Archives For June 2014

interview weakness

I am so grateful you are reading this blog, as we continue with the third part of our four part series.

1. Fat jokes aren’t funny.

I have a “friend” that every time he sees me asks me if I have gained weight. I have in fact lost several pounds, but it’s irrelevant to him. He makes a joke out of it every time. It isn’t funny. You know what else isn’t funny? Having a heart attack. Many pastors don’t take care of their health like they should. This is changing, but not fast enough. Our hours are crazy, we eat out regularly, and if we are not careful we can put on extra weight. I gained around 40 pounds when I became a minister. I added an extra 20 when I went to the conference. I encourage you to get active. I am in better shape now at 46 than I was at 36. Stop laughing. Get moving.

2. Develop your strengths, not your weakness.

All of us are gifted in certain areas more than others. I see far too many pastors and leaders trying to strengthen their weaknesses, instead of discovering their strengths and surrounding themselves with people who are strong at what they are weak at. I discovered pretty early in my ministry that my gifts were in preaching, leading and motivating. Youth ministry was not one of my gifts. I empowered my wife, who is great with teenagers, and then our youth pastor when we got one, to do what they needed to do to make that area a strong one. We planted a 2nd Generation church as a result. Develop your strengths every day.

3. Anyone can fall. Yes, even you.

One of my dear friends in ministry had a moral fall. As we were discussing the issue with a group of pastors, one stood up and stated that you “only need Jesus” and that there is no need for an accountability partner. The implication is that the fallen comrade was weak, and that he would never do the same thing. I worry for him. He is setting himself up for failure. Lack of accountability is dangerous because of three things:

a. We rationalize.

b. We justify.

c. We compartmentalize.

Left to our own devices, we run a greater risk because power is an aphrodisiac. If the devil is anything, he is patient. This is what I do to protect myself:

1. I have a plan. The worst moment to come up with a plan is when you need it, so I know beforehand what I will do. It all starts with my time with God, prayer and worship music.

2. I tell my wife the moment I feel anything out of the ordinary from the opposite sex. I was hit on by a 70 year old deaconess. I told my wife. Those deaconess are dangerous!

3. I mentally review a list of consequences from a moral fall. Very often.

4. I have an accountability partner which I share temptations with. He is mature, male and deeply spiritual.

5. Never counsel alone, never visit alone, never have extended counseling (several sessions) with members of opposite sex.

 

4. When do I accept a call somewhere else?

Most pastors that are in ministry for any amount of time, will eventually get a call. If you have been successful at what you are doing, you will get multiple calls. I have a friend of mine who pastors in the south who got 4 calls on ONE weekend. Everyone tells you they have prayed about it! You MUST be the right person for the job, right? Not necessarily. Before my moves I did three things:

a. I prayed and fasted. This allowed me to make sure I wasn’t leaving for reasons of pride or hurt.

b. I asked God to close doors, if it wasn’t his will.

c. I asked myself: how is this going to benefit my family? Not, how is this going to benefit my ministry?

 

5. Realize what you are not.

Repeat to yourself daily:

I am not the man.

I am not the manager.

I am not the Messiah.

 

Ministry. It’s all about Jesus.

 

I am excited and grateful you are reading this blog, as we continue with the second part of our four part series.

1. You are responsible for your own growth.

I know that I am the only one this happened to. I became a theologian in seminary, then I got to the church and found out I did not have many of the leadership traits I needed. In order to become a better leader, I had to take matters into my own hands. Frankly, I never got much practical leadership and ministry help from conference pastor’s events. So I decided to do the following:

a. Read at least one book per week. I didn’t always make it, but it kept me reading. It’s true what they say, leaders are readers.

b. Go to at least one conference per year that would help me grow as a leader. I remember going to a John Maxwell conference when he was first starting out. If continuing education funds were not available I paid for it myself.

c. Go to at least one church that was doing it right. It inspires you, and shows you it can be done.

