.  I don’t believe Jesus was asking him why he asked the question.  I suggest He’s saying, “Why do you ask ME that question?”  The ‘One who is good’ that Jesus is highlighting for this inquisitor is God Almighty.  This is a clear distinction between Christ and His Heavenly Father.  I would argue that Jesus is setting the example for us as leaders of His Church as well.

I have had the unfortunate experience of serving at a church (ok, more than just one) where certain individuals or groups of people came to think so highly of their pastor that he literally could do no wrong in their eyes.  I have witnessed issues of weak leadership in the midst of conflict, absence of Godly vision for the direction of the church, and perpetual lying in multiple churches over the years.  The cause for this (I would argue) is the inability, or unwillingness, to humbly redirect praises off of ourselves and back to the ‘only One who is good.’  

– Its OK to not know the answers to everyone’s questions.

– It can actually be a good thing if everyone in your church doesn’t love you.  It keeps their focus (hopefully) on Jesus.

– Leaders who cannot model humility and confess personal weaknesses to their church will not see these traits in those they lead.

What would you agree with, or push back on, in this post?  I’d love for you to join the conversation.

Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.
You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

Ministry Leadership, part 2

photo by: thejoshuacollective.com

I’m continuing to blog through Jim Wideman’s, “Children’s Ministry Leadership.”  In chapter 2, Jim throws a barrage of key leadership traits at the reader.  They are concise and their truth is deafening.  Here they are.

Authentic leaders must…

1. Being willing to change.  This is true today of church leaders, and it was true one hundred years ago.  Show me a pastor who hasn’t changed anything in their leadership approach or how their church carries out the Great Commission…..and I’ll show you a church that rarely bares any fruit.

2. Have integrity.  I love this line Jim writes on integrity.  He says, “It’s not about your being right;  it’s about God being right and you leading the way to him.”  So, it’s O.K. to not have all the answers.  Humility is absolutely vital to having solid integrity.

3. Be faithful in small things.  This can often be a stumbling block for many leaders in the church.  Many times I think we can gravitate toward the BIG events or responsibilities, but God equally calls us to the smaller things.  Look at Luke 16:10.  This is Jesus process for promotion (so to speak).

4. Be a person of vision, and communicate it.  This is basic, but SO important.  If you don’t have a clear vision for the direction of your ministry or church it won’t go anywhere.  Additionally, however, in you’re the only one who knows and understands the vision…you’d probably be better off not having one.  Everyone needs to know your vision, and it needs to be clearly communicated often.  People forget, and there’s always new people who haven’t ever heard it.

5. Be willing to follow others.  Every leader requires a higher authority to learn from and follow.  Modeling HOW to follow well is one of the best examples of leading.

6. Be unpopular at times.  Ministry leadership is not a popularity contest.  This is hard, because most of us really do like being ‘liked.’  But if being liked by our church becomes more important (or more easily done) than having God smile on our ability to obey His Spirit’s guiding….we’re in BIG trouble.  Do the ‘right’ thing, not the most liked thing.

7. Be someone people see as a leader.  Two words on this:  OWN IT.  Be who God has call you to be.  Sure, remain humble in your position…but take hold of what God has placed in your hands.  If you don’t really know what kind of a leader you are, chances are those around you will experience difficulty figuring it out too!

Which of these areas is the larger challenge for you in leadership?  We all have areas to grow.  Leave a comment.