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Hindered or Hoisted? Part 1

A short while back Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church Sydney, Australia tweeted this statement: “Don’t deny a person who has faithfully served your vision; the right to pursue a grand vision themselves!”

What does that statement do to you? The truth – the emotion that this statement evokes reveals your heart and its motives.

Do you have kids? Are they young and still living at home? Are they grown and still living at home? Are you looking forward to the day when they are on their own, with families of their own? Do you hold your children back from chasing their dreams or do you try to guide them and prepare them for the world that awaits their contribution?

As parents we tend to nurture our kids the way we lead people. Do you have overgrown staff and leaders who should have left the “nest” long ago but you were too scared or selfish to let them go?

Let’s breakdown this statement into further examination:

“deny a person…” – to the person who has served in your vision and comes to you with a desire to step out into new ministry terrain, and you have the power to release or deny them. As their pastor or leader, they are coming to you for guidance, wisdom, and blessing. If you knowingly deny them the wisdom and blessing, you have betrayed their trust and stifled the vision of God in their life to serve your own needs. Is this being Kingdom-minded?

“…faithfully served YOUR vision.” – this same person has faithfully, loyally, wholeheartedly served your vision and they’ve sensed God’s hand sending them out, and to step out into other areas of ministry they haven’t experienced – what do you do? Hinder them under your authority or hoist them over your shoulders? As a pastor or leader, you have a responsibility to foster growth among your staff and leaders. Guess what happens when you do that — they grow! And some might leave and this is ok. Its healthy, its normal, and its necessary.

“…pursue a grand vision…” – while serving your vision they have captured one of their own, this is good. This vision may grow to be more influential than yours is, are you ok with this? Jesus told his disciples, “greater works than this shall you shall do.” Jesus created a model among his disciples to expect great things and to do greater things than what they saw Jesus do.

If we are going to hold people back from doing what God has called them to do then we are not fulfilling the command of “go into all the world and make disciples.” How can they go into all the world if we don’t let them leave the backyard. Eliminate the lid that stands between you and the limitless sky above and do great things – and release your people, your leaders, and your staff to do even greater things.

At the end of the day, this statement by Brian Houston will always bring you back to examine who’s Kingdom you’re building. God’s Kingdom or Your Kingdom!? How can you determine which Kingdom you’re building or a part of? The evidence is not how many people attend your church, or how many services or events you have or how many popular guest ministers you invite in. The evidence is and always will be how many disciples you develop and release to the nations!  Developing people and releasing people is Kingdom business…nothing more, nothing less!

Do you go to a releasing church? Does your church have a culture of discipleship? If so, what do they do? How do they release your leaders?

Why Should I Utilize VideoTeaching.com?

Just a couple of weeks ago, LifeChurch.tv launched their latest resource for churches all over the world called, VideoTeaching.com.

At first, I was a little skeptical, but after reviewing this resource over and over again, I am convinced this could be one of the greatest resources to churches worldwide.

So, what is VideoTeaching.com? Good Question.
VideoTeaching.com is an online library of video messages from gifted Christian communicators from all over the world…and it’s FREE! You can access video messages from ministry leaders like Frances Chan, Perry Noble, Steven Furtick, Craig Groeschel, Mark Driscoll, Dino Rizzo, Brian Houston, Paul Scanlon, Mark Batterson and many others.

So, why should I use VideoTeaching.com? That’s a better question.
VideoTeaching.com is not just about getting free video teaching messages. You need to look at the bigger picture of what LifeChurch.tv is providing here.
Today, you might be a pastor, student pastor, small group leader, or church volunteer that serves in a small, medium or mega-size church.  You are also a ministry leader that has felt the effects of this countries recession.

Let me ask two questions.
1.    Do you have the relational access to some or all the ministry leaders and communicators that are on VideoTeaching.com? For most of us that read this blog, probably not.
2.    In this recession when lots of churches are cutting back on guest ministry, do you have an abundance of financial resources to host some or all of these ministry leaders and communicators that are on VideoTeaching.com that includes air travel, lodging and honorarium expenses? Again, probably not right now.

So, you may not have the relational access to these ministry communicators and you might have limited financial resources. But, as a leader, I’m sure you still have a passion with a leadership responsibility to keep people (your church, small group and friends) exposed to additional perspectives, gifts and ministries in the Body of Christ.

A church or ministry can utilize VideoTeaching.com for different reasons. These reasons were listed on VideoTeaching.com.
1.    It can expand your teaching team – It can expose and introduce your church to additional perspectives by bringing in top teachers from around the world via video. Who would you like to speak at your church?
2.    Develop your ministry – You might be bi-vocational or maybe you’re planting a church. Either way, video teaching allows you to put more energy into reaching the community by freeing you up from weekly message preparation.
3.    Make a smooth transition – For churches who are without a pastor during a leadership transition, video messages can help with interim teaching. Line up your message calendar with ease so you focus on finding the right leader for your church.
4.    Take a break – Regular rest is essential for pastors who want to maintain a healthy ministry. Whether it’s a sabbatical or just a short vacation, video messages are an excellent way to bring quality teaching to your church during a pastor’s time off.

Your Thoughts?

Boundaries & Accountability – Part 2 (Tech Toys)

One of the biggest distractions for leaders and their families is an over emphasis on technology. In other words, if you can’t sit down and have dinner with your family without checking your Blackberry, Facebook or Twitter, you have some serious issues you need to work out.

I believe one of the most important things we can do as a innovative-leading generation is put boundaries with our tech toys. Technologies that are used for communication and marketing for business and ministry are meant to be used as a TOOL, not an ADDICTION.

