It has taken the internet by storm, if my TL is any indication. Everyone is doing it. Since most of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers are Adventists, I have enjoyed the different, creative (and not so creative) ways people have taken this challenge. The ice bucket symbolizes unity and solidarity with patients of this debilitating and deadly disease. Nothing more, nothing less. Then I saw this https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=als%20and%20age%20of%20aquarius in several posts on my wall. It supposedly links the ice bucket challenge to a satanic initiation rite that is bringing in the Age of Aquarius. I first thought it was a joke. Soon thereafter I stopped laughing and almost cried. Why would we promulgate such baseless, even hurtful message? Since facts are our friends, I want to ask my amigos that are pushing this conspiracy theory forward the following three things.

1. Why do we want to purposefully look like cooks?

One thing is to do it by accident, another is to make a concerted effort to look kooky, wacky or completely insane. I wish incidents like this would be few and far between. They aren’t. This is an opportunity missed. At least by some. Instead of building bridges and following EGW advice:

“Search heaven and earth, and there is no truth revealed more powerful than that which is made manifest in works of mercy to those who need our sympathy and aid. This is the truth as it is in Jesus. When those who profess the name of Christ shall practice the principles of the golden rule, the same power will attend the gospel as in apostolic times.” (Ellen White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 22) we completely alienate and confirm in the minds of the already skeptical that we are not even worth a look.

2. Why do we repost dung?

I tried to look for a more dignified and spiritual word. Couldn’t find one. The apostle Paul used the same word when referring to something he considered worthless. So this situation qualifies. This story is complete fabrication. Just add satanic ritual and illuminati to pretty much any story and your will get people reposting it thinking they are doing the cause of Christ a favor.

You. Are. Not.

Review your sources. Ask a mature Christian. Think about it twice. Or three times. Once you post it, it’s hard to un-post.

3. Why do we care so little about evangelism?

It isn’t a secret that church we love is experiencing challenges, especially with the younger generation. That’s the reason many of us strive every day to engage unbelievers and share with them our wonderful message. Things like these are distracting at best and help no one come closer to Jesus. I know God can use anything to bring a person to Him, but do you actually believe that a person reading that made-up story will feel inclined to say: “Yes, all I needed was another story about the illuminati/age of Aquarius/satanic ritual to finally turn my life over to Jesus. Thank you anonymous creator of the story!”

One principle of evangelism is this. Jesus is attractive. Jesus changes hearts. Jesus transforms life. Share Jesus. Do me a favor. Please stop being the type of Christian other Christians have to apologize for.

Ha capturado la atención del internet. Todo el mundo lo está haciendo. Dado que la mayoría de mis amigos de Facebook y seguidores de Twitter son adventistas, he disfrutado de las diferentes formas creativas (y no tan creativas) en que las personas han tomado este desafío. El cubo de hielo simboliza la unidad y la solidaridad con los pacientes de esta enfermedad debilitante y mortal. Nada más y nada menos.

Entonces vi este reportaje en varios de mis amigos en Facebook: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=als%20and%20age%20of%20aquarius

Según unos artículos sacados fuera de contexto y simplemente inventados, se supone que el desafío de la cubeta de hielo es un rito de iniciación satánica que está trayendo la Era de Acuario. Al principio pensé que era una broma. Poco después dejé de reír y casi lloré. ¿Por qué deberíamos promulgar tal falsedad? Quiero pedir a mis amigos que están impulsando esta teoría de conspiración las siguientes tres cosas:
1. ¿Por qué queremos vernos como gente loca?

Una cosa es hacerlo por accidente, otra es hacer un esfuerzo concertado para aparecer chiflado, loco o completamente desquiciado. Dios nos llama a ser diferentes, no raros. Como quisiera que incidentes como este fueran pocos y distantes entre sí. La verdad es que no lo son. Esta es una oportunidad perdida. Inventos como este lo que hacen es enajenar y confirmar en las mentes de los escépticos que no deben prestarnos atención. En vez de interesarse nos ignoran. Perdemos credibilidad como iglesia cuando propagamos cosas que no son ciertas.

