Thursday, February 24, 2011

Adults Have Wallets

Several years ago my wife worked for a pastor in North Atlanta. The church grew incredibly fast: in a few years it went from a couple of hundred people to over a thousand. The growth was because it was the only Baptist church in an area of Atltanta that exploded in population. The church built buildings as fast as it could afford. They created a master-plan and communicated to everyone what the plans were for future expansion of the facilities. But the need for buildings meant that they had to rent some trailers for temporary housing of some Bible study classes.

The pastor and other leaders made the decision to put adults in those mobile home-like classrooms. He took some flak for that decision. Here was his response, "Adults have wallets, chidren don't." If the adults were uncomfortable with their trailer classrooms, then the adults should give more so the church can build more rooms. It worked. Within a dozen years the church had completely finished their master planned campus. It is really nice. I'm sure they still have debt, but everyone is in the same set of buildings all because the pastor was willing to challenge the people with wallets, adults, to give more.

Lead On!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Offerings are to many worship leaders one of the most awkward times of a service. So, they fill it with special music to distract people from the passing offering plate. I regret that. I'd like to offer a different way of viewing the offering time but one that will require some work and planning.

The offering takes about 90 to 120 seconds in the average church. I suggest that in that time, you tell a story. Tell stories about how the offerings have been used in the past week to tell how a missionary did some really cool work, how a family was fed, how a minister did some counseling, how a teen publicly said he was going to be a Christ-follower, how a mission team to Africa did some awesome things, what the youth trip this summer will be doing, how many kids were at Vacation Bible School and what they studied, etc. Find 52 stories in a year and tell the church how their money is being used.

Younger generations (under 40) want to hear stories about specific people being helped with the money they give to the church. That will motivate them to continue to give and give more money. Older generations like to hear the stories, too.

So, use the offering time to TELL STORIES. After all, that's what Jesus did!

Lead On!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Executive Leadership

The adult Bible study class I lead is going through Joshua - we study a book of the Bible verse by verse and chapter by chapter. It's a lot of fun leading a very discussion oriented class. We just began Joshua.

In Joshua 2.1, "Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp..." Some points to consider:

  • He sent out two (2) spies - 40 years before, Moses sent out 12 spies and only two came back with a favorable report. The other 10 were so pessimistic that their majority report caused the nation of Israel to wander in the desert for 40 years until every person age 21 and over had died.
  • He sent them out - Joshua had probably selected these guys and trained them for a dozen years or maybe more. That reminds me of the quote of General of the Army, George C Marshall, Chief of Staff during World War II, "I want an officer for a secret and dangerous mission. I want a West Point football player." Joshua got exactly the person he wanted for this mission.
  • He sent them out secretly - Joshua did not ask for a vote of everyone; he didn't ask them to huddle for a church-wide prayer meeting; he just did it and knew that if things went wrong, he'd bear the blame. But he was willing to do that. He weighed the consequences of having everyone know what he was doing (and maybe word getting out to the wrong people) versus doing what he knew was right and getting the info he needed for his decision.
Leadership is tricky. In this case, Joshua decided executive leadership was necessary and that's what he did. In other circumstances, legislative authority (corporate buy-in) is necessary. Frankly, I feel that executive leadership is needed more often than it is used; executive leadership must always be tinged by the advice of clear-headed counselors. The decision can/must be explained to all later, but a leader must lead - that's why God made leadership and leaders.

Lead On!

Monday, February 7, 2011

IRS Baptist Church

In August 2004, Hurricane Ivan hit Pensacola, Florida and caused massive devastation. First Baptist Church of Pensacola suffered damage as did many other churches. At some point in the storm, the "F" and "T" of "First" fell off giving the church a new name: IRS Baptist Church!

Lead On!