Some things I would try:
•    No tech interruptions and net surfing during family time. (Turn off all iPhones, Blackberries, Twitters, Facebook’s and blogs)
•    Take a break from blogging ever so often (Guest bloggers are great!)
•    When you’re on vacation, don’t check emails
•    Take one day per week where you step away from all tech toys including email and twitter.

What are you doing in your life to place healthy boundaries with your tech toys? What would you suggest for others? When would you make exceptions?

Your Thoughts?

Boundaries & Accountability – Part 1 (Plagiarizing Leaders)

The most effective leaders I know are those that have strong boundaries around their personal life. Today, I want to talk about plagiarism among leaders. I’ve been involved in ministry for over 10 years and it’s amazing to me of how many pastors plagiarize when they write and develop their sermons.

It is said, “If a pastor copies from one source, it’s plagiarizing. If he copies from multiple sources, he’s researching.” How pathetic.

Now, I’m not against researching if it’s used with integrity. Since equipping leaders with resources is a big part of what I do, I consider myself a content distributor. Which means I have a passion to expose young leaders to other pastors, churches, business tools and resources in the Body of Christ globally. But, when I do this, credit is always given.  I believe it is important that we give credit where credit is due.

Giving credit to a leader does several things:

  1. It gives honor to the leader or organization who came up with the idea
  2. It shows humility and security
  3. It exposes your audience to other leaders, thinkers, pastors and churches.
  4. It removes any doubt of copying

The most dangerous thing about plagiarizing, especially in ministry is that it proves that you have not been spending enough time in God’s Word or in His presence. It also proves that you have stopped learning. If you are a leader and you have stopped spending time in God’s Word and have stopped learning, then you have stopped growing.

Your Thoughts?

(Guest Blogger: Micah Davis) Twitter + Live Experiences = @ParaTweet

A lot of folks have asked me how to utilize Twitter at their live experiences. With most applications centered around the web or phone, there hasn’t been much in the way of an answer. Hence the decision to build http://ParaTweet.com. (@ParaTweet)

ParaTweet is a real-time, full screen display of tweets pulled from any #tag or search term(s). It also provides powerful moderation capabilities that allow for any tweet to be approved or disapproved prior to showing on the screen. Since #tags aren’t exclusive for use, they can often come with:

•    Inappropriate content (profanity)
•    Irrelevant content (other folks using the #tag for other purposes)
•    Spam (when a #tag becomes popular…in come the spammers)

This is where ParaTweet’s moderation and filtering really helps out by only displaying relevant and appropriate tweets to a live audience. It has been used by the Catalyst West Coastand Catalyst One Day conferences.

Pastors could use it for Q&A with the audience. It could also be run between services to help facilitate community and ministry announcements. And rumor has it that there are several new features in the pipeline for ParaTweet, but those will have to wait for another time. Until then, enjoy!

Micah Davis is the co-founder of ParaTweet and Roov.com. He is a creative social entrepreneur and non-profit activist. He attends Gateway Church in Dallas, TX. You can follow him on Twitter @mdavis.

(Guest Blogger: Daniel King) 7 Things I’ve Learned about Pastors on Twitter

I am not a pastor, but I am interested in why pastors do what they do. For the last two months I have followed hundreds of pastors on the new social networking tool Twitter.com. Here are seven things I’ve learned about pastors:

1. Pastors are looking for new ways to reach people.

For those of you who have not caught the buzz, Twitter enables you to use your cell phone or computer to send out “tweets” or short updates about what you are doing to all your friends. Basically, it is text-messaging lots of people at the same time. I was amazed at how many pastors are using this technology to build relationships with their flock. It shows that pastors can be cutting-edge and innovative.

2. Pastors can reinvent themselves to reach a new generation.

Are bulletins boring, offerings blah, and church announcements putting people to sleep? Why not film your announcements, post them on YouTube, and send everyone a tweet to go check it out. Then provide a link to give tithes and offerings online through PayPal. Today’s generation lives online. Relevant churches desiring to be effective will join the online conversation.

3. Pastors are using new terminology to express age-old truth.

A new vocabulary has arisen to communicate to a modern generation. “Christian” is out, “Christ-follower” is in. No one is a “head pastor” instead they are called “lead pastors.”  In addition to being pastors, many have added life coach, spiritual entrepreneur, or success motivator to their resume. Relationship is now more important than denominational labels.

4. Pastors like to preach.

From messages about grace and forgiveness, to exegetical studies of First Thessalonians, pastors spend a lot of time studying God’s word and preparing to communicate truth to their congregations.

5. Pastors are normal people.

Pastors pick up their kids from soccer, watch Lost and American Idol on television, go to the grocery store, play Nintendo Wii, and love their wives. Pastors are not supermen or superwomen, but they do rely on a supernatural God.

6. Pastors have one of the toughest jobs in the world.

Who is called when someone gets sick? Or dies? Or has a problem in their marriage? Usually, the pastor is there to offer comfort and advice. Continually putting out fires can be mentally and physically draining, but pastors keep going because they genuinely care about people. Some of the tweets I read brought tears to my eyes as pastors dwelt with human tragedy by offering hope.

7. Pastors have one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.

I have read statistics that show many pastors think about quitting the ministry, especially on Monday morning, but I saw little evidence of this on Twitter. Most of the pastors I follow are excited, energized, and motivated. They are reading, learning, and continually looking for new ways to communicate the Gospel through modern methods of evangelism. Eternity is their focus, the world is their parish, and changing lives is their reward.

Daniel King is a missionary evangelist who has ministered in more than fifty nations. He invites you to follow him on his Twitter profile: danielking100. Or check out his website: www.kingministries.com

Your Thoughts?