Category Archives: Patrick Nix

Baptist Dysfunction #3

As we walk through the list of Baptist distinctives, we come to an issue of church polity and practice. Jesus Christ entrusted the church with many things, two of which get a special spotlight (and rightly so): Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. There’s not a lot of controversy here, but I’ve got a few questions about these…

SacramentsStainedGlass01Two Church Ordinances

#1 – Believer’s Baptism

I know why we baptize believers – in obedience to Christ, for identification with His death and His church, and to proclaim the gospel. I also get the picture from the New Testament that baptism symbolized rebirth, so why can’t a believer be re-baptized when he rededicates his life? What would be the issue with re-preaching the gospel or identifying again with the church if one has become distant? Why can’t a Christian be baptized again? I mentioned that idea one time to some Christian leaders and they shot it down with disdain. Their answer was, ‘Well Jesus only died on the cross once, so you should only get baptized once.’  Not only does than answer lack basic logic, but it also implies an unhealthy connection to salvation.

Furthermore, at what point did churches get so particular about ‘receiving’ the baptism from other churches? I understand that some baptisms are given under false pretense (as if it is part of salvation) or by the wrong mode (sprinkling instead of immersion), but why do we dismiss baptisms from other brethren? Is it to pad our numbers? Is it because we are that distrusting of their water districts? I truly don’t get it!

Also, why don’t we work as hard for baptisms as we do salvation decisions? Why do we compare our baptism numbers (isn’t that a little self-aggrandizing)?  Some don’t, but many IFB pastors worship the numbers… or rather worship themselves through the numbers. They judge their entire lives by how many are in the pew on Sunday. If we count, we should count how many families had devotions this week, or how many people showed real patient love with a difficult person, or many hours our church spent praying for their co-workers… Those numbers are worth counting (if you’re gonna count)!

#2 – The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper was given to the church as a sacred sacrament. It’s one of the major things that we are urged to do together that reveals the gospel. Some churches practice it once a year, others once a quarter, while others once a month. So why don’t we do it more often? I’ve know…because we don’t want it to get old / ritualistic… Right! So why do we do it exactly the same way every single time? We read the same verses and the same people pass the trays the same way. Every. Single. Time. Why? Would it be a sin to be creative with communion?

With regard to the ordinances, why -in most churches- are only ordained men allowed to participate?  I have never seen anything more beautiful than a father baptizing his child or when parents lead their family in communion.  Just because the church was entrusted with these doesn’t mean we get to monopolize them! Agree? (And by the way, I think foot-washing should be considered… maybe not as an ordinance, but at least practiced occasionally. Humility & soap would go a long way to clean up some of the stink in our churches!)

 

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Baptist Dysfunction #2

phariseesI was raised believing in the old BAPTIST
acrostic (below). These are the things that supposedly made us ‘distinctive’ in our faith. But as I’m reading and learning, I’m discovering that most -if not all- of these do not mean what they used to… what they’re supposed to. If you haven’t yet, you should catch up by reading Part 1 here.  This post will focus on the Priesthood of the Believer & Individual Soul Liberty. (I’ve decided not to go in the order below, but to group them by their logical sequence.)

B- Biblical Authority
A- Autonomy of the Local Church
P- Priesthood of the Believer
T- Two Church Offices
I- Individual Soul Liberty
S- Saved & Baptized Church Membership
T- Two Church Ordinances

NOTE: Some readers of my last article noted that I write with an evident hurt buried deep inside.  I can’t really identify one singular pain… but I do recognize certain ‘sore spots’ that are sensitive to me. This article, in particular, will really reveal a couple of issues that can affect my blood pressure in a negative way.

P – Priesthood of the Believer

The Bible teaches (1 Peter 2:5) that believers are priests, each having his/her own access to God.  Since Jesus is our High Priest, we need no other mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).  So why do so many IFB pastors stand in this role?  Why do so many say things like: “Before you buy a home or change jobs, you should consult your Pastor.”?  Why do they set themselves up as some kind of ‘priest’ that can divine and/or discern God’s will for the membership? I’ve heard preachers use a church member who didn’t get his advice as an illustration for foolishness or rebellion! I’m a firm believer in getting counsel, but I also believe that Christians don’t need to ask their pastor for permission to buy a car!  Then they take it a step further and take the initiative to assign standards for every family (what to wear, what to listen to, where not to go…), leaving little room for the Holy Spirit to convict.  I believe our standards are far too low & too many!

