Month: November 2020

The Value of the Basics

When I first started out, all I wanted to do was run a console. I wanted to program the cool lights or push the faders up on the sound board and make it sound awesome. But the guys I worked with always sent me to clean and rebuild lights, or pull cable or setup microphones. At the time I was really annoyed but now that I look back on it, I’m extremely grateful. Throughout that time, I learned how to get things right where it really matters. I learned the ins and outs of how all the tools worked. I learned how a light works with all the lenses and focus points, I learned how to setup and pin a stage in a way that made sense and was clean and organized. 

Ultimately, the basics makeup the foundation of what we do and without getting it right at the foundational level, the building will crumble.

So spend time on the seemingly small things, focus on the basic techniques. 

When you start running through a sound check, it can be tempting to just start turning knobs but have you thought about moving the mic to ensure it’s getting the best sound at the source?

When trying to improve the quality of the video, have you looked at making sure the lighting is as good as it can be for the camera?

Did you make sure your gain structure was right so the band is able to balance out their personal mixers?

So next time you feel like your stuck doing a basic task, remember, getting the basics right is what makes the “fun” tasks turn out well.

if you like to have a conversation about what basics can impact your experience, send me a message and let’s have a conversation about it.

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!

How Not to Leave Your Pastorate

As I ended my first discussion on “The Right Way to Leave” I said, “Ministry transitions can be filled with grace for everyone involved when handled with care and prayer.” In the course of writing that former post, it became clear that I had more to say on how not to leave your pastorate.

If you are not involved in pastoral ministry or have never been really close to a pastoral transition, this might not seem important to you. You could ponder, “what’s the big deal about how the pastor leaves? Does it matter as long as we get the right God-called pastor to come in?”

Yes. It does matter and here’s why. If the outgoing pastor does not leave well, there can be so much damage caused that the congregation is disjointed for a decade or two. I have seen it done wrong and I have listened as many have shared painful accounts.

Pastor, most of this has to do with timing. 

The right time to leave is according to God’s perfect timing. However, you have the ability to misunderstand God’s timing. Let me tell you straightly though, God does not change His mind (will) as often as we do.

Pastor, it’s best that you not resign in the midst of conflict (tweet this). These are usually emotionally driven decisions and not in the will of God. One bad business meeting or leadership failure does not require a resignation. God has called you to grow through those seasons and become better.

As well, you should not leave just because another congregation has expressed interest in you. Just because another church has a pastoral vacancy does not mean that God is through with you on your current assignment. Unless God has clearly moved in your heart and you KNOW the proposed assignment is His will for you, stay put!

Can you stay too long? The easy and obvious answer is yes. However, that is ultimately a decision that has to be made between you, your spouse, and God. Read this next line carefully. Never resign unless you are sure enough to load the moving truck today (click to tweet). Having a change of heart after having made a public resignation is almost always an impending disaster. You would be better off staying a little too long than resigning too soon and trying to rescind it.

Let’s assume though, that you have come to the leaving conclusion. You know that you have completed God’s will and it is time to move forward in life and ministry. Then, my friend, you should leave properly and totally.

What do I mean? Once your farewell sermon has been delivered and your last Sunday has been served, you should leave altogether. Leave and quickly set up some healthy boundaries with the people.

What does such a departure look like? It means that you should be moved out of the parsonage as soon as possible. During the week following your last Sunday, return every single key. If you drive a church-owned vehicle, give it back as soon as possible.

This next line is going to be hard. 

This also means you should remove yourself from the congregation. I know you think you will be the exception to this rule, but keep reading. The retired or former pastor staying in the congregation as an attending member is almost always a bad idea. The new pastor, regardless of how seasoned and secure, will have difficulty with you still being in the mix of the congregation. Even if the new pastor gives you the blessings to do so, leave anyway. The staff members and lay leaders will maintain their loyalty to the former pastor and be torn in their hearts as to who they should follow. Your continued presence will only cause division even with your best intentions.

Pastor, I will caution you again. If you leave without actually leaving, but stay in the mix as advisor emeritus, you will leave wrongly.

When you have publicly resigned as their shepherd, the sheep will go through a wide range of emotions in the ensuing weeks. 

Some will be mad, some will be glad, and some will be sad. If you have served them well, more will be sad than glad. They will miss you and it will take them some time to process how God is working. Be aware though, even the kindest of sheep can turn and bite the shepherd during this transitional time. Forgive and forget the offense. These sheep are simply grieving and looking for answers.

Lastly, let me state the obvious. Leaving is a time of great sensitivity. You need to be Spirit-led during this transition. As graciously as you possibly can, leave well. Leave well, my pastor friend. Leave well.

