Month: June 2015

Leadership Lessons from a Pastor


Pastoral leadership is one of the most difficult yet rewarding leadership positions available. On a daily basis, I have the opportunity to encourage people in their faith and exhort them to live according to Scripture. Yet, part of pastoral leadership is leading volunteers. Some say that leading volunteers is comparable to herding cats (If you are part of my staff, I don’t think this is true!) This makes it more difficult than leading a business because there is no financial incentive to encourage productivity.

Below are three leadership lessons YOU should apply today; ESPECIALLY if you lead in the business sector:

1. Lead with vision.
Most of the people I lead in The Rescue Church are volunteers. This requires visionary leadership which is sadly lacking in many organizations. In the rat race of life, it is tempting to dangle financial rewards in front of employees in order to get results. This obviously does not work with volunteers – You MUST exercise leadership that goes far beyond monetary reward.

Successful leadership implements vision in every meeting; failing leadership begrudgingly offers financial security to gain loyalty.

At EVERY opportunity you should bring your people back to the vision of your company. Do NOT assume that people automatically connect their positions to the larger goal of your organization. It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to share your organization’s vision too frequently.

2. Lead with integrity and transparency.
Paul directs pastors to lead lives that are “above reproach”. The majority of leadership qualifications in Scripture have to do with inner characteristics instead of outer performance. Although Paul is speaking specifically to leaders in the church, it would be helpful to apply these characteristics to ALL forms of leadership.

According to 1 Timothy 3:2-7, leaders should have the following characteristics:

  • Faithfulness to family
  • Self-controlled
  • Respectable
  • Hospitable to strangers
  • Gentle
  • Agreeable
  • Not greedy

Hundreds of studies have shown that ethical businesses are more profitable over time than those that focus solely on generating profit. Therefore, lead the way by exercising integrity in all of your activities, even those that do not directly affect your company. You should invite men and women to hold you accountable to the standards you have set. As a leader, you should offer your way of life as a model for those who follow you.

3. Lead your staff relationally.
Pastors intentionally build culture within the people they lead. The relationships they build with their staff are organic and influential. Pastors truly desire to know and care for those that are under their leadership.

As a business leader, you should exercise shepherd leadership. Lead in such a way that your primary focus is on cultivating character rather than generating profit; if your staff grows in their character it is inevitable they will become more productive employees.

This can be as simple as taking a genuine interest in those you lead. If your organization allows it, ask if you can pray for the employee. Even non-Christians find this comforting and encouraging. Another way you can do this is by going out of your way to encourage your employees with occasional thank-you cards, free lunches, flexible schedules, etc.

YOU should lead with vision, integrity, and relationships. What other leadership lessons can be gained from leading volunteers? Let me know by leaving a comment! 

Radical Honesty


If you have not read the first four posts in this series, be sure to read them below:
Ladder of Humility (Part One)
Ladder of Humility (Part Two)
Ladder of Humility (Part Three)
Ladder of Humility (Part Four)

Imagine this scenario: You are sitting in the waiting room of a hospital, looking over a magazine. As you look up, you see a man with a bloody stump where his arm use to be. The medical team rushes out to help him but he acts as if nothing is wrong. The blood is dripping onto the carpet but he hides all signs of pain or worry. He does not want to make others uncomfortable and refuses to seek help because of pride.

Friends, this is a picture of our churches every Sunday morning.

We shroud ourselves in secrecy – even to our own families.

The church is to be a place of radical honesty. A place where people freely confess their sins, weaknesses, and brokenness to one another without fear of judgment. The local church is to be a sanctuary and hospital for sinners.


The fifth step on the Ladder of Humility is, “Radical honesty to others about your weaknesses/faults.” The church is to be counter-cultural. Unfortunately in this area we have been INFECTED by the culture instead of AFFECTING the culture. There needs to be a radical change in our hearts and minds; we must kill our pride and be honest about our shortcomings, sins, and weaknesses with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Paul describes this in Ephesians 4:15:
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

I see two points that Paul makes in this passage –

  1. Radical honesty must begin and end with love. Honesty should characterize our churches and lives because we love one another. Part of this love is accepting others despite their faults and shortcomings. We are to accept one another, even when we screw up, because God has accepted us in Christ Jesus when we DEFINITELY did not deserve it.
  2. Radical honesty will result in spiritual maturity. Many would agree the church in the west is far too shallow. We focus on numbers to the detriment of true spiritual growth. We are content as long the seats are full and the offering is strong each week. Radical honesty challenges our egotistical comfort because it molds us to look more like Jesus.