In addition, the IFB movement has become so governed by a ‘performance’ theology. We’ve lost touch with grace. Why do we continually allow our leaders to set the measurements for us?  Doesn’t the Bible say that when we compare ourselves by and with ourselves we are not wise? Yet we continue to do it – we feed off of it, and it becomes a way of life. Read more about this here.

We define our spirituality by checklists of do’s and don’ts and we let other the fear of man dictate the lists. It’s more human to call a suit & tie your church clothes than to really obey Colossians 3:12-14. After all, it’s easier to measure the visible than the unseen. I still do it (far more than I even realize) and it is sin. The fear of man is a snare! For me, it took a long time to “find myself” after leaving the pretense that I was under, in large part because I had always defined myself by another man’s opinion / approval. It was a terrible mixture of my own insecurities fostered by the emphasis on performance by those surrounding me.

I – Individual Soul Liberty

Much of what defines IFB churches are ‘standards.’  Unknowingly, churches are bound in the culture war more than they are in a war for doctrinal #oldpaths. In the 1950’s, when the Convention was going south (waffling on major fundamentals), a remnant of Biblicists separated from the whole and became Independent, Fundamental Baptists.  In so doing, they became defined by their culture. Women wore skirts, churches used only hymns (with piano music) and black-bound King James Bibles, and preaching against ‘movie houses’ was common.

Examples abound… A pastor-friend was asked to leave his church in the 70’s because his son wore a white belt.  I know a man who wouldn’t let his wife wear pantyhose because they were ‘split-legged.’ I heard about an addiction program which required all participants to wear proper attire. If they didn’t have any, they were provided with disposable plastic skirts (for the ladies) to wear during the class.  No wonder it never got off the ground!

We have become so wrapped up in the externals. How refreshing would it be if we could go to a conference (IFB) and not to hear messages entrenched in legalistic manipulation. (Is Legalism a Bad Word?)  We’ve used some Biblical words to justify our shallow preaching when — according to Jesus himself — there are far weightier matters to attend to!!  The IFB movement is becoming known for its Pharisee-ism, and it doesn’t seem that much is being done to turn that around.  That’s not the fringe, that’s the mainstream. And, thankfully, the younger generation of new fundamentalists are not willing to stand for some of these non-essentials or die in a culture war that their parents / grandparents started!

Romans 14 provides limits for Christians who are ‘strong’ in their faith as they help the ‘weaker.’  It clearly states (v5) that we need to let every man to be fully convinced in his own mind.  What that means is… Give people the space to come to their own conclusions and form their own convictions.  I can hear it now… “But I’ve given them 3 months and he still hasn’t cut his hair. “Well that’s just crazy! Do you expect people to make up their own mind? What if they don’t decide to give up _________, what then?  “I don’t think that she’ll stop wearing britches unless I talk to her about it.”  I know, right!!  Christian liberty is a dangerous thing.  Sticky stuff here, folks.  Which is precisely why we can’t get too far from Matthew 7… the splinter & the plank.

Brothers, we’ve lost sight of grace and become lost in our religion that emphasizes fancy footwork and performance.  Let’s get back to grace and leave the condemnation behind (Gal. 5:1). Just because you change doesn’t mean you’re compromising. Jesus was hated because he was too far ‘left’ for the Fundamentalists of his day… so that puts you in good company!

 

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Baptist Dysfunction #1

I have so encouraged to see a resurgence among young independent fundamental baptists calling for a revolution back to truth. It is encouraging to hear the stories from so many who are prayerfully seeking balance in their faith, their families, and their ministries.  For too long, legalists have ruled, dictators have oppressed, and ignorance prevailed. [If you’re a rebel, don’t click here.]

church_clipart_whiteI sincerely apologize if that sounds condescending – I know it’s hard to interpret tone on a blog – but I can vouch for the guy at the keyboard… it’s not at all condescending. I am very much a student. I am in process. I’m still growing – hopefully – toward Christ. But I do find issue with some things that many of my IFB friends continue to practice and preach. I have been silent, had quiet conversations with gentlemen in dark corners (okay, that’s a bit overstated and dramatic); but seriously, I feel like it’s time for me to step up and speak up…