The next part I will deal with is how to begin your next pastorate well. You know you want to click over and read “7 Essential Guidelines for Pastors Entering a New Pastorate.”

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 Things a Christian Should be Thankful for this Year

2020 is likely the year you did not plan for. However, 2020 does not catch God by surprise. In fact, this year is part of His plan to unite us closer to Him. The Holy Spirit is moving and drawing people closer to Him like never before. I pray He is doing the same for you! 

This year has been filled with COVID-19, cancelled vacations, limited sports, and churches venturing into uncharted waters. The year may have you wondering if there is anything worth being thankful for this year. Despite the world’s current situation, our position as Christians is the same. You may not feel as thankful this year, but here are five reasons and reminders of why your heart should bleed thanksgiving.

1. THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL

The Gospel has the power to save lives (Romans 1:16). 2020 has not put a stop to lives being transformed. With nowhere else to turn, many are running to the free gift of the Gospel. 

2. THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH

Quarantine, mask mandates, and whatever else 2020 throws at us has no hold over the mission of the church. We are called to share the Gospel with the ends of the earth. Our methods may change a bit as we utilize technology more, but our mission remains the same.

3. THE EQUIPPING POWER OF THE SPIRIT

We do not live this life on our own if we are believers in Christ. Praise God that we were left with the Holy Spirit to guide us and direct us. The Spirit is able to carry us through these uncharted waters  

4. THE DAILY DOSE OF FORGIVENESS

Many people are struggling with various life issues this year. Struggle can often lead to sin in our life. Praise God that He forgives us of our sins. 

5. THE PROMISE OF A BRIGHTER DAY

2020 is not the end of the game. We live in a broken and fallen world. This year continues to prove that this is not our home. Be thankful that there is hope in Jesus. A new day and new earth await. 

Despite our circumstances, we can always be thankful. New life in Christ places a new perspective on life! Rest in Christ this holiday season and trust in His promises. If there is anything worth our thanksgiving, it is Jesus and His saving work in our lives! 


Written by Justin Beville. Justin has been married to Amanda Beville for over six years and has one son named Luke and twin boys, Tucker and Turner! 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!

5 Marks of Culture in Growing Churches

You might have trouble believing this.

The culture of your local church is the greatest predictor of potential growth. Culture is sometimes a hard and abstract-like concept. I’ll try to explain it.

Culture is a general noun that we often use to describe the thought patterns and accompanying behaviors of humanity. It broadly includes their attitudes, beliefs, and values within a certain region and time. Culture is fluid in that it is often changing

Simply put, an unhealthy culture will keep a local church in a rut with only occasional positive movement.

Even worse, some congregations have developed a toxic culture. When that is the situation, it will take an abrupt and abrasive set of changes to bring life back into the cultural DNA of that local church.

I want to share 5 marks of culture that I see in growing congregations.

1. Regular invitations are normal.

Healthy churches have members with an intentional habit of looking for people to invite. They regularly extend invitations to friends, relatives, associates from work and school, and neighbors to “come to service with me this Sunday.” They understand the evangelistic power of an invitation.

That invitation often leads to a spiritual conversation which becomes a positive witness. That is actually an invitation for the unchurched person to come to Christ. In growing churches the pastoral staff keeps plenty of reasons in front of the members for them to want to invite others in. Once in a worship service, the pastor of a growing church will extend the invitation for a commitment to Christ.

2. Relative change is acceptable.

You should use the word change sparingly. But you know very well that growing organisms are consistently changing. Even if it’s slight changes that aren’t quickly perceived, change is constant and necessary for growth. The same is true for your local church.

Observe any growing congregation in your town, and ask an insider about them. You’ll soon learn that there is a steady flux of change which brings more people in to hear the Gospel. Those who are against any and all change must remember that Christ is always changing His Church. Christianity is all about change!

3. Real fun is okay.

All fun is not sinful. Healthy churches look for reasons to celebrate the goodness of God. They’re okay with an occasional clean joke from the pulpit. Smiles and laughter abound. Their joy-filled lives make them fun to be around.

Lost and backslidden people are not attracted to a joyless version of Christianity that looks like anything but fun. There is no biblical mandate that says Christians or their worship services have to be boring, stale, or lifeless. You can be holy and fun to be around. If real fun is okay in your church, there is potential for growth.

4. Reaching children is a priority.

Jesus loves children. Any church that loves Jesus should also love children. If children’s ministry is a priority, it will be reflected in the staff and financial reports of your church. When this priority is practiced, children will be brought to Jesus, and your church will have the favor of God.

