Archives For Equip

If you’ve ever worked or volunteered much at a church, you know there are many aspects of ministry to balance.  It can be overwhelming and balls can get dropped.

There are four major components to my personal philosophy of ministry.  There will be aspects of ministry that may not be included here, however, the following helps me organize my thoughts and efforts.

 

Image credit: 6kor3dos DepositPhoto.com/11826108

 

Focus

Based on John 10:10, as well as ministry and life experiences, I am convinced that in any Christian endeavor two supernatural beings are always at work. God is at work to promote life and our enemy is at work to thwart life and growth and sabotage spiritual progress. Therefore, we need to actively choose to focus our attention on what God is doing in any given situation rather than on what Satan is doing. I am firmly convinced that our attitudes in life are greatly controlled by the one on whom we set our focus. That is the one we actually serve. Therefore, my personal philosophy of ministry is to first maintain my own focus on what God and what he is doing and then to help others stay focused upon God and be an asset to what He’s doing in their lives.

Feed

In the practical outworking of the above principle, I see God entrusting a flock to a pastor’s or teacher’s care with the expectation of their being returned to Him having been well fed, strengthened and protected. Col 1:27-29 speaks of bringing the flock to maturity for God in Christ’s strength. Eph 4:11-16 paints a picture of believers being equipped for works of service so that the body would be a built up, unified, mature, loving and growing organism. I believe these goals are best achieved by sound biblical instruction given in an atmosphere of acceptance and inclusion.  Efforts will likely include:

  • Opportunities for people to evaluate where they are in their walk with God along with suggestions and resources to grow during the upcoming season.
  • Expository preaching of Bible books and occasional topical, yet expository, messages.
  • Relevant and engaging teaching during Sunday School/Adult Bible Fellowship or other opportunities (seminars, webinars, workshops, conferences, etc.)
  • Small Groups that help people discover God’s word and his people in a deeper way.
  • Specialized small groups designed to offer a forum for the questioning and a support for the struggling.
  • Well-planned prayer meetings would also help maintain focus in, and excitement about how God is working in and through the various ministries of the church.

Find

The choice of the word “find” for ministry to unbelievers is deeply rooted in my philosophy of evangelism. I often view the evangelist as a kind of spiritual midwife. We are not the parent, but we are there to aid in the birthing process. The relationship of the pre-natal child and the parent has long been established and the midwife would not think of doing anything to hinder that relationship. Therefore, rather than striving for a decision or to manufacture spiritual sensitivities, prayerful efforts should be made to discern those in whom God is already working and seek to be an asset in that process.

We need to teach evangelism as a lifestyle proving ourselves good stewards of God’s grace. Teaching on evangelism should be careful to equip the experienced without overwhelming the novice. Telling people about God’s involvement in our lives should be a natural outflow of a child in love with her Father.  We must also reinforce the truth that we are in partnership with God and not resemble a multi-level-marketing strategy.

While many choose to focus their efforts on the saved or the unsaved, I am greatly indebted to training from Child Evangelism Fellowship who taught that you may never really know where your audience is spiritually. Therefore, each Bible teaching should include a point of application for the saved and a point of application for the unsaved.

Family

I am thoroughly convinced of the communal nature of the Body of Christ.  Not only does God save us, he also adopts as children into his family where we can be encouraged, nurtured, and developed to maturity.  The sheer volume of “one-another” passages in the Bible clearly show that Christian fellowship is not just a nice fringe benefit but an essential dynamic of God’s plan.

Hebrews 10:19-25 also show how this should be a key component of our regular gatherings.  I am concerned that this could be a missing ingredient in many churches in our day.  Beyond the obvious reason of meeting to worship God, the author of Hebrews helps us to realize one of the purposes of meeting together is to encourage one another.  We are to follow Jesus’ example and come together to serve rather than be served.  Interestingly, if everyone comes together with that mindset each member will leave having served and having been served as well.

“Let us encourage one another” is not just an empty or fluff command.  Webster defines encouragement as “to impart courage.”  Then defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear, and difficulty.”  This is exactly the spirit the author is trying to instill in his readers.  As we encourage each other, we are to spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  I can’t help but wonder what God could do in our world through bands of believers who regularly leave our gatherings encouraged by the body and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Get Your Message Heard

October 18, 2017

A few years ago, I felt a stirring deep within that God was getting me ready for something new.

Change isn’t always easy.  Overcoming fear or procrastination can make Goliath seem like a cub scout.  But like the expression goes, sometimes it’s “Change or Die!”

Image copyright: iqoncept DepositPhoto.com ID: 5078752

I wasn’t quite sure what it would look like and where He would lead but it was clear that something new was coming.  I knew that God had given me a message to share.  Somehow, I had a sense that it would include writing and maybe speaking.

Over the next couple of years, I spent a lot of time seeking God and learning new skills.  In many ways, I am still learning and still on that journey.  Let me share some of the people and resources that have helped me tremendously.

Writing

I attended a workshop with John C. Maxwell and Michael Hyatt about Continue Reading…

Read the Bible? Me?

April 27, 2017

You might ask, how does someone go from not reading any kind of book for six years and then start reading the Bible? Allow me to share my story.

Continue Reading...

Have you ever sat in a conference listening to a speaker and thought to yourself, albeit humbly, “I could do that… and probably even better.”? But, there you sit in the audience while someone else was picked to speak.

I have been on stage since high school as an entertainer, a trainer, and currently, a pastor. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to consider speaking at conferences. I have much to learn, but fortunately, I now have expert help in my corner.

