Archives For February 2013

This week I was invited to speak to ordenation candidates. This presentation was made to help them avoid common pitfalls in ministry and thrive in it. Even if you are not an ordenation candidates, many of the principles here can be used in your line of work.

Download power point here:

Download notes here:

Feel free to use and share.


Here are the links on the topic of VISION:

Every last monday of the month. 6pm, Eastern.

Watch replay here:

See Power Point here:

See notes here:

Please feel free to share!

Este tema fue presentado como una ayuda para todos aquellos que estan siendo atacados por su fe en este momento. Daniel fue un excelente ejemplo de como lidiar con los enemigos. Aqui esta el power point:

Dios te bendiga,

Secret Monsters —  February 23, 2013
Secret Monsters

The sad, recent news of two well-known Adventist figures had me thinking, reflecting and grieving.

First, a leader of a youth ministry has a well-publicized moral fall. A strong voice in the conservative wing of the church, his decisions send ripples far and wide. The news of the fall, reveal his struggle with secret monsters.

Then, we get news of the self-inflicted death of a former pastor/evangelist. I have never met him, but good friends of mine have, and had him in their churches when he did evangelism, at which he was very good. He left official Adventist ministry for a new approach. He also was dealing with secret monsters, in his case a mental health issue that compounded the situation.  

Having only met them through media and common friends, I reflected on my own ministry and decided to write this short blog for my pastor/leader friends.

1. We grieve for all affected by these tragedies. Regardless of your particular views on church governance, approach to ministry, stance on women’s ordination and music, we never rejoice with the fall of a leader. We grieve and we take time to take stock of our own lives, for we dare not spend one minute pointing fingers that could be spent on own knees.

2. As leaders, anything we don’t face, trace and erase, with God’s grace, can come back to haunt us. All of us carry baggage, have weaknesses, face hurts, trials and may even have health issues that we would rather not think about. Suppressing and not addressing those Secret Monsters, can be downright deadly.

3. It seemed to me, (this can be my own perception, and I could be wrong) that the emphasis of our ministry and life can reflect our unaddressed weakness. I remember several marriage counselors/speakers that had mayor issues in that area, one particular couple that was fighting back stage before the husband spoke about marriage to the congregation.

I have to analyze my ministry and my life and ask myself:

What are the mayor themes of my preaching?

What topics seem to prop up over and over in my interactions with people?

I’m I projecting a personal deficiency upon others by overemphasizing an area?

Tragedies like these are avoidable. But it’s up to me to make the changes, seek the help, admit my imperfections, live based on reality and not an image. I have to address the Secret Monsters, before they destroy me. I have to make a decision, to choose being healthy rather than admired.

2nd Generation Challenge —  February 22, 2013

2nd Gen

Part #1- The Challenge

“We have always been treated as foreigners in our own countryside-exiles who never left home.”  Daniel A. Rodriguez. A Future for the Latino Church: Models for Multilingual, Multigenerational Hispanic Congregations

The 2nd Generation has always been of interested to me. Then I had teenagers. That made it even more real. I believe, that outside of death, one of the worst things that can happen to a parent is to see his/her child decide to leave the faith. Since my kids are 2nd Generation, and I want to see them in heaven, I want to do everything I can to show them Jesus, not the exit sign.

2nd Gen is a term mostly used for young people that are born in this country of immigrant parents. It is commonly used for people of Hispanic descent, but, as I am finding out, the 2ndgeneration struggles/challenges are similar to the sons and daughters of West Indies, Russian, Korean, and African parents. Here are three challenges to this demographic, as it relates to their spiritual journey:  

1.      Exiles in their own country– this is a term used by Samuel Rodriguez in a great book called A Future for the Latino Church. They are not accepted in their ancestors churches because they don’t speak the language very well (among other things) and they don’t fit well in an Anglo church, because they feel outnumbered and out of place. Many attend, but don’t belong, so they say “so long”.

2.      Culture vs gospel-  There is no biblical basis or spirit of prophecy support for what has become reality in churches that have 2ndGeneration members: Culture trumping the gospel. The fights in many boards, sends a subtle (or not so subtle) message to the 2nd Generation: Culture is more important than people. Preserving language is paramount.  The result is, we have kept our language, and lost many of our kids.  “If our effort to maintain our culture in a foreign country makes our children leave the church, we have gained nothing.” (Daniel A. Rodriguez. A Future for the Latino Church: Models for Multilingual, Multigenerational Hispanic Congregations)

3.      Leadership opportunities- For many of the 2nd Generation, their native tongue has become an “oral language only”, which they can understand fairly well, but struggle with communicating back with a high degree of proficiency. This cuts down on the level of involvement they can have at the local congregation, without the people getting frustrated with their accent, having to translate, and the nuances of both languages being lost in translation. Leadership positions are usually reserved for people that can dominate the native tongue and can express ideas and exhort the people forward. It might be a generalization, but the 2nd Generation has better access to education, higher paying jobs, and upwardly mobile opportunities. When their leadership skills are not used at their local congregations, sitting on the sidelines results in them leaving the game altogether.