2. Publish or perish.

Most pastors that I talk to have a book in them. I listen to many sermons and I am impressed at the level of depth and insight they have. Too bad no one will ever be blessed by it because you are either too busy or too lazy (I am exaggerating, I know) to write it down. I started writing a weekly small group lesson back in 1996. In 2007 and beyond I put many of them in books; more than 30,000 copies have been distributed. If it wasn’t for the consistent weekly writing, I would have never been able to perfect the craft (something I still strive to do). Write something every day.

3. If people don’t give you opportunities, make your own.

In 2007 when I spoke to one of the publishing houses about a small group book I had edited and written along with many of my colleagues I was practically laughed out of the building. The words “who exactly are you?” were not said, but implied. With some help from the conference we published the book ourselves. We found the editor, layout professional, publisher and started making cold calls to pastors and leaders across the NAD and beyond offering the resource. Fast forward 7 years and it’s been over 10 books, including the sharing book of the year (shameless plug) http://www.adventistbookcenter.com/failure-is-not-final.html Now I have access to the publishing houses and have a much higher percentage of probability of being accepted. . But if I had given up, it never would have happened.

4. The power of visitation.

This pastoral trait is not very popular. Timberlake brought “sexy back”. I want to bring visitation back. (never heard the song, just thought it would be a nice pun, so please, no letters). Visiting gave me three advantages:

a. Sermon ideas. I want to preach where it itches. Sitting across the table from a member gave me insight into their lives and needs.

b. Personal touch. I had a 900 member church. I could not visit all of them, but that didn’t mean I could not visit some of them. (see point 5)

c. Realistic perspective. Many times, especially when raising money, we tend to look at the congregation and see a crowd that can contribute. Sitting down with people in their homes gave me a realistic view of our finances.

5. Spend 80% of your time with the top 20% of your leadership.

I wish I had done that much earlier! Since everything rises and falls on leadership, your top influencers need you to look them in the eye and share your life with them.

 

See you all next week. For questions or feedback, please let me know in the comment section.

Estoy muy emocionadoy agradecido que estás leyendo esteblog, hoy continuamoscon la segundaparte de nuestraserie de cuatro partes: 1. Usted es responsable de su propio crecimiento. Me convertí en un teólogo en el seminario, luego llegué a la iglesia y me entere de que no tenía muchas de las características de liderazgo que necesitaba. Con el fin de convertirme en un mejor líder, tenía que tomar el asunto en mis propias manos. Francamente, nunca tuve mucho entrenamiento formal en liderazgo de eventos de conferencia. Así que decidí hacer lo siguiente: a. Leer al menos un libro por semana. No siempre lo logro, pero me mantiene leyendo. Es verdad lo que dicen, los líderes son lectores. b. Ir a por lo menos una conferencia al año que me ayudaría a crecer como líder. Recuerdo que fui a una conferencia de John Maxwell cuando estaba empezando mi ministerio. c. Ir a por lo menos a una iglesia que estaba haciendo las cosas bien. Sales inspirado, y te ayuda a entender lo que se puede hacer.

2. Publicar o perecer. La mayoría de lospastores con los que hablo tienen un libroen ellos. Escuchomuchos sermonesy estoyimpresionado por elnivel de profundidad yvisiónque tienen.Lástima quenadie va aser bendecidopor ellosporque estándemasiadoocupados odemasiado perezosos(estoy exagerando, lo sé) para escribir. Empecé a escribiruna lecciónsemanal para mis grupos pequeños en el año 1996.En el año 2007 puse esas lecciones en libros,más de30.000copiashan sido distribuidas. Sino fuera porla escriturasemanalconsistente,nunca habríasido capaz deperfeccionar la práctica de escribir(algo que todavía me esfuerzo porhacer).Escribe algotodos los días.

3. Si la gente no te dan oportunidades, fabrica tus propias. En 2007 cuando hablé con una de las editoriales acerca de un libro para grupos pequeños que había editado y escrito junto con muchos de mis colegas se rieron de mi. Creo que la frase fue “¿quien eres tu?” Con un poco de ayuda de la conferencia publicamos el libro nosotros mismos. Encontramos el editor, diseñador, casa publicadora y empezamos a hacer llamadas en frío a los pastores y líderes de toda la división y más allá para ofrecer el recurso. En 7 años hemos publicado más de 10 libros, incluyendo el libro del año misionero http://www.adventistbookcenter.com/failure-is-not-final.html

Ahora tengoacceso alas editorialesy tengo un porcentajemucho más alto deprobabilidadde ser aceptado.Perosi me hubieradado por vencido, nunca habría ocurrido.