2. ¿Por qué ponemos basura como esta? Traté de buscar una palabra más digna y espiritual. No la pude encontrar. El apóstol Pablo usó una palabra más fuerte, estiércol, al referirse a algo que consideraba sin valor. Así que esta situación califica. Esta historia es completamente inventada. Perece que solo tenemos que añadir las palabras “ritual satánico” o “Illuminati” a cualquier historia y la gente lo pone en su pared como si fuera evangelio creyendo que le están haciendo un favor a la causa de Cristo. Por. Favor. ¡No!.

Revise sus fuentes. Sea un cristiano maduro. Piénselo dos veces. O tres. Una vez puesto, es difícil quitarlo.

3. ¿Porqué nos importa tan poco la evangelización? No es un secreto que la iglesia que amamos está experimentando desafíos especialmente con la generación más joven. Esa es la razón por la que muchos nos esforzamos cada día para conectar con incrédulos y compartir con ellos nuestro mensaje maravilloso. Cosas como esta distraen y no ayudan a nadie acercarse a Jesús. Yo sé que Dios puede usar cualquier cosa para traer a una persona a Él, pero ¿realmente crees que una persona que lee esto se sentirá inclinado a decir: “Sí, todo lo que necesitaba era otra historia sobre los illuminati / era de Acuario / ritual satánico para entregar finalmente mi vida a Jesús. !Gracias creador anónimo de esta historia!”
Un principio de la evangelización es este: Jesús es atractivo. Jesús cambia el corazón. Jesús transforma la vida. Comparte a Jesús. Hazme un favor, deja de ser el tipo de cristianos por el cual otros cristianos tienen que disculparse.

Welcome

I’m a pastor’s kid. I’m also Hispanic. That means I have moved a lot. Over 30 times. So, finding out that a pastor in our union has more than 30 years in the same church was a revelation. His name is Andy McDonald and he pastors the Florida Hospital church, a church that has an international feel with a younger demographic than many Adventist churches. One of his associates has worked alongside of him for more than 17 years! (http://www.hospitalchurch.org/) From my interview with him I gained some insight into long term ministry. Here are seven principles you may find helpful:

1. Understand that not everyone is gifted for long term ministry. Or short term.

Some are. Some are not. Just make sure you are not leaving because of an ego trip caused by the next appointment being perceived as “better” than the one you have. Instead of going to a growing church, grow the one you have! That being said, long-term ministry is not for everyone. Other long term ministers in the Adventist church include Dwight Nelson (30+) and Henry Wright (20+).

2. See the church as a destination not a stepping stone.

One of the perceptions that Andy has encountered is the concept prevalent in our denomination that when you are appointed or elected to the Conference/Union/Division you have somehow “arrived”. When he started, the church looked much different than it does now, yet he always saw himself as being there long term.

3. Avoid avoidance.

One of the clearest benefits of pastoring long term is the elimination of the temptation to run from a problem and push it forward to the next pastor. Seeing yourself as a pastor in that community for longer than the customary 5-7 years, forces you to stop pretending, become comfortable in your own skin and start making the tough decisions necessary to move the church forward. Many times we make decisions based on the following (often flawed) logic:

“My church is not doing too well. Let’s change the leadership. That will fix everything.”

According to Andy, the correct question is: “Why is my church not doing well? Let’s work together to fix it. Let’s provide the tools and support necessary to make that happen.”

I believe this is not always possible, but many times we move the pastor during a downturn, reinforcing the concept that anytime the church struggles, a new pastor is the answer.

4. Keep the mission clear and primary.

I believe Bill Hybels said that one of the most important characteristics of a leader is the ability to detect atrophy. Andy has experienced several shifts during 30 years in his congregation, as it has grown. One of the best quotes from our interview was this: “Renewal always comes with mission.” When the church drifts is because there is not a clear mission focus. It’s the job of a leader to make sure the church keeps the main thing the main thing.

5. Take your job seriously, but not yourself.

To be able to pastor a church for over 30 years, you MUST have a sense of humor. You must. Cue laugh track.

6. The best thing about long term pastorate.

According to Andy, it’s “the opportunity for reinvention.” To be able to see the church grow, both numerically and in grace, and observe how it matures over a long haul is very fulfilling. To dedicate a baby, baptize him, marry them, and dedicate their babies is a privilege. To see the fruits of your labor as people grow over time is also very rewarding.

