Month: October 2020

The Right Way to Leave Your Church

There is a right way for you to do it. There are also several wrong ways to go about it.

Few people address this topic publically. Yet, we need to apply some wisdom to this necessary occurrence.

Pastor, you don’t want to handle this wrong. It doesn’t matter whether you are a paid or a volunteer staff member; leaving wrongly will jeopardize your future opportunities.

There is a right way and a wrong way to leave the pastorate (tweet this). Too often I learn of tendered resignations that are not grace-filled departures.

If you give me the opportunity to help before the resignation, you’ll think I’m trying to talk you out of it. Why? Because you might be trying to leave without going through the painful conversations that lead to a right decision.

What is the wrong way to leave your pastorate?

  • If you think it doesn’t matter how you leave your pastorate, perhaps you lacked the spiritual maturity to serve in the first place.
  • You are forced to leave because of unrepentant sin, you will leave wrongly.
  • If you simply leave without praying about the matter over the course of several weeks, you will leave wrongly.
  • You make the decision to leave without discussing the matter with your spouse, you will leave wrongly.
  • If you leave without discussing the matter with the advice of peers that know you well and the wisdom of those who are over you in the Lord, you will leave wrongly.
  • You think that the decision to leave is solely your decision and that it does not matter what others think, you will leave wrongly.
  • If you leave without actually leaving, but stay in the mix as advisor emeritus, you will leave wrongly.

My big point is this: In spite of how discouraged you are, how poorly you might have been treated, or how irreplaceable you think you are, you are accountable to God and others for how you leave.

What is the right way to leave your pastorate?

  • The right way is to leave voluntarily because you sense that God’s perfect will for you is changing. He has a slow and steady way of making it crystal clear when He has a new assignment for you.
  • I pray you are not forced to leave because of the habitual practice of willful sin. However, if you are asked to leave, for this reason, do so in confession, repentance, and with the assurance that you are doing the right thing.
  • You should be prayerfully assured that it is God’s will for you to move on. This process should rest in Scripture and supplication.
  • Discuss it with your spouse and come to an agreement. Your ministry is not entirely dependent upon you since the marriage covenant means that two become one.
  • Acquire the godly counsel of those who can testify that they have been there and done that. You can learn from their mistakes and from their successful departures.
  • You need to talk with those who are over you in the Lord. Their discernment can help you know whether or not you should leave and help you make a wise transition.

For ministers who are members of my tribe within the Kingdom of God, let me speak frankly.

  • Pastor, please do not officially resign your pastorate until after consultation with your district (conference) superintendent. God places authority over you to help protect you. When you submit to God-ordained oversight, He empowers you to do more for Him.
  • Pastor, please understand that the authority to shut down your local church belongs to your district presbytery (conference council) and that can only be done with their approval, even if you founded the church from scratch. Member congregations within our organization are under the responsible oversight of these godly people who want to help you do the right thing for the Kingdom of God at large.
  • As a credentialed minister, you are accountable to your overseers. They don’t seek to hold you back. They want to help you fulfill your ministry.

Know this: seeking wisdom and counsel from others does not deny your competency as a leader. Instead, it causes you to grow and enhances your reputation as a person of wisdom.

Leaving well qualifies you as a person of good character to continue serving the Kingdom of God (Click to Tweet). If you’ve been looking for a sign to tell you how to leave well, this article could be it.

Ministry transitions can be filled with grace for everyone involved when handled with care and prayer. What would you describe as the right way to leave?

More on “How Not to Leave Your Pastorate” can be found here. Click over and keep reading. Join the discussion, leave a comment, and pray for pastors and churches in transition. If you are in the process of leaving, leave well my pastor friend. Leave well.

Written by William Strickland. Pastor of Harvest Christian Center in Cantonment, FL. Husband to Lisa and father to three kids. To read more of Williams’s work, take a look at his blog and be sure to follow him on social media

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

Cultural Intelligence: How Do We Engage Faithfully in a Polarized and Hostile America?

A week from tomorrow, the climate of our nation will be in upheaval as the counting of presidential ballots begins. Presumably, the total number of ballots won’t be counted for at least a few days or weeks after Election Day, as the number of mail-in and absentee ballots will dramatically increase this year. Regardless of which candidate is declared the victor, the inflammatory rhetoric and hostile stance of various groups will be intense…and the Church will be in the midst of it all. 

How can we engage faithfully in a culture and atmosphere that’s arguably more divisive than ever before? How can we make sure our tone is prioritized alongside our beliefs? Can we do so successfully while avoiding inflammatory and hostile responses?

Darrell Bock addresses this in his new book, Cultural Intelligence: Living For God in a Diverse, Pluralistic World. Bock notes that Western Christians have maintained the individual level as their prominent communication focus, when the Church historically has been designed to address issues on three levels: individual, community, and society. While some interpret the latter two levels as a nod to political responsibility, Bock presents it in the context of how we establish and carry on in one-on-one conversations.

