Sunday, April 30, 2017

Changing Church Culture

Over the past 2,000 years the world has certainly been changed by the presence of the Church.  From the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended and Peter stood up with the eleven Apostles, preached the first sermon and three thousand in Israel believed, the Church has been on the move and literally has gone into all of the world.

Over the same time the Church has also changed.  While the teachings of Jesus remain the cornerstone, the culture has changed.   While many of us hope that our local church looks something like the early church, a reading of the Book of Acts in chapter 4 beginning with verse 32 tells us what the early church culture was like:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. A sense of awe came over everyone, and the apostles performed many wonders and signs 

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they shared with anyone who was in need. 

With one accord they continued to meet daily in the temple courts and to break bread from house to house, sharing their meals with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. 

Some of the words in these five verses should give us pause: teaching, fellowship, break-bread, prayer, selling possessions, meeting daily, house-to-house, sincerity-of-heart, Lord-added-daily-those-being saved.

I embrace the local church.  Like Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, I believe that the local church is hope of the world.   Together, we cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit to bring people to the cross, to share the gospel of reconciliation and to wait for the coming restoration when the Lord returns for His Bride. 

We are more successful in this mission when we return to that early church culture of a devotion to teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer.   When we do, truly a sense of awe will come over everyone.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Make your first Church hire the Volunteer Coordinator

As organizations grow, they begin to hire employees.   

Churches are often started with a minimum of employees and rely heavily on volunteers to handle most of the assignments and responsibilities.

As churches begin to grow, the pastor looks forward to the time that he or she may begin to hire staff to help in the ministry.  Worship leaders, youth leaders, an office assistant or Children’s coordinator are often likely first hires.   While this has often worked well in many of our churches, I think we have missed a great opportunity.

Make your first hire, a volunteer coordinator.

Churches have an amazing source of talent in the pews.  Most of us know that getting the people that are simply attending church to being the church is one huge and clear illustration of discipleship in action.  People grow in their faith walk as they exercise their gifts by serving. 

Active involvement in church ministry in various volunteer capacities is not only healthy for church members, it also fulfills one of the primary missions of the church, to make disciples.  What could be better than to also learn to be a servant, like Jesus? 

While church leaders intuitively realize they need volunteers, they often begin to dream of the time that they will be able to get 'real' staff.  Church leaders also dream about become one of those growing, healthy churches that have conferences and have pastors that write books about how to do “it.”

Growing, healthy churches that have conferences also have figured out how to create and maintain a healthy culture of volunteerism.   They recognize the importance of having a staff person that is 100% focused on volunteers.  

Churches have found amazing volunteer teachers, leaders, worship leaders, children's ministry coordinators, business administrators, computer experts and gardeners.  Getting new people engaged in some volunteer activity, coordinating schedules so that volunteers know where and when they are to serve, ensuring adequate depth in volunteer roles so that volunteers get vacations and regular opportunities for respite, and creating a culture where volunteers are regularly recognized, trained, and thanked are great bullet points on a volunteer coordinators job description. 

Hire the Volunteer Coordinator and empower the people to be the church, utilize their God-given talents and grow in their faith.  

The Real Virus Is Fear

There is a virus that is attacking and ravaging this country but it is not Covid-19.   It is fear.  This fear is being spread by people ...