I Am A Church Member – On Every Book Shelf!

I am Church Member

Reasons I Liked the Book

I like this book for several reasons. To list a few: it is small, simple, easy to read, practical, inexpensive and it has some great insights. Some of the content makes for some great discussions in small groups.

FIRST Read The Introduction

Many of us dive right into reading chapter one, but in this case I STRONGLY recommend reading The Introduction for it sets the stage for the chapters to follow. The introduction includes a story of the interaction between two different types of church members. If you are a seasoned church member I am sure you will be able to relate.

The Death of Hope – Robin Williams

raft

Are You Okay?

My husband and I were out enjoying our boat. We had to slow it down when we came across other boats, people in rafts and kayaks. Etiquette, when out on a boat is to wave to those you pass by. I remember seeing two women in a raft. We waved and they waved back. They seemed to be going nowhere, but who were we to second guess how people were enjoying the water. They said nothing and neither did we. My husband was anxiously trying to get passed the slow pokes so he could go full throttle. Some half hour later, we doubled back to go in another direction to head towards the beach when we saw the same two ladies. I called out, “You guys doing okay?” One of the ladies said, “No.” Humbly, she said that they had been out there for awhile going in circles. They just couldn’t get the hang of things. We grabbed their ropes and pulled them to shore.

I think about this as I reflect on the passing of Robin Williams, one of America’s finest comedians. I was saddened to hear that he had committed suicide and that he struggled with depression. I believe it was T.D. Jakes who once said that ‘suicide’ is the DEATH of HOPE. Williams had also been recently diagnosed with the beginning stages of Parkinson Disease which probably compounded his depressive disorder.

How well do we reflect the Kingdom of God?

As Christians we must always be aware that our talk, our walk and our behavior are direct reflections of the kingdom of God whether good or bad. Here are a couple of very recent examples:

Pastor attempts to stiff waitress on tip

I’m sure by now you heard about the pastor who ate at the Applebee’s Restaurant and called herself stiffing the waitress of her tip.  In fact, she wrote a message on her bill indicating that she gives God 10% whyreceipt do you get 18.

Evidently., the waitress uploaded a picture of the bill to the Internet and the rest is history.

The news even made it on CNN showing that the pastor was cheap as well as rude.

What a negative reflection on the kingdom.

I even read that one of the first places the waitress uploaded the picture was on an Atheist site which. for them. would only further promote their cause.

On another note . . .

Ray Lewis quotes scripture

Seeing that I’m from Baltimore, we were elated when the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl this year. Ray Lewis one of our all time favorites was quoting scripture.  He allowed the world to see another side of himself – the faith side.

Ray announced that he was retiring as a result of God calling him to do so.  His recited the scripture, “No Weapon formed against me shall prosper” and got a lot of feedback.  It seems public reaction to Lewis’ expressions of faith varied from genuine to merely showing off.

To my surprise, the mixed reaction of the Christian community was somewhat disappointing from many not believing he was genuine to bringing up his tainted past when he was charged with murder.

What do they have in common?

In both cases whether it be the pastor stiffing the waitress of her tip or Christians passing judgment on whether Ray Lewis Bible quotes and redemption were genuine are perfect examples of negative reflections on the Kingdom.Ray Lewis

The pastor could have could have gained far more mileage in terms of evangelism by writing some encouraging word on the receipt with a scriptural reference. Hmmm….. I’m just saying.

In the case of Ray Lewis, it’s not for us to be preoccupied with whether someone’s conversion is legitimate or not. Our job is to plant the seed, someone else’s job is to water it and it’s God’s responsibility to make it grow.

On his way out, if Ray Lewis wants to leave the world with a message to which they could remember – why not a scripture? Hmmm….. I’m just saying.

How well do you think we all reflect the kingdom?

 

 

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Improve Your Church Holiday Services by Planning Ahead

Snow laid woods w Red Xmas ball

Improve Your Church Holiday Services

Christmas is fast approaching.  For the church, there are three days a year that can serve to EXPLODE your church in terms of growth.  The three days are: Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter.  We call it the C.M.E. days.