Highlighting six different New Testament passages, Bock crafts a theology of “cultural intelligence,” arguing for the eradication of an “us versus them” mentality (which Christians have largely not done a great job of recently). People made in God’s image are not the enemy – sin and brokenness are. As ministers and messengers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21), we are to consider the elements of love and relationship in every interaction.

While Scripture makes clear that forgiveness is a command and not just a viable option, reconciliation (forgiveness + trust) is admittedly not always possible this side of heaven. However, no matter our depiction in the media or greater public’s eyes (or our frustration with it), the body of Christ is to proceed with love, kindness, and intentional seeking of understanding and mutual ground. Reconciliation defines our relationship to the Father through Christ’s death and resurrection, so it should be foundational to how we approach any person or issue.

Bock provides details and strategies for a “triphonic” dialogue structure (triphonic means three sounds or tones playing simultaneously), so the analogy highlights that we should take all three levels (individual, community, and society) into account when conversing with others. 

A simple contrast can be realized by asking the question, “How do I talk about culture, and how do I engage culture? Those two questions should have different answers and resulting methods. Much like the Scriptural contrast of Paul in Romans 1 and Acts 17, our tone in engaging culture matters greatly. 

We consistently need to ask ourselves if we care more about facts and being right than being an example of Christ’s love in conversation. Next, we need to see if our actions reflect our answer to that question. Of course facts are important.

But if people know we belong to Jesus by how we love one another, will our “undeniable facts” root them out of their opinion stronghold…or will our tone and actions be a better method?

If you have the best answers and information (which we do with the gospel), but terrible tone, your answers and information won’t matter to other people. Yes, God is sovereign and can use and work with things however He chooses. But a big part (if not the biggest part) of making disciples is modeling for those disciples. You can and should stand firm in your beliefs, but that doesn’t mean your tone always needs to be firm. In fact, it rarely does if we’re modeling an appropriate strategy of loving others well. Again, if we are people of the resurrection, then we are ministers of reconciliation.

Finally, how we engage culture has to do with salvation. While an unfortunate amount of Christians have an unhealthy link between salvation and good works via legalism, salvation and sanctification (the process of being brought into closer relationship with and attaining the likeness of Christ) are linked. They’re not just linked in some theologically abstract way, but in a practical way for us to live out. If we are new creations who are helping to usher in the kingdom, as Jesus preached, than we must realize a truth that Bock masterfully states in his book. “Salvation is not about gaining a place but about regaining a Person and learning to live in ways that are pleasing to Him” (Bock, 77) Conducting ourselves in a manner that reflects our reconciled relationship to the Father is a big part of that, but so is our willingness to engage others by demonstrating we believe and desire to love our neighbor as ourselves. 

I encourage you to read Cultural Intelligence, as we all require a long-term methodology of healthy interaction for ministry and relationship purposes… especially starting next week. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see our nation and culture becoming less polarized any time soon. Let us not lose hope, but remain humble, lead with love, and lean in dependence on our one true hope – Jesus Christ. The author and perfecter of our faith. 

If you would like to hear my interview with Dr. Bock about his book, it will drop on November 3rd (Election Day) via my podcast, Youth Ministry Maverick. You can listen on youthministrymaverick.com or wherever you stream podcasts.


Jeff Harding has been working in youth ministry since 2004. He currently serves as youth minister at Trinity Fellowship Church in Richardson, TX. He is also the Dallas/Ft. Worth Area Coordinator for the National Network of Youth Ministries, blogger for Youth Specialties, and host of the Youth Ministry Maverick podcast. Oh, and he loved Chipotle before it was cool. He hopes you can connect with him on social media @jeffdharding, or through youthministrymaverick.com.

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

Dear Church Worker, You Need to Get Out More: 4 Unique Benefits of Getting Outdoors for Those Who Work in Ministry

I love being physically present in the outdoors. My ideal vacation is a few weeks in the Rocky Mountains with each day split equally between fly fishing on a rock strewn mountain stream and spending hours in a comfortable chair just staring at the mountains. Being outdoors and in nature is where I find peace and mental refreshment. I don’t love that it is a struggle for me to find time to be outdoors. I must intentionally look for opportunities to get outdoors often because I know that it makes me a better leader and servant.
 
A simple google search reveals numerous mental and physical health benefits to being outdoors. I won’t attempt to discuss all the possible benefits of being outdoors. I know that those who work in a church or related ministry struggle with a unique set of challenges and stressors that can cause a multitude of spiritual, physical and mental pitfalls. A speaker at a recent church leadership conference I attended noted that most church work environments are designed (unintentionally) to keep workers “spiritually disillusioned, physically fat and out of shape, and mentally drained.” His words were a harsh indictment of most ministry work places. I agree with his assessment.
 