Remove your mask. I know it will be painful because pride dies hard. Pursue radical honesty in regards to your faults and weaknesses. Extend acceptance to others who are broken.

The Christian life is a journey and the church is to be a hospital where people come to find hope and healing.

You and I do NOT have it all together so let’s quit deceiving ourselves and come to the Great Shepherd with all of our brokenness and sin.

Why do YOU think it is so hard for people to be truly honest with one another? Leave a comment and let me know!

How To Suffer Well


In the midst of intense suffering, it is nearly impossible to keep our eyes on Jesus. Our prayer life begins to feel robotic and weak. Even when we are gathered together with our church, we feel distant from both God and others. Some refer to these times as the dark night of the soul.

Nearly two thousand years ago, an early follower named Peter wrote about this experience. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, he encourages us with the following words:

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.” – 1 Peter 4:12-13

1. Expect Suffering.
Peter does not say IF the “fiery ordeal comes” but WHEN. If we do not properly prepare ourselves with a theology of suffering, we will be burned up and burned out by trials. There is a false teaching that has run rampant, especially in the western church. These so-called teachers twist Scripture and deceive believers by concluding that God will grant us lives free of suffering because He loves us. This teaching shows a complete disregard for the Word of God.

Friends, you and I suffer BECAUSE God loves us.

Intense times of trial and suffering are NOT unusual. It is something that comes upon every Christian. When you claim the name of Jesus, you receive a target on your back. There is an enemy of your soul who wants to see you destroyed. But take heart, the One who is in you is FAR GREATER than the enemy!

2. Suffering Will Test You.
Suffering rips away every illusion of control that we hold in our minds. It is easy for us to become dangerously comfortable with our lives. We check “religion” off our to-do list each morning as we read the Scriptures in a stale, lifeless fashion. We go to church once a week, sing a few songs, listen to someone teach, and believe we are growing in our faith.

Suffering will reveal to you whether or not your faith is genuine. I promise you that empty religion will not sustain your soul when darkness clouds your mind and emotions.

Yes, you will have doubts as you suffer. You may become angry at God. You will also feel as if God has abandoned you at times. Those are the godly reactions we read about in the Psalms – all of those are expected. Yet, if your faith is shaken to the core and you leave the experience concluding that God is neither good nor real, your belief in God is based on the quicksand of circumstances. As these circumstances change, your faith is either strengthened or demolished.

If this is where you are at, cry out to God for mercy, grace, and salvation. You CANNOT save yourself, regardless of how many religious duties you perform. Salvation is a supernatural work of God – He is the Author, Sustainer, and Perfecter.

3. Rejoice As You Suffer.
Easier said than done, right? Peter’s command for us to rejoice as we face the heart-wrenching effects of suffering makes absolutely no sense to our fleshly minds. Our rejoicing is deeply rooted with our sharing in the sufferings of Jesus. The greatest experience any human being can attain is fellowship with the Living God.

Suffering draws each one of us to the Garden of Gethsemane. Although there may be deep anguish, blood-soaked sweat, and loud cries, we are in the presence of a God who loves us.

Friends, we rejoice in the midst of suffering because there is NOTHING greater than experiencing God.

Paul, a leader of the early church, wrote a beautiful passage describing our pain. One look at Paul and you would see the visible scars where his flesh had been ripped out of his body repeatedly because of his faith. Paul had been ostracized by his community, rejected by the culture, and tortured by the government. Yet as Paul reflects on his life, he teaches us:

“Our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.” – 1 Cor. 4:17

Paul suffered far more than us. Yet, he describes his own anguish as momentary and light because he was viewing suffering through the lens of eternity. I can promise you that Paul does not regret even one trial he experienced because he knew that our trials cause us to await with eager expectation the coming of our Messiah.

