Top Seven Regrets Most Pastors Have – Rainer on Leadership #331

Podcast Episode #331

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We cover seven regrets many pastors and church staff have and how to overcome them. And we also talk about Chuck E. Cheese.

Some highlights from today’s episode include:

  • Seminaries are great, but no school can teach everyone everything needed for ministry.
  • Critics will always be present for leaders.
  • There can be healthy critics; it’s just hard to see them that way.
  • When faced with a difficult situation, do you find the opportunity or the danger?
  • Pastors are prone to blame outside factors for church problems.
  • Church can be an evil mistress for a pastor.
  • Sharing ministry is a step of faith.
  • Don’t be a ministry hoarder.

The seven regrets we discuss are:

  1. Lack of practical training for local church ministry.
  2. Overly concerned about critics.
  3. Failure to exercise faith.
  4. Not enough time with family.
  5. Failure to understand basic business and finance issues.
  6. Failure to share ministry.
  7. Failure to make friends.

Episode Sponsors

mbts_banner1_rainerThe Timothy Track, from Midwestern Seminary, offers select residential M.Div. students placement in internship positions in a local church in the area. Now you can complement your studies with in-the-field ministry experience. In addition, all Timothy Track students will receive up to 12 credit hours for the internship and a 50% tuition scholarship for the first year.

Find out more at mbts.edu/TimothyTrack.


Vanderbloemen Search GroupVanderbloemen Search Group is the premier pastor search firm dedicated to helping churches and ministries build great teams. They’ve helped hundreds of churches just like yours find their church staff and are uniquely geared to help you discern who God is calling to lead your church.

Find out more about Vanderbloemen Search Group by visiting WeStaffTheChurch.com.


Feedback

If you have a question you would like answered on the show, fill out the form on the podcast page here at ThomRainer.com. If we use your question, you’ll receive a free copy of Who Moved My Pulpit?


Resources Mentioned in Today’s Podcast

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Six Details to Include in Your Church Staff Bios

By Jonathan Howe

When we talk with first-time guests about church websites, many of them share their surprise that the website fails to include bios or any information other than a name for the church staff.

I have to admit, I’m surprised when I see this happen as well.

Staff bios help guests—and church members—relate better to those who are charged with the spiritual care of a congregation. While they don’t have to be exhaustive, there are a few items to consider including in each church staff member’s bio.

  1. A current, professional photo of the staff member. The number of church staff pages that just list names and nothing else puzzles me. Photos help people identify with the church. Having a professional photo that is current for each staff member communicates that a church cares about details and doing things well.
  2. Information about what their job entails. With the growing number of unorthodox job titles in churches, there is often confusion over what area of ministry a staff member relates to. For example, a “creative arts director” could work with the worship ministry, the media ministry, the communications team, or all three. Provide clarity for each staff member so that someone can easily identify to whom they can direct questions or ideas.
  3. How long they’ve been at the church. It’s not an essential item, but it is helpful. Knowing how long a staff person has been at a church provides context to visitors and members. There is a catch with this approach though. If you say “Joe has been on staff for 12 years,” then you have to update it every year. Try a format like “Joe joined the staff as student minister in 2005” instead.
  4. Social media profiles. I understand that many people still do not have social media profiles or want them shared. But consider providing at least some social media connection if at all possible. Each staff member could pick the one social media platform they prefer and use it. Or you could list all available platforms. The specifics don’t matter as long as there’s at least some way to connect with the staff other than email.
  5. An email address. Other than a picture, this might be the most important part of a staff bio. Contacting a church staff member should be as easy as possible. And email is the best way to allow for that contact to take place without providing too much personal information.
  6. Personal information. If any of these could be considered optional, it would be this one. However, like a picture, personal information (likes, dislikes, alma maters, spouse and kids’ names) helps people better relate to the staff. So if it’s possible, then include it.

What else does your church include in its staff bios? What would you add to this list?


Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources as well as the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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Five Steps to Respond to a Hurtful and Hateful Email

“You have no business being the pastor of our church. All you are interested in is getting your own way and changing all the good things we have going. People are saying you should be fired. I agree with them.”

Yes, it’s a real email.

Yes, it’s from a church member to a pastor.

The Internet has certainly brought us incredible ways to do commerce, to get information, and to communicate.

But it has an ugly and evil side to it as well.

It allows cowardly critics to hide behind a keyboard and cut people to the core through blogs, social media, and email.