I know there are some exceptions, but any church where children are not a priority has a limited shelf life. Personally, I don’t want to be a part of a local congregation with no little ones running around, making smudges where they shouldn’t, and dropping crumbs in the floors. Give me those good problems, and I’ll show you a church with a bright future.

5. Racial diversity is celebrated.

In most growing churches, diversity is celebrated. The blood of Christ knows no color lines! The love of God has no boundaries!

Diversity must take place naturally and cannot be contrived. So, whether or not a congregation is an exact reflection of its community is not my point. My opinion is that each race in your community should know that your church loves them, and they are welcome in your services.

When I see various shades of pigmentation in the pews and padded seats, I’m positive that these are my people. It’s a true reflection of the Body of Christ. In eternity, we will see that God has redeemed people of all nations, tribes, and tongues. We love people of all different colors in His Church.

This is list could be expanded. But, at least I’ve got you thinking about the culture your local church.

Even with all of the above and more positive characteristics in your local church, growth is not automatic. But if these are in place, it can take place with a lot less effort than if they are missing.

Why do I believe this? These cultural marks make for a healthy church and a healthy church is more likely to reach more people and assimilate them than an unhealthy church.

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!

PLAN AHEAD – 5 ADVANTAGES OF PLANNING IN ADVANCE

The deadline is five minutes away and you are scrambling to complete a simple task made difficult because you waited. I have been there, but I typically avoid such situations by planning in advance.

Planning is engraved into my workflow. I was the student who sat down with all my syllabi prior to a semester to efficiently plan each day. I am the traveler who looks at maps to find possible stopping locations and alternate routes in the months prior to the trip. Planning ahead will likely eliminate obstacles that you otherwise are limping through. Planning ahead may be the difference between you completing a project or allowing something to fall through the cracks.

Here are five key advantages to planning ahead:

1. PLANNING AHEAD ENABLES YOU TO PRIORITIZE TASKS.

Every task is important, but some require more focus and have a higher priority. When you plan ahead, you have a larger perspective on the upcoming agenda. Knowing the outlook of your week will allow you to set goals that are attainable at your pace. Plan to tackle the harder tasks when your energy level is up and your mind is sharp (morning, afternoon, evening, etc). 

2. PLANNING AHEAD SETS YOU UP FOR EASY WINS.

You should start each day with an easy win. Completing a task quickly and efficiently sets you up for further success. As you plan your week, month, and year, assign easy goals that you can accomplish to get the day rolling. Accomplishing tasks early and quickly give you the motivation to keep going. 

3. PLANNING AHEAD ALTERS YOUR WORKFLOW EFFICIENCY.

Organized and unorganized people both have a workflow. Typically the unorganized individual has a workflow that is a wild ride to the finish line. While this works for some, planning ahead and spending some time up front, could frantically increase your efficiency. Always be prepared for possible changes, but planning ahead provides you a path for future success. 

4. PLANNING AHEAD PAVES THE WAY FOR THOSE TIMES YOU MUST SAY NO.

Let us be honest, it is hard saying no. Helping people and serving is what we do. However, if we are going to be most effective, there are times where saying no is the best thing we can do, even if it is a good thing. Your probability of saying no is challenging to determine if you do not know your plan. A solid thought out plan builds in time to say yes. Knowing your plan also enables you to say no without scrambling or submitting to another’s plan. 

5. PLANNING AHEAD ALLOWS YOU TO BE SENSITIVE TO THE SPIRIT.

There is nothing worse than feeling tied to an agenda. While an agenda is necessary, often our agenda can easily get in the way of God’s agenda. A well thought out plan should be Spirit led as we pray and ask for God’s will to be done. Our willingness to plan ahead often keeps us on target with deadlines and tasks. Therefore, when the Spirit moves, we do not feel the overwhelming pressures of deciding which way to turn. Planning ahead helps us to be sensitive to God’s Spirit. 

Take time at the beginning of the week, month, and year to plan. Write out goals and tasks. Use an app if necessary. Plan ahead and be excited about what God has directed you toward. Be sensitive to the Spirit and plan according to His plan for your life! 

What do you use to plan ahead? Do you have any helpful apps that you use? How far do you typically plan ahead?


Written by Justin Beville. Justin has been married to Amanda Beville for over six years and has one son named Luke and twin boys, Tucker and Turner! 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!

Five Ways to Influence Your Community

You have heard the question, “What would happen to your neighborhood if the church you served closed tomorrow?”

