Archives For July 2013

Five ways to recruit volunteers

One of the toughest jobs any leader can have is to recruit and keep volunteers. In today’s blog, we will look at five ways to do just that. Most of the material is found in a great resource called:

Connect: How to Double Your Number of Volunteers by Searcy, Nelson; Dykes Henson, Jennifer (2012).

1. Limit time of service.

No one likes to hear “until Jesus comes” as a response to the question “how long will this assignment last?”  Searcy says it this way: “Encourage the involvement of new people by always putting a time limit on serving. In other words, never allow anyone to step into a ministry position without putting time boundaries on his service. If you provide no time limits, two things will happen: Your volunteers will burn out. You will lose invaluable opportunities to mobilize new servers.” He adds (interesting angle!) “God was putting this principle to work when he mandated that we observe the Sabbath. We would do well to embrace its power in every area.”

2. Shadow service.

Your best recruiters are the people that are already serving and love it! “Plan a shadow day. Put a shadow day on your calendar, and invite every person who is currently serving to bring a friend to shadow them that day.” The best way of knowing what your gifts are is not taking a 40 question test, is actually serving for a short time to see if it’s a good fit.

3. Ministry fair.

“Hold a ministry/ volunteer fair. Once a year, hold a ministry fair to make people aware of all of the serving opportunities available to them.” This works best if you advertise it well in advance, have specific and clear instructions as well as guidelines on what the jobs entail. Make it easier for them to follow through after the event by having a sign up and flyer. Don’t put all your eggs in a ministry fair, but it can be very helpful. Don’t hold these in times of the year where people are out like summer or Easter. Early fall, or spring are the best times.

4. Multiple teams.

This might be a challenge to smaller churches, but if I have seen over and over God honoring the faith of pastors that decided to trust Him for an increase. Searcy encourages us to dream bigger. “Let me challenge you to let go of that scarcity mentality. God has droves of people whom he wants to plug into your ministries— for your church’s benefit and for their own. Let’s not let our limited thinking limit his plans. The principle of spiritual readiness says we must prepare and plan for the harvest before God will send it to us.”

5. Special Occasions.

Mothers day. Fathers day. Christmas. Education day. Youth day. Women’s ministry day. The possibilities are endless. “Use big days and special events to challenge people to serve. Never waste an opportunity to get new people involved in ministry. Leverage every big event and special occasion.”

Today I will pray for you and your volunteer situation. If you have any special requests, please leave them in the comment section or message me directly. I’d love to pray for you.

Monstruos Secretos- Sermon en espanol

John 12:24 (NLT) I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.

Around a month ago, one of my daughter’s Vanessa’s best friends died. Gus was only 17, a talented musician and a committed Christian. A senior in high school with plans to go to college, marry, and audition for American Idol. One of the last times I saw him was on a vespers we had in my house. We discussed how to know God’s plan for your life. He came in his motorcycle, (fashionably late but with style) and even though he was young (only 17) his participation and friendliness brightened the room.

As a pastor, we attend, participate and perform funerals on a regular basis, but I have to admit this one has been a tough one for me. So, in honor of Gus, and the ones you may have lost, I decided to share some thoughts on God, his plan and our mortality.

1. God has a plan, even though we don’t understand it.

People that are going through the grief process often try to understand “why.” One day I was meditating on this, and God gave me this thought:

            Do you want answers or solutions?

Answers only can be understood from the perspective of eternity, and when we get there, we will. For now, I must hold on to the promise of resurrection. Part of God’s plan was to abolish death. He has. I can take comfort in that reality. It’s not my job to understand, but to trust even though I don’t.

2. God has a plan, even in the midst of pain.

God did not send death to Gus in order to “convert” more followers. Death is a product of sin, and we should assign blame to whom it belongs: the evil one. Yet, as Joseph said so eloquently in Genesis 50

Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people…”

I already see this. The impact of a life well lived is being felt far and wide. Young people returning to Jesus. Recommitments made. Decisions to live for the same Jesus Gus loved. Promises to see him in heaven. Picture this for a moment: A young person meets Gus in heaven and tells him: “Gus, after your death, I changed my life. God turned me around. Thanks for your testimony, in the form of your life.” I believe that will happen. The worse thing the devil can do to any of us, God can turn around for all of us.

