Sermons: Address Congregational Care Issues

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Sermons: Address Congregational Care Issues

I hopped onto www.churchleaders.com and was intrigued by an article entitled, “How to Preach Like Andy Stanley” written by Michael Lukaszewski.

Of course Mike’s title caused quite a stir.

Actually, it was quite clever. The title alone enticed us to read the article which really addressed why he felt Andy Stanley was one of the top communicators of our time.  Andy Stanley is the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Georgia and is also son to the well known tel-evangelist, Charles Stanley.

Congregational Care: One of the Keys to Success

I would like to address two of the six reasons Michael highlighted in his blog because I think pastoral and congregational care are extremely important to the success of any church.

Mike wrote in his article that Andy Stanley understands people and tackles the tough topics with grace.

As pastors, it’s extremely important to stay connected with the real issues facing our congregations.

Pastoral and Congregational Care issues may look like this:

  • Depression or anxiety disorders
  • Marital unfaithfulness [infidelity]
  • Divorce
  • Loss of job
  • Debt
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • Rebellious children
  • Unwanted pregnancy or abortion
  • Infertility
  • Rape or molestation
  • Illness

At Least 25% Need Pastoral Care

Adam Hamilton, author of Leading Beyond the Walls stated that at any given time he counts on the fact that 25% of people coming to worship are in NEED of pastoral care.

Depending upon how large your church is or your personal work load, it may be simply impossible to devote sufficient time one on one to these individuals.

What Mike was saying in his article about Andy Stanley is that Andy is very much aware that there are people sitting in his congregation who are battling issues everyday and need help.

Andy bravely takes on some of these issues in his sermons or sermon series and does so with grace and not condemnation.  Andy often cites that you may not always agree with him, but regardless, he is committed to sharing God’s truth. A prime examples of this is his video series on “Guardrails.”

Adam Hamilton states from his book that pastors have to address these real issues.  He gives a couple of examples and the first is when he preached a funeral of a man who committed suicide.

Pastor Adam sensing that there was a need, devoted a whole sermon on the topic of suicide.  A number of people told him that the sermon alone convinced them not to take their own lives.

Pastor Adam’s sermon was taped and copies remain in their bookstore weekly for anyone who wishes to pick up a copy for themselves or for a friend who is contemplating suicide.

Added BONUS: It Can be Evangelistic

Another example of meeting congregational care is the area of dealing with relationships and marriage. Pastor Adam devoted an entire sermon series on the “Biblical Perspective of Love, Sex & Marriage.”

This was as a result of a lot of pastoral visits of couples on the brink of divorce.

The goal of the series was to help the congregation understand the Biblical perspective on marriage and relationships between a man and a woman. By the way, everyone that is married at his church gets a DVD of this series.

Although the goal was to help relationships and marriages, members of the congregation invited friends and other family members.  By the time the series concluded, their church took in nearly 200 new families.

Pastoral care sermons are important.  As Adam Hamiliton quotes, “…help us offer real hope and help to those who are broken.”

Do you take time to assess the real needs of the congregation and intentionally study and create sermons to address congregational care issues?  If not, are you motivated now to?

 

 

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Why Pastors Cheat

 

Why Pastors Cheat

Jezebel3I recently read an article entitled, Men: Protect These 7 Women by Watching Yourself,” written by Joe McKeever.  I must say it was a great article. Please take a look at the article. McKeever does an excellent job citing examples.

The article was written to men of the church warning them not to ignore direct and subtle signs. He emphasized for pastors to put up certain boundaries and safeguards to protect not only themselves, but also the women.

The article addresses seven types of women that men pastors need to be aware of.  The author is trying to offer some sound advice so that pastors will go into this thing with both eyes open to the subtle tricks and traps of the enemy.  Take a look at the list:

Watch out for . . .