What are some solutions? Next article will deal with three solutions.

Este seminario fue dado en el Ministerium de Daytona Beach. Disfrutenlo!

El titulo: El Mensaje y el Mensajero

Pasen un feliz dia,

Ministry is better with when we take time to “get away”.

One of the areas that I struggled with the most in my first 10 years of my ministry was taking time for “getting away”. I was a good pastor, but a terrible husband and an average dad. It was hard for me to go on vacation, there was so much still to do! Even when on vacation, I would call home to see how church had been on Sabbath, and people called me regularly during all hours. I had no days off. That is called “Living with no MARGIN”. It’s dangerous. It’s sinful. It’s counterproductive to ministry. At the Ministerium, pastors were able to get away. Cell phones didn’t work in many of the rooms (that’s a good thing!) It was very rewarding for the planning committee to see pastors and their families walking together in the boardwalk, just enjoying each other. Tuesday afternoon was family afternoon. No required meetings. Nowhere that you had to be at. Most pastors will tell you, that this in an area they struggle with. Getting away is not easy. But it’s necessary.

Ministry is better when we’re challenged.

The speakers not only inspired us, but also challenged us. One of the most powerful messages was given by Pr. Alejandro Bullon. His title was catchy: Pastors can also be saved. He related a story about a young boy that wanted to work in a chocolate factory. The first day of work, his boss told him he had one assignment. To eat chocolate all day. Every ten minutes the boss would come to check on the boy to make sure he was eating chocolate. After one day, even while working in the chocolate factory, the boy never touched the chocolate again. Pr. Bullon told us that the “greatest temptation for pastors that work for God, is to neglect personal communion with the God they work for”. We don’t want to end up like the people that built the ark, and then drowned in the flood. We were challenged, stretched, and encouraged at the same time.


Ministry is better when we value diversity.

Among the 1,600 pastors and families, we had a wide diversity. African American. Anglo. Hispanic. Korean. Russian. Africa. West Indies. Europe. It looked a lot like heaven. It’s interesting to note that when Jesus selected his disciples, he did not chose 12 carpenters from Nazareth. A close look at the personality of the disciples reveals anything else but uniformity. They were different, and that was a good thing. Different backgrounds.  Different social status.  Different politics.  Different jobs.  Blue collar and white collar.  A Hebrew revolutionary and a roman sympathizer.  One that had a questioning mind , one that spoke too soon, and  one that hardly spoke. Some that were more interested in position than preaching, and one was constantly taking a piece of the pie for himself.  What message was Jesus trying to send us through the picking of the disciples?  A simple one. If Jesus was able to transform and use them, he can do the same with me. Evangelism was their common denominator.


Ministry is better when we are connected to family.

One question was asked many times and in different ways about the pastor’s family is this: Are we too busy trying to preach impressive sermons about Him, bring healing to many homes for Him, even working to cast out the evil in society in His name, yet our family life lacking? These three things have been helpful to me in my own journey:

1. Choose the important over the urgent.

2.  Choose the best over the good. 

3.  Choose the permanent over the temporary

We had programs for the ministerial spouses and children. Ministry is a family affair. So we sought to minister to the whole family.

Ministry is better when we are connected to each other.

God created us for community. God usually gives the vision to the leader first, but not exclusively. A right vision, shared with the right people, at the right time, for the right reason, will accomplish more, in less time. Pastors were encouraged to find three people:

Mentors. These are wise people you can listen to. They have experience and can help you find ways to deal with your present situation.

Friends. These are caring people you can lean on. They might not have all the answers, but knowing that they are there for you makes a difference.     

Students. These people who can learn from you. Every experience you have had is a lesson that can be shared to encourage, inspire, or warn others.


Ministry is better when we are connected to God.

As a kid, I loved flying kites.  Living in Puerto Rico, a tropical paradise, we were almost never short on wind.  Once in a while, however, there was a windless day.   On those days, if you still wanted to fly a kite you could, only it was much harder.  First you needed to go to a big field.  Then, get a running start. Follow that with run, run, and then run some more.  Needless to say, kite flying soon became a bothersome chore, instead of a pleasant endeavor.  Same thing happens in church.  When you are running around, doing things in your own strengths, eventually you will wonder where did all the “pleasure” of serving the Lord go.  Kites fly with almost no effort when there is wind present.  Is there wind in your church? In order to fly a kite we need wind. In order to pastor a church we need to stay connected. To God. To family. To each other.

Presentation in english:

Presentation in Spanish

May God bless you!