church leaders

Leadership Lessons from a Pastor

LeadershiCLUB

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! 

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!

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

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 www.jonsanders.org to listen to other episodes, watch past messages, and read his blog.

The Discipline of Silence

The Discipline Of

“Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. God is in Heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” – Ecclesiastes 5:2

Those words are incompatible with the evangelical culture of our day. We live in a world that is polluted with noise and speech; from the constant chatter of a television to the never-ending tones of a smart phone. This barrage of sound has even invaded our places of worship, effectively obstructing the voice of God’s Spirit.

Unfortunately, this contamination has even seeped dangerously into our personal relationship with God, especially in our prayer life.

Solomon offers profound advice to Christians today; specifically, I see two ways we should be applying this verse to our lives.

  1. SHUT UP!

Okay, Solomon may not have said these exact words, but the first sentence is informing us in no uncertain terms that we need to shut up – especially in the presence of God.

How often have we followed in the corrupt pattern of the Pharisees and believed God would be impressed with our many religious words?

When was the last time, at a corporate church service, can you remember the pastor or worship leader calling for a time of silence to hear God?

We are ADDICTED to speaking.

Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, unpacks our disorder:

“One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are so accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others. If we are silent, who will take control? God will take control, but we will never let him take control until we trust Him. Silence is intimately related to trust.”

The reason we are fixated on our own speech is because we have trust and power issues. We have a strong desire to be in control and we refuse to relinquish it – even into God’s hands.

  1. Realize that you really aren’t that interesting or intelligent.

Imagine yourself sitting across the table from a world-renowned author and teacher in your field of study. You have been studying this field for one year; on the other hand, this teacher has been active and studying the field for 70 years.

How foolish would it be for you to take over the conversation and explain to this expert how much you know – interrupting him every single time he tries to get a word in edgewise?

That is EXACTLY what we do in our prayer lives.

We are so arrogant that we forget God is in Heaven and we are on earth – He sees the end from the beginning. He has all power, authority, and knowledge – completely transcendent and altogether different from the rest of creation.

Yet WE lead the conversation, don’t we?

God is far more willing to speak than we are to listen.

I believe God is calling us, through the words of Solomon, to shut up and listen. God desires to speak to YOU but YOU do not keep your mouth shut long enough to hear the still, quiet whisper of His Spirit. I exhort and encourage you to spend time actually LISTENING to God this week. Set apart time in your morning devotionals to truly be still and allow Him to teach you.


Friends, spiritual maturity is not measured by the quantity of your speaking but by the quality of your listening.

Three Books YOU Should Read

booksforblog

I love to talk about books (I’m a pastor and I work in a library, what can you expect?) At many of the staff meetings of The Rescue Church, I ask my staff what they are reading. I have learned through great men and women that Leaders ARE Readers!

I want to share with you three books that I am currently reading. I HIGHLY recommend each one of them:

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero

I discovered this book roughly a month ago. I have been meeting with a pastor to be mentored in regards to ministry. I asked him for a list of books that he would recommend. Out of this list, I had him narrow it down to one that had impacted him the most. This is that book.

The tagline of this book is, “It’s impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.” Scazzero lays out the symptoms of “emotionally UNhealthy spirituality” and offers a remedy. Specifically, he shares his own experience of: avoiding conflict in the name of Christianity; ignoring his anger, sadness, and fear; using God to run from God; and living without boundaries.

There was even a point in Peter’s ministry that his wife quit his church because she did not trust his leadership. Whether you are in ministry or not, you NEED to read this book because ALL of us are emotionally unhealthy in varying degrees.

Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster

This book is a modern classic, originally published in 1978. When it comes to disciplines, celebration is usually not a word we would use to describe them. Foster writes about a variety of classic Christian disciplines that have been practiced for centuries by believers seeking to be transformed by God’s Word and Spirit.

To give you a snapshot of this book, here is a quick summary:

“Dividing the Disciplines into three movements of the spirit, Foster shows how each movement contributes to a balanced spiritual life. The inward Disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study offer avenues for personal examination and change. The outward Disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service prepare us to help make the world a better place. The corporate Disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration bring us nearer to one another and to God.”

I promise that you will be challenged, convicted, encouraged, and transformed if you study this book with a humble and teachable spirit!

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Hands down, this is the best devotional I have used. Chambers was born in 1874 and died in 1917. The fact that this book is still extremely popular is a testimony to the timeless truths that Chambers shares. As a devotional, the book is divided up by dates with short readings for each day of the year. Every morning, you will find my Bible, a highlighter, and this book on my desk.

By reading this book side-by-side with Scripture, you will be encouraged to fix your eyes on Jesus Christ, kill indwelling sin, and love people with profound compassion. If you have never used this book as a devotional, or even if you have, READ it!


Now I want to ask you the same question I ask those on my staff: What books are YOU reading? What should I read next? Leave a comment and let me know!

I REFUSE!

IREFUSE

I just finished reading Revelation 14. God has convicted me of a truth we often overlook in our evangelical church culture.

God will not overlook sin forever.

Hear me Christian!

I am disgusted by the fact that so many of us are content with keeping quiet about who Jesus is. I have seen many people in the church – who claim the name of Christ – refuse to call people to repentance in an effort to be “tolerant”.

I REFUSE to tolerate millions of people dying apart from Jesus Christ and spending eternity in Hell.

I REFUSE to tolerate sitting idly by while friends, family, and even church members live with a false sense of security.

Christian – Why is it that when you are in the midst of unbelievers you are too much of a COWARD to talk about Jesus? The most UNLOVING thing you can possibly do is be quiet about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Not everyone is going to Heaven.

Matter of fact, the vast majority of people walking on earth today will spend eternity separated from God (see Matthew 7:14). Apart from Jesus Christ, there is absolutely NO way to the Father.

Not Islam. Not Buddhism. Not New-Age. Not Mormonism. Not the Watchtower. Not Hinduism. Not even “being a good person”.

Truth is NOT politically correct.

Every single day, you look into the eyes of fellow human beings who, if they were to die today, will suffer “the wine of God’s wrath, which is mixed full strength in the cup of His anger.” They “will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night.” (Revelation 14:10-11)

Yet… “God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

You can’t afford to be a coward!

Christian – I PLEAD with you to lovingly but BOLDLY proclaim who Jesus is in every area of your life.

REFUSE to be silent.


(DISCLAIMER: I do not advocate self-righteous hatred against those of different religions. But I DO believe that love is shown in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with EVERYONE of EVERY religion. Even if they are offended.)

REFUSE to be Ignored

Abandoned Desert Church

Refused to be ignored!

I first heard this statement last week when I was at a roundtable event in Chicago with a group of roughly 18 pastors and church leaders. The biggest insult to a church is not to have people slander the members and leaders but instead to simply ignore them.

Satan wants quiet little churches that mind their own business and make absolutely no impact in the lives of those around them.

That’s not the church in Acts.

That’s not the church Jesus promised to build.

That’s not the church that will change the world.

If your church was to shut down today, would the community notice? Or would everyone continue their days and weeks without even realizing there was a church there in the first place? Is the church you belong to a FORCE that makes a difference or a FORTRESS for dead religion?


What is YOUR church doing in order to NOT be ignored and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those around you? Let me know by leaving a comment, I would love to hear from you!