- So I went on a bit of a rant here.
- Giving away a book here.
- Trying to live out my own words here.
- I used an awesome photo here.
- Selling a book I wrote here.
- This was the first year in the last 4 that I hadn’t made it to the Leadership Summit (simulcast), thankfully I had some friends who were there.
- Storytelling by Pixar. This has been passed around for awhile but still good.
- Sacred Cows and Trophy Rooms.
- The church and social media, in handy infographic form.
- Learn more than you teach. And 4 other ways to connect.
- What not to do when you are interrupted by someone’s cell phone.
- Mancini on being a more strategic church, loving his book by the way.
- What to look for when hiring a Student Pastor.
- N.T. Wright on women in ministry.
- Justin Taylor on David Barton.
- Rob Bell on homosexuality.
- Always a sucker for a books to read post.
- Matt Wade shares for mistakes made as a Rookie Pastor.
- 6 great games for Student Ministry.
- Who should plant a church?
- Delegate until it stings.
- Don’t hire them if…
- I’ve got a crazy week ahead of me and we are still figuring out this whole parenting thing. Appreciate all the support as things here at Rookie Pastor have suffered a bit. Starting to see some light and appreciate you hanging around.
Guess what, you are going to fail. And when you do it will hurt and you won’t really know what hit you.
You have a choice though. You can either move so cautiously and timidly that your fall is more of a collapse not far from where you started. Or you can move with boldness until you crash out spectacularly. The choice is embarrassment or pain.
Either way the good news is that you can always start over, no matter how much it hurts or how embarrassing it is we all get grace.
We aren’t looking too good at the moment folks.
First off the big story surrounds David Barton. The Evangelical author, founder of Wallbuilders (great message conveyed there), and self-proclaimed historian (he holds no advanced degrees in history). Barton has sold millions of books and is a favorite of some conservative political figures such as Glen Beck and Mike Huckabee. Primarily Barton focuses on proving that America is a Christian nation and was founded as such.
His latest book, Jefferson’s Lies, is his attempt to show that Jefferson was not a deist but in fact an Evangelical. This story from NPR covers the issues. It became such an issue that Thomas Nelson, the publisher, pulled the book and stopped printing it.
In Missouri a ballot measure passed that a student at a public school could opt out of an assignment for religious reasons. Unclear how exactly how the measure will be enacted practically, but it received nearly 80% of the vote.
I’m not trying to bash Barton, whose books I haven’t read, or the supporters of this ballot measure that is ambiguous in its enforcement.
I would like to point out how this is playing to those outside the church.
If Christians don’t believe in something they don’t have to accept it.
This further supports the notion that Christians are anti-intellectual. And to be honest both pieces of news made me cringe. Both conversations are taking on an “us vs. them” mentality. We saw this with Chic-Fil-A, we see this in the political climate of today and the last 30 years, and we see this in our local churches as more steps are taken to insulate as opposed to reach out.
Since when is everything a battle?
Have opinions and stick to your convictions but don’t be a jerk about it. Explain to me exactly how the faith of Thomas Jefferson or that a 10th grader doesn’t have to take a test that covers evolution builds the Kingdom?
We have nothing to fear, so how about we act like it.
We don’t because we don’t know how it will turn out.
We want and wait for a guarantee of success, but all we get is a guarantee of presence. God’s presence is incredible but often not good enough to push us to action.
The conversation never happens. New churches and ministries aren’t started. We hope things will work themselves out. Challenges aren’t issued, dreams aren’t pursued, and relationships never deepen.
Because we are afraid how things will turn out.
God calls us to action not to results.
Moses was given tools (staff) and relationships (Aaron and Miriam) to accomplish the Exodus, but Moses dies in the desert. Peter is given leadership in the early church, but he betrays Jesus in the process and is martyred in the end. David is made king, but wrecks his family and is forbidden from the crowning achievement of building the Temple because of his violent life.
Living in that moment of calling and identity is exciting and exhilarating. The newness of a fresh adventure feeds our egos but it does not sustain.
Sometimes we quit in the middle of it looking for something “more secure”. Or we never venture out past this calling as we wait for the right opportunity or we wait until the conditions are such that we feel we have assured success.