  1. The other woman who wants to be your wife – (this is the woman who is ‘unhappily’ married; she’s your biggest fan and you are everything she wants in a man)
  2. The other woman who wants to be your mother – (this is the woman who smothers you with attention, cooks and buys you stuff)
  3. The other woman who wants to be your lover (Proverbs 5:1-5 speaks of this woman.  This woman is especially dangerous if the relationship between you and your wife have grown stale; she wants you and will make sure you know it; she will convince you, “no strings attached.”)
  4. The other woman who wants to be your best friend (This woman wants you to confide in her and wants you to confide in her.)
  5. The other woman you want (This woman seems to be everything you want in a woman; in her presence you feel a certain type of way, BUT you’re married…)
  6. The other woman who doesn’t know what she wants (This woman is the mixed up and needy woman.  She is always coming to your office. She may not be anything to look at but the danger is you can become emotionally drawn to her.)
  7. The other woman you work most closely with in ministry (You frequently meet with this woman to discuss ministry matters.  It’s the constant meetings ‘alone’ that shouts, ‘danger!’)

Many pastors have paid the ultimate price for sexual sins.

It is a pride issue when pastors believe they have so much anointing on them that they do not have to put up appropriate boundaries.  It’s like they believe they have so much Holy Ghost on them that it gives them ‘Superhuman’ strength like that given to Superman.  The problem is that the allurement of sexual temptation is a pastor’s “kryptonite.”

Many have fallen.  Think about it, even though King Solomon was the wisest man of all; it was the allurement of sex which brought about the division of his kingdom. Pastors have destroyed their families, marriage ended and have lost their churches.

The price and stakes are just too high to make such a gamble on a game that Satan plays all too well.

She doesn’t have to look like a ‘Bay Watch Babe.’Jezebel2

McKeever also points out in his article, the women that often time trips up pastors is the ‘everyday’ church woman meaning you can’t pick her out of a crowd.

She blends in. In fact, McKeever cites that she doesn’t haven’t look like Jezebel, adorned with makeup and designer outfits.

I always wondered about this how men in general would end up having affairs and their mistresses have nothin’ on their wives in terms of physical attractiveness.  Sometimes the wives are ‘Bay Watch Babes’ and the mistresses are ‘Bay Watch Beasts.

I believe it was Mike Murdock who once said that a mistress has learned to talk to the ‘king’ in a man while the wife insist on speaking to the ‘fool’ in a man.  That is why the mistress can look like the back end of a baboon and he finds himself drawn to her.

The stakes are just too high.

Why take the chance in losing it all: family, spouse, church and reputation? Billy Graham, the Christian Voice of America had a spotless career of scandal because he put up certain safeguards and boundaries.

These days as we hear about preacher after preacher falling from grace, it is imperative that one be intentional in honoring God, one’s spouse, family and church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marriage Resource Tools

figting for marriage

Pastors, our church just finished up a great Wednesday Night Live Service.  It was a four week workshop series on Marriage and Living Single facilitated by two pastors.  I don’t want to use this blog to tell you how great it was.  Woops, I just did.

I would like to focus on the fact that people responded.  Both classes were jammed packed with eager people wanting to learn.

The attendance frankly blew our minds. People in both workshops were faithful in coming out every week.

Now why do I mention this?  Because as pastors, we need to be about meeting needs of people and being relevant. The divorce rate for Christians is about 51%.  It seems obvious that married Christian folk are having just as much trouble keeping it together as Non-Christians.

Face it, when our relationships are off course, it simply affects every area in our lives.

  • It affects how we relate to our children and how much patience we have with them or others.
  • It affects our job performance
  • it affects our Spiritual lives
  • It even affects pastor’s performance from the pulpit (c’mon tell the truth and shame the devil!)
  • it causes us to lean towards unhealthy vices that just end up making things worse.

Marriage Resource Tool (Take a peek at the overview video below)

That being said, I wanted to share with you a marriage resource tool I found.  The organization is called, The Art of Marriage.”   Go ahead and click and peruse the site.  They offer a 6-session dynamic video series: 1) God’s  Purpose & Plan, 2) Drifting Towards Isolation, 3) Husband/Wife Roles, 4) Resolving Conflict, 5) Intimacy & Sex and 6) Leaving a Legacy.

