In his book “Caring People”, Warren Wiersbe talks about learning to Listen with your heart. There are certain times that we need to just listen to people get their feelings and emotions out. We may not agree and we may want to give them all kinds of great advice, but all they really need at that time is to unload.
In the Book of Job, we find Job at times saying things that were not accurate or best about his situation, about God and about his friends. We find God just let him unload, and then, rather than correct him in all areas, God just redirected his attention to God and away from his situation.
I have learned as a Pastor that there are times I just listen and tell people “I understand” and not tell them “I agree” because I may not agree. They just need someone to listen and understand their problems. I worked for fifteen years for a large Retail corporation and they called this “empathizing” with the customer. The customer would come in mad when things did not go their way. They wanted to tell you how terrible the product was. We would tell them “we understand how frustrating that must be” and then help them get if fixed. Often, the problem was their fault, we just didn’t tell them that. It would escalate the problem.
Often in ministry we understand that people are the problem. No doubt about it. We sin and we are sinners. Sometimes though, like the Psalmist, we are just frustrated and want someone to listen to our griping. We are not agreeing to sin, we are agreeing to frustration.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
It may ‘seem’ right. We may justify it as right. But if it is against the Word of God, that it is NOT right!
People say they are looking for programs for their kids, a place that is friendly, something close to their homes, and a church that serves their community.
In reality, people are looking for a church that:
1) Stands for truth. People want to know that their church takes a strong stand. The fluff and excitement will wear away and then people begin to look at what their church really stands for.
2) Proclaims Christ. People want a church that they can bring people to or direct people to that will give them the Word of God and help them grow in Christ. People want a church where lives are changed. I constantly get people in our community that do not come to our church, yet direct people to our church because they know we can help them.
3) Will help them grow. People want a church where there children learn something; where their teenagers are convicted from time to time that they need to change; where sometimes you feel uncomfortable in the service because the preacher is stepping on your toes.
4) Does not falter. People want a church that will stand the test of time and will not sway to current cultural trends. People want a church that will stick to its convictions.
5) Is Vibrant in Ministry. While people want a church that will remain solid in principles and doctrines, they want a church that will embrace new ministries, has a vision, is willing to change its programs and approach, and can effectively reach its culture without caving to it.
Here are 5 ways to help your Sunday school teachers.
1) Give them good curriculum. As the pastor, have you reviewed what the teachers are teaching lately? I am amazed at how many pastors don’t even know what curriculum their church is purchasing. Take a quarter and look through it. Make sure it is in line with what the church wants to be teaching their children. Make sure it is easy to use, well organized and has enough material to keep the children busy for the set time.
2) Have teacher’s meetings. At every teacher’s meeting we have, teachers bring up topics I would have never thought about. Let them share and let them know you are trying to make their job easier.
3) Review class sizes and age groups. Most churches have kept the same classes for years. It is important to review exactly who you have to minister to and how many / what age are in each class. It may be time to re-organize the Sunday School program. Remember, it is proven that dividing classes helps them to grow.
4).Keep the rooms fresh. Fresh paint, clean carpets, new chairs, fresh posters, etc. Make sure your parents and teachers know that you care about the classes enough to keep the rooms up to date.
5). Pray for your teachers. Mention them at Wednesday night prayer meeting. Send out a special email for prayer for them for the upcoming Sunday. Pray for them individually. Pray for them at the Deacon meetings.
It is important for the Pastor to set goals for the church as a new year begins:
1) Establish a Theme. Give the church a vision for the new year. “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18a
2) Goals for evangelistic efforts. Set some goals for new programs or events you want to be involved in. These dates will creep up on you faster than you think and another year will go by unless planning and preparation begins now.
3) Goals for the Youth and Children’s programs. Have some goals for your teachers and youth workers. Evaluate programs and curriculum. Decide that this is the year to start a new class, divide age groups, begin that evening program, start that puppet ministry, etc.
4) Goals for church attendance and membership. Put a percentage down that you would like to see the church grow and added to. We know from the book of Acts that the church was “added to daily”.
5) Goals for the facility. Set some goals for the building and property. Start planning now to update the landscaping, put in that flag pole, replace some windows, clean the carpeting, etc.
6) Set some goals for the future. Establish a vision for not only the new year, but also for down the road in two, five, or ten years.
