Thursday, September 23, 2010

Credentials Retreat

Two weekends ago I attended a Credentials Retreat for those going through the Ordination process.  Here are a few quotes from the various presentations:

Ordinances of the Church:

Is it a good thing that we make baptism something that is added to the regular worship service?  Shouldn't it be a time of celebration for all of God's people at a special time? 

It may be better to record or video baptismal testimonies before baptism so that the people will know more about someone's journey to faith before they are baptized.

Let different persons share communion thoughts so that the people will gain fresh perspectives.

When one partakes of holy Communion, one sees three faces in the cup: Jesus', mine and those who are lost.  This is a good idea for a communion meditation.

The Making of a Leader:
1.  Nothing Happens until someone provides leadership to make it happen. Nothing of eternal significance happens until God raises up a leader. Judges 21:25.  "Everything rises or falls with leadership." John Maxwell

2.  Leadership is influence for good or bad.  1Tim 4:2.  The Biblical definition of leadership: A "leader" is someone with God-given ability and responsibility to influence a group of God's people to accomplish God's purpose for that group.  To be a Biblical leader, you must know what God is calling you to be.

 It is true that when we say no to God, God will raise up someone else to accomplish His purpose.  But when we say no to God, we say no to those God knows only we can reach.

Positions of influence have changed over the past couple of generations.  Age and official position have nothing to do with leadership now; since Watergate authority is considered suspect.  In Churches, often influencers do not hold an official position, especially when the pastor is new.  How do pastors determine who are the influencers?  By seeing who the people look to in meetings.  Pastors need to build relationships with these people, letting them to see your heart and getting to know theirs.

If you are on staff under a lead pastor, you are a direct extension of that pastor.

If a senior pastor has no input in the hiring of staff, this is a recipe for disaster.

Start in small things; make sure you lead at home.

3.  The test of leadership: is anyone following? Jn 10:27, 1Cor. 11:1.   If you have to remind people that you are the leader, you are not the leader.  Are we as leaders listening to God, or other voices.  Who are those we are trying to lead listening to?

A leader will be a person of eternal significance if they are the same in their personal as well as their public life.

4.  The foundation of leadership is character, not charisma.  1Tim. 3: 1-13, Heb 13: 7-8.  Paul told us to do as he did.  We can't be like someone else.  God called us to be who we are in a particular place.

Three characteristics of good leaders: a. They have a message worth remembering, b. They have a lifestyle worth considering (who they are, not what they have), c. They have a faith worth imitating.

You know you are influencing someone for Christ when they start asking you questions.

5. Leadership can be learned; not all are born leaders.  Mk. 3: 14, 2Tim. 2: 2.  Let them learn the difference between head knowledge and wisdom.

6.  If you stop learning, you stop leading.  Ecc. 10:10.  If a pastor stops growing, he/she can no longer feed their congregation.  Learn as much as you can, work all that you can, pray all that you can.

On Grief:

Tears are the words the heart cannot express.

The ability to grieve is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Grief is a natural, normal reaction to loss of any kind.  It is the most powerful emotion God gives us.

Grief hurts.  It operates differently in different persons.  Everyone heals in a different way.

Time does not heal ; it is what you do with that time.  There are no stages of grief, but their are common responses.  Initial shock is God's gift, a shield.

Grief is a steady companion with ministers.

The presenter shared scriptures concerning grief.  I will write a seperate entry for those.

What one should wish a pastor would know at the beginning of his ministry:

Don't rush ordination.

Ask pastoral search committees what is expected of you and inform them what you expect of them.

When things go wrong, ask self what am I doing I shouldn't be doing and what is it I should be doing I am not.

All "Yes" persons will get you into trouble.

Opinions and beliefs can change; your certitudes never die.

When someone gives you a compliment such as "That was a good sermon, pastor," don't fully trust them. They may not know what else to say.

Be careful when things go wrong who you blame the former pastor to.  Also, there will come a time that you can no longer put the blame on the former pastor but on yourself.      

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