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Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

Audio clip from Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce Episode #4

When we talk about community leadership, Christians can tend to shy away or step up. There’s usually no middle of the road when it comes to Christian leaders actively engaging in community leadership. Usually, it is one extreme or the other.

Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds – Proverbs 27:23

For those who choose to get involved in community leadership, the challenge can be the lack of focus or attention to the flock. There are plenty of life hacks for getting a work-life balance, but that was not the case for two pastors that I have studied over the years.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King struggled as the pastor of his flock. Not that King was not cut out for the position of a pastor but he also led the SCLC and was on the front lines of boycotts and other strategic activities related to what we have come to know as the Civil Rights Movement. While King was fundraising for SCLC and its efforts throughout the South, what condition did he leave Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery?

The challenge is real when Christian leaders evolve into community leaders, even national leaders. Unless you have a dynamic system in place within your church, you will struggle to lead in both areas. Know the condition of your flock. In a mega church era, do not get to the place as a shepherd where you do not recognize your own sheep or their condition. Make it a point to stay in touch and on top of what is happening with your folks.

Daddy King recognized the pressure and struggle that his son faced. He implored his son to give up Dexter Avenue and return home to Atlanta to continue his work with the SCLC and maintain his ministry ties under Daddy King’s leadership at Ebenezer. Without the shift, we may not have known the iconic orator and leader from the Civil Rights Movement.

Adam Clayton Powell

Famous People: Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Biography by [Letitia]

https://amzn.to/2NTrxT9 https://amzn.to/2VNVsRc

No one epitomizes the consummate community and church leader like Adam Clayton Powell. Pastor of Harlem’s famous Abyssinian Baptist Church, Adam Clayton Powell became a city council member, community leader, and a U.S. Congressman. Powell fought hard against racial segregation and introduced landmark civil rights legislation.

Standing at a slim 6’4”, Powell was an imposing figure in the pulpit as well as the congressional floor. Yet, Powell had an appetite for controversy and was never known to shy away from a challenge. His persona was often the fodder for headlines and scandal pages, leaving the congregation of 14,000 members to wonder where their leader’s focus lied from time to time.

Politics and civic leadership have a place in the Christian realm. We just have to manage the amount of attention other things receive instead of the church. If you do not know the condition of your flock, as the shepherd, check yourself and see what you need to do to get that balance back.

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“Be not simply good – be good for something.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Imagine if you had nothing getting in your way, nothing holding you back.

What would you do with your life?

Could you see yourself doing whatever you could to help someone else?

Could you see beyond yourself and make a difference for someone else?

Just imagine if you had that opportunity.

No obstacles.

No opposition.

No other objective.

Just being in the position to do good for someone else, uplifting their spirit and blessing them through what God has already done for you.

Now it’s time for a reality check.

The only thing holding you back from doing such mighty works is you.

YOU…Your Own Unwillingness

If you could somehow shake that unwilling spirit, then you can do it.

Oh, that’s not you?

Then it must be. . .

YOU. . . Your Own Unworthiness

That is the pitiful self image that says that you are not worthy of doing good because you know that you are of no earthly good.  Our Bibles tell us that we are a “new creation” based upon the work of the Lord.  We are worthy!

So, you still think that’s not you?

How about. . .

YOU. . . Your Own Unfaithfulness

You just don’t believe that God can use you in such a way.  You don’t believe that you can be a blessing, especially since you are in the need of a blessing yourself.  Elijah was fed by ravens by a brook, and then he was fed by an impoverished widow.  There was another widow who gave all that she had when she placed two mites in the offering.

Get YOU out of the way and let God have His way.

Sit YOU down and set yourself up to be a blessing to someone.

Give YOU his walking papers and give God an open opportunity to use you like He’s never used you before.

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8 (NASB)

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“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” – John 10:11 (NKJV)

The modern society has made what we consider pastoring a mere shadow of what we truly should expect of the man of God today.  We may never get out of ordained and anointed pastoral leaders what we could get out of them because we can never drop or shed expecting more out of them than they have been called to ever do in the first place.

After all, just like the rest of us believers, pastors are Christians.  That point sometimes gets missed.  Plain and simple, they are Christians just like us.

Secondly, pastors are called from among the flock to stand set apart as “called” by God.  They’re still Christians but they have a greater responsibility in regards to standing firm and handling God’s Word.

Finally, God plucks out a set of His own chosen few to serve as pastors and shepherds.  He places His Spirit in them and allows manifestations of Word to emerge within their messages, sermons and Bible lessons. 

He uses them.  He molds them.  He shapes them.  He directs them.  He guides them.  He orders them.  He trains them.

After all, He called them. 

He called them to walk as He walked.  He called them to live as He once lived.  He called them to work just like Jesus did the works of the Father. 