7. The worst thing.

Conflict. That is true of all pastors, but in a long term pastorate it’s accentuated. There needs to be a constant desire for reinvention and that means change, which is hard for people. For example, one year ago they moved to one kind of service. No more traditional or contemporary, but a blended service. They went through Messy Church (http://www.amazon.com/Messy-Church-Multigenerational-Mission-Family-ebook/dp/B0087OWGZI) which caused some angst and discomfort. Even the worst thing can become an asset, because after reinvention comes renewal.

 

So, how do you become a long term pastor? “You say no to all the calls.”

Questions for Andy? Here is his info: http://www.hospitalchurch.org/

When I was a local church pastor, at least for the first 15 years, I had never heard of PELC even though it is “the largest continuous gathering of Seventh-day Adventist pastors and leaders in the world.” PELC, short for Pastoral Evangelism & Leadership Council takes place in Huntsville, Alabama every year in December. I first attended it 4 years ago, haven’t missed since. This year’s event is Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:00 pm through Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

Here is why you should go:

1. Some of the best preaching in the planet.

One of the speakers last year, preaching on Noah said: “Noah ministered based on imagination not memory.” He was talking about the need to be relevant to the present, not live in the past. The messages you will hear in PELC will move you. Some of the best preachers in Adventism are there. Great content, very inspirational, and being in a room with 2,000 of your closest Adventist friends is unbeatable. Check out the lineup below. Google some of these guys and you will see what I am talking about!

Featured Speakers: Dr. Ralph West, Church Without Walls, Houston, TX; Dr. Gene Donaldson, Capitol Hill Church, Washington, DC; Dr. Mansfield Edwards, President, Ontario Conference; Pastor Lola Moore, Panama City Church; Dr. Daniel Jackson, President, North American Division; Pastor Furman Fordham, Riverside Chapel, Nashville, TN.

2. It fosters diversity.

This is a hard truth no one likes to talk about. So I will. I often see minorities that attend programs/events organized primarily by Caucasians. Regrettably, I can’t say the opposite is true. It’s time to change that. This event, although organized and attended primarily by the Regional Conferences is open to EVERYONE. I don’t pastor an African American church yet I found the preaching, seminars and spirit to be both applicable and relevant to my own context. You will leave inspired.

PECL offers a Spanish Language Track, with engaging speakers and a separate program for spouses.

3. Price.

See below. There isn’t another conference that gives you that bang for your buck. None.

http://www.pastorsleadership.org/

$29 Early-bird Full Attendee/Graduate Students now through August 28, 2014 $39 Regular Full Attendee/Graduate Students August 29, 2014 through December 4, 2014 $15 Spouse (when combined with a full attendee) now through December 4, 2014 $15 One-Day-Only (Monday or Tuesday) now through December 4, 2014

$10 Boot Camp now through December 4, 2014

To guarantee your place, please register ASAP. Register online or call PlusLine at (800) 732-7587. AdventSource/PlusLine will process registrations for this event through December 4, 2014. All major credit cards accepted.

4. Relevant seminars.

I sit in the organizing committee. One thing is clear: this committee (that meets monthly, year-round) goes to extreme lengths to make sure the seminars are relevant, done by practitioners not just theorists, and can provide principles that can be applied to the life of the church. There are also boot camps, that are longer seminars on specific areas.

Boot Camps: The three Boot Camps run from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm on Wednesday, December 10, 2014. The cost to attend a Boot Camp is $15. They will run concurrently in three different buildings.

Taking Your Preaching to the Next Level Boot Camp: Back by popular demand! This preaching boot camp was so popular last year that the demand to go to another level was overwhelming. Dr. Knight is a gifted preacher who is just as gifted as a teacher of preachers. You will take home principles that will revolutionize your preaching. Don’t miss it.

Presenter: Dr. Wesley Knight.

Growing Your Church by Growing Disciples Boot Camp: Let Dr. Jones help you lead your church through the challenging process of change. You will receive cutting edge principles that work for churches large and small. You will learn to avoid the change traps that have plagued pastors and leaders. You will discover the keys to move your church from maintenance to mission.

Presenter: Dr. Gordon Jones.