3. God has a plan, even though we don’t agree with it.

I reject death. I wish I could go back and fix all of the events that led to where we are today. I know intellectually that God did not produce his death, but at the emotional and human level, it’s impossible not to grieve with his parents. Gus could be my kids. He could be yours. He might already be. I don’t always agree with what happens to me, yet I hold on to the hope that is in me, Jesus. The key is to trust, even though _____________ happens. Death happens. Divorce happens. Cancer happens. Accidents happens. Separation happens. Yet I trust in a God that is big enough to take my anger, despondency and hurt. I don’t have to hurt alone. I know I will see Gus again. So will my daughter. So will many others he touched. During these hard times, this passage has brought comfort to me and my family:

Romans 8:35Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rest in peace, Gus. We will see each other again. That is in God’s plan.


I love to write. Always have. After writing 7 books, I learned some things along the way that I want to share with you. These are practical tips that may be helpful to you. My thanks for Dr. Miguel Angel Nunez, an Adventist author of more than 60 books, for the majority of the content in this post.  He wrote a very good article, that I translated and added some content. His blog in Spanish can be accessed here:

Here are 5 tips:

1. Organize your ideas.

Before writing decide what you will write about and how you will do it. A good suggestion is to write a draft containing:
• In one sentence, a synthesis of the central idea that you aim to present in the article.
• In one sentence, the goal you have as you write the article.
• In a few words, the audience you want to reach.
• Subtitles or sections. Whenever possible, no more than four points. I prefer three.
The human mind works better in order. An outline of what you will write will help guide you.

2. Write.

It seems an obvious suggestion, but it is not. Many people get stuck thinking about how to write or want to, but never start. Think done over perfect. You can only correct something that is already written. So write. What is not written simply does not exist. No matter how great your idea, if it’s not put on paper, it’s worthless. Here are five periodicals you can write for, that take unsolicited manuscripts*, the email for the editor is next to the magazine name:

  1. Vibrant Life-
  2. Message Magazine-
  3. Adventist Review- Submit articles:
  4. Ministry Magazine-
  5. Guide- This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

*Writing does not guarantee publication. Get used to rejection. Don’t take it personal.

3. Hit the ground running.  

Do not ask permission to write, when you start your article. That gives a sign that the writer is not sure about what he is writing. Start with:
•A catchy quote.
•A impactful statement.
•A short story.
You must catch them from the first line. If you can’t captivate the reader, they will not continue to read what you have written, however important you consider it to be.

4. It is always better to be brief.

In most Adventist periodicals, the limit is 2,500 words, and most prefer 450-650 words. Writing short articles is much more difficult than writing a long one. It requires more concentration and attention to detail. That involves taking out adjectives and other gadgets that adorn the text, but in the end just take up space.

5. Write an article not a lecture.

A popular article is not a homily. The language of exhortation or appeal in this case is useless. The reader is not required to read it, and for that reason, you have to be persuasive without being preachy. When the text has a homiletic character, most readers leave it unfinished.

Hope this was helpful. Let me know if it was. Next week we will touch on 5 more tips.

Que Hacer Cuando Invitas

Traer a alguien a tu iglesia o evento como orador invitado es una práctica común que sucede en la mayoría de iglesias varias veces al año. La mayoría de las invitaciones van bien. Pero he escuchado y experimentado algunas historias de horror que creo podrían haber sido evitadas si hubiera un entendimiento más claro de antemano acerca de la invitación.

Cuando estaba estudiando en el seminario, fui invitado por un pastor para tener un retiro de fin de semana con su iglesia. Compré mi boleto de avión, conseguí un auto y pague todos los gastos para llegar al evento. Hablé varias veces ese fin de semana y al final me dieron un “muchas gracias y adiós”. Terminé pagando por todos mis gastos, porque las expectativas no fueron aclaradas desde el principio. Aquí hay algunas sugerencias prácticas para los que invitan.