These days should come as no surprise to you.   If you can’t get people in church any other time, you usually can on these days. I implore you to really pay attention to these days and not to ignore such a great opportunity to fish.

Feature Your Best Stuff

It is during these times, churches need to pull out there BEST stuff: music, best readers, drama, sermon, etc.  I’ve been in congregation where pastors sand blast their members for not inviting others to church with them.  Believe me when I say you don’t get warm fuzzies staring out at empty pews.

However, on the other hand, if there is nothing to look forward to but a typical Sunday morning format, where is the motivation to do anything different?

Plan Ahead

There are churches who put significant time into planning for the C.M.E. days to be a great worship experience, not only for their existing congregation, but also for their visitors. Some churches start planning as much as a year ahead for these special days.

The result of significant planning will always yield you positive results.

It really gets me how pastors will put in a week or two of planning, if that, just before the ‘special’ day and have the audacity to rebuke the congregation for not inviting guests.

The truth is there are always churches nearby that have planned ahead and are offering a great worship experience.

You know this personally because more than a month earlier, you received their glossy postcard, or a member gave you an event ticket, or you saw their specialty banner on the road, or viewed their updated website  or you heard their radio announcement or saw their TV commercial.

These are all indicators that this service has been well thought out, planned and will be different.

People Will Share What They Value

The truth is congregations from these churches will gladly invite friends, co-workers and strangers to their churches. Members value the time, effort and planning that went into that service.  And whatever gives them a sense a pride, they will gladly share.

So if you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly.  However, if you sow generously, you will reap generously.

Don’t Be Surprised if Your Own Member Skips Out

So, if you are a pastor who says, “It don’t take all that,” don’t be surprised or offended if you look up and even some of your own members are missing on these days.

Where are they?  They are at the church down the road enjoying their ‘planned’ church service.

 

 Does your church plan ahead for C.M.E. days?  How early?

Feel free to review the blog entitled, “10 Ways to Sabotage Your Church Holiday Service Efforts.”

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9 Reasons They Resist Change

change resistant

A man celebrating his hundredth birthday was interviewed by a reporter. The reporter said, “I bet  you have seen a lot of change in your life!“The man replied, “Yes, and I have been against everyone of them!”

In the cartoon above, could the people be resisting the change simply because they do not understand the purpose of the wheel or perhaps because they were not involved in the process or could it be that they like things just the way they were?  Perhaps the answer is all three or even more.  Either way change has got to be managed but before doing so it’s important to understand ‘why’ people resist change in order to develop a strategy that help people in the process of change.

John Maxwell identified nine reasons people use to resist change

  1. Misunderstanding.  When people do not understand why they should change, they will work to oppose it.
  2. Lack of ownership. Church members who are not involved in the change process, they resist any new thing being pushed on them.
  3. Habit patterns.  Routine makes people comfortable.  Since many people are habit prone anything that threatens their habits, they resist.
  4. Change is not worth the price. Change is often costly. People often want to get something in exchange for their sacrifice.  The reward for changing may appear too small in comparison.
  5. Losing security, money or control.  People resist change when they are threatened with he loss of something that is valuable to them.
  6. Satisfaction factor. People are simply satisfied with the old ways and don’t want to change.
  7. Negative attitude toward change in general. Some people’s thought process is  based on the idea that NOTHING should be changed.
  8. Lack of respect for leader. Unless followers trust the leaders, they will feel uncomfortable with change and will fight against it.
  9. Tradition. People’s attitude is, “We’ve never done it that way before.”

As you read the above reasons why people resist change, can you now understand how one might go about devising a strategy for change? Not managing change effectively will lead to undo stress and unhappy people and certainly delayed projects.

As you look to introducing new ideas in your church consider this list before introducing your new concept or idea.  For some of the items, they will be harder to manage such as #’s 6, 7, & 9; however others are more manageable.. According to John Maxwell, it takes more than a good attitude and desire to effect change.  There MUST  be a good strategy for change.

What are some of the strategies you use in managing change as you introduce new ideas in your church?