You and I are called to things that may be abject disasters. We could lose income or relationships, church plants and ministries may never take off, critical friends and families are proven correct. Things are a mess but we were obedient.
It is our crippling fear of failure that keeps us disobedient.
You and I will fail.
As followers of Christ we have to accept the fact that God has used failures to do incredible things. What if Peter hadn’t returned to the others to fish? What if Moses walked away from the ungrateful? What if David used his popularity and army to depose Saul before it was time?
Failure can serve a point if we move through it with the confidence of who we are and what our calling is.
Another great guest post in the Rookie Pastor Paternity Leave series.
One of the things Bible college or seminary doesn’t teach you, is how to handle finances in ministry. I am a rookie student pastor and money is not my thing. I either spend too much or save too much. I’m not the best with managing a budget and sometimes spend money on things that are not necessary. The good news is I’m learning. I’m learning how to save and spend when I need to. I’m learning how to manage a budget. I am doing what all good rookie pastors should do-learn.
From that opening paragraph your probably wondering why I am writing a post on financial dos and don’t. I am kind of wondering the same thing, but I do believe I have some practical advice that is helping me that will also help you.
Financial Don’ts for Rookie Pastors
- Waste your budget right out of the gate.
- Handle all your finances on your own.
- Spend it on “wants” of the ministry rather than “needs” of the ministry.
- Spend your own personal money for your ministry when you can use your budget.
Financial Do’s for Rookie Pastors
- Pray over your budget (Ask God to use it for His will)
- If you need help with finances, ask!
- Be open and honest about your spending from your budget.
I know this list is short, but I don’t believe we need to make finances any more complicated than they already are. God gives us money and resources to use to expand His kingdom. If there is any advice that I would say rookie pastors MUST remember is this-your money and the churches money is not yours, it’s God. Let Him use it the way He sees fit and follow His leadership.
Austin is currently a student pastor in NC. He enjoys working with students and training others to do the same. Check him out at www.austinmccann.com.
Tyler Braun wrote an important book you should read. And at the bottom of this post I’ll tell you how you can win a free copy.
Not because of a revolutionary concept. Or because he takes another pastor to task for a differing interpretation. No, Tyler addresses an issue we all know is important but we don’t talk about: holiness.
In Why Holiness Matters Braun goes after the issue that in our efforts to be authentic and welcoming we have neglected.
I connected most with his look at shame and failure, something we are all probably more familiar with than we would like. Shame is what prevents us (or at least me) from finding any sense of holiness, and shame doesn’t just go away. At the end of chapter on shame though he tied this issue of shame to our fear of failure.
A bit about Tyler and the book:
Tyler was kind of enough to do a blog interview, if you don’t win a free copy you should still buy a copy of the book.
This is part of a blog series that has 30 practical tips for the pastor looking to start or restart well. You can get the entire series as a Kindle book. The landing page will be updated with each new post.
Up to this point the focus has been on being and things to avoid as opposed to things that you should start. It may be prudent to not do much early on, but it is not realistic. Eventually you have to start.
You have been hired for a reason and people (elders, other staff, congregants) are going to expect you to actually do something. Hopefully you have found it hard to tap the brakes because it is much easier to slow down than it is to get started. Seth Godin has made a career on encouraging people to take action, and it has resonated because it does produce results.
Side note: if you find yourself stuck in a place of inaction you need to explore the fear or uncertainty that is holding you back. There is an underlying issue here that is only going to become more of a hindrance to your ministry and self-leadership.
So in that first month you need to cash in some of that relational equity and goodwill that comes in the honeymoon stage (don’t worry it will end soon enough). Put into motion a big event, program, or a creative experience. Just makes sure that you involve others in pulling it off.
First you get to share what could be. Rookie Pastors sometimes believe that casting vision begins and ends with words spoken from stage or written statements. We know that all of our well crafted words fall flat without corresponding action. Leaders have to go first and show people what it looks like. By rolling something new out you get a chance to cast your vision in a more complete way.
Second, as you plan one big thing you have a chance to bring people into the process thus creating all-important buy in. One of the most important thing you can do as a pastor and a leader is to help people find ways to use their gifts and talents for the sake of the Kingdom.
