There are some great articles in this week’s Church Leader Insights. Enjoy!
What if every small church stopped worrying about getting bigger, and decided to be a great church starting right now?
No one will ever make a list of the best small churches in the world.
And they shouldn’t.
After all, a great urban small church looks very different from a great rural one. Same with a great Baptist and Methodist church. Or a great small church in Japan or Costa Rica.
Even if there was a way to figure that out and put it on a list, it would be a really bad idea. I can’t imagine all the arguments, ego and pettiness that such a list would provoke.
But what if there was such a list? And what if that list could somehow be an accurate one? In this make-believe scenario, could you imagine your church being on the list of the world’s greatest small churches?
If not, why not?
Your Church Has What It Takes
No, this is not going to be another “you need to try harder” blog posts. We’ve all read enough of those.
Rather, I want to take a moment to encourage you and your church to look around and see what you already have.
Jesus told us he would build his church and that the gates of hell would not overcome it. The New Testament writers assured us that the church would be empowered by the Holy Spirit, who would equip his church with all the gifts needed to do the job he called us to do.
The last month or so, I have been (slowly) reading through Peter Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. I have really enjoyed the book so far and have been convicted by his charge for Christians to be more in touch with their emotions.
I don’t trust my emotions, so I tend to ignore them more than I should.
On page 24 of the book, Scazzero lists the top 10 symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality. I found the list and his subsequent commentary on the items helpful, so I figured I would include some of his thoughts and mine here.
So, the top 10 symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality:
1. Using God to run from God
This symptom is especially toxic because it’s so hard to see.
Christians, myself included, excel at filling their schedules with so much Christian programming that it makes it easy to hide from God amidst all of the small groups, prayer meetings, and worship gatherings.
Scazzero says, “Using God to run from God is when I create a great deal of ‘God-activity’ and ignore difficult areas in my life God wants to change.”
Amen. I have done this far too often in my own life.
2. Ignoring the emotions of anger, sadness, and fear
I get angry about the dumbest stuff.
A couple of years ago when we totalled our car and shut down part of I-65 in Kentucky the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I wasn’t mad at all.
Pastors have been on the scene for a couple of thousand years. Executive Pastors, by many different definitions, have been around for about thirty years. We obviously know more about how to be the former than the latter.
Understanding the role and whether you need an executive pastor, begins with clarity of definition. Let’s start by separating what is often combined – that is, the church business administrator and the executive pastor (hereafter as XP).
There are many variations of church administrator from “finance guy” to “business dude.” Written more formally if you prefer, from CFO to Operations Manager.
Business Administrator or Executive Pastor?
The following five points will serve as a general job description for the typical business administrator. Each church can adjust to meet their own needs and the gifts and skills of the person hired.
- Church finances
- Buildings and grounds
- Information technology
- General office management / some HR
- Special projects (Directed by the Senior Pastor and XP only)
In contrast, the XP takes on more the role of staff coach (or director) for ministry and leadership. Depending on the size of your church, the XP may have some different responsibilities including primary ministry roles.
It’s hard to maintain your focus in an office. With so many meetings to attend, drop-ins by coworkers, calls, emails, and countless other interruptions, it can seem like a miracle that anything ever gets done.
But do you know who the biggest culprit often is when it comes to sabotaging your productivity with distractions? Look in the mirror.
Interruptions or Distractions?
Interruptions are outside things that throw us off. Distractions are things we do to ourselves that derail us. Though sometimes, the two go hand-in-glove.
At first glance, that employee who sticks his head in your door to pick your brain about something is an interruption. But not so fast! Weren’t you practically begging for that disruption by reminding everyone of your open-door policy at the staff meeting?
We’ll zero in on distractions in this blog post—with the help of a great book called The Distracted Mind. But interruptions and distractions are closely related. In fact, I think if we were better at fending off distractions, we could see more clearly how to limit interruptions as well.
Out of Focus
Focus is vital to achieving many of our most important goals, but a pair of scientists at California State and UC San Francisco have found that our ability to concentrate is slipping fast.
“Shockingly, students could not focus for more than three to five minutes even when they were told to study something very important,” explain Adam Gazzaley and Larry Rosen.
Focus is harder among younger people but the truth is that most of us are deteriorating, in a way that can’t be blamed on old age. Scientists are discovering we’re all having a harder time paying attention, thinking things over, and taking decisive action.