4. El poder de la visitación. La visitación me dio tres ventajas: a. Idea para sermones. Quiero predicar de lo que la gente necesita. Sentado a la mesa con mis miembros me dio una idea más clara de sus vidas y sus necesidades. b. Un toque personal. Tuve una iglesia de 900 miembros. No pude visitarlos a todos, pero eso no significaba que no podía visitar a algunos de ellos. (véase el punto 5) c. Perspectiva realista. Muchas veces, sobre todo en la recaudación de dinero, tendemos a mirar a la congregación y ver a una multitud que puede contribuir. Sentarse con la gente en sus casas me dio una visión realista de nuestras finanzas.

5. Pasar del 80% de su tiempo con el 20% de sus líderes. !Me hubiera gustado haber hecho esto mucho antes! Ya que todo sube y baja de acuerdo al liderazgo, sus principales líderes necesitan que usted los mire a los ojos y comparta su vida con ellos. Nos vemos la semana que viene. Si tiene preguntas o comentarios, por favor hágamelo saber en la sección de comentarios

Not too long ago I celebrated my 20th year in ministry. It was actually a couple of years back, but the title 22/22 wasn’t very catchy, so I kept it at 20. Over the next 4 weeks I will open my heart and share what I consider the most important lessons I have learned in ministry. I will attempt to be practical, real and helpful. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and successes (more of the former to share for sure). Let’s get started:

1. Most conflict in churches is about power and control. Not about what you think you are fighting about.

Most of the conflict you will deal with has no eternal significance whatsoever. It usually falls into 4 categories: drums, diet, dress or turf. (I was going for 4 d’s but couldn’t think of one. If you can, email me!) I have found that the issue behind the issue is power and control. Who gets to decide, is THE question. One of the most dangerous things you can do as a pastor is take power away from people. The best advice I can give you is this: have hard conversations early. Controlling people seldom change.

2. If you don’t set boundaries, you will be run over.

Most emergencies, aren’t. Don’t neglect the church, but don’t play the role of the savior. There is only one husband of the church, his name is Jesus. I was very bad at this. I felt guilty if I wasn’t working. I would have people show up in my house unannounced and I acted like I was either about to go visiting or working on my sermon. Since people are going to talk regardless, make sure you establish clear boundaries. Write them down. Put it in the minutes. Frame it in a positive way, but be firm. Work hard. Rest hard. Since in ministry there is no finish line, you must decide beforehand when to rest.

3. Divide the work week day in three parts.

I learned this early in ministry and it worked for me. I divided the day in three parts:

8:00am-12:00pm

12:30pm-4:30pm

5:00pm-8:30pm

I tried to do my work in two of the three and used the other one for personal issues. That gave me breaks and kept me accountable. When I had children, I made sure I was at their games and activities, so I worked the first 2 segments. As seasons of life change, adjustments must be made.

4. Is it worth it?

This question I ask myself when going through difficult times. When planting a church, I once had very fierce opposition. Letters were written, usually unsigned. Phone calls were made. Secret meetings. Threats of withholding tithe. When going through the storm, I asked myself this question: in 20 years, when I look back, will I say to myself “it was worth it”? I decided it was. So we went ahead with the plans. That church is a thriving congregation now. It was worth it.

5. People that talk bad about the pastor who left, will eventually talk bad about you.

Even though we hate to admit it, it secretly feels good when you know you are improving on the previous administration. I have written in another blog about the need to watch out for the first person who wants to take you to lunch when you arrive. I have seldom met a person who complained about the previous pastor who was an asset to the church or to my ministry. There is a reason why they had issues, most times it wasn’t completely the previous pastor’s fault. Make this rule clear from the pulpit and in your leadership team: I will not entertain any conversations about my predecessor. Seek ways to affirm him/her.

