A Foundation of Prayer

A vibrant church is a church with a strong foundation of prayer.  I believe a Wednesday night prayer service should be focused on prayer first.  Too often a Wednesday night prayer service tacks some prayer time onto the end of the service – almost as an afterthought.

Set up a prayer chain, a prayer email update, a prayer hotline – or any number of different areas that technology has allowed us to easily organize today.

Pastor’s should be teaching their people to pray.  Evangelists should be brought in that will focus on prayer.  Special prayer services should be held in particular situations.  Prayer, Prayer, Prayer.

A vibrant church is a church with a strong foundation of prayer!!

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10 STUPID THINGS CHRISTIAN PASTORS SHOULD NEVER DO – Billy Hallowell @ theBlaze

Christian pastors are known for their kindness, care for their congregations and inspirational faith messages. While goodness is expected from these coveted individuals, controversy and scandal, even among men and women of faith, isn’t infrequent.

Infidelity, drug and substance abuse, monetary mismanagement — the list goes on. Unfortunately, famous and infamous cases have exposed the sometimes-improper activities participated in by religious leaders. (it is, of course, important to know that the vast majority of faith leaders do not engage in such violations).

On Charisma News, J. Lee Grady published a piece offering advice for ministers and faith leaders. “If you aspire to ministry, don’t be stupid,” he wrote in the lede, going out to highlight 10 “pitfalls” that should be avoided. Grady encouraged pastors to “avoid spiritual stupidity” and to make good and Godly choices.

While some of the items he highlighted seem like common sense, the frequency with which faith leaders fail to comply makes each relevant and worth sharing. So, here they are:

1. Take illegal drugs. I know people who never got complete deliverance from their drug habit—and then when the pressures of ministry grew intense they turned to illegal substances to escape. That’s stupid! If you aren’t in control of your actions 100 percent of the time, you have no business in the ministry.

2. Reject accountability. The Lone Ranger may have been a great comic book hero, but isolation doesn’t work in real life. Lack of accountability is stupid! If you don’t answer to people smarter than you, you are an accident waiting to happen—and you’re going to hurt God’s people. You have no right to be in authority if you are not under authority.

3. Beat or abuse your wife. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:7 that God will not listen to your prayers if you mistreat your wife. If you are an abuser (and even if you are a master at hiding your sin from others), the Lord will oppose you until you seek help.

4. Surround yourself with adoring fans. Years ago, fallen PTL founder Jim Bakker said his biggest mistake was planting “yes men” around him instead of people who had the guts to challenge his bad decisions. If you aren’t willing to invite input—including criticism—from your followers, you are a weak leader headed for disaster.

5. Fabricate spiritual gifts to impress others. In our movement there’s a lot of pressure to produce the sensational in order to keep people entertained. But if you stoop so low as to fake a healing, conjure up a false prophecy or push someone to the floor, the Holy Spirit will step aside and let you run the sideshow without His power. It’s stupid to mix strange fire and risk offending God!

Read the remaining five reasons over at Charisma News.

Minister to who you have!

The Great Shepherd has taught His Under-shepherds that He “will build His Church” and that He “will draw all men nigh”.  That should be a great encouragement to the local pastor in understanding that God knows who is in our churches because God brought them in.

God wants us as a Pastor to minister to who we have.  We desire to grow and draw others in, but today my job is to Pastor to the sheep that I have!  If I have a predominately senior congregation, than I better be the best pastor that those seniors could ever have.  If I find that my church is made up of predominately blue collar workers, than it is my job to focus on and relate to those hard working folks.  “All things to all people” and not try to be All things so that I can attract all people!

Minister to the people that I have today!

Know who you are – and Define it!

Churches today are trying so hard to be “all things to all people” that they are becoming vague in their definition and description.  People that are actually looking for churches know exactly what kind of church they are looking for.  They want a church that will tell them if they are traditional or contemporary in their worship.  Is your church charismatic or not?  Does your church take a firm position on a certain version of the Bible?  What exactly do you believe on Eschatology?  On Healing?

Put these things on your website or in your brochure or Facebook page.  Churches today use vague names like: “Celebration Church” or “The Bridge”.  However people today don’t know who you are and where you stand on the above areas.

I Pastor a Baptist Church.  Many Baptist Churches today are taking the title out of their names because it may seem too narrow.  However, I find that there are people (and many of them) that are willing to drive twenty or thirty miles to attend a Baptist Church if that is what they are looking for.

Know who you are – and define it clearly!Image

Missions – Part 2

Continuing on how Missions are essential to having a vibrant church:

4) Keep in contact with your Missionaries.  Churches expect their missionaries to regularly send back a report – but I have found it extremely beneficial to send a quarterly letter to the missionaries about how things are going at the church.  The Missionaries send us prayer requests from the field – I now send some prayer requests to the missionaries for their churches to pray for.  It builds great rapport!

5) Encourage and promote contact from your congregation to the Missionaries.  Our church has compiled an email list of all of our missionaries for the church families to pick up and be able to have personal contact with our missionary families.

6) Have a Missions Conference!  Most churches do this on an annual or semi-annual basis, but this goes a long way towards building a missions heart within your congregation.

Missions – Part 1

A vibrant church must have a strong emphasis on Missions.  When the Pastor and Church leadership show the importance of Missions, the congregation gets behind Missions with their giving and with their interest.

1) Keep the Church up to date.  Have a time each week when you update a Missionary to the congregation.  You can do this during a prayer service or in the weekly bulletin.  Read a missionary letter or share their prayer requests.

2) Have a designated Missions area AND keep it up to date.  Most churches have a bulletin board or other area where they list their missionaries and have their prayer cards.  It is vital that this area is kept fresh with up to date letters.  People will gravitate towards this area and read what is new.Image

3) Make sure the Missionaries prayer requests are available.  Our church secretary takes the prayer requests from each of the missionary letters and compiles them into a concise missionary prayer list.  We have at least a dozen people that take that list each month to pray specifically for the missionary needs.

Evangelism Oriented Church

A vibrant church is first and foremost an Evangelistic Minded and Oriented Church.  The goal of all programs should be the salvation of the lost.  This goal has been lost in far too many churches today.

Want to build your Sunday School?  Keep it evangelistic.  Make sure your teachers know that your primary goal is the evangelism of lost souls.  There should be a clear salvation presentation regularly given during the Sunday School hour.

Having a Christian concert? Give them the gospel!  Time for the Summer picnic? Give them the Gospel!  Having a flea market on a Saturday at the church?  Use this as an opportunity to give the gospel tracts to those that come in.

A vibrant church is concerned about souls!!

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