Managing Change in the Local Church Boot Camp: Dr. Ross is a gifted ministerial director, pastor and presenter. His local congregation has become a model for healthy church growth. He is an authority on developing the local church by developing the local church members. His principles will teach you how to have steady growth all year long, without a public campaign.

Presenter: Dr. Compton Ross.

Who Should Attend: All pastors and church leaders are invited to attend.

JUST ADDED!

pelc

5. Grace.

The theme this year is “3:16.” Each session and sermon is designed to help us discover again how the gospel should be at the center of every ministry and message.

 

I hope to see you there.

Next week: five reasons you should go to Evangelism Council.

Cinco Razones Para Asistir a PELC

Cuando era pastor de una iglesia local, al menos durante los primeros 15 años, nunca había oído hablar de PELC.  No sabía lo que me estaba perdiendo. PELC, (Conferencia de Evangelismo y Liderazgo) se realiza en Huntsville, Alabama todos los años en diciembre. La primera vez que asistí a que hace 4 años, no he faltado desde entonces. El evento de este año es Domingo, 8 de diciembre 2014 a las 6:00 pm hasta el Miércoles, 11 de diciembre 2014 a las 12:00 pm. He aquí por qué debes asistir este año: 1. Predicadores y presentadores de nivel superior. Tanto en inglés como en español, los mensajes que escucharan en PELC te moverán. Algunos de los mejores predicadores en el adventismo están ahí. Gran contenido, muy inspirador, y estar en una habitación con 2.000 de sus amigos adventistas más cercanos es inmejorable. Echa un vistazo a los oradores en español e inglés en la página de internet que está más abajo.

  1. Fomenta la diversidad. Esta es una verdad a nadie le gusta hablar. Así que yo lo haré. A menudo veo que programas diseñados por Conferencias Regionales no gozan del apoyo que debieran. Es hora de cambiar eso. Este evento, aunque organizado y atendido principalmente por las Conferencias Regionales está abierto a todo el mundo. Yo no pastoreo una iglesia afroamericana pero la predicación, seminarios y espíritu son aplicables y relevantes para mi contexto. Usted saldrá de allí inspirado, motivado y con herramientas. PECL ofrece todo un programa en español, y también un programa separado para los cónyuges. Presentadores como José Rojas, Alejandro Bullón entre otros han estado allí. 3. Precio. Vea abajo. No hay otra conferencia que te da esa opción. http://www.pastorsleadership.org/

Para garantizar sulugar, regístrese lo antes posible.Regístrese en líneao llamePlusLineal (800) 732 a 7587. AdventSource/PlusLineprocesarálas inscripciones paraeste eventohasta el 4 dediciembre de2014. Se aceptanlas principales tarjetasde crédito. 4. Seminarios pertinentes. Me siento en el comité organizador. Una cosa está clara: esta comisión (que se reúne mensualmente, durante todo el año) es intencional para asegurarse de que los seminarios son relevantes, realizado por profesionales, no sólo teóricos, y pueden proporcionar los principios que se pueden aplicar a la vida de la iglesia.

  1. Gracia. El tema de este año es “3:16″. Cada sesión y el sermón está diseñado para ayudarnos a descubrir de nuevo cómo debería ser el Evangelio el centro de cada ministerio y el mensaje.

Si quieres más información, escribe al comité organizador: EPoloche@sacsda.org

Si quieres ver el poster en espanol, haz un click abajo.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152635202137458&set=p.10152635202137458&type=1&theater

Espero verte alli.

Story #1 Early in my ministry I was transferred from a church where I had developed close, deep relationships. It was very difficult for me to disconnect. So I didn’t. Needless to say, it did not make the next pastor very comfortable. Huge mistake on my part. Should have known better.

Story #2 I was assigned to pastor a church where the previous pastor had served for over 10 years (a rarity in Hispanic churches). He came over once a year, because his daughter was a member there. Him and his wife where instrumental in having the church love and accept my leadership. I will forever be grateful. He did things right.

Once a pastor leaves the church, there are some things he must NOT do. I personally do not remember learning these in seminary, so I hope you don’t make the same mistakes as I did.

