Archives For June 2016

Unless your name is Andy Stanley, you probably don’t hit home runs every time you speak, but there are things you can do to bring that batting average up from the Mendoza line. Let’s start with things to avoid:

  1. Don’t go on forever.

I know, we should start with the beginning but frankly this can disengage people more than you know. Land the plane. Even if you don’t finish strong, please finish. I’m absolutely sure you can add information to your talk, but good speakers are dexterous with the scalpel. Dexterous. Now there’s a word for you.

  1. Don’t chase rabbits.

Stay on point. That’s why I preach with points. Since I am prone to wonder in more ways than one, it makes me stay focused. I strongly suggest you listen to yourself. When I recommend to pastors I always get push back about not liking to listen to yourself talk. Ok, but you want everyone else to? Doesn’t make sense to me. If you can’t summarize in a phrase what you are speaking on this weekend it’s not ready.

  1. Don’t delay your departure.

Come out like a boxer, swinging. No one cares about all the people you are thanking and all the small talk you’re making because you’re nervous. Miss me with all the preliminaries. If you don’t get to it, people get going. They might not leave the building; they just leave you. Also, see #1.

  1. Don’t try to be funny.

In fact, don’t try to be anything. I believe that humor can lower defenses and appropriately used will be helpful. The best humor is natural, its self-deprecating and not at the expense of other. The great evangelists like E. E. Cleveland always used humor, in the context of the message and it flowed. If you are not a funny guy, you’re not a funny guy. The pulpit doesn’t change you, it just squeezes out what’s inside of you.

  1. Don’t miss the gospel.

If you can’t connect the gospel to your message, you don’t need to be preaching it. I can get good advice from people much better qualified than you. I need the good news. Since the main purpose of a gospel message is heart transformation, not just behavior modification, there is only one thing that can do it: It’s called the G.O.S.P.E.L.


Share what your thoughts about things not to do.

Ministry is great. Except when it isn’t. But most of the time is awesome! I wish I had known these 10 things BEFORE I started.

  1. If you close your church on a Sabbath, you seldom make up those tithes and offerings. I wish it was different and people returned a faithful tithe no matter what. Not the case. Prepare to adjust for 10-30% in loss of income that month.
  2. The person who invites you to eat first when you arrive at a new district has the same name everywhere: Hidden Agenda. I always tell pastors to be careful of the one who has nothing good to say, nothing bad to say or invites you first when you get there.
  3. It is hard to rise above the fray and preach biblically and not reactively to people that hate you, want you gone and are actively working to make your life hard. Every church has them. Good people move away and die. These people stay forever!
  4. People will expect you to promote, enhance and sustain ineffective programs you had absolutely no part in creating. My thanks to one of my favorite writers, Pastor Shawn Brace for this one.
  5. Every church has selective conservatives. For example a pastor I know was hit hard for having an Easter Outreach. The people that were upset called him on the carpet about paganism etc. They had a conversation with him with the backdrop of a floor to ceiling bar. Alcohol is OK I guess, as long as you don’t look for eggs one Sunday a year. (Thanks to Kendall Turcios for this one)
  6. It is seldom about preserving pure doctrine. It’s more often than not about control.
  7. The smaller the church the greater the potential for one person to control it. It usually is not you. (see #6)
  8. Everyone wants to reach the lost. As long as they are not like, super lost. We prefer semi-saved people.
  9. Everyone wants to be innovative as long as you keep everything the same. That happens when we fall in love with methods, marry them and have children. There is a need to teach the difference between:




  1. “We don’t believe in traditional evangelism” is usually code for we don’t do any evangelism. We just hope people see our sign or our 1992 webpage and come in.

Thanks for reading!