So how do we respond when we get a hurtful email? The pastor who received that cruel, cowardly, and vitriolic email asked me that question. Here is how I responded:

  1. Pray about it. Do not respond in a quick-tempered, fleshly anger. Give it to God. Let Him guide you. Pray for wisdom and pray for those who attack you.
  2. Wait. Some leaders work on the 24-hour rule. They will not respond to a hateful email immediately. Some wait longer. They are waiting on God. They are waiting to have a more tempered perspective. And they are waiting to get input from others.
  3. Get godly counsel. I was recently accused of plagiarism in an email, a first for me. I was incensed. After a time of prayer, I knew a part of my anger was due to my own pride and ego. I pride myself on writing original content, so the accusation of copying someone else really irked me. But I sought the wisdom of others. I eventually responded strongly, but nothing like my original thoughts. The wisdom of others saved me from writing something I would have likely regretted for a long time.
  4. Decide to respond or ignore. Not every email, tweet, blog post, or Facebook post is worthy of a response. Sometimes it’s just best not to engage the critic. That can be tough, because we so much desire to defend ourselves. But if you do respond, I recommend this next step.
  5. Call or meet with the critic if at all possible. I know it’s not always possible to have a verbal conversation with someone. But meeting face-to-face is ideal, and talking by telephone is better than a written response. Many critics are taken aback when they see the willingness of the person they attacked willing and desirous to meet with them.

Leadership is tough, particularly in the church. You will get those “nasty-grams” from time to time. Remember the wisdom of Proverbs: “A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).

It’s not always the easiest path, but sometimes it’s the best and most godly path.

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10 Things Church Members Want from Their Pastor – Rainer on Leadership #330

Podcast Episode #330

SUBSCRIBE: iTunes • RSS • Stitcher • TuneIn RadioGoogle Play

Ever wondered what your church wants from its pastor? Today, we cover the top ten things church members desire in a pastor.

Some highlights from today’s episode include:

  • A church wants to know that their pastor loves them.
  • Effective preaching requires adequate time for preparation.
  • Much of a pastor’s ministry is judged as effective or not based upon the preaching ministry.
  • Social media background checks are becoming standard when hiring a pastor.
  • We are leaving a blueprint of our lives when we interact on social media.
  • An organization without a path forward becomes an uneasy organization.
  • A lot of people can have great ideas. Not many people can execute them, too.
  • There is nothing wrong with having fun as a leader.
  • Most leaders are not transparent enough.

The ten items we discuss are:

  1. Love of congregation.
  2. Effective preaching.
  3. Strong character.
  4. Good work ethic.
  5. Casts a vision.
  6. Demonstrates healthy leadership.
  7. Joyous.
  8. Does not yield to critics.
  9. Transparent.
  10. Models evangelism.

Episode Sponsors

Vanderbloemen Search GroupVanderbloemen Search Group is the premier pastor search firm dedicated to helping churches and ministries build great teams. They’ve helped hundreds of churches just like yours find their church staff and are uniquely geared to help you discern who God is calling to lead your church.

Find out more about Vanderbloemen Search Group by visiting WeStaffTheChurch.com.


mbts_banner1_rainerMidwestern Seminary, one of the fastest growing seminaries in North America, exists to train leaders For The Church. The local church is God’s “Plan A” for the proclamation of the gospel, and there is no Plan B. And this is Midwestern’s vision and heartbeat—equipping pastors and other ministry leaders who are called to expand God’s mission in the world through the local church. At Midwestern Seminary: they train leaders ‘For The Church.’

Visit them online at MBTS.edu and start your ministry training today.


Feedback

If you have a question you would like answered on the show, fill out the form on the podcast page here at ThomRainer.com. If we use your question, you’ll receive a free copy of Who Moved My Pulpit?


Resources Mentioned in Today’s Podcast

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Five Reasons Church Members Attend Church Less Frequently

About 20 years ago, a church member was considered active in the church if he or she attended three times a week.

Today, a church member is considered active in the church if he or she attends three times a month.

Something is wrong with this picture. For 2,000 years, the local church, as messy as it is, has been God’s place for believers to gather, worship, minister, and be accountable to one another.

And every time I write something about church membership and attendance, I inevitably hear cries of “legalism” or “the church is not a building” or “the church is a messed up institution.”

But the local church, the messy local church, is what God has used as His primary instrument to make disciples. But commitment is waning among many church members.

Why?

  1. We are minimizing the importance of the local church. When we do, we are less likely to attend. A few drops of rain may keep many folks from attending church, but it won’t stop them from sitting three hours in the downpour watching their favorite football team.
  2. We worship the idols of activities. Many members will replace a day in their church with a day at kid’s soccer or softball games or sleeping off the hangover of the previous day’s activities.
  3. We take a lot of vacations from church. I am not anti-vacation. But 20 years or so ago, we would make certain we attended a church where we were taking a vacation. Today, many members take a vacation from church.
  4. We do not have high expectations of our members. Any purposeful organization expects and gets much of it members, whether it’s a sports team or a civic organization. It is ironic that most churches do not come close to being a high expectation church.
  5. We make infrequent attendees leaders in our churches. When we do, we are making a clear statement that even the leaders of the church do not have to be committed to the place they supposedly lead.

I heard a leader of an organization tell the members he did not want them if they were not fully committed. They could not be AWOL if they wanted to be a part of the group. He expected full commitment.

He is a high school football coach. And all the team members follow that high expectation of commitment.

If we truly expect to make a difference in our communities and our families, members of local churches need to have at least the same level of commitment as members of sports teams.

After all, the mission of each local church is far more important.

At least it should be.

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