In many ways, the Coronavirus shutdown caused churches and organizations to ask that question in a more real way. Sunday morning in-person services moved to online. The church scattered from a sanctuary to living rooms, workplaces, and social media.

We have heard a lot about a “new normal” in the process of reopening. As leaders, we have had to pivot to the timeless truth of influence beyond the church’s walls and circles. Never forget that God had uniquely placed you in your city or town to influence people through the gospel’s mission.

I believe every church leader should read Know What You’re For by Jeff Henderson. He makes this statement, “The larger you can draw your circle of influence, the wider your potential impact spreads.”

We have an opportunity in this season of disorientation to make a difference as pastors and church leaders. Part of that means taking tangible steps toward becoming more present in the community.

Here five ways that you can start influencing the community around you:

  1. Support local businesses.

Make a routine to go to the same coffee shop—frequent the same restaurant. The more consistent we show up to the businesses around us, the more we can understand the best way to minister to our community. Wherever you are in the reopening process, start to schedule meetings at local businesses and get to know the people.

  1. Meet local leaders.

Do you know the mayor of your town? Do you know your city councilperson? Do you know the principle of the school? The Creative Arts Director at the church I serve coaches in our little league. I’m impressed by his visibility and presence in this area. Our role in meeting local leaders is to ask what we can do for them. Then we can begin to mobilize the church to be FOR the community.

  1. Follow the Online Conversation.

I recently downloaded the Nextdoor app. I was shocked at how much conversation happens there. Also, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people from my town in local social media groups. Never underestimate the power of being visible in these conversations.

  1. Post on Social Media.

Now more than ever, pastors and church leaders need to value posting on social media. I think of the power of posting a photo of you at a local business or meeting with a local leader. You are modeling to the rest of the church how to be a part of the community and finding the common good. Posting on social media is critical in this season to help people recognize their role in living out faith in this time.

  1. Walk around your neighborhood.

The shutdown brought more people outside in our neighborhood. I was amazed at how many people were greeting each other. Take a moment to wave at the people walking by and get to know them. Part of influencing the community around us means becoming more visible.

What other suggestions would you have to influence your community? Share it in the comment section below.


Written by Peter Englert. Peter is married and has a young daughter. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry and a Masters  in Theology from University of Valley Forge. He currently serves as the Adult Ministries Director at Browncroft Community Church in Rochester, NY. Like this article? Read more from Peter 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!

Creating Quality Experiences

“Create quality experiences that help people engage with Jesus”. What does that mean? And how do we do that? This is my “why”, its the driving vision behind what I do. Historically the Church was the primary driving force behind art. The Church is where the best artists, musicians, and craftsman spent their lives creating beauty and telling the story of Jesus. Unfortunately in some cases the opposite is true today, The church has become the place where “we get by” because the people involved “have a good heart”. Thats all well and good, but the problem is the Church is called to reach the lost. We live in a world where there is so much other noise and often times when content is presented below a certain standard, people just shut down and or swipe away because it can be difficult to consume. 

Create

In Genesis we see that God created all things and that he created man in his image. It is in our nature to create things. Creativity looks different from person to person, but it is in all of us. For some, it’s painting a beautiful picture, for others its using a camera to capture a moment, and for others creativity is coming up with a solution to the problem in front of them. Creativity isn’t some far out abstract idea, creativity is simply fixing a problem. 

Quality

Quality means a standard of excellence. That means that there is a measurable expectation for the quality level of something. Often times you may hear the word excellence thrown around by itself. Excellence means to do the best you can with what you have. Thats all well and good until it gets flipped and becomes an excuse. “This is what we have , so this is the best we can do.” This can lead to an attitude of “its not even worth trying”. It is also easier to know you have attained a goal when it is measurable. When there is a standard, it’s very easy to know whether or not the goal has been reached, either you’ve hit all the marks, or you haven’t. In the case of the latter you also know what you need to work on for next time. 

Experience

An experience is a specific event that leads to a significant change in someones life. If the event only served as entertainment then it was all for nothing. We need to strive to create events that leave such an impact on peoples lives that it leads to life change. 

People

It’s all about the people. The equipment is cool and the projects are fun, but at the end of the day it’s the people around us that matter and their relationship with Jesus. Don’t move so quickly from task to task that you miss the people around you. 

Engage

To engage with means to join in together. Engaging is working toward a common goal together. For churches with the great commission in mind, this usually means: serving, growing, and giving. These are the things that fuel churches to reach those who don’t yet know Jesus. 

If you’d like to talk more specifically about what it could mean for your church to create quality experiences that help people engage with Jesus, send me a message, I’d love to talk with you. 

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!