Most of the stress that church workers experience stems from the fact that we place an extra burden on ourselves because we believe (rightly so) that our work has eternal consequences. The local church is God’s way of bringing people to faith and keeping them spiritually fed. As church workers, we are a crucial component in that mission. We shouldn’t take our charge lightly. Those who work in the church walk a fine line between being motivated by our mission and being overwhelmed by it. I believe that getting away from the church and being outdoors has some unique benefits to offer to the church worker.
 
Getting Outdoors Better Connects You to Jesus
My most influential school teachers made learning an experience. They immersed me through their storytelling and made sure I learned science through hands-on activities. We learn best through experience. What better way to learn from and experience God than to sit in the midst of His creation
and let Him do the teaching. Look at the beautiful words of Job 12:7-10 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. (NIV)
By simply being present in God’s creation, we experience Him, we learn about Him and are drawn closer to Him. There is good reason that most church camps and retreat centers are in wooded areas and not in the middle of a suburban subdivision or on the 12th floor of a city skyscraper.
 
Getting Outdoors Reduces Ministry Stress
I suppose being outdoors reduces stress for most everyone, not just church workers. There is research that it helps increase good chemicals and hormones in our bodies and decrease the bad ones. Breathing in clean air and getting more Vitamin D helps reduce stress for the church worker and the atheist alike.
I feel that the unique benefit for the church worker is that being outdoors helps put things in perspective. There is nothing like standing in a vast open space or gazing at a mountain to remind us that God is big and the day to day worries of our ministry are small. Most of the time this realization comes not in a conscious thought: “Hey, look at those trees. Wow! God is mighty and not having the outline for the next worship series done is small.” Rather, this realization of perspective occurs most often as at subconscious level. As created creatures, we instinctively know that our value is in the one who created us and not in the things that we do. The more we experience the wonder of His creation, the more we realize that our work, while important, is not larger than the one who made us.
 
Getting Outdoors Helps Set Clear Boundaries
Dr. Henry Cloud says that “Every human being must have boundaries in order to have successful relationships or a successful performance in life.” Most dedicated church workers feel a deep commitment to their job. For many, that commitment serves their church and people well. For others, that commitment makes it difficult to set healthy boundaries in life. Church work comes at the expense of margin, family, physical health, mental clarity, and healthy relationships. Making time to be physically away from the church and in nature sets a clear boundary for you physically and mentally. Physically, the boundary is clear: I am in the outdoors and I am not at church. A boundary is also established mentally:
I am not at church, therefore I am not required to think about it (although my mind often wanders back to work issues and stress). Making a commitment to being outdoors and away from church is a commitment to set healthy boundaries.
 
Getting Outdoors Improves Your Ministry Focus
In ministry, there is never a shortage of good ideas or new ways to do things. The challenge for leaders in ministry is to discern the important from the not so important and to keep our eyes on our church’s mission and vision for ministry. We know focusing on what is important is key to ministry growth, but there always seems to be more distractions and legitimate challenges that need to be addressed. Push the eject button and get away for a while. Take a walk, a one-day retreat, or some extended time away and in nature to clear your head and remind yourself of the important things in your ministry. Simply being away from the office limits the distractions and the opportunity for others to fill your time and mind with competing ideas. Being outdoors lets you escape for a bit and helps you focus. Your ministry will benefit greatly from your increased focus on what is truly important.
 
Getting outdoors can benefit you and your ministry. What are some things that you do to get outdoors more often? 
 

Bryan Blackford works with ministry leaders to help their ministries grow. He walks ministries through a planning process and resources ministry leaders, so they are equipped to lead well. Bryan serves as an Executive Director at a large church, so he gets ministry and the everyday struggles of ministry leaders. Check out his resources at blackfordsolutions.org

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

3 Thoughts on What Christian Leadership Should Look Like

Christian leadership should stand in contrast to the secular world’s understanding of what it means to be successful. Alas, I think too much of the American church at large is not concerned with the New Testament pattern of leadership and success.

What should Christian leadership look like? Here are three brief thoughts on what Christian leadership should look like, according to my scripturally biased opinion.

Primarily, I have a hard time getting away from the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:11-12. According to Jesus, Christian leadership looks like servanthood.

Interestingly, J.B. Phillips provided a challenging translation of Matthew 23:10-12. “And you must not let people call you ‘leaders’—you have only one leader, Christ! The only ‘superior’ among you is the one who serves the others. For every man who promotes himself will be humbled, and every man who learns to be humble will find promotion.”

So then, Christian leadership is about following Christ, serving others along the way, and learning to be content with obscurity.

Secondarily, Christian leadership does not look like prosperity or the lack thereof. It’s not about stuff, it’s about following Christ and serving those whom He loves. The admonition of Hebrews 13:5 is clear. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” His presence matters more than your stuff.

Please understand that as a Christian leader, you might never have a luxurious office, a large expense account, or a lofty title. And that’s okay. If your mode of leadership servanthood never measures up to this world’s definition of success, you are in really great company with a host of people whose names fill the New Testament. I’ll refrain from making a list and encourage you to be a student of the Book.