People see it, they live it and advocate for it. Besides you can’t do all on your own anyway.
Another great guest post in the Rookie Pastor Paternity Leave series.
For the pastor, the people he chooses to allow into his relational inner circle will be one of the most important decisions affecting ministry. Your spouse will reside in this area, but relying on a spouse alone to be wise counsel, sounding board, and trusted friend is an unfair burden.
Quite commonly and without hesitation, people are picked that artificially build up the pastor’s sense of self. It may be time to take a step back and evaluate who does and does not belong in your pastor’s inner circle. Common personalities to give distance to include:
- Cheerleaders. It is not wrong to have cheerleaders in your life, just not in your inner circle. A cheerleader cheers success (which sets them apart from an encourager). They make you feel valuable. You’ll notice them riding your coattails and showing up at the office or on the phone when something big happens. But, when the success disappears, so will they.
- Those who have a vested interest in your success. It is not unwise to have an elder from your church in your inner circle or a staff member. But refrain from populating your closest friends and advisors with all (or even a majority) of people tied to your success. While godly people, they will have a more difficult time being truthful with you, because they perceive their success as tied to yours. This was my Achilles heal in my associate pastor role at a previous church, and the inability to deal with me truthfully led to my behavior not being challenged.
- Powerful, popular, successful, influential. When these people walk through the door of your church, you notice them along with everyone else. They are a quick fix for your identity, for being friends with them gives your value by association. But like any other idol, you will end up being a slave. Doing what is necessary, sometimes compromising, in order to maintain the relationship.
As you look around in your inner circle, ask yourself – Is this person on the difficult journey to know Christ with me? Are there seasons of give and take in this relationship or is it all give? As I confess to this person, will I be shown compassion? If there is an issue, will they attempt to get to the heart of it or give me commands? Am I willing to be vulnerable allow this person to know the real me?
Do not be passive in this vital area of your life that affects everything, including your ministry.
Scott Perkins has learned the lessons of being a pastor – rookie or not – the hard way and writes from that experience. Presently he is the Director of Connections at Grace Orlando and blogs about identity, spirituality, and relationships at http://choosetotrust.com. You can contact him anytime at email@example.com
Another great guest post in the Rookie Pastor Paternity Leave series.
My wife and I exited the Dunkin Donuts with a purpose: to enjoy the chocolate-dipped cream-filled goodness that we had just purchased. Keys in my hand, I hit the remote as we left the building, and as the door unlocked, the old man standing next to our car came alive. Shuffling towards us, he stared intently in my eyes and handed me a brochure. Before I could say anything, he quickly asked me, “Have you been saved by Jesus Christ?”
As I mentally face-palmed, I politely told him, (cue friendly smile,) that “Actually, Sir, I’m attending school to be a pastor.” This did not deter him.
Immediately, he replied sternly with, “But have you been saved?” Mentally, my face was taking quite a bruising.
But it didn’t stop there.
He invited me back to his trunk so he could share with me the amazing variety of tracts he has to offer. Meanwhile, my wife was sitting in our air conditioned car enjoying her doughnut.
Being an evangelical, there’s that underlying reality that we are to evangelize; we are to go into the world and make disciples. I can appreciate that, but there is a right way and a wrong way. It should go without saying that if your way includes either leaving a tract as a tip, or popping open the trunk of your Cadillac (which, I might add, could hold at least 4 bodies,) then you’re probably well into the “wrong way” territory.
It seems like I woke up one day about 6 months ago and realized that we had become an Apple family. I never had strong feelings one way or another in the Mac/PC debate but we were eventually won over by the products and we gradually made the switch. Once there I even read the Steve Jobs biography and like everyone else learned about the man, the brand and how they were one in the same.
I don’t have the direct quote but I remember reading that Jobs influenced the decision to market the products and the products alone. Starting with the iPod commercials with dancers in silhouette and the device and headphones in white to the product on black or white backgrounds with a hand interacting with the device. Even the initial Siri commercials only showed the actor’s mouths and not their entire faces. The product was the star.
Then I saw this during the Olympics.