If you want to see Jesus on display in your pastor, help your pastor do the things that allow Him to be display Himself in your pastor.  If you can’t help with that,  maybe you can just adjust your expectations.  After all, they’re still just Christians.

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“I will utterly consume everything

From the face of the land,”

Says the Lord;

“I will consume man and beast;

I will consume the birds of the heavens,

The fish of the sea,

And the stumbling blocks along with the wicked.

I will cut off man from the face of the land,”

Says the Lord.

-Zephaniah 1:2-3 (NKJV)

Consider yourself warned.  God will have a day of reckoning.  he prophets spoke of it.  In particular, Zephaniah spoke explicitly about it.  It would be the type of day that no one would want to see in their lifetime.

Think you have had a bad day? That’s nothing like what will happen when this day comes about.  The Lord will not be slow to anger on that day.  He will set forth His wrath like it has never been unleashed before.

Take care of business, brothers and sisters.  Know that how you manage your business affairs is part of how you reflect God in your daily life to others, especially those who are not of the faith.

  • Are you viewed as shrewd and crafty, ready to cut costs at the expense of the livelihood of your employees and vendors?
  • Do you readily examine the bottom line or the heart of the matter when making decisions?
  • Do you pray over your business decisions and seek godly counsel from other Christian business men and women?

Consider how you handle your business.  Others are watching you.  Others take into account that you say that you are a Christian.  God is watching.  God will not always be waiting.  One day, and we we do not know when, God is going to call us on what we have done and what we haven’t done as His children.

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In The Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren stated: “If the church isn’t growing, it’s dying.” That is enough to shock and stun some pastors, even petrify others.  Yet, the ones who read those words and take proactive actions to set their church to growing tend to see results.  Others who dare not do anything different seem to be doomed to see their church see very few results.

If you want to see some growth in your church, you need to get growing.  Get busy doing the things that grow the church.  Don’t simply pay attention to who you have in attendance.  Get in touch with those who are not in attendance.

What do you do about those who:

  • Stopped coming to Sunday school?
  • Quit serving in ministry?
  • Never signed up for anything at church?

Get a team together to work on reconnecting with such people as soon as possible.  Work with that team on how to reach people in a variety ways.  Develop a plan for getting in touch with these people.  Schedule when to execute the plan.  Start bringing the plan to life.

Once you get that going, bring another team together and see how to reach those within the community.  Plan outreach activities where you can reach people through the Word and your good works. 

Jesus fed folks, healed some, and taught others.  He used parables many times rather than laying out a exegesis of the Scriptures through a sermon. 

Don’t trip.  God has already gifted both you and your team with what you need to reach others.  You just got to get busy growing.
Three books that can help you grow:

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And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Jesus was the ultimate master of the teachable moment.  We see that a lot in the Gospel of Mark.  Through encounter after encounter, we are given bits and pieces of what the Lord came to accomplish through his earthly ministry.  Yet, we also see how he handles the short-sighted thoughts of man.  He deals with the limited faith and other aspects of mankind throughout His ministry.
Have you do something to “offend one of these little ones?” I mean, let’s be honest.  You know that you can cover a wide range when it comes to how you might “offend” others.  Watch your ways with others with your feet (where you go) and with your eyes (what you see).  Watch it! You may lead someone else down the wrong path with you.
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FYI: Our Sunday S.I.C.L. class will resume in Room 210.  See you there!
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Okay, folks, it’s on again.  It’s an election year without a doubt.  The political groundswell is up and running with a lot of fanfare, especially in those little local elections.  It’s here again.  Obviously, that means there will be a whole lot of hype.

What kind of hype? I believe that any of us who have lived through the longsuffering agony of election years in the past have some understanding of the grandstanding that usually comes along with such a period.  Political muscles are flexed, in particular by those who work for candidates in PR and publicity, offering an appearance by their candidate here and there for this worthy cause or that one.  Usually, these folks are more pesky than anything that the politician may say or do.  They work the nerves of some folks in the church and community who toil by the sweat of their brow to do good, only to have some cheesy photo op replace the goodwill that the good folks seek to do.

Let’s look at it beyond the media hype that can be generated by candidates rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to pass out food to needy families or to sit and read before a classroom of wide-eyed and attentive elementary school children.  Yes, the camera flashes snap and the video is rolling, but we cannot become caught up or thrown off by such media frenzy during such times.

Some of this can help despite all of the seemingly unnecessary hype that comes along with it.  Political campaigns have a following of dedicated supporters who fund and man such large scale and long term endeavors.  We can benefit from a candidate coming down with his entire entourage and offering some helping hands in the name of getting out there among the people to gain votes for themselves and increase the visibility of their own campaigns.  Believe it or not, these volunteers can provide the necessary manpower to boost our efforts to reach more and serve more.