What are your thoughts? Reply in comment section.

Next week:

Worship

Preaching

Leading

Family

Difficult Supervisors

No hace mucho tiempo atrás celebré mis primeros 20 años en el ministerio. Fue en realidad un par de años atrás, pero el título 22/22 no era muy atractivo, así que lo mantuve en 20. Durante las próximas 4 semanas voy a abrir mi corazón y compartir lo que considero las lecciones más importantes que he aprendido en el ministerio. Voy a tratar de ser práctico, real y útil. Esperemos que puedas aprender de mis errores y aciertos (más de lo primero para compartir con seguridad). Vamos a empezar:

1. La mayoría de conflictos en las iglesias es por el poder y el control. No es acerca de lo que crees que es. La mayoría de los conflictos que vas a ver no tiene nada que ver con asuntos de significado eterno. He encontrado que el problema detrás del problema es el poder y el control. ¿Quién decide? es la pregunta. Una de las cosas más peligrosas que puede hacer un pastor es quitarle poder a una persona. El mejor consejo que te puedo dar es éste: ten conversaciones difíciles temprano. Personas que son controladoras rara vez cambian.

2. Si no estableces límites, vas a salir atropellado. La mayoría de “emergencias”, no lo son. No te olvides de la iglesia, pero no juegues el papel del salvador. Sólo hay un esposo de la Iglesia, su nombre es Jesús. Yo era muy malo en esto. Me sentía culpable si yo no estaba trabajando. Si la gente se presentaba en mi casa sin avisar yo actuaba como si estuviera a punto de salir, ya sea de visita o para trabajar en mi sermón. Siendo que la gente va a hablar de todas maneras, asegúrese de establecer límites claros. Escríbelos. Póngalo en el acta de la junta. Dígalo de una manera positiva, pero sea firme. Trabaja duro. Descanse duro. Dado que en el ministerio no hay línea de llegada, debes decidir de antemano cuándo descansar.
3. Divida el día de la semana de trabajo en tres partes. Esto lo aprendí temprano en el ministerio y funcionó para mí. Dividí el día en tres partes: 8:00 am-12: 00pm 12:30 pm-4: 30pm 5:00 pm-8: 30pm Traté de hacer mi trabajo en dos de los tres y utilizar el otro para asuntos personales. Eso me dio un respiro y me mantuvo a cuentas. Cuando tuve hijos, me aseguré de que estaba en sus juegos y actividades, por lo que trabaje los primeros 2 segmentos. Como las estaciones de la vida cambian, se deben hacer ajustes.
4. ¿Vale la pena?Esta pregunta me la hago cuando paso por momentos difíciles. Cuando plantamos una iglesia, tuve muy feroz oposición. Cartas fueron escritas, por lo general sin firmar. Se hicieron llamadas telefónicas. Reuniones secretas. Amenazas de la retención del diezmo. Al pasar a través de la tormenta, me hice esta pregunta: en 20 años, cuando mire hacia atrás, ¿pensaría que “valió la pena”? Decidí que si. Así que seguimos adelante con los planes. Esa iglesia es una congregación próspera ahora. Valió la pena.
5. Las personas que hablan mal sobre el pastor que sale, con el tiempo hablaran mal de ti. A pesar de que nos cueste admitirlo, se siente secretamente bien cuando sabes que estas mejor que la administración anterior. He escrito en otro blog acerca de la necesidad de tener cuidado con la primera persona que quiere llevarte a almorzar cuando llegues. Pocas veces he conocido a una persona que se quejó del pastor anterior que fue de gran valor para la iglesia o para mi ministerio. Hay una razón por la que tenían problemas, la mayoría de las veces no era totalmente culpa del pastor anterior. Deje claro desde el púlpito y en su equipo de liderazgo: No voy a entretener ninguna conversación acerca de mi predecesor. Busque maneras de afirmarlo a él / ella.

¿Comentarios? Dejame saber que piensas.

Here is a message on patience, you may use, adapt, change or preach as is. Hope you enjoy it.

Download here:

 

Hope you are blessed by it.