1. Do not continue to pastor them.

I have heard horror story after horror story about pastors that return to the district often to marry, baptize, bury, dedicate babies, visit people in the hospital and counsel. My first question is: Don’t you have enough work in your present church? Frankly, that excuse that “they were the ones that searched me out” or “I didn’t want to make them feel bad” or “what’s the problem with keeping in touch” don’t hold much water. This is where preparation for your exit is paramount. Sitting down with the board and letting the church know that they need to rely on their new pastor instead of you goes a long way. I have had pastors tell me about showing up for an event or a home visit and finding the previous pastor there. Like they say in ESPN “come on man!”

2. Do not stay there.

Except for rare, extremely rare, occasions, go ahead and move.

a. If you retire, move.

b. If you transition into another employment, move.

c. If you were let go, for sure move.

Don’t ask the pastor if it’s ok if you stay, either. He/she will say yes. They don’t mean it. Even if it sounds convincing, go.

3. Do not try to influence the search of a new pastor.

Pastors are in the business of building God’s kingdom, not their own little kingdom. The new pastor is sometimes seen as a threat to the old regime, especially if he/she is bringing in new ideas or wants to make any changes. I remember an occasion receiving a phone call from another country questioning the actions of a new pastor in a church under my supervision as Hispanic Ministries Director. The pastor on the other line had been a pastor there and was receiving calls from members that were upset. Why do we do that?

Here is another big one: Don’t get on search committees, don’t use backroom politics and for the love of God, don’t influence the board previous to your departure.

4. Do not triangulate.

The new pastor will make mistakes. He/she is not as awesome as you, that’s for sure. It’s easy to get caught up in becoming a shoulder to cry on. Be firm. Be specific. Be clear. You do not listen to any conversations that have to do with the previous pastor. I believe we do this for our ego, more than for the cause of Christ. Also, see #2 again.

 

Hopefully we can all learn from past mistakes and be remember as story #2 instead of #1.

What are some other good recommendations you would give? Leave your comments in the appropriate section.

When should I move?

imprrh@gmail.com —  July 29, 2014 — 2 Comments

I have moved around 30 times in my life. As a pastor’s kid and then a pastor, it’s part of the deal you sign up for. Some of you that are reading this blog are presently considering a move to another ministry assignment. Please consider the following five things as you make that decision:

1. Not every call is from God, no matter how spiritual the other person sounds.

Sometimes it’s a call from God, sometimes people just want to fill a hole. That’s the truth. I have a friend who is a great pastor/speaker/leader. He told me he gets several calls every year. All of them said they have prayed about it. All of them said he is THE right one for the job. Remember this. It’s seldom about you. It’s about what you can provide and the need the organization has.

2. Be mindful of the history.

I have seen some pastors be called to places that are well known/popular/in and have followed a highly skilled and sometimes personality driven ministry. That usually does not end well for the one who immediately follows the very effective pastor that has left. One, you are not them. Second, you will encounter resistance to change because the church is successful with the model they are presently using. So, unless you are willing to become a clone, be careful. Make it about making God famous, not stroking your ego.

3. Beware of the traps.

There are many reasons to move. These are some traps to avoid:

* “I hate this place”. Present conflict should not determine future decision.

* “It’s a bigger church”. That green grass can turn out to be Astroturf.

* “This will show them”. Doing ministry with a chip on your shoulder only causes splinter injuries.

4. Opportunity for growth.

This principle is not universal, but I have seen it work in the pastors that are healthy and enjoy growth where they are: The older you get in ministry, you should consider assignments that are clearly aligned with your skill/gift set. When I started in ministry I was a youth pastor, but my skill set is not very strong in youth. The moment I had an opportunity to plant (which I enjoy tremendously) I did that. We grow more when we are in our wheelhouse.

5. Ask God to close doors.

When a call came, I always did three things:

  1. Season of fasting and prayer.
  2. Consulted with my WHOLE family.
  3. Consulted with trusted friends.
  4. Asked God, that if this was not my call, to close doors. Sometimes he did. Sometimes he said “come on in”.

6. Respect the no’s.

This is a bonus principle. If the person on the other line pressures you, makes you feel that you are the ONLY one that could do this, makes you feel guilty and does not respect your no’s I would highly question whether that call is from God.

If you are considering a call, and would like prayer, please let me know. I will pray for you and with you.

here are all the Power Points for the presentations this week:

1. Jesus is not enough. (English and Spanish)

 

2. Powerful Presentations  (English and Spanish)