** Having been the Pastor at my church for the last 8+ years I know that the people look forward to the goals we set for each year.
Here are five ways to help your Pastor:
1) Pray for him. Pray for him regularly. Pray for him specifically. Pray for his health, his wisdom, his integrity, his moral character, his passion for souls, his heart of compassion, etc.
2). Encourage him. Send a note of thanks to your pastor. Tell him that something he preached or taught has really made a difference in your life.
3). Support his family – especially his spouse. Many studies have shown that the Pastor’s wife is often the most discouraged and the one that most wants to leave the spotlight and stress of the ministry. There are many things in place to help the pastor but few things to help his wife. Take the load off of her, pray for her, encourage her.
4). Give the Pastor a break. Tell him to take a vacation if he hasn’t. Send him on a trip or to a conference. It will do him, his family, and the church good.
5). Change!! Most Pastor’s feel that their congregations are complacent and that their preaching is falling on deaf ears. If you want to help your Pastor, let him see you grow and respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
– Pastor Wes
Here are 3 summary reasons why people in our churches are not faithful witnesses for Christ. I say “summary” reasons because we could make a list much longer if we detailed every reason.
1). Scared. They are scared that they don’t know what to say. They are scared that people will not like them or respond kindly to them.
2). Bad Priorities. They never seem to have the time. They are ‘too busy’. They get busy doing everything but telling others about Christ.
3). Don’t Care. They just don’t see the urgency of the situation. They don’t have the love for others that Christ has. They just don’t believe that people are on the edge of an eternity in Hell.
Here are some of the ways I pray for my church:
1) That our church will be a lighthouse! As the world waxes darker and darker, I desire our church to stand out in our community as a place of hope and answers based upon the Word of God!
2) Pray for the Pastor. Entirely too many Pastors are falling away today morally and doctrinally. Pray that the Pastor stays close to God.
3) Pray for a Hedge of Protection. Satan relishes destroying churches and shifting their focus. Pray that God will keep the Evil One away!
4) Pray for the Families in the Church. Churches are struggling today because the Families are struggling today. Pray for the integrity and righteousness of the Family.
5) Pray that Jesus will find us Watching when He Returns!! May our lamps be trimmed and bright awaiting His glorious return!!
The church cannot underestimate the value of Great Nursery Workers! Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1). The Nursery Worker is the first person that a visitor with children will meet. Almost every church I know is trying to entice the young family with children to visit the church and join the church. The Nursery Worker will have a significant impact on their decision to return.
2). The Nursery Worker must instill confidence to the parents. The parents are leaving their children in the care of these workers for an hour or more. They probably do not know them personally (at least not at first) so it is vital that the Nursery Worker does these things:
a) They should be early. At least 10 minutes before the service. They should have the lights on and the room ready.
b) The children should be playing safely. It will scare a new parent if another child is standing on the table or throwing toys across the room or being rough with another child.
c) They should be friendly and ask for information. It will continue to instill confidence if you have some set questions: “Is your child allergic to anything?”, “Is there a nickname you child goes by?”, “Do you want me to call you if the child cries?”, “When was the last time the child ate?”, etc.
3). The room should be safe. The room should be painted bright, kept very clean and orderly, and the room should most definitely be free of any potential hazards.
4). The Nursery Worker should know when the service is coming to a close and clean up the room before the parents even arrive. This again will show the parents that you have order and the children are in a good and safe environment while in their care.
** The Nursery Worker can be your most important Greeter!!
There are three types of people in practically every area of our lives: Those that make things happen, those that watch things happen and those that sit around and wonder “What happened?”. This is true of our churches as well.
1. There are those that make things happen. The old adage tells us that 10% of the people do 90% of the work in the church. We also know that “if you need something done, give it to a busy person”. The bulk of the work of the ministry within the congregation is done by just a few.
2. There are those that watch things happen. In every congregation there are many who just ride along with the flow. They show up for services but never take the time or effort to get involved or become a member or grow in their walk.
3. Unfortunately, there are also those who just don’t seem to know what is happening. Let us wake up! The time of Christ’s return in drawing close. Let us not be the Virgins caught without oil in our lamps when the bridegroom returns (Matthew 25).
In 2013 let’s be Christians and church members that Make Things Happen for the good of the Cross!!