I was raised on the old B-A-P-T-I-S-T acrostic.  The one that supposedly made us ‘distinctive’ in our faith. But as I’m reading and learning, I’m discovering that most -if not all- of these are not exactly as they seem. So, today I’m kicking off a 4- or 5-part discourse on our dysfunction. I will seek to be open and not authoritative, subjective and not snobbish, truthful but not negative. These first two deal with the F and the I of IFB…

B- Biblical Authority

Can I still be included as a “fundamentalist” – even if I don’t ascribe to all the extra standards? I had a preacher tell me once that the issue of women wearing pants should be included with the fundamentals (as in: biblical inerrancy, deity of Christ, etc). True story! Why can’t we fellowship if we aren’t exactly the same? (If Amos 3:3 applies like you say it does, then our churches should be a lot smaller.)  Speaking of that, why do we intentionally exclude people from our church?  For example, a friend’s church has a statement like this on their wall: “If you like the KJV, you’ll love this church!” What about someone who doesn’t know about Bible versions, will they love it? What if someone just loves the Lord, will they love your church… or just like it?  Why do we do that?  It sure doesn’t seem like the Bible is the ‘sole authority’ any more. (Speaking of the KJV, I’ve got Bible version questions, do you?) Seems more like Bible+ or Bible*! It’s as if I’m in the twilight zone and I’m the only one who sees that we are doing what we accused everyone else of.

We are not the only bastions of the truth. There IS more than one right way. Yes, there is right and wrong, black and white, and absolute truth. There are right ways to do things, just like there are wrong ways, but God’s will is not a tight-rope to be walked. Why am I saying this?  Because I was told many times that there was only one right way, but many wrong ways.  That’s nothing short of a lie.  God didn’t just create butterflies, He created over 12,000 varieties.  He loves variety.  Why do we demand sameness in our pursuit of unity and agreement?  Why do we force Borg-like assimilation? ‘Comply or be destroyed.’  Why is there no room for discussion, disagreement, or debate?  (More to come on this in the next few weeks… the P & I)

A – Autonomy of the Local Church

Why was I told that Southern Baptists (and other baptists, for that matter) are not autonomous? Unless you think autonomous means isolated, there are many other kinds of churches besides IFB which are self-governing. Baptists are not the only sovereign group. There are independent Christian churches, non-denom, and even autonomous protestants (settle down, that’s not an endorsement). When I was starting a church outside of Louisville, I was told there were no “gospel-preaching churches” in the county.  That was a lie! There were several.  Just because they aren’t IFB doesn’t mean they don’t have the gospel. I can name you at least 3-4 pastors in that county preaching the gospel and teaching evangelism (and practicing it). I regret not working with these great men many years earlier.  The tragedy is that I bought the lie that I couldn’t be ‘equally yoked’ with these men.  Lies!

IFB preachers are lonely and their fellowship meetings are growing boring. (Sorry for being Debbie Downer here, but we continue to isolate in the name of Biblical separation.)  There are great men who passionately love the Lord who are quickly discounted because they carry an ESV, sing a song written after 1950, or wear shorts in church. The term “ecclesiastical separation” has been egregiously misused and, therefore, been the tool of many a leader to abuse a congregation into cultish tendencies. Calling a man a heretic because he believes in God’s sovereignty and election (which are both Biblical terms) is sin. He is a brother – treat Him like one (but not like you treated your brother growing up, that probably wouldn’t be good!). I’m a firm believer in defending the truth, but destroying kingdom relationships and firing your #oldpaths bullets at brothers MUST cease.

Last year, I attended a conference where a prominent IFB pastor from Southern California was preaching.  He was very organized, very classy… until he proceeded to turn his message into a bash ‘Saddleback Sam’ (his words) session.  Three different times, he kept going back to it. Why? Is he jealous? Did RW do something to hurt him or his children? This guy isn’t fringe, he’s a leader.  He’s respected; his church is booming.  So why? When I wrote to him, he didn’t respond back.  I just don’t get it.

Conclusion

I’m NOT writing this to stir up stuff. In fact, for the last year, I’ve been almost totally out of the loop – and I LOVING it!  The P4G blog has sat quiet as I (and many other contributors) have been very busy for the kingdom, and that’s okay.  But two things have stirred this up in my heart: 1). Recent weddings/ funerals which have caused me to cross paths with several good brothers with genuine concerns;  2). Recent conversations with former church members with multiple questions about these very issues.

