Monthly Archives: October 2014

Sunrise . . . Son rise, Part 1

This past Sunday was a day I will remember for a long time. It was a culmination of sorts, yet it was also a new beginning at the same time. Just like the sunrise signifies the end of a long night and announces a fresh day, Sunday brought closure to the past nine years and possibility to the next nine.

You may be wondering what the big deal is. What was so special about Sunday? In order to understand, let me take you back ten years. My husband and I were happily serving at a large church, him as an associate pastor, me as a children’s pastor. We had a five year old and two year old and life was good.

Then it happened. Unbeknownst to either of us, the Holy Spirit began to speak to both of us. It was time to move into what we knew we were ultimately called to . . . senior pastors. Over the next many months we began the process of figuring out our next assignment. We prayed. We sent out resumes. We met with leaders of our denomination. We had phone interviews. We traveled to visit churches that needed a pastor. We waited. All the while, we did our best to be faithful in the positions God had given us.

Finally, we traveled to a small town in Eastern Washington in order to interview and meet the people who had been without a pastor for many months. As my husband and I pulled up in our rental car to the little building with the gravel parking lot, I almost cried. Not so much because of the physical surroundings, but because of the story that accompanied it. It was a hurting, broken church. How were we as first-time senior pastors going to bring healing and hope to this place?

Sitting there in the car with my husband, I halfway wished that God would say, “Just kidding”. But as the weekend wore on, an amazing thing happened. By the time we got on the plane to head back “home”, I realized I was actually leaving my “new home”. A few short weeks later, we packed up our family and moved to Cheney, WA.

To be continued . . .

Your Friend in Ministry,

Signature

images[3]

Don’t Let One Negative Outweigh All The Positive

As a leader, one of your best practices is to watch and listen. Leaders get a feel for how things are going and how people are doing through simple observation. As you observe your environment, you notice what needs to be tweaked, who needs to be encouraged, when something is working or not, who has caught your vision, etc… Don’t worry, if you are not naturally observant, through intentionality, you can learn this skill.

One of the downfalls of being observant is that you can get caught up focusing on the negative rather than the positive.

I remember as a young leader, I let the few things that were going wrong become my focus. It consumed my thoughts, and it became mentally and emotionally exhausting. Finally, an older and wiser leader told me:

“Don’t let one negative outweigh all the positive.”

Yes, there will always be things that need to be changed or worked on. Yes, there will always be people in difficult situations, (or people that are just plain difficult *smile*) that is part of serving people. However, there will always be things that are going well and people who make serving a joy.

I don’t want the few negatives in ministry to carry greater weight than all the positives.          

This simple statement has become one of my leadership mantras. One of the ways we have implemented the practice of this statement is in our weekly staff meeting. After prayer, the first thing we do is go around the circle and share our positive/s from the previous week. These are the types of things people share:

  • I had someone volunteer to serve in Children’s Ministries
  • I received a note from a young man who thanked me for helping him through a tough time
  • I was able to connect with that new family who has been coming
  • I have seen a lot of growth in the lady I’m discipling

Starting our meeting with “positives” sets a good tone for the remainder of the meeting when we may have to discuss things that aren’t going so well.

We choose to be a staff who doesn’t turn a blind eye to problems, we simply don’t let the problems steal our joy of the good.  

What about you? Are you tempted to get bogged down by one or two negatives, either in your personal life of ministry, so that’s all you see?

You can re-train your brain to deal with the negative, but not let it consume you.

Don’t let one negative outweigh all the positive. What can you focus on today that is going well?

Your Friend in Ministry,

Signature

To receive blog posts directly to your inbox, click the subscribe button in the upper right hand corner of the page.

images[3]

God Chooses Based on the Heart

This morning, I began reading through the book of Acts. According to the introduction in my Bible (and I quote):

  • Acts has been identified as the pivotal book of the New Testament
  • Much emphasis is given to the Holy Spirit throughout this book
  • The major part of the book of Acts is devoted to Paul and his mission

I will be reading Acts with a purpose, to see how the Holy Spirit and mission are dependent upon each other.

As I read through chapter one this morning, I noticed that Jesus’ last words before He was caught up in the clouds were, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 From the get-go, we see Jesus link the Holy Spirit and mission together. It is the Holy Spirit that gives ability, efficiency and might to do what we are called to do, be a witness for Christ.

Jesus instructed His followers to wait in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. As they were waiting, Peter began the process of replacing the vacancy left by Judas when he betrayed Jesus. Peter knew it would be important to have a 12th man who had been with Jesus from the beginning and could testify to His death and (most importantly) His resurrection. They narrowed it down to two men and then they prayed. . .

Acts 1  24

Yet again, we see that leadership comes down to the condition of the heart. They didn’t ask God to show them who would be the most eloquent. They didn’t ask God to show them who was the smartest. No! They asked God to show them who He had chosen based on their heart:

  • Thoughts
  • Passions
  • Desires
  • Appetites
  • Purposes
  • Endeavors

God knows a heart that is fully His. God uses a heart that is fully His.

When choosing leaders, you are wise to pray like Peter prayed, “Lord, show me who You have chosen based on their heart”. If the heart is right, you and God can mold, teach and train someone to do just about anything! Don’t be like Samuel who got caught up in the outward appearance, ask God to give you a glimpse of the heart.

Once you ARE a leader, it is crucial to pay close attention to your heart. What is filling your thoughts? Are your passions and desires Godly? Is your appetite controlled by the Holy Spirit? What is the motive behind your purposes and endeavors, God’s glory or your own? A pure and healthy heart is essential to effective leadership.

Why not take a minute right now to pray this prayer with me:

Heavenly Father, thank You for this reminder that You choose based on the heart. Give me eyes to see the heart of a person rather than their outward appearance. Also, please help me to keep my heart pure. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight. May I serve and lead from a healthy heart today. In Jesus’ Name and for His Sake, Amen

Your Friend in Ministry,

Signature