An article published in late 2016 in the New York Times had this somewhat alarming title, Donations to Religious Institutions Fall as Values Change.
For much of its history, the Adventist Church enjoyed the abundance of generosity from church members as they gave their tithes and offerings, perhaps out of habit, or parental example and persuasion, or simply belief in God and the church. However, in recent years that has changed somewhat, almost paralleling what is happening in the rest of the religious world in North America.
Back in the “good old days” which we remember fondly, when a pastor could say to his congregation, “God said to give, so you must give,” or something in a similar vein, church members by and large gave without questioning. That’s no longer true, and whenever it’s mentioned to pastors that generous giving has taken on different dimensions, they nod in solemn agreement.
Today members usually want to know what happens with their money, they expect to have a voice, they want reports, they want to know just what their money is used for, and if they don’t receive answers to their questions, they may well do one of three things—stop giving, lessen their giving and channel some of their funds elsewhere, or demand more attention as donors—and yes, that word, “donors” is not just relegated to secular causes. The habits of giving by most church members and their expectations of information and recognition have become nearly parallel with those whom we have traditionally labeled “donors.”
Although religion is still the Continue Reading…
In 26 years as a local pastor/administrator, Roger Hernandez has observed that antagonists follow a pattern with their attacks. He shares four approaches an antagonist may use to bring a church leader down. Hernandez says this won’t stop a person from being hurt, but “at least you can see the hate coming and prepare better.” Read More
Source: NAD Ministerial
There are three words every successful leader is destined to hear.
They represent the nameless, faceless opposition that can distract, depress or demoralize you if you’re not careful. And those three words are:
“People are saying.”
These words follow successful leaders because they are generally the result of movement and change. They are like a sniper’s bullet. Difficult to trace, but impossible to ignore.
To be clear, not all change is good change. That is something I address in my blog The First Thing Every Leader Should Do. The answer is nothing. Do nothing but listen and learn. But after you’ve listened and learned it’s time to move. And when you move there will always be those who are reluctant to move with you or the program.
Unfortunately, few detractors these days seem interested in attaching their names to criticism, especially in the church. So they find ways to make their concerns known to a third party. The infamous “unnamed source.”
Recently I was Continue Reading…
According to a report that appeared in the New York Times (August 1, 2010), 45% of pastor’s either burnout and leave their ministry posts, or belong to a growing club of those who would like to quit but haven’t figured out yet how to do it.*
Within the Seventh-day Adventist Church some have suggested this number is as high as 35%.
Why is it so high? Until you have walked in a pastor’s shoes, you may not realize the complexity of their work or appreciate the fact that it never ends.
Years ago, Methodist pastor, Pierce Harris, said this of a pastor’s work:
“The modern preacher has to make as many visits as a country doctor, shake as many hands as a politician, prepare as many briefs as a lawyer, and see as many people as a specialist. He has to be as good an executive as the president of a university, as good a financier as a bank president; and in the midst of it all, he has to be so good a diplomat that he could umpire a baseball game between the Knights of Columbus and the Ku Klux Klan.”
Pastoral ministry can be a rewarding experience that continues to enrich and bless those who respond to the call.
I have been employed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church most of my adult life. I’ve served as a pastoral intern, associate pastor, lead pastor, high school chaplain, Bible teacher and resource developer. During this time I have seen the operations of the church at many levels and have been Continue Reading…
The same member keeps calling the pastor over and over for financial help to pay their utility bills, buy food, or pay the rent. Another member consistently calls late at night to express “concern” about the “wrong direction” he perceives the church to be going in. A member from another pastor’s church calls you to complain about her own pastor, your colleague. It has been brought to your attention by the church treasurer that one of your members is insisting on getting a tax receipt for a household appliance that he purchased for an elderly member, but you discover that he did not put the funds “into the church,” and instead purchased and delivered it himself without the knowledge or involvement of the church. Then there’s the couple who have several fights each week, call you up, and expect that you should be there to referee their “feature events” whenever called upon to do so. At what point do you say no?
Pastors are generally expected to be available, able, and willing to respond to every matter or request that comes their way all the time. Many pastors can testify to being harshly criticized by members for a delayed response to a member’s “crisis” or call, or for not being able to address a matter at all even after an otherwise stellar record of regular and consistent response in most situations. There are legitimate times when the pastor’s personal life situations may make him or her unable to deal with a member’s issues within the member’s time frame or not at all! There is a lot of stress, the feeling of being overwhelmed, because relatively few ministers have mastered the art and courage needed to say “no” even in situations where that decision is perfectly warranted.