I am not a leader, so don’t follow me (Ha! Like I really needed to say that anyway!). I’ve found my tribe and it’s not in the IFB… although I’m still very much I, F, and B! So many men are considering deep questions. Questions that their peers don’t want to hear.  They are weighing the evidence. and nothing could be better for the movement. They shouldn’t have to choose between old paths and right paths!  Could a Truth-Revolution be on its way?

Feel free to leave a comment – a positive one. I’d love to hear how your pastor is different from the ones that I keep hearing about. Surprise me. Please be solution-oriented.  If indeed our movement is sinking, should a Christian jump ship or try to bail water? Is it too late or am I just not patient enough? What is the future of ‘fundamentalism?’  What do you think of this new fundamentalism?

Article by Patrick Nix

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The Next Big Thing

The screaming-fast pace of technology keeps churches scrambling to keep up – at least the ones I’ve been involved in.  It seems like we’re always a step behind, a day late, a dollar short!  In some cases, the technology really doesn’t apply (or is too difficult / expensive to justify the investment), but in most cases, pastors and ministry leaders – with any real desire to impact their community and this generation – understand that it will involve a certain level of technology to be influential in this age.  Here is the NEXT big thing:

mobile church sites & apps

If you miss this, you’re missing a HUGE open door (see Col. 4:3; Rev. 3:8).

IMG_0787

Graphic from http://www.thechurchapp.org/ [not an endorsement]

As smartphones and tablets continue to develop, as WiFi and 4G networks expand, as people become more and more transient, this trend is coming faster than the super-train from Boston to DC.  My son, Austin, recently finished a school project on the evolution of cell phones (and got a 100% BTW); it’s a short presentation that’s well worth the read!

1st-thing

In 2012, there were 155.1 million smartphone users.

This year, there are 181.4 million smartphone users.

It is projected that 222.4 million will be smartphone users by 2017.

While some traditionalists and purists still argue about the use of screens, projectors, podcasts in the church, others are using the media very inexpensively and effectively to reach people with life-changing truth. I wrote about that here.  It’s NOT too expensive. It’s NOT too hard to do it yourself. Stop believing that lie!  Here is a clean & simple site that I compiled and offer to you [FREE, no strings attached!].

I’m curious: What do you think is the most important medium / technology to ‘do’ ministry? Is a mobile app better than a mobile site? Which is the most effective?  Why?  I can’t wait to read your responses…

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Empowering Reasons to Say ‘IDK’

5823288833_IDK_answer_3_xlargeFor years, I just couldn’t say it. I don’t know why, but I would say anything except those dreaded three words. Three simple words: “I don’t know.”  Why are they so difficult to say?  It’s because we have to admit a measure of ignorance.  It’s humbling.  But I want to encourage you to not fear saying IDK any more.  Saying “I Don’t Know” is very powerful.  To admit that you don’t know is to empower yourself because:

IDK is not threatening to others. Pride is abrasive while humility is disarming.  When you admit you don’t know, you disarm others’ defenses. Most people (whether they realize it or not) operate on the philosophy of ‘Law to the proud; grace to the humble.’  Saying “I don’t know” allows you a certain grace afforded usually to rookies.

IDK invites collaboration and builds teamwork.  If you’re interested in doing something great – then you know it can’t be done alone. Saying “I don’t know” gets the ball rolling to really make a difference and do something big!

IDK criques the status quo. When approached the right way, “I Don’t Know” queries deep into the heart of big ideas.  It merits honest answers and opens the doors of understanding.

I am proud to say that I’m more humble than I used to be (*sarcasm) – and I readily admit that “I don’t know.”  And I’m excited to say that it’s paying off!  What about you?  Have you ever had trouble saying “I don’t know” or is that something you are good at?

RELATED POST:  5 Practical Ways to Question Authority

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3 Things I Learned from Joel Osteen

osteenA wise man once said that he could learn from anyone… did you catch that?  He was wise… because he didn’t let anyone stand in his way of growth.  Not their successes or their failures. Not their preferences, their convictions, their methods, their mannerisms, their eccentricities.  We would be wise to learn from this as well… everyone can teach you something!  Some might teach you WHAT to do, HOW to live, WHY, WHEN – but others might teach you why, how, and what NOT to do!