Weigh your options.  If you truly cannot stomach some would-be politician coming to your event to make himself or herself appear to be on the same level as the people, only to run off to Washington or Sacramento, or just down to city hall, and never be heard from again, then don’t bother.  Don’t accept the help or the hype.  However, if you think that the partnership could shed some light on your cause and make the evening news, you may want to think it through thoroughly.

They want the hype.  They need it.  They want the media to come out and snap photos of them doing good in the neighborhood.  Their campaign desperately needs to be seen as something vital to the needs of the community.  When they come, they come with a whole lot of hype.  However, they can also come with a whole lot of help.

27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that—whether I command see you or whether I remain absent—I should hear that you are standing in one spirit, by contending together with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28 and by not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of their destruction, but of your salvation—a sign which is from God. – Philippians 1:27-28

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Commit your works to Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.
-Proverbs 16:3

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
– Proverbs 16:9

I don’t care if it’s a business or a ministry, even a small group or just some friends getting together to do some good work within the community, you need to start from your heart.  That’s where you get the commitment that you will need to endure any such work.  It will have to come from deep within you.  It will have to start in and come from the heart.

The Bible says so in Proverbs as we see in the verses above.  It comes up in other places in both the Old Testament and New Testament.  Don’t get it wrong.  The Bible is certain to cover such a matter as this due to its importance to success of any such venture in faith.  After all, the Lord’s name is on the line any time that we step out there with the blood of Jesus Christ covering us.  Other folks are looking.

Other writers have shared the importance of a leader having a heart for his or her work.  Check out how Ken Blanchard and John Maxwell deal with matters of the heart.  Steve Marr used Proverbs to publish a daily devotional for business professionals called Business Proverbs.

No matter how much you may try to rationalize otherwise, if your heart isn’t in it, you can bet the rest of you isn’t too into it either. Get your heart into it or get out of it. 
God doesn’t want you giving Him a half-hearted effort.  What He did that towards us? Would we praise Him with our whole hearts still? Would we still sing songs of Zion to His glory? Think on that.

Get your heart into before you even get started.  Let God have your best by putting your whole heart into it.  He has already give you His best in Jesus Christ.  Go on and get your heart into whatever you will do in His name.

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“I more fear what is within me than what comes from without.”

Look at the history of Protestantism and you will find Martin Luther looming and lurking somewhere nearby.  See where he confronted the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church and faced the challenges of going forward in a faith movement as an enemy of the church.

Imagine the ridicule Martin Luther faced.  Think about the humiliation he suffered at the hands of other religious leaders.  He was considered a heretic.  He was made into an outcast.  Nevertheless, he held onto his faith.
Martin Luther was a man just like any other man.  Yet, he was a man of deep conviction.  He devoured the Scriptures and took them to heart.  He allowed the Word to guide him and direct him, even to the point where he abandoned tradition.

Look at what his enduring faith produced.  The entire Protestant realm of Christianity stems from Luther nailing those ninety-five theses to the doors of the church.  He founded what we call Lutheranism today.  He made history by holding firm to his convictions and not keeping with the status quo.  He made a major difference in religious history.
Let such a legacy influence your walk with Christ.  Live your life with such a degree of faith that you live without regrets.  Live a life full of enduring faith.  Let your faith speak and come to life by the way that you live for the Lord.
History will tell of Martin Luther’s storied life.  It will reveal his shortcomings.  It will teach us about his attachment to parts of Catholicism that caused divisions among his own followers.  It will show him just as vulnerable as any other man or any other Christian believer.  It will also share how he made his mark on history by making history by having enduring faith.


Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/martin_luther_2.html#KklbTLLCHD968kVp.99

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Social networking is still the fastest-growing active social media behaviour online, increasing from 36% of global Internet users to 59% managing their profile on a monthly basis by the end of 2011…Facebook has 845 million active users –  http://thesocialskinny.com/100-more-social-media-statistics-for-2012/

Recently, the world’s largest social network made news when it released an initial public offering to become a publicly traded stock.  That’s not the big news.  The big news has more to do with the potential that lies within social networking as well as social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  That’s the big news for those who proclaim the Good News.

Use Facebook for your ministry.  Set up a profile.  Find friends online.  Share the profile link via email with your ministry members or congregants.  Add the link to your Facebook to your email signature or link the Facebook button to your website or blog.

Here are some simple strategies for Facebook usage for ministry:

  • Post upcoming events and invite ‘friends of friends’
  • Share inspirational verses and passages through status updates
  • Upload photos from events like mission trips or church outreach activities
  • Start Facebook groups for prayer, Bible study or salvation Q&A
  • Set up a fan page for members to get updated information on church or ministry activities

Facebook has a lot of potential.  Use it to your advantage to advance the gospel.  Spread the Good News throughout cyberspace by using Facebook as a steward of the Good News.

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