Friends, expect to be tested by suffering. In the midst of the blinding pain, remember: It is not even worth comparing to the eternal weight of glory God has prepared for those He loves.

EMTs: Garretson Storm Response

Credit: Garretson Gazette

Credit: Garretson Gazette

As many of you may know, the city of Garretson was severely hit early Monday morning with straight-line winds. There were wind speeds up to 100 mph. As a result, there were many homes that were destroyed by the storm and large trees were completely uprooted. As a church, our vision is to make such an impact in the community that we show the visible love of Jesus Christ to EVERYONE.

Part of this effort is our EMTs (Extreme Ministry Team). The purpose of our EMTs is to serve people in practical ways in order to display the love of Jesus Christ. One of the major functions of our EMTs is to assist in areas that have been crippled by severe weather.

Monday evening, we had a team of over 25 people that came together last minute, equipped with heavy machinery, to serve the community! I was in awe as more and more people, with a strong desire to serve, continued to arrive from The Rescue Church.

Below are a few photos of the work day:

Our Garretson Campus received minor damage from the storm. One of our large windows on the lobby side was blown out as a result of the pressure inside of the building. We also had some tiles and insulation pulled down from the ceiling. There were a few things knocked over inside but nothing major. (You will notice that somehow our yarn design stayed intact but the window busted!)





Our first stop was at Tucker’s Walk (A vineyard outside of Garretson) that received heavy tree damage. The new tasting room, which was built only recently, had some shattered glass but the structure as a whole was okay. We had a team of people complete with chainsaws, four wheelers, and a skid loader to help with the clean up process. After this, we headed into town and helped a few residents clean their yards.

IMAG0573 IMAG0572 IMAG0571 IMAG0570

If you are interested in helping the clean up process, the City of Garretson will be posting updates on their Facebook page. I will also be in Garretson this evening and tomorrow to help. Feel free to e-mail me ( if you have questions!

Four INCREDIBLE Websites

Four INCREDIBLE Websites

If you want to grow in your life, you need to enter into conversations with a variety of people. We do this best through relationships, books, podcasts and blogs. I feed both my soul and mind on a daily basis through a variety of different mediums. The four websites below have encouraged and strengthened me in both my faith and leadership.

1. Desiring God
Desiring God is the primary teaching ministry of John Piper. This website hosts many resources to help you grow in your faith. From free books to an “Ask Pastor John” podcast, there is something for EVERYONE.

The blog is excellent both in content and quality. There are a variety of experts who write about many different subjects. Each time I open up my browser to Desiring God, my mind is renewed by the solid teaching of Scripture. The content on this website WILL inspire you to desire God more than you currently do.

2. The Gospel Coalition
Similar to Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition hosts a large library of resources. There is a focus on ending “Theological Famine” with a plethora of ministry training that is offered for FREE!

The blog alone is organized into six different sections:

Each one of these sections is filled with helpful content from trusted people!

3. Michael Hyatt
As you probably guessed by the name, this website is hosted by Michael Hyatt. Hyatt is the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. Since then, he has helped people build personal platforms. He is a sought after speaker and writer at a variety of conferences and publications.

What is incredible is that Michael Hyatt gives away so many FREE resources. His blog and podcast is focused on helping YOU “Win at work. Succeed in life.” All of Hyatts content is written from a Christian perspective – I HIGHLY recommend Michael Hyatt’s website ESPECIALLY if you are a leader.

4. Jon Sanders
This website is hosted by one of my personal friends and someone I have the honor of working with. Jon Sanders is the Lead (and founding) Pastor of The Rescue Church; A multi-site church with four physical campuses and one online campus. There are many different resources on Jon’s website. You can watch past messages, read his blog, and even listen to the Small Town, Big Church podcast which I was featured on a few weeks ago!

I have learned A LOT from Jon personally and through his website. I highly recommend subscribing to his website, ESPECIALLY for the podcasts.

What websites have you found helpful? I would love to check them out. Let me know by leaving a comment!

Four Benefits of Sickness


I am currently recovering from a horrible sore throat and head cold. In between coughing fits, blowing my nose, and trying to have enough energy to work, I realized that sickness is included in the “all things” of Romans 8:28.