Here are three lessons that I learned from the pastor of the world’s largest church:

I learned that a smile goes a lot further than a shout

Osteen is known for his trademark smile (it’s almost creepy how much he grins, isn’t it!?).  But the fact is – warm joy takes truth further into the soul than the cold call of duty.  Happy creatures are magnetic while negative ones polarize.  The good news is truly that — good news!  How tragic when the good news is delivered with a frown or a tone of judgment.  I realize that the gospel incorporates ‘negative’ elements of sin and God’s wrath, of blood and death… but it’s overarching message is one of hope and grace.  Share His love with a smile.

Warm joy takes truth further into the soul than the cold call of duty.

I learned that hope is a powerful thing

In his book, Osteen challenges the reader to believe in himself because of the ‘Champion’ within.  He convinces his audience that he believes in them, that they need to believe that things will not always be the same as they are right now, that they don’t have to live under the circumstances, and that they should take action to change their lives right now.  This is powerful because it offers people hope and a promise.  Personally, I believe that the source of hope needs to be more than just believing in yourself; it should be sourced in the great truth that God believes in you (although Osteen might see this as semantics / splitting hairs).  How might God use you to give hope to someone who is struggling today?  Believe in them because God does!

I learned that God can use anyone

Although Osteen was a PK (preacher’s kid), he has readily admitted that he didn’t see himself in the pulpit.  He avoided the spotlight and felt much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.  But, in spite of my many critiques of his methods and quirkiness, I believe that God is bigger than my level of tolerance or acceptance of his ministry.  I should admit that God IS using him to share the gospel and bring glory to His name.  God’s grace is bigger than anyone can imagine.  Don’t get me wrong… I’ll not soon throw the baby out with the bathwater. I would never deny hell or the sinfulness of sin on national TV (like he did on Larry King Live) – but then I’ll not answer to God for what Joel Osteen has done, will I?  I’ll try to keep my eyes on my own life and keep myself in check.  Aren’t you glad God uses us all in different people in different ways?  To think… Wow, God can even use me (and you)!

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Give the Band a Pat on the Back

It was late in the third quarter, we’d lost our momentum, and we were down by 4 after having a good lead at the half. That’s when I heard it… the school band!  They had been playing the whole game, but that’s when I realized how important they really were.  At that moment I enjoyed them, but I also felt sorry for them.  All of us wearing blue and black had the wind knocked out of us by the other team – yet they were having to suck it up and play despite their emotions.  We were all spectators to the sad event, but they were still playing with all their hearts.  Why? It’s their job to lift the crowd, to lead our spirits, to get us back in the game – even when they didn’t feel like it.

Thank God for the Band – thank God for the Encouragers!

If you have a pastor or spiritual leader, mentor, teacher, or counselor – I want you to think of them for a minute a little like that band.  When you get the wind knocked out of you, who is there to help you and lift you up?  Who is still actively participating while you’re just a spectator? Even when they don’t feel up to it, who is it that sings into your life?  My heart goes out to those who encourage others, even when they themselves are so discouraged they have trouble believing.  I know, I’ve been there.

When the game was over, the score didn’t matter – because the band had captured my attention. I felt both gratitude and pity.  Thank God for the band – thank God for the Encouragers.  And don’t take that person – or those people who make a difference by keeping you in the game – for granted.  Take time today to give your band a pat on the back. Take a minute to jot a note or make the call to encourage your encourager!

Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.  
– Galatians 6:6

BTW – you can visit our band site here… Thanks SCHS Band!

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Greater Things

metamorphosis-monarch-butterflyChange is uncomfortable.  Transitions aren’t usually enjoyable – but they are absolutely necessary … if we intend on growing.  Passing the baton, moving from one stage to another, rising to another level, turning the page into a new chapter.  These are all metaphors we use to describe transitions.