Cuando invitas (Descarga un formulario de invitación gratis aquí)
1. Sea claro.
• Explica cuál es el propósito del evento y el tipo de audiencia a la que se va a hablar.
• Especifique el número de veces que el invitado estará presentando y cuánto tiempo tendrá para cada presentación.
• Envié una copia de cualquier material promocional y programa que tenga para el evento.
• Estime un número realista de los asistentes. Esto es importante sobre todo si el presentador va a dar copias o recursos a su audiencia.
• Explique sus capacidades de AV y pregunte que necesidad audiovisual tiene el orador.
• Pregunte si el invitado espera vender sus materiales y comparta con ellos su póliza al respecto.

2. Sea razonable
• No sorprenda al invitado con asignaciones adicionales. Por ejemplo, no programe seis mensajes en un solo día en dos lugares. Esto afecta  la voz del presentador y calidad de la presentación sufre. Una vez estaba hablando en un evento de fin de semana y después de la presentación de la noche del viernes la persona a cargo me pidió que participara en una actividad a las 6am. Había volado varias horas, estaba enfermo  y estaba programado para hablar durante seis horas al día siguiente, así que decline, aunque parece que les gusto mucho. ¡Sea razonable! Tratar de tomar ventaja de su invitado casi siempre garantiza que nunca va a volver.

3. Sea transparente
• Esto me sucede a menudo. La persona que invita presenta el evento como más grande y mejor de lo que en realidad resulta ser. Todos sabemos que a veces las proyecciones no resultan. Pero no inventes, solo por conseguir al presentador.
• Tenga cuidado de llevar presentadores para confirmar tu agenda personal o vengarte de un grupo de personas.

4. Sea generoso
• Pregúntele si prefiere hacer sus propios arreglos de viaje (ej. Vuelo, hotel, etc…) o si prefieren que usted lo haga. Si optan por hacer sus propios arreglos, recuérdele que guarde todos los recibos para rembolso.
• Dígales lo que va a cubrir financieramente. Incluya la cantidad específica de los honorarios, boletos de avión, hotel, per-diem y el auto que han presupuestado.
• Una de las cosas que más me gusta es cuando una iglesia envía una pequeña tarjeta o un regalo para mi esposa o hijos. Estar separado de mi familia mientras hago ministerio es difícil. Cuando llego a casa con un regalo del viaje hace que mi familia se sientan que son importantes también.
• Tenga el cheque de rembolso / honorarios listo cuando llegue el invitado. Si no va a tenerlo listo porque no tiene todos sus recibos por favor hágales saber cuando será mandado el cheque.
• Recuerda, una persona que viaja fuera de su distrito para hacer evangelismo o eventos de fin de semana tendrá gastos extras, se generoso.

5. Sea atento.
• ¡POR FAVOR lee esto! No compre el pasaje mas barato, con tres escalas, nueve horas en avión, saliendo a las 4 de la mañana, que puedas encontrar en Paga los $50 o $100 extra. Trata de encontrar el pasaje mas directo para que el presentador pueda estar en su mejor momento. Viajar no es glamoroso, te desgasta.
• Excepto en raras ocasiones no ponga a los invitados en una casa de los miembros o en tu propio hogar.
• Pregunte si tienen millas de viajero frecuente de una aerolínea específica y compre el boleto de esa compañía aérea.
• Lo mismo va para el hotel. No estamos hablando sobre el Ritz Carlton. Una cadena cómoda, reconocida a nivel nacional es preferible. La clasificación de 3 estrellas es un buen punto de partida.
• Si usted decide no alquilar un coche para el presentador por favor asegúrese de tener transporte confiable para ellos. No les asigne una persona que esta muy ocupada y no es flexible como para ser su modo de transporte. Hablar en publico por varias horas es desgastante y un pequeño descanso es apreciado.
• Llegue a tiempo a recoger sus invitados en el aeropuerto. Asegúrese de que tiene la información de contacto de antemano. También es útil intercambiar fotos para que tanto usted como ellos sepan a quien están buscando.

Mi práctica personal cuando estaba de pastor e invitaba a alguien a mi iglesia era tratarlos bien. No sólo económicamente, sino en cada evento tratar de bendecir al hombre o mujer de Dios, porque queremos que sepa que su servicio a Dios y a nosotros es apreciado.

La semana que viene … ¿Qué hacer cuando eres el invitado?