Author: Jake Muller Co.

My Church is Not Jolly…What Should I Do?

It is likely that you have heard or been involved with a situation that escalated to a place it had no place being at in the first place. The situation had no eternal impact, but it quickly became the focal point of your church. Despite your efforts, these moments kill momentum and church-wide unity. If meetings are tense and gatherings amplify grumbling within the body, things likely are not jolly. So, what do we do?

The answer to this kill joy is unity. Ephesians 4 calls each believer to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1). This requires humility, gentleness, patience, love, and an intentional aim towards unity (Ephesians 4:2-3). Unity does not just happen. It takes a constant denial of self and a work of the Holy Spirit in the life of each believer. We must fervently pray that the Spirit unites the body! Our preference and pride will easily get in the way without a work of God. 

We must realize that there is more to the mission of God than our preference and convenience. The inclusivity of the Gospel is the same for all who repent and believe. God’s Grace is sufficient and all powerful to unite our differences for His Kingdom expansion through the local church. 

Jolly churches do not just happen. It is a work of the Spirit that God alone can accomplish. We must understand that the church is not about me, but God working in and through me. A Spirit united church then equips individuals for Kingdom work (Ephesians 4:12). Kingdom work is the body “joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16). 

If your church is not jolly, uncover the root of the problem. That problem is likely a spiritual malnourished to body or a body not functioning together with the same end goal in mind. Preach Christ and His grace saving work and pray for the unity of the Spirit to do a work that He alone can do.


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!

Love Your Church, Not Theirs: 3 Steps to Avoid the Ministry Comparison Trap

I check my social media accounts often. I check them on my laptop, my phone, and even my watch. I check in on my friends and strangers everyday. There they are with their new recipe for spinach artichoke dip, vacation pictures, and smiling kids who won the spelling bee. I like social media, but I often find myself comparing myself to my friends and strangers on social media. They take way better vacations than I do. Their houses are larger (and cleaner!). Their kids seem happier than mine. Their life must be awesome.
 
You also find yourself doing this. Right?
 
In her book Love Your Life, Not Theirs, author Rachel Cruze says this constant mental comparison is dangerous and can lead to all sorts of mental, physical, and spiritual issues. She points to recent studies that have shown a direct correlation between the increasing amount of time we spend on social media and increased rates of anxiety and depression.
 
I think this is especially true for ministry leaders. I’m a bit of a church geek. I follow way too many churches and ministry leaders on social media. I love seeing what other churches and leaders are up to. I learn from them. But sometimes, I feel a bit down when looking at them. I don’t feel as smart or effective as those leaders. My church isn’t as large as theirs. People in my church aren’t smiling like the people in their pictures. It must be me.
 
I’ve seen this phenomenon referred to as “Pastor Porn.” That title fits – ministry leaders viewing unrealistic versions of ministry and feeling down because of it. Pastor and author Carey Nieuhoff says “Someone else’s success should never make you feel like a failure.” But, it sometimes does.
 
When we look at the success of others online, we can’t help but think they are somehow at an unfair advantage. “If we only had their technology budget.” “If we only had their location.” “If I only had their staff..” That’s jealousy. When we cross the line between comparison and jealousy, we start to feel helpless, apathetic, and a bit sad about our own abilities and ministry. Ministry is hard work. Trying to keep up with other ministries is harder.
 
When you feel yourself comparing your leadership abilities and your ministry to other on social media, pause for a minute. Here are some things that might help motivate you instead of depress you.
 
3 Steps to Avoid the Ministry Comparison Trap 
 
1. Give Yourself a Reality Check
 
What you are seeing on social media is real, but it is not reality. You are seeing real pictures from a ministry in action, but those pictures do not tell the whole story – they only capture one moment in time. You are not seeing pictures of the people that are angry because of a recent change the pastor made to their worship services. You are not seeing pictures of the budget meeting. You are not seeing pictures of the pastor stressing over recently declining attendance. You are not seeing tired staff members wondering if they should look elsewhere for another job. I guarantee those moments exist in those ministries. They exist in yours. You don’t highlight and broadcast those moments, neither do they. In the past year, several high profile mega-church pastors had to leave the ministry because of burnout or personal failures. I follow them on social media. They didn’t post any of the events or feelings that lead to their downfall while it was happening. Social media wasn’t their whole story. Social media isn’t the whole story – don’t think that it is. They do ministry in the real world – so do you.
 
2. Think Blessed vs. #Blessed
 
Recenter your thinking on the blessings that you have in your ministry and the blessings in other ministries. Be thankful for the people and opportunities that you have in your ministry right now. It is also important to be thankful for the people and opportunities that other ministries have in their community and context. If you are thanking God for your opportunities and their opportunities, it is hard for jealousy to work its way into your heart. Focus on the real blessings in your ministry and not the #blessings you see in other ministries through the filter of social media.
 
3. Maintain a Learning Mindset
 
I do not suggest that you stop following other ministries or give up social media altogether. In fact, follow more ministries and ministry leaders. Learn from them. While comparing your ministry to others can steal joy, learning from others should motivate you. Look at other ministries, analyze them, and steal their best practices if they fit your ministry. Leaders are learners and learners are motivated by more learning. The dangers of constantly comparing your ministry to others are real. But the opportunities for real reflection and learning are just as real. It is a choice you must make Either approach what you see on social media with a learning mindset or a comparison mindset.
 

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!