Certain seasons are more wondrous than others… but the season of transition isn’t generally one of them.  As many of you know, I’ve been in transition mode for the last few months (read more).  My family-life looks very different, we have changed addresses, we travel different paths, and we work different jobs.  A lot has changed in the last few months which is probably why Phillip Phillips’ Home (listen here) resonated with me the first time I heard it:

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Not only is the Lord using this transition to grow Joy and I – but he is also using this to help others through us as He teaches us the principles of transition… (from Numbers 27:18-23). We are learning of “Greater Things” that Christ referred to in John 14.

picture-7

Greater Things begin with the Word of God

You can call it what you want: a prompting, a calling, a gut-feeling, a burden, a ‘spirit’ – just be sure that your move begins with God’s will and not your own.  God is sovereign and His choices should and must supersede yours.  Affirm that your decision to move – or that the transition that you’re in – is based upon truth – because it’s only the truth that truly transforms (Romans 12:1-2).

Faith is taking the first step – the next step –
without knowing where the rests of the steps will take you.

Duncan Campbell’s account of the Lewis Awakening has always challenged me to be a better listener of God’s still, small voice.  In recent years, Mark Batterson’s Wild Goose Chase has done much the same to stir my heart to the grand adventure of truly trusting Christ with audacious faith.

Greater Things come when we follow a Biblical process

We can’t circumvent the system. There are no shortcuts to following God.  For example, Jesus was clear about discipleship: Take up your cross, deny yourself, forsake this world, and follow Him.  Even though I’m way out of my routine and habits, I can’t neglect those spiritual disciplines that brought me this far: Scripture reading and meditation, prayer, faithful worship in church, being a good steward, sharing my faith with others… It does no good to try to cheat the transition [waiting] process.  It takes time – that’s part of it. In fact, that’s not just part of it – that’s it… Slow down and allow your heart to connect more fully to His.  So be patient and stick it out.  Right now, I’m preaching to myself.  I’m still up in the air, literally, in a holding pattern.  We’ve lifted off by faith and left our comfortable place of 14 years.  It’s a daily process of crying out to the Lord to take care of us and not let us fall flat on our faces.  And in the midst of this painful process, I’m still amazed at how easily I’m distracted from my spiritual quests.

Greater Things happen in the Presence of God

As the great general, Joshua, was about to nervously lead Israel into victory (although he didn’t know the end of the story yet), God gave him the greatest promise a leader could have:

Be strong and of a good courage;
be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:
for the Lord thy God is with thee…  Joshua 1:9

Joshua would have the courage and zeal that Moses never had.  He would experience opportunities Moses was never afforded, because He trusted in the presence of God like Moses never could.  I need the presence of the Lord in order to have this kind of courage.  I know better than to trust in my self (been there, done that).  Christ’s presence in us – as believers – makes it possible for us to see and experience Greater Things.  He planted the seed, and now we get to see it blossom and bear fruit.  He hid the yeast in the dough, and now we get to see it rise… In this difficult transition, yet with great expectation, I look ahead, confident that He which began the good work in me will keep completing it until the day He calls me home!  [Phil. 1:6]

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Stuck?

I recently had the opportunity to attend a 1-day conference in Middle Tennessee at GVBC called ‘Stuck.’  This was not their first rodeo and you could tell.  They knew how to encourage pastors and church ministry leaders.  It was well-worth the 400 miles!  Kudos to Pastor Locke, the staff, worship team, and the church ladies who took care of the eats!  I feel compelled to pass on what I got out of the keynote session called

Top Reasons Churches Get
-[& Stay]- STUCK:

1. The lead pastor is not growing.  He is a catalyst for growth.  Everything rises and falls on -you guessed it- leadership! (-Lee Roberson)

“I’m not dying without trying.” (-GL)

2. No clearly-defined DNA.  If you can’t write down your church’s mission / vision on your palm – it’s too bulky and people will never remember it.  Not even your best people!  The church needs to know who you are and why you exist.

3. An aversion to technology and cultural advancement.  The website is the new front door of your church (more).  The hot-word today is contextualization.  Preach like they did in the past – but apply it to the days of the present!

4. An unwillingness to ask people to leave.  Some people are not part of the team.  They are not on board with your DNA and never will be.  Trying to keep them involved only deepens the problem (and your discouragement as a leader).  It’s not worth it!

New converts are never the ones who complain about the paint, the drum, etc.  It’s always the ‘transfers’ who are the most petty!

