When the Pastor is a Glory Hog

I’m sure there are pastors who really are glory hogs. A lot of guys want to be “THE guy” – the one the church depends on and looks to as the supreme religious leader. The church becomes a personality cult around this kind of pastor.

Glory Hog

On the flip side there are churches that actually expect and demand that the pastor be the go-to guy for all things religious and spiritual. Some church members find it unacceptable to be visited or called on by anyone other than the senior pastor.

I remember one time as a pastor I tried to create a pastoral care & visitation team, The idea was to help others who had a gifting and calling for this kind of ministry assist the clergy. I was accused of trying to pass the buck and shirk pastoral responsibility. One person even told me,

“It’s fine to be visited by others, but people really want the big dog.”

But this idea of a clergy-based ministry isn’t biblical. In fact, the Bible shows us that healthy ministry is carried out be everyone. When there was a need that wasn’t being met, the 12 Apostles (the first church leaders and preachers), said, “We can’t be distracted from our God-calling. Let’s find other godly people to assist.” Thus the early church appointed its first deacon team. We read about in Acts 6:1-7 ~

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

The Apostle Paul talks about the Church being like a body. It’s made up of many parts, but each part needs to function well for the whole body to be healthy.

If you have never taken a spiritual gifts inventory, it is a good place to start asking how God might have gifted you to serve and minister (it’s not the end-all, just a starting place). Try this one

As Christians we’re all in this together. We are co-ministers for Jesus. Though we all have different roles to play, everyone should play a part. So step up to the gift God has given you and begin serving!

Dear Pastor, Why Do You Hate Church?!

angry man

Actually, I don’t.

In fact, I love the church. But ever since I started out on a new ministry idea I’ve been asked that question by other Christians.

This new ministry idea? It’s a digital ministry. The concept is fairly simple: provide a church community to people who are not able or are not willing to step into a traditional church building. Feel free to check out the description and vision.

But some people are uncomfortable with the idea.

Some have asked: How do you respond to the Bible’s exhortation to not give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25)?

But the Bible doesn’t say what that meeting has to look like. The early church ever had any inkling that people would be connecting and meeting globally thanks to technology. Businesses do it. Friends and family do it. Now it’s time for the church to do it.

We have the ability to connect with people like never before.

Some have asked: How can you be a real church without giving the sacraments of baptism and communion?

Put simply, it doesn’t take a church building to do baptisms and communion. I was baptized in a hot tub at a church member’s home. And if we take the Bible seriously when it calls us a kingdom of priests, then we understand that it doesn’t take ordained clergy to administer baptism and communion. It’s something all Christians can participate in WHEREVER they are.

Additionally, we need to be honest about baptism and communion not being a prerequisite for entrance to heaven.

WHAT?!?

Simmer down, now! Think about the crucifixion story. The thief beside Jesus asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus came into his kingdom. Jesus answered:

“I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

No baptism. No communion. Just a promise of eternity in the presence of God because of his faith.

At The Church Plant our desire is to bring the message of Jesus to all of the God-friendly but un-churched people online.

Recent stats say that 80% of un-churched people would consider going to church if invited by a friend. Unfortunately, only 2% of Christians EVER invite someone to church. We’re missing a HUGE opportunity to reach people who are open to the idea of God.

So here I am. It’s new. It’s a little terrifying. I’m not sure how God is going to use this ministry or where it will go. It’s kind of a work in progress. 🙂

But I’ll follow the path God has laid out, and we’d love for you to walk with us.

You know people who have been burned by a church and never want to return. You know people who are open to the idea of God but don’t want to step foot in church. You know people who are house-bound and CAN’T make it to a church.

Tell them about The Church Plant – there’s a community waiting to welcome them and share the love of Jesus in a digital way.


Fat, Greedy, Money-Grubbing Churches

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you ever get sick of greedy, money grubbing churches always asking for your money? For some reason many people have the impression that churches are always asking people for money. Churches have reputation for being money hungry; for trying to squeeze every red cent out of the people who attend. Shoot – I would get tired of that kind of behavior!

In all honesty, though, churches probably ask for money a lot less than you think. I’m not talking about the weekly routine of collecting money. Different churches call it different things:

–         Taking the collection
–         Passing the plate
–         Time for tithes and offerings
–         What else have you heard?

Though this has become a standard feature in many evangelical churches it’s not quite the same thing as “asking for money.” It’s not like the Christian radio station that has a bi-annual fundraiser telethon. In the Christian worship service, giving becomes an extension of worship – something we do in recognition that what we have is a gift from God and through our giving we say, “I value God and his kingdom and want to express it through my finances.”

So giving becomes an act of worship (assigning worth to something) and a practical way of making sure the needs of the ministry are met.

I had a friend tell me the other day:

The church doesn’t need money. Jesus didn’t need money.

But the truth is that the church does need money. Ministry requires money. And yes, Jesus did need money. Jesus had a group of financial backers that helped make his ministry possible:

And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. (Luke 8:1-3)

Jesus and his staff were provided for out of the means (income) of these women.

Once the Apostle Paul was trying to raise money to do ministry to Christians in Jerusalem. He was collecting it from the Corinthian church:

On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. (1 Corinthians 16:2-3)

There are many different financial needs for a church to do ministry. Some are related to physical location: rent/lease/mortgage, utilities, salaries, etc. Some are material needs for people: rent assistance, utilities assistance, food/clothing aid. Some are for spiritual ministries: materials for communion, children’s church, Bible studies, etc.

Ministry requires finances. And how will people in the church ever know about the need unless the church tells them? It’s plain logic, really. It’s not about being money-hungry, it’s about letting people in the church know that, in order to do what God has called the Church to do, it’s going to take some backing.

If you don’t want to give, no one is twisting your arm.

Paul says:

The point is this…each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-9)

To honor God and to participate in what he wants to do through my church my wife and I give. But that’s between us and God. Your giving is between you and God.

Whatever you decide to do, do it with joy for God, not for anyone else.

BE HEARD! How have you seen churches handle money well? How have you seen them handle money poorly?