Your church can actually sponsor a conference and will be provided with all of the tools you need to plan, promote, and host an event. Here are six value-adds that I know you will find beneficial:

  1. The promotional material comes with the deal. (Already designed: brochures, flyers, posters, door hangers, save the date cards, web banners and even power point presentation for your church announcements)
  2. 30/60 second Pre-recorded public service announcements are available also with scripts
  3. Seven videos to assist you in promoting your event
  4. You can register your event on ‘The Art of Marriage‘ web site so others can find your event
  5. The ‘Cost Calculator.‘ This tool is used to assist you in determining the cost per couple.
  6. If you would like to start small with an intimate group you can do that too by purchasing the Study Group Curriculum.

This site also provides articles for those who wish to get married as well. Prayerfully, I can find a compatible singles resource tool as well. And if it is out there, I will find it and share it with you.

The harvest is plentiful.  We tested the waters in our church, throwing out our nets on the other side of the boat and guess what, we caught a lot of fish. It is Satan’s desire to destroy marriages and families.  Here is an opportunity  to not only invest in our sacred union but also to fight for our marriages and fight for the stability of our families.

Take a look at the videos and see whether or not you could manage this project at your church or in your ministry.  I believe it is a good start for dialogue as it also offers up practical solutions.

Let me know how it works for you and whether you enjoyed the video.

 

Bishop Eddie Long’s Wife Returns and Speaks Out

 

STAY or GO? – STAY! At a recent meeting with the women’s ministry at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Vanessa Long spoke about her personal struggles during husband Eddie Long’s sexual misconduct allegations in 2010.  We could tell she wrestled with the decision with whether to stay or to go as she announced that she was filing for a divorce, then rescinded, then filed again.  And now she is back again and revealed an intimate part of her life with the women at New Birth.

HURTING, ANGRY, SHAME, EMBARRASSED! She stated that last year she was in a storm and she got off the ship.  She stood before the women bare, saying “As much as I love my husband, my family, my New Birth Family,  I could not take another minute PRETENDING to be OKAY.” This spoke to the pain she felt.  The infamous MASK church folk usually wear was off.

AIRING DIRTY LAUNDRY. I must say that I respect Bishop Long and the leadership of New Birth who gave her the platform to share what many churches have come to term “AIRING THEIR DIRTY LAUNDRY” instead of hiding them like most churches do.  I believe it speaks to humility and a greater concern for the healing, restoring and reconciliation process.

HEALING TAKES TIME. As I write this post, I am happy for Vanessa, Bishop Long and the New Birth family. However, counselors, both secular and Christian, would agree that before Vanessa can help minister to others, she will need totally healing.  I would suspect that that wound is still open and susceptible to a great number of triggers reminding her of those painful events.

NO APOLOGIES. NO FAILURE.Vanessa tells the women of New Birth that it was also extremely difficult to return because she felt like she failed the very people who needed  her to be their strength because, they too, were in the storm and they elected to stay.  To that I say, “WHAT?#! But they were NOT the wife.” That’s not reasonable. How could you give out strength you did not possess yourself? “How could you minister strength to others when you needed ministering to?

ENTITLED.Vanessa was entitled to do what she needed to do for the sake of her sanity. And for that, she owes no one an apology.  Eddie was her husband.  When you get married you become ONE. She needed to get away to preserve herself for how ever long she needed.

THE SPIRIT WORKS! I am happy that Vanessa allowed the Spirit to give her the strength to return, pulling up the ‘LOVE RESERVES’ to make a bold move in order to extend forgiveness and to reconcile.However, it must be said that before she can minister to others, she needs to be ministered to. Weighing in on her statements it is clear that her healing will be a work in progress.

LEARN FROM OTHERS. Lastly, I pray that all pastors truly realize that ‘betrayal’ cuts deep and is extremely painful for SIN extends and has a long reach as it impacts everybody attached to you or who has things in common with you.  As pastors, I pray we learn from the painful experiences and mistakes of others lest we too, fall prey to the traps of the enemy and risk losing it all.

May God Bless the Long & New Birth Family

What are your thoughts on the video clip? What sayeth you?