5. It’s structured for control rather than growth.  BR Lakin said: Beware of the church with two last names.  Some churches are run by a select few (a key family, the deacon board) and will never grow beyond those who dictate it.  It’s possible to have too many voices speaking into the vision of the church.  If you can’t trust your leadership, then you’ve got the wrong team!

6. Operating totally out of context.  Know your demographic.  You have an era – serve your “generation.”  You have an area – serve your “nation.”  Has your ‘target‘ audience been identified?  Do you really mean it when you say: Everyone Welcome!?  Really?  What about addicts, the homeless, hookers, the deaf, the bi-polar?  Are you ready to help them?

People want to hear your heart, but they are tired of hearing your head.

7. A lack of faith to operate out of the box – but by the book.  Zeal is the forgotten virtue, replaced by knowledge.  Look at the Old Testament prophets (Jeremiah, Hosea, etc.).  They totally destroyed the box of ‘How-to-Do-Ministry.’

8. An understanding of the gospel is merely assumed (especially in the Bible-belt / South).  Lost people are filling churches and, with their votes, controlling them.  Jesus gave no concessions for people claiming Christ who are not involved in church.

In Addition, Pastor Locke Gave 5 Pieces of Advice of Getting Unstuck…

1. Don’t pastor from a bitter heart or with a point to prove (spite and anger are terrible motivators).
2. Don’t allow the church to become to dependent on your personality as pastor – build a team of leaders.
3. Don’t build the church your critics want – build the church your community needs!
4. Don’t allow angry church people to make you an angry family man (leave that junk in the office).
5. Don’t read the Bible for material – develop the discipline of personal, private meditation for your own soul.

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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Top 10 Mistakes Leaders Make

I just found my notes from Hans Finzel’s book – a must-read for any pastor / church leader.  Just in case you’re like me and already have 3-4 books going at this moment and don’t really have time or energy to add another book to the list – here are the ‘cliff-notes’ version:  (Don’t miss #9 – it’s my favorite!)

1. Top-down Attitude
This is the “mother of all leadership hang-ups.”  Based on the military model, this autocratic model is set to be abused.  It promotes talking instead of listening and often neglects the art of delegation.

2. Putting Paperwork before People-work
People are opportunities – not interruptions.  Need-meeting is at the core of leadership and ministry.

3. The Absence of Affirmation
People thrive on sincere praise and appreciation.  Don’t underestimate the power of a ‘thank-you note.’ Do your best to catch people doing good and be generous with your compliments.  The ratio of positive to negative should be no less than 6:1.

4. Beware of not Making Room for Mavericks
People with different ideas are often pushed to the side by their leaders.  Make room for independent thinkers by creating an atmosphere of innovation.  Creativity has been terribly stifled in today’s churches.

5.  Dictatorship in Decision-making
You can’t delegate philosophy – only procedure.  Don’t think you are the only one who can do it. The one who does the job usually knows best how it’s done and how it might be improved.  The best ideas usually bubble up from the bottom – not from the bureaucrats!

6. Dirty Delegation
One of the most frustrating things to an employee or a volunteer is to be assigned something with no authority to do it.  Sometimes the job given has so many strings attached to it, that the worker is afraid to make a move.  Don’t be afraid of losing your authority – and don’t give into your tendency to micro-manage.  There is nothing that crushes morale and causes resentment quicker than this!

7. Communication Chaos
Never assume – NEVER.  Communicate your vision and repeat your dream.  Do more listening than talking.  The larger the group, the more formal the communication needs to be, and the more methods of communication needed to interact.

8. Missing the Clues of Corporate Culture
Corporate culture is defined as: the way insiders behave based on the values and traditions they hold.  Theologians call this ‘contextualization.’  Part of establishing credibility is learning to identify with the specifics of your team.  Know them.  Be sensitive to what people think.

9. Success without Successors
Instill your convictions and philosophies deep within your followers.  Pride tightens the grip, humility relaxes and lets go.  A good mentor:

  • sees potential in others
  • tolerates failure and weakness
  • is flexible
  • must have patience
  • looks down the road
  • prays for discernment
  • gives timely advice
  • has the capacity to encourage
  • gives freedom to allow leadership to emerge
  • is willing to risk his own reputation

10. Failure to Focus on the Future
Be pre-occupied by planning.  Don’t settle for long-term dreams — set short-term goals.  Then evaluate your progress.

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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