Thirdly, Christian leaders should not act as though because they are graced with ministry gifts that they have no need of working with others. The practice of continually isolating yourself from others is what our adversary (the devil) likes to see. He can wreak havoc through that practice.

What am I talking about with this third point? God has not called the Body of Christ to independence. But rather, He has called us to the blessedness of interdependence. That’s the whole point of 1 Corinthians 12:21-26.

What this really means is that to best fulfill the New Testament pattern of servanthood leadership, you need me. And I need you, more than you could possibly understand. Besides the ample evidence of Scripture, I’m not really smart enough to do this without your help. The best ideas and ministry are often generated from those without any official ministry title.

We can wrap this up in summary style. What does Christian leadership look like? Christian leadership looks like serving others and being okay with only God knowing your name and what you have done. This New Testament servanthood model is more possessed with the presence of Christ than the things of this world and with that, you can be content. And in this neighborhood, joint servanthood is the only model that works.

Finally, I ran across this quote from Pastor Benny Tate and it will serve as a thought-provoking conclusion. “You haven’t served God until God gets the glory and someone else gets the credit.”

Written by William Strickland. Pastor of Harvest Christian Center in Cantonment, FL. Husband to Lisa and father to three kids. To read more of Williams’s work, take a look at his blog and be sure to follow him on social media

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

5 Signs of a Productive Follower

Everybody desires to be the leader, but few desire to follow. As I write this, my oldest son (in preschool) is designated as class leader today. He is three, so do not expect him leading on his own. If he was, expect candy, monster trucks, and toys for all. The class leader is set up as a big helper. The teacher is still in the leading role, but my son will assist and have opportunities to lead at the same time. 

The church is set up in a similar fashion. Above all, God is the leader of the flock. God appoints Pastors as leaders under His sovereign will, and other Pastors and staff under the Pastor’s leadership. Jesus called the apostles and He simply called them to follow Him. 

I serve as a Pastor of Students and Outreach at my church. I’m naturally in a role that requires me to be a follower and leader. I have opportunities to lead, but my leading comes in response to how I follow the direction the senior pastor and leadership set, including direction I help with at times. Here are five signs of a productive follower. 

1. PRODUCTIVE FOLLOWERS KNOW THEIR ROLE.

This often takes humility, but knowing your exact role will propel you as a productive follower. Job descriptions and guidelines are there for a reason. Your role is generally laid out. If for some reason it is not, ask and let it be known. 

2. PRODUCTIVE FOLLOWERS PLAN TO FOLLOW.

Planning and preparing is essential for most areas of life. We plan vacation, leisure, entertainment, education, and many other day-to-day activities. A productive follower must plan to lay aside our agenda so that what we are following is championed. Not planning to follow will result in a me…me…me mentality. 

3. PRODUCTIVE FOLLOWERS STRIVE FOR UNITY.

Unity takes hard work and dedication. Ephesians four highlights the importance of unity in the body of Christ. The church should be the most united place on earth, yet, unity is often neglected for personal preference. It is essential that we aim to be a united front. If we the leadership fail to be united, how can we expect the church to follow?

4. PRODUCTIVE FOLLOWERS ENGAGE CAREFULLY.

Careful and precise engagement is necessary for productivity. Patience can be difficult to achieve and maintain. However, a good leader ought to be willing to have productive engagement with their followers. When you engage (and you should sometimes), ask yourself if you are being careful and not careless. If we follow well, we will have plenty of opportunities for engagement. Earn the right to be engaged. 

5. PRODUCTIVE FOLLOWERS INTERJECT APPROPRIATELY.

Some of us believe we have to interject our thoughts and opinions early and often. Sometimes this is warranted (if something is unbiblical) right away, but more so than not, the timing might be too soon. Understanding you leader’s personality will be the key to unlocking when and how you interject. You better have a good reason (and be able to back it up) when you interject your thoughts on a situation. Do not be afraid to speak up, but understand that there is a time and place to do so. 

A productive follower essentially strives to maintain this status. It takes a daily heart check to fully be productive. You may have the best idea, but it may not be best for this particular time or moment. Be willing to humble yourself and ultimately follow Jesus first and the rest will follow. The Disciples set aside opinions and personal preference to follow Jesus. We should be willing to do the same!


Written by Justin Beville. Justin has been married to Amanda Beville for over six years and has one son named Luke and twin boys on the way! He received his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies with a minor in Student Ministry from the College at Southeastern. Justin went on to complete his Advanced MDiv. at Southeastern. He currently serves as the Pastor of Students and Outreach at Kingsland Baptist Church. Like this article? Read more from Justin here!

