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10 Skills Necessary to Be Effective in the 21st Century American Mission Field

“There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.” ― Michel de Montaigne Pastors and leaders who lose their curiosity about life and the pursuit of knowledge will quickly lose connection and relevance with their congregation. The culture–and the church–are …

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Four Major Ways Pastors Hinder Church Revitalization

Thom Rainer starts this article with some interesting statistics: Nine out of ten churches in North America are declining, or they are growing slower than the community in which they are located. Nine out of ten churches need revitalization. Many times the pastor is a major contributor to the failure to revitalize. Rainer then outlines what he sees as “four …

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Why The Church Relies on Curriculum Rather Than Mentorship

Karl Vaters offers some interesting thoughts concerning discipleship: “What discipleship curriculum do you recommend for small churches?” I get asked that question a lot. And my answer almost always disappoints the questioner. Mentoring is better than curriculum. Especially for discipleship. Discipleship isn’t primarily about knowing theology and memorizing verses–as important as that is. The essence of discipleship is, as Paul …

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The Secret to Staying Long Term in a Church

I read the following over the weekend in The New Guidebook for Pastors by Max Brunson and James W. Bryant: The secret to staying where you are is twofold. First, just say no. If a church asks for your Résumé, just say no. If God really wants you at that church, they will come back to you. When pastors send …

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When Church Attendance Becomes An Idol

I have a troubled past when it comes to counting people who attend your church. One of my early memories as a new staff member in a church is hearing the double-edged statement, “If numbers didn’t matter to God, He wouldn’t have written a book on it.” David’s Problem with Numbers Consider for a moment this illustration from 1 Chronicles …

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Are You A Pastor/Staff Centered Church or Volunteer Centered Church?

A church is one of the great volunteer-based organizations in the world. Each week, millions of people serve in a wide variety of positions within their local church. As a church grows in size, however, the reliance on volunteers can become less obvious. Much of this has to do with the complexity of scale. The Complexity of Scale If a …

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If You Really Need Luca Brasi, Don’t Hire Me

In the classic film, The Godfather, we first meet Luca Brasi as he sits outside the Don’s home rehearsing a speech: “Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your home on the wedding day of your daughter. And may their first child be a masculine child.” Luca Brasi was the Godfather’s enforcer, protector, and …

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Learn To Build On Your Strengths

When I first graduated from college in the 1980s, my primary focus was finding a job. My approach was a shotgun approach. I applied for every job I could find that looked like it might provide a livable income. Qualifications were secondary. One of the hallmarks of a young employee is summarized in a simple statement: you don’t know what …