Photo by kasto. DepositPhotos Image ID:48763103

Photo by kasto. DepositPhotos Image ID: 48763103

Maybe you’re a church leader who teaches regularly, a business person who gives in-house presentations often, or a writer longing to promote your works. Since you’re reading this, chances are you have something to offer and you long to spread your influence beyond your own organization.

If speaking at conferences is your goal, you need to develop a speaker proposal that will make you stand out from the crowd. Continue Reading…

A lot of people find spending time in prayer particularly challenging. They carve out some time. They muster up all their self-discipline and courage, get on their knees, and then say, “OK, what do I do now?!”

Personally, I have often found it helpful to have a variety of resources available to help me stay focused during prayer. I share this not because I am a spiritual giant. Rather, I often find it such a struggle to stay focused in prayer that I have had to discover or develop tools to help.

I have found three resources, or methods, immensely helpful in developing confidence and consistency in my own prayer life. In this book. I weave all three of those methods together for a powerful combination in Time with God: Develop Confidence and Consistency in Your Personal Prayer Life.

This book is designed to serve as a resource to help us grow closer to God and to build confidence and consistency in our personal prayer lives. Primarily, we need to remember that prayer is simply spending time with God. Unfortunately, we can complicate it so much that we get confused, insecure, bored, or distracted. Continue Reading…

The Supreme Court delivered another major decision today. Some of my friends will be Partying like it’s 1999 and other friends will be thinking “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”. What an opportunity to Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Matt Wade's Picture of the U.S. Supreme Court

By UpstateNYer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  • To those who are celebrating, may you enjoy your new freedom to move around the country and the rights that accompany it. Please be patient with those who will be processing what this will mean in the long term. I’ve seen people in both camps voice concerns over the impact.
  • To those who mourn today, my other friends, who are wondering how this decision will affect your ministries or churches, can I share a few thoughts?

Continue Reading…

Help for Writers

December 16, 2014

Although, I have much to learn, I’d like to share with you some of the influences that have helped me tremendously in my own writing and I’m sure will be a great help to you wherever you may be in your own development as a writer.  I especially wanted to let you know about an online course that is currently accepting new students.

Photo:  Leszekglasner Deposit Photos 18383043

Photo: Leszekglasner Deposit Photos 18383043

About a year ago, I began sensing that God was leading me in a new direction. I wasn’t sure what that direction would look like or where He would lead, but I stepped out in faith. As some time passed, I began to realize that writing would somehow play a part in that future direction.

I had developed a particularly meaningful and well-received sermon over the years and thought that might form the basis for a book. The thought was equally exciting and terrifying! As I started to develop the thought, I realized that although I had written some articles over the years, I had never entertained the thought of actually writing a book! After all, just reading a book took some effort for me. (I remember John Trent one time remarking that “I’ve written more books than I’ve read.”)

So, I knew nothing at all about writing a book, I set out to learn as much as I could. Continue Reading…

This is part 3 in a series on helps for personal prayer. In Part 1, we looked at a helpful pattern for prayer and at turning our Bible reading into prayers. In Part 2 the focus was on praying for our roles and relationships. In Part 3, we will focus on how to pray for missionaries and your pastor. A fuller version is available in the document designed for you to print out and put in your Bible, Prayer journal or even your purse or jacket pocket. Download the pdf Personal Prayer Helps.PDF or the Microsoft Word doc Personal Prayer Helps,DOC.

Pray for your pastor

canstockphotoPryaingHands5158104

Brothers and sisters, pray for us. (1 Thessalonians 5:25)

Sunday: Power in the pulpit

Pray that your pastor would be “filled with the Holy Spirit and continue to speak the word of God with boldness” Acts 4:31

Continue Reading…

This is part 2 in a series on helps for personal prayer.  In Part 1, we looked at a helpful pattern for prayer and at turning our Bible reading into prayers.  Today’s focus is on praying for other people.  Let’s look at suggestions for praying the roles and relationships in our lives.  Let’s face it, when most of us pray for other people, we usually tell God what”s wrong with someone else (just in case God didn’t already know) and then ask God to fix THEM.

canstockphoto2BoysPrayerr0653070

Somewhere, I read something that encouraged me to think a little differently when I pray for other people.  Instead of complaining about somebody to God, it might be better to thank God for putting that person in my life in the first place.  Then I pray for me to be a good ____ (whatever my role is in the other person’s life). Continue Reading…

Along with words to encourage you or help you to encourage others, I hope to provide resources or training to help us live out our faith.  This is the first in a series on helps for your personal prayer life.  Coming tomorrow, helpful resources to pray for all the relationships in your life, for missionaries and your pastor.  Today’s focus will be on a helpful pattern for prayer and using the Bible to help pray for friends who already know God and for friends who need to know God better.

Many people have found prayer particularly challenging.  They muster up all their self-discipline and courage.  They get on their knees and then say, “What do I do now?!”  Personally, I have often found it helpful to have a variety of resources available to help me stay focused during prayer.  I share this not because I am a spiritual giant with much to offer.  I share these because I often find it such a struggle to get started in prayer and even after getting started to then stay focused.

Perhaps the most helpful resource I have ever found for prayer is God’s Word itself.  Sometimes we pray way too mildly because we may not be sure that something is God’s will.  When we turn Bible verses that we are reading into actual prayers for ourselves and others, we can be pretty sure we are praying in God’s will.  Keep reading for some helpful examples.

canstockphotoBiblePrayer1610641

I may be a little unusual, but I have often found a countdown timer extremely helpful.  If I have set aside a certain span of time for prayer, I found that I would be checking the clock way too often to make sure I didn’t go overtime—like that’s a real worry!  I found that if I set a countdown timer, my mind is no longer distracted by the clock.

Finally, I have often found a pattern of prayer has helped me to stay focused and balanced in my prayers. Continue Reading…