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

It’s Too Loud

Many Churches have begun reopening and getting back to live services. People no longer have a personal volume control which will inevitably lead back into volume complaints. While there is no sure-fire way to eliminate them, there are some factors that may be contributing to the comfort level of your audience. Most importantly, there are probably some things you can do about it that don’t involve earplugs. 

Disclaimer: I’m not going to address SPL (Sound Pressure Level) in this post but rather the factors that an SPL meter can’t tell you. I’m going to assume that you are running at a reasonable SPL and still receiving complaints. 

1. “I want to hear myself and the people around me sing”
There is power in corporate worship when the people of God sing His praises together. It serves as a way of reminding each other of who God is and what he has done. 

2. “I want to sing loudly and not worry about others around me hearing how bad I sound.”
There is also a personal side to worship as we each individually praise God for the things he has done in our life or cry out to him for the things we need. 

But They’re Still Coming….

Once you’ve reached a decision and adjusted accordingly. There are some further considerations to make as to why you may be receiving volume complaints.

Often it is a quality of sound and not a quantity of sound issue. Meaning there isn’t too much level but how it sounds is abrasive no matter the volume level. If things are out of balance or hard to distinguish from one another it can be hard to listen to. The average person doesn’t have (and doesn’t care to have) the knowledge to differentiate between abrasiveness and volume so they will simply say ” it’s too loud”. This is even more true in cases where an individual’s ability to differentiate between sounds diminishes like in cases of hearing loss where medical devices are required for the individual to hear. 

In my experience, there are 3 primary reasons people perceive it as being “too loud” (not including if it is extremely loud).

1.Room Issues

There’s an old audio joke that goes something like “In the beginning, God made perfect sound, then man built walls”. While you could easily poke holes in the jokes realism, it gets the point across that reflective surfaces add complexity to the sounds around us that then have to be differentiated by our ears. For the most part in normal circumstances, our ears are very good at doing this and we don’t even have to think about it. Think about when you’re in a crowded space where there are a lot of people talking. It’s usually reasonably easy to hear and focus on the person you are having a conversation with. With music, however, it can be a different story. Drums especially can create additional challenges for intelligibility. When a highly percussive sound bounces off everything and all the new sounds hit the ear at varying times, it makes it hard to understand what you are hearing.

It is also important to note that when this happens our natural inclination is to try and increase the volume level of the “main source” (usually the sound system). To address these issues (once the room already exists), you need to work with a professional. Acoustics is an exact science and requires specialized knowledge to get right. Guessing on solutions can be very costly. The way we have come to listen to music is very clean and processed and when you mix this clean processed sound with a raw acoustic source in the same space, it can greatly affect the intelligibility of the sound if they are not working together properly; which leads to the second factor.

2.System Issues

When a sound system isn’t correctly designed for or installed in a space or isn’t working properly it can create significant discrepancies between zones within that space. A good system should deliver consistent and even sound across every part of the room. When it’s uneven, people can have good or bad experiences based on where they are sitting and how it sounds there in comparison to what it sounds like at the soundboard (where the mix decisions are being made). This is a recipe for bad sound in certain parts of the room and good sound in others which can create additional frustration. This is not something the average person thinks about but instead, they would express that “things are inconsistent sounding from week to week (if they move seats regularly)”. Or they may say “ the bass is overwhelming” when it’s balanced from the mix position. If you are experiencing this, you want to see what can be done to better balance out your room. If you don’t have experience doing this, you may need to call in a professional to help. This is another area where guessing gets expensive. (How Not to Waste Your Churches Money)

3.Mix Issues

Now that we have either Identified a challenge that needs addressed or ruled the hard things out, it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. What’s the quality of the mix? At the end of the day, it comes down to the person behind the board. Do they know how to mix in such a way that things are balanced well and intelligible or is it harsh and overwhelming? Does it sound like music or noise? (You Don’t Need More Gear) To remedy this, you can either hire a professional to mix every week or get training for your volunteers.

Unfortunately there is no quick and easy fix for sound complaints, so take the pressure off. You don’t have to fix everything overnight. Break it down. Discover where the problems actually lie, then develop solid solutions that move you closer to your goal. (How not to waste your churches Money)

If you are experiencing any (or multiple) of these challenges and want to talk further about specifics of fixing them in your context, send me a message

Written by Chris Eslinger. Chris is from Fairfield, OH where he’s married and has three kids. Chris is the Production and Technical Media Director at New Freedom Church. To learn more about Chris, read his blogs or talk more about how he can help you create quality experiences, visit his site.

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

Church Worker: Your Value is You and Not What You Produce

I recently took a new employee at my church out to lunch. It was the end of his first week working as our Business Manager. He is a great guy and came to us from a position in the banking industry. During our lunch conversation, I asked him what he thought some differences were in the industry that he came from and working in a ministry. He responded by saying that while he had been busy that week, there was less tangible stuff to produce – less reports, less matrix boxes to check off, and less bottom line numbers and results to look at. I smiled and let him know that he was well on the way to understanding one of the fundamental truths of church work: What you produce for the church has value, but your value to the church is you.
 
