Archives For July 2017

The first time people from the Branch Davidians came to our church they seemed inoffensive enough. Dressed in their black suits and carrying several EGW books they arrived early and joined a Sabbath school class (and promptly took it over). I found out from another colleague how they had to discipline several members because of the work of these people. They don’t do evangelism. They prey on your people. We asked them not to return, to no avail so we had them removed by authorities. It caused a bit of a stir and even some push back. We lost no members.

According to what I hear literally every week we have three major groups (there are more) that present insidious content and bring trauma to the church.
1. 2520 Prophecy
2. Branch Dividians/Shepperds Rod
3. Jesus was created. (I know its not the right name, but you know what I mean)

1. Pastor bad. Church bad. Us good.
2. We are the only ones that have new light.
3. Usually have a leader that can’t be questioned.
4. Use Ellen White to prove their point.

What to do:
1. Past history. Look and ask where they came from. 90% of the time, they had issues there.
2. Get on it early. It will get awkward and messy. Your choice is awkward and messy now for a bit or later with more victims, pain, and loss. Start interceding early so God exposes the lies.
3. Stop being Jesus. Let me ask you a question. Have you heard all those testimonies of people in these groups that because of the pastor’s work changed course? Yeah, me either. Some have. Sure. However, I do not want to live my life making decisions as if I am always the exception to the rule. Usually they are good leaders so you wonder what could have been if they would just change. They will not. God hasn’t been able to, but you can? Ok.
4. Inform your leadership and church administration. Do this early and often. Stop trying to fix everything without letting your administration know. One thing administrations hate is surprises when the bomb has already detonated and they have to come in a clean the mess.
5. Invite guests. Use your conference officials, seminary professors and university teachers to teach the church on these things. You won’t save everyone, but you will save many undecided.
6. Preach solid, biblical, Adventist sermons. They will still criticize them but reasonable people will see the lies. (you should have been doing this anyway)
7. Ask them to leave, especially SR. Church is not a public space. The earlier you do this the better.

Let me know how I can pray for you!

When I was an associate pastor, I thought my senior was clueless. Then I became a senior pastor. When I was a senior pastor, I thought for sure some conference people did not know what they were doing. Then I became a conference official and my attention centered on the union…

You get the point. The further away you are from a situation the easier it seems. That also applies to the people you work for.
Once in a while you get a bad boss. We all have had one. The boss from Hades. The mention of his/her name provokes an eye roll accompanied by a desire to throw up a little in your mouth. If the person you report to has issues here is some principles that can make this situation better.
Types of bosses:
1. The absent boss. They do not care. They welcome you to the team but are not accessible. This creates both opportunities and challenges. This used to be me. I am not a detail person so I just let people run free. Here is a bad idea: Give responsibility without instruction. Will make you say “what is my job description again?”
2. The controlling boss. “Run it by me first” is the favorite phrase. Even little details have to be approved first. Will make you question your decision-making prowess.
3. The insecure boss. Tough going with this one. The leadership quandary is this: shine and they want you gone for outperforming the boss. Relax and they will want to gone for not doing your job. Will make you say “oh boy, what now?”
4. The “I talk in code” boss. More like a passive aggressive pioneer. This boss will talk to everyone while wanting to address only one. Makes you say “is it me Lord?”
5. The clueless boss. Will talk like they know, but they don’t. Prefer status quo’s and use power point slides, data and references from the 90’s (if you’re lucky). Will make you say “what even is this?”

What you can do:
1. The absent boss. Ask for the job description at the interview. Remember that the interview is the best you and them will get along. Ask for feedback process, accessibility, etc. Preferably in writing. Ask for and schedule well in advance meetings to inform and ask questions.
2. The controlling boss. Over inform. It will get on your nerves, but so will a grumpy boss. Ask lots of questions. Information will not save you, but it will minimize the drama. Put in writing. Let me say that again, put in writing. Controlling people have selective memories.
3. The insecure boss. Flattery is your friend. Look for public ways to let them know you appreciate their leadership. Give them credit. Get a new job.
4. The “I talk in code” boss. Ask them directly if they were referring to you. Suspense is great for movies, not so much for workplace.
5. The clueless boss. Don’t roll your eyes. Whenever you can send them a gift of a resource you have found helpful and sneak those references into the conversation.
What other ideas have you found helpful?