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Below are four ways God utilizes sickness as He molds us to look more like Jesus:

  1. Sickness reminds us that we are not gods.

It is in our nature to try to defy the limitations God has placed upon us. This first happened in the Garden of Eden – Adam and Eve were tempted to be “like God” (Gen. 3:5). They were not content submitting to His authority but instead bucked against his clear Word in order to overcome the “limitations” placed upon them by God.

If you are like me, I tend to work far more than I should. I also try to please WAY too many people in an effort to feel successful. In the midst of all of this, I take upon myself project after project. Caffeine, my drug of choice, promises me that I can be like God and work without feeling tired or sleepy.

Sickness FORCES us to slow down, rest, and understand that the world continues without us. You and I are not God. We have limitations. True freedom is found in embracing our limitations and weaknesses and resting solely on the grace and power of God.

  1. Sickness reminds us that we are sinners in need of grace.

Our bodies fail and become weak because of sin. Before the darkness of sin choked life out of the world, there was no death nor sickness. As a result of sin, all of creation (including you and me) groans out of pain and misery. Paul refers to our bodies as temporary dwellings – they are not made to last forever (2 Cor. 5:1). Beginning at age 25, your body literally begins to die.

Sickness reminds us that death is the end of all mankind. Rich and poor, good and evil, famous and overlooked – ALL of us will die and face judgment as a result of our sin. Sickness is a constant reminder that we live in a broken world and we need to fix our eyes on the only One who has defeated death, sickness, and shame.

We become sick because we are rebels in need of discipline, narcissists in need of humility, and sinners in DESPERATE need of grace.

  1. Sickness reminds us that we are dependent upon God for EVERYTHING.

I don’t know about you but I tend to take my good health for granted. I am hardly ever sick and when I do get sick, a minor cold feels as if I have been infected with a deadly virus that forces me to languish in bed for hours (Or I am just a wimp, I’ll let you decide).

Over the past few days, I have seen myself cry out to God for strength and wisdom FAR MORE than when I am healthy. This week has been one of my busiest weeks over the past few months and I trust that I became sick for a reason. If a sparrow does not fall to the ground outside of the Father’s will then we do not get sick outside of His will.

I am sure we all acknowledge intellectually that we are dependent upon God for every ounce of strength and fruitfulness but do we TRULY believe it in our hearts? Practically, I give lip service to my dependence upon God but live as if EVERYTHING is up to me.

In our sinfulness, we have a tendency to think we can do a better job at being God than He can. Needless to say, that is a VERY foolish place to be.

  1. Sickness reminds us of the Second Coming.

Sickness and death will NOT get the last word. In this life, we only get a small taste of what God is preparing for those whom He loves. Jesus crushed the ugly head of sin, death, and sickness when He rose victoriously from the grave. As we experience the weakness and apparent hopelessness of life, we can find rest in God’s promise of a New Creation as revealed to John in Revelation 22:

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse.” – Revelation 22:1-3

Jesus wins. Sin is defeated. Satan is crushed. Sickness is demolished.

Put your hope in God and rest in HIS promises.

How has God used sickness in YOUR life to grow you closer to Him? Leave a comment let me know!

A Word to Young Leaders (Featured on a Podcast!)


I have the honor of being featured on the latest “Small Town Big Church” podcast with my good friend Chase Riber. This is a podcast hosted by Pastor Jon Sanders, the Lead Pastor of The Rescue Church. For more information on the podcast, you can read my review of it HERE.

Below is a brief description of this episode:

“In this podcast episode I interview Pastor Chase Riber and Pastor Tyler Ramsbey, two young leaders who serve on The RESCUE Church team. In the interview we discuss the topic of being young in ministry. What are some of the challenges? What are some of the advantages? I pray that this interview will encourage other young leaders to pursue their dreams of serving in pastoral leadership. I also pray that this interview will encourage older pastors to be committed to identifying, recruiting, and mentoring young leaders within their church.”

To listen to the Podcast and read the show notes, go here! – A Word to Young Leaders

Be sure to head to to listen to other episodes, watch past messages, and read his blog.