It can be tough to find and hire great church workers. The pay is often lower than public sector employment and the hours longer. A good church hire is finding someone with the skills needed to complete the tasks associated with the job. The best hire a church can make is someone who amplifies the desired culture. 
 
Churches need to look for workers who people naturally look up to and who have the character to lead in a ministry setting. Sometimes this sets up a dichotomy in the hiring process. There are legitimate business tasks that need to be accomplished. Yet, there is a ministry to lead. What if you can’t find someone who can do both? Keep looking. This is often easier said than done. It is tough leaving a job unfilled while you look for a more ideal candidate. I promise it is worth it in the end.
 
While churches often struggle with finding value in both what a worker produces and the value of the character of the person filling the role, the real struggle often happens in the mind of the worker. Not being clear about what is most important leads to worry, stress, and anxiety in those who work in the church. There is a constant tension between getting the list of tasks accomplished and sending time and effort in improving ourself and our character. If you are a church worker, read the following set of questions and statements to help clarify what your value is to the church.
 
Is there value in the spreadsheet the the church accountant produces? Sure.
Is there value in the clean floor that the custodian produces? Sure.
Is there value in the lesson taught by the Children’s minister? Sure.
Is there value in the servant event that your Youth minister arranged? Sure.
Is there value in the sermon you preached? Sure.
Is there value in what you produce? Sure.
 
Your value is in the example you set for others.
Your value is modeling the life of a disciple. 
Your value is in empowering others to feel valued.
Your value is being there when you are needed.
Your value is the unique perspective that you bring to the table.
Your value is found in just being you – it is likely the reason you were hired.
 
As a church worker, your greatest value to the church is your relationship with Jesus, His Church, and His people. Any task that interferes with that is of no value to the church.
 

Bryan Blackford works with ministry leaders to help their ministries grow. He walks ministries through a planning process and resources ministry leaders, so they are equipped to lead well. Bryan serves as an Executive Director at a large church, so he gets ministry and the everyday struggles of ministry leaders. Check out his resources at blackfordsolutions.org

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

Does Your Church Have a Healthy Social Media Presence?

Even if your church used social media prior to the pandemic, you likely are using it in new ways this year. The church quickly was thrown into the deep end of social media. Some small town pastors were on the cusp of figuring out their first live stream. Other churches may have been figuring out how to implement other areas of media, such as new social media and online giving. Maybe you already had all of this prior to the pandemic, but you likely have added something new in attempt to keep your congregation connected. 

One of those things you added or magnified was social media. I have heard and read many stories about pastors who were against social media (for a number of reasons) that embraced it one-hundred percent during the pandemic. Even if it was not new, you likely amplified your presence in some form of fashion. Whether we discuss our life or ministry, we should always take time to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of whatever we do. Over half a year later, we must stop and ask: does my church have a healthy social media presence? Hopefully you have already been evaluating this, but after increased traffic and usage, this evaluation has never been more important. Here are five questions to ask to determine the healthiness of your social media presence:

1. IS THE BOTTOM LINE VIEWS OR ENGAGEMENT?

It feels like a shot of dopamine when your views are up. I am no medical doctor, but we thrive off of dopamine. Your dopamine levels will naturally increase when your brain expects a reward. It feels good to see a high number of views, therefore, dopamine levels are high. These views are good metrics, but are often surface level effects. A deeper dive will reveal more metrics that end up revealing differing results. Our focus should be on engagement. Engagement has long lasting impact on the believer or viewer. If I am engaged, I come back wanting more. Our number one engagement is the Word of God. God’s Word engages our hearts through prayer, song, and through sound biblical teaching. Look at how God’s Word engages, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV). Your social media presence must be engaging. Social media should have a clear pathway to push viewers and followers down a road of discipleship and growth. 

2. ARE MY FOLLOWERS A NUMBER OR A NAME?

Followers should not be a bad thing, but the dogma of the more the better should never flood our social media presence. Do not get me wrong, you should attempt to reach people on social media, which ultimately increases your following. Be sure to catch what was said, we are to be reaching people, not numbers. Each follower has a name. Their name is far more important than them being your one-thousandth subscriber! Our social media policies ought to have a plan to take followers into people with a name. This gets tricky with live events. It is near impossible to get the names of all attending your live stream. However, with strategic planning, you can attempt to connect with these people through engagement questions throughout the stream. Do not settle for followers, aim for a name. Praise God that He knows our name! We should aim to know their name too!

3. DOES THIS NEW SOCIAL MEDIA FIT INTO YOUR MISSION AND VISION?

This is a question that should be asked of everything we do as a church. Things you have been doing for fifty years should annually be asked this question. For some, Snapchat and TikTok may fit, while for others, it does not. Do your research. Ask pertinent questions to experts or to others who are using various platforms. It is essential that you do not do something just because the church down the street is doing it. When it comes to preaching the Gospel, you better be doing that, but it may not be beneficial to jump head deep into the new craze. Viral fame is not worth the consequences of forgetting to make His name famous. 