How Not to Waste Your Churches Money

Managing church finances is a huge deal. People have given their hard earned money to the church so that more people can hear the most amazing story ever told. So for those of us who manage those resources to best tell that story, it’s a huge deal that we get it right. It’s up to us to find the best way to tell the story effectively for the least amount of money possible which with tech is an insanely difficult balance.

So how do we know that we’re making the best decision?

Today we’re going to look at 2 measurements we can look at to help us make the best choices. 

Now before we dig into those it’s also worth mentioning that most production equipment should last at least 10 years (longer in some cases) so we need to be thinking about that kind of life span as we are considering things.

So first…

Only buy it once

Let’s look at video switchers from 2 companies.

Company A – $6000 – integrator warns about reliability issues, marketing makes it look like it’s used for pro events. Switcher and control panel 6 useable inputs

Company B – $8000 – brand is used for Pro events all over the world Switcher and control panel all in one 10 useable inputs

When you go with company A, there is a high risk that the equipment will fail quickly and you will have to purchase it again or that it will only have enough inputs for what you need right now. So as soon as it breaks or your pastor wants to add more function (this will happen) you have to go out and buy something different (or worst case get the same thing again). So now you’ve spent more money than if you had gone with the better solution to start with.

Second…

On the flip side we also have to look at a concept known as:

The law of diminishing returns

The law of diminishing returns refers to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.

What does that mean?

Quality VS Expense 
On the vertical axis, we’re looking at the quality or effectiveness of the experience created, and on the horizontal axis, we’re looking at the cost.

Find the sweet spot

Some of you may look at how much can I afford and stop at that point. The problem is that may mean that you’re selling the story short. Instead of “How much can we afford?” The question should be “What do we need?” Followed by “What do we need to do to afford that?”

Sometimes, when the dollar amount for your current strategy just seems unreachable, you may have to ask yourself “Is this the best strategy, or do we need to look for a totally different way to accomplish our mission?”.

Others look at “What’s the biggest best thing on the market?” And it’s completely overkill for your needs. But it makes your ego feel good because you have the “best sound console in the lineup”.

So find that sweet spot where you get the most quality for each dollar and do your research so that you aren’t buying things multiple times. Talk to someone who has used whatever it is that you’re looking at. Ask them what they don’t like about it.

If you’re interested in talking through specific ways to effectively find the “sweet spot” send me a message, I’d be more than happy 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!

My System for Leading An Awesome Meeting

Ministry is about people. Therefore, ministry leaders have many important conversations and meetings.
As a busy church worker, you need to make the most of every meeting and conversation that you have. Just think of all the meetings that you have each month.

Team planning meetings
Talking with volunteers
Board meetings
Staff meetings
Annual performance reviews
Coaching talks
Counseling sessions
Hiring someone
Firing someone

Most ministry leaders are busy and don’t have the amount of time they’d like to prepare for these meetings and conversations.
The result? Unfocused conversations and unproductive meetings.

You need to enter a meeting with a clear purpose and course of action.
You need a method to take notes and document your conversations for future reference.
You need a way to remind yourself of decisions made in meetings.

I have developed a simple one-page tool that has helped me prepare for my meetings, keeps me on track during conversations, and provides me a way to follow up if needed after a meeting.
I’d like to share it with you.

My Ministry Meeting Notes can keep you focused on the topic at hand and the people you are conversing with. The templates remind you to plan ahead for your meetings, stay on track, and keep you accountable for following up on important action items.

I hope that gives you an organizational edge.

Ministry is important.
People are important.
Being organized is important so you can carry out your ministry to people.
 
 
 

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!

4 Ways to Create Sermon Graphics

Everybody learns differently including the members of your congregation. Some learn with the sound of a voice, while others need something visual to connect the dots. Do not miss this: God’s Word should be front and center during a sermon. A well placed graphic design or sermon PowerPoint can fuel God’s word in the life of a believer. This list is not exhaustive, but here are four easy ways to make sermon graphics stand out. 

POWERPOINT

This one is not revolutionary. However, with minimal knowledge, you can make your sermons stand out. I encourage you to create series templates and then plug in each sermon from there. Time spent upfront creating a compelling look, will save you time down the road. 

CANVA/OVER

Many are choosing apps to create graphics. Both of these options offer free options and Canva even offers its premium service to nonprofits for free (insert link). Both of these companies offer their services on mobile and desktop. Creating sermon graphics can be easier and you have more flexibility in your design. You may need this added flexibility if you are seeking to create lower third overlays for your livestream or if you are finishing up the graphic on a tablet on your couch. 

LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE

This option comes with a hefty price tag, but it may be a resource you already have residing on your hard drive. This is my favorite way to create sermon graphics because I already use the sermon builder  to write my sermons. With a few clicks of a mouse, my sermon is formatted for my sermon notes and presentation simultaneously, with minimal extra work. Other options provide you with more customization options, but Logos has well built templates that will give the presentation some flair. Learn more about this here (insert link)  

PROPRESENTER

This is another option that costs money, but it is something you may already have on your computer. ProPresenter takes some time to learn, but you may have a tech guy that already understands it well and would be excited to create your sermon presentation. The downside is that ProPresenter is generally located on a stationary computer. However, the right craft may make this a useful resource for you, especially if you are looking to not branch out much and use some stock presentations. 

Again, sermon graphics should be secondary to God’s Word. Though, a well placed graphic could stir up someone’s faith because God’s Word convicts them through the graphic. 

How do you like to make graphics?


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!

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!

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