I’ve heard fellow ministers (they tend to be from an earlier generation) say that we should be “all things to all people” like the Apostle Paul. Methinks there is some eisegesis going on here. Surely, Paul did not mean that any pastor is obligated to over-extend themself in order to “be all things” to anyone, and certainly not all the time. This is not physically possible or even practical. The translation of the mentioned text is not within the scope of this article. Suffice it to say, however, that pastoral ministry is made much more difficult and stressful owing to mistaken ideals and unrealistic expectations. It is permissible for the pastor to say no!
I had to learn to say no. “No” isn’t a favorite word with parishioners. It tends to elicit Continue Reading…
Have you ever considered following your sermon with a public invitation? Maybe you’ve never really thought about it or aren’t quite sure how to extend a powerful and emotional invitation. It can be a bit awkward if there isn’t much of a response from the congregation, but consider the following excerpt from an article in http://www.churchleaders.com: It is reported that Dwight L. Moody once preached, then sent his flock home without an invitation, telling them to think about these things and come back next Sunday. However, the Great Chicago Fire occurred that week, taking many lives and destroying hundreds of homes and scattering his congregation so completely they would never be reassembled. Mr. Moody reportedly regretted for the rest of his life not extending that invitation. Click on the link to read rest of the article, 10 Must-Have Tips for Giving a Public Invitation.
As a leader, there have been numerous times when I have been in over my head with the challenges and opportunities I was facing. God seems to call me to huge tasks.
I suspect if you’re a leader, you understand. I think He does that to many people! It keeps us humble. And dependent—on Him!
Regardless of how comfortable a leader may be in his or her position, there are times when …Continue Reading
by Thom Rainer
Have you ever had that terrible feeling after preaching a sermon?
You know, the feeling where you can’t wait to get home and hide under the covers?
Every pastor experiences it. All pastors dread it.
The sermon is over, and you conclude that your message was terrible. For those who preach 40 to 100 times a year, it will happen. Indeed it will happen on more than one occasion. Here are seven things for you to consider at that moment. Continue Reading…
by Dale Galusha, President of Pacific Press
LOOKING FOR AN EASY, EFFECTIVE, AND (ALMOST) FREE WAY TO WITNESS?
How about junk mail?
Recently, the Adventist Review online carried an article by Andrew McChesney describing one person’s creative way to use Pocket Signs. The article is titled, Using Junk Mail to Share Jesus for Free! I’m not going to tell you about this person’s unusual idea (and it’s unique), but you can read all about it yourself by CLICKING HERE!
Ellen White saw the value of including tracts in letters:
- “I have been shown that we were not doing our duty in the gratuitous circulation of small publications. There are many honest souls who might be brought to embrace the truth by this means alone. . . . When you write to a friend, you can enclose one or more without increasing postage”—Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 551, 552.
Many people, including myself, keep a package of Pocket Signs by my desk at home and include them when I write letters and pay bills!
Ellen White goes on to say:
- “When you meet persons in the cars [the train], on the boat, or in the stage, who seem to have an ear to hear, you can hand them a tract”—Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 551, 552.
It is amazing the number of opportunities you can find to share a tract! Over the past two decades since the first Pocket Signs was printed, millions have been distributed!
They are easy to use, and effective in their mission. And the cost is so low it’s almost like witnessing for free!
CLICK to see the complete line-up of Pocket Signs!
For a FREE sample packet of Pocket Signs CLICK HERE!
Pocket Signs are available at your Adventist Book Center:
Order a supply today and share your faith!
by Roger Hernandez
Source: NAD Ministerial
Leaders want to take everyone with them to the next level. They want to inspire people to go beyond what is now. Since most of us want to be liked, we have a hard time processing resistance. We believe that reasonable people will see the light in the plan we are proposing and enthusiastically support it.
That is hardly ever the case. People are…human. Flawed, imperfect. Just like you! In every organization you will find the supporters, go-getters and on-boarders as well as the downers, dissenters and dissatisfied.
If you spend your time trying to get the last three on board, your train will never leave the station.
Here are three principles to remember when you deal with those three D’s: Read More