4. ARE WE BEING SAFE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA?

Social media can be dangerous. This likely is something you have seen overtime these last few months. Social media can be addicting for both the viewer and the producer. You likely (if not, stop what you are doing right now and do it) have strict policies for those who help with children. We should err on the same side of caution with social media. Do not let just anyone have the reigns of your social media. Have policies and procedures that lay out precautions and social media usage. This may be a stretch for some, but even consider having members of your social media team sign contracts that enable you to remove those not fit. With social media advancing at the rate it does, you can never be too cautious. 

5. DOES JEALOUSY DRIVE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA DECISIONS?

Jealousy should never be our driving force. The church seeing results down the street does not always delegate your church down the same path. Be lead by God and not by jealousy. With that said, you may implement the same things (and we should learn from others), but implement it in such a way that it drives your church’s mission and vision forward. Bathe social media usage in prayer as you would anything else. God is going to use social media to reach people. Let Him be your guide, not the church down the street. 

If you have yet to evaluate, now is the time to evaluate. Social media will likely have some value for you and your ministry. If it does not, do not use it. However, I imagine that you have realized the value social media can bring as you seek to connect people to Jesus. If you are going to use social media, do so with purpose and conviction. 

What are some guidelines you have in place for social media? How are you using social media to reach people? What does your church do now that you did not do prior to Covid-19?


Written by Justin Beville. Justin has been married to Amanda Beville for over six years and has one son named Luke and twin boys on the way! He received his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies with a minor in Student Ministry from the College at Southeastern. Justin went on to complete his Advanced MDiv. at Southeastern. He currently serves as the Pastor of Students and Outreach at Kingsland Baptist Church. Like this article? Read more from Justin here!

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

8 Things To Consider As You Manage Remote Employees

I pray your church is doing well and managing through this new normal of uncertainty.

I know it has not been easy learning to have virtual church services, adjusting budgets to fit new giving trends, and managing employees from afar.

As you continue to manage remote employees, try to be aware of how they are managing this new normal, and work to provide the support and resources they will need until they can return to the office.

8 Things To Consider As You Manage Remote Employees

1. Communication

Church leaders understand the importance of communication.

Now is the time to take communication up a notch and communicate, communicate, communicate.

Talk to employees and ask their preferred communication method.

For instance, some employees need the social aspect of communicating.

Offer an option to do a Google chat or Zoom call for those social styles that crave interaction.

Communicate via technology with those employees who prefer that format.

Set up times to chat on email or messenger.

Find the preferred method and then determine the appropriate frequency for interactions.

Let employees know how often you will be communicating and what you will be asking to talk about.

Try to remember; more is always better!

2. Mental Health

Many employees have been thrown into the drastic change of working from home, learning to homeschool children, and trying to juggle the new norm.

Be aware of the stress and challenge employees are experiencing and provide resources to help them manage.

For instance, sometimes, employees simply need to talk about their struggles.

Provide a resource for employees to discuss their challenges.

This resource can be an organized zoom call with a pastor, a trusted mental health professional, or a support group with other employees.

Regardless, employees benefit from sharing challenges and learning coping skills from others.

Remind them of God’s promises with Bible verses about stress and anxiety.

Support their mental health, and you support the employee.

3. Resources

Employees who don’t typically work from home are not equipped with a comfortable workspace.

Make sure employees have access to fast internet, a working computer, and any other necessary office equipment.

For instance, if your accounting staff is now required to work from home, make sure they have a working printer and scanner to help them process weekly contributions.

Also, make sure there is technical support if employees have technical issues with their WiFi, computer, or other office equipment.

Downtime from technical issues is a waste of time.

Manage this by providing that support.

4. Balance

Employees are juggling a lot.

Help them with balance by allowing flexibility in their schedule and reinforcing your commitment to work-life balance.

Particularly during this time when employees are carrying so many additional responsibilities.

For instance, if employees are now responsible for homeschooling their children, allow them to modify their work hours, so they have the option to work evenings or weekends.

5. Reassurance

These are uncertain times for everyone and no one really knows how life as we knew it will look when the dust finally settles.

Be aware that employees have these concerns.

Share with them the steps the church is taking to manage its operation during this pandemic so they don’t worry about being let go.

Reassure them by reminding them that God is in control and He will work all things out.

6. Listen To Employee Concerns

Life is different when you work from home so talk to employees and ask them how you can help.

Listen to any concerns they have and follow up by either addressing their concerns or explaining why the problem can’t be fixed.

For instance, if employees have an old laptop that keeps crashing, work quickly to either get the laptop fixed or send them a new one.

Remember, it is better to not ask the question than to ask the question and not follow up with a resolution.

7. Try Not To Micromanage

Try to remember that just because you can’t see employees working doesn’t mean they aren’t productive.

Give employees the benefit of the doubt about how they manage their time and focus on ensuring they meet job requirements.

Be more concerned with getting the job done than the actual time they are working.

For instance, if a team member is responsible for updating the website weekly, focus on making sure it is updated by a predetermined day of the week, rather than what they are doing every day to get that done.

8. Be Available

Great managers have open-door policies, and now is the time to practice that management model.

You will hopefully connect with employees daily.

However, you should also reassure employees that you are there to help.

Allow them the flexibility to reach out when they have an issue or a barrier to getting the job done – even if your phone meeting was a few hours ago.

As the new norm continues, take the time to talk to employees, support their personal and mental health needs, and you will find that your team is productive amidst this new work from home model.

This too shall pass! God bless you for all you do!

Article was borrowed from Smart Church Management. To find out more about Patricia, click here

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

9 Productivity Apps for Ministry Leaders

Do you know what it feels like to be “in the zone” with ministry work?  It feels great when you are cranking content out like crazy!  The magic happens when you are passionate about something and have both the energy and the organization to get things done.  

How often does that happen to you?

A personal mentor recently told me that I am one of the most productive and organized people that they know.  That may or may not be true, but I do tend to be organized and get things done before they need to get done.  I think my productivity is a result of a passion for my work and having found the right tools to help me with my work. 

Maybe some of the tools that I use can help you.

Task : Task Management
Tool:  OmniFocus
There are many apps and tools that help you manage your tasks.  Pick one that you like and commit to it.  My #1 suggestion is that it is syncable on all of your devices (computer, tablet, phone..)  I have been using OmniFocus for almost 5 years as find it powerful and effective. It follows David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology precisely.   It syncs with my laptop, phone, tablet, and watch! The learning curve to fully utilizing all of its features is steep – if you are a technology novice, you should probably investigate a simpler system.
 
Task: Posting on Social Media
Tool: Missinglettr
If you post professionally on social media, you already know that scheduling your posts ahead of time is a game changer.  Missinglettr takes your content (blog, sermons, whatever..) and creates a social media (Facebook, Twitter) drip campaign that you can use to schedule and reschedule posts throughout the year!  I’ve been using Missinglettr for almost a year now and love it!  It is a game changer for ministry leaders and communicators who post in social media.
 
Task: Managing My Calendar
Tool: Fantastical
Fantastical is a calendar system that syncs between all of your devices.   It can manage and aggregate all of your calendars (Google, Outlook..)I paid for it and used it over the calendar that came with my Apple devices because it is more intuitive and simpler when entering appointments.  I’m a visual person and it is better designed than the stock calendar on my devices.  I can’t recommend Fantastical enough.
 
Task: Writing
Tool:  Apple Notes
Until recently, I used the Ulysses app for all of my writing.  They changed their pricing model and to be honest, it ticked me off.  I went in search of an alternative and didn’t love anything that I found.  I ended up using Apple Notes and it is getting the job done.  It is super simple to use and easy to export text to almost any other app.  I’m still looking for a better, more elegant option here.
 
Task: Focusing on a Task
Tool: Focus
It’s a great looking countdown timer on my phone (and Apple Watch) that helps me focus on my work and reminds me to occasionally take a break.  Simple and it works!
 
Task: Email
Tool: Apple Mail
The standard Apple Mail App that comes with my Apple devices fits my needs.  I’ve investigated other options, but haven’t felt that their features justified the purchase price.  If you are overwhelmed by email and need help managing your inbox, I recommend InboxZero.
 
Task: Capturing Ideas
Tool: Just Press Record
There are times when I need to capture a quick idea and don’t have a pen and paper or typing something wouldn’t be appropriate.  Most often, this happens while I am driving.  I use Just Press record on my iPhone and Apple watch to record my ideas.  It records with a press of a button or voice commands.  Later, when I can take action on my idea, there it is waiting for me.  You can also translate your voice recording to text and export it to another app, email, or text message!
 
Task: Reading Online Content
Tool: Pocket
Ever find a good article online and want to save it?  Ever start reading an article and can’t finish it?  Install the pocket app and with the press of one button, save and organize all of your online reading for later.  You can also share articles with others easily with several share options.  I save several articles and use Pocket when traveling and do not have internet access to catch up on my reading.
 
Task: Social Media Management
Tool: Grum
Facebook has a built-in method for scheduling your future posts, Instagram doesn’t. Enter Grum. You can schedule your post ahead of time and interact/comment on them from your Grum Dashboard. This has been a huge time saver for me!
 

Bryan Blackford works with ministry leaders to help their ministries grow. He walks ministries through a planning process and resources ministry leaders, so they are equipped to lead well. Bryan serves as an Executive Director at a large church, so he gets ministry and the everyday struggles of ministry leaders. Check out his resources at blackfordsolutions.org

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!