Tuesday, August 30, 2005

5 "Land Mine" Prayers for Your Protection

5 Land Mines Pastors Should Avoid
Written by Dr. James T. Draper, Jr.

LifeWay Christian Resources president Jimmy Draper identifies the following as potential trouble spots in the life of the pastor.

Perform an inventory to make sure you are not falling prey to any of these potentially damaging land mines:

1. Nepotism
This is a very sensitive area. When a minister hires his wife, siblings, children, spouses of his children, etc., it opens up some areas of concern. I believe it is inappropriate unless it comes as a demand from the church itself.

2. Co-mingling of Funds
It is unlawful and inappropriate to use designated funds for budget expenses, or in any other way taking funds intended for one purpose and using it for another.

3. Misuse of Church Credit Card
It is wrong for a pastor to use the church credit card for personal expenses or in excess of the limit the church has stipulated.

4. Misuse of Church Resources
It is wrong for a pastor to use church resources for personal projects whether on home property or any other personal endeavor. This is especially inappropriate when no reimbursement is made to the church.

5. Misuse of Pastoral Authority
It is inappropriate for a pastor to make decisions arbitrarily about new endeavors, missions, etc., without church discussion and approval. One example would be to take up offerings for unauthorized projects.

Helpful Web-based Resources for Pastors:
How to Protect Your Church from Lawsuits (Pastors area of LifeWay.com)
8 Key Questions for Minister's Finances (Pastors area of LifeWay.com)
Ministerial tax issues (.pdf file from absbc.org)
The 12 Most Important Legal and Tax Issues for New Ministers (churchlawtoday.org)
GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention

New books which address these issues:
Church Administration: Creating Efficiency for Effective Ministry (2005)
Management Essentials for Christian Ministries (2005)

Life Way . com

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The 7 Great Prayers - Begin a New Daily Habit



Dear Phil,

Thanks for signing up to receive The 7 Great Prayers emails.

These 7 powerful prayers will change your life forever!

Before you get to the web page that tells you all about The First Great Prayer, you'll go to a short Prayer Survey form. If you could please fill out the form it would help me better serve you with your prayer needs. After you complete the short survey, you'll immediately go to The First Great Prayer web page.

Here's the link to a short Prayer Survey and the First Great Prayer -

Again, welcome! God Bless You,
Paul McManus

Creator of Prayer Power CDs - CDs for a richer and blessed life

Prayer Power, LLC
88 Long Hill Street
East Hartford, CT 06108
USA

Why pastors should be bloggers

Why should pastors blog? Because they can? Well, maybe. But there are better reasons. Pastor/author/blogger Tod Bolsinger believes ministers should blog "because we have a vested interest in something that the blogosphere makes more readily available: To more effectively, cheaply and regularly communicate the elements of Christian faith to a wider number of people. This will also ... encourage our long-term pastorates and presence in our home churches (and families) by making it easier to reach larger numbers of people each week without leaving home." He adds in his latest post about pastorblogging that "blogging allows us to be far more effective at communicating Christian truth in depth, and responding to challenges to the faith effectively, broadly and without delay."
Internet Evangelism. Blogs I Read

How To Find What You Need Online . . .


by Kevin A. Miller, FaithInTheWorkPlace.com

"The Internet is exploding with empty dazzle," explains Richard Saul Wurman, "sites that direct you to nonexistent links, send you down fruitless paths, and generally don't help you get where you want to go … Several studies have found that somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of people searching for information on the Web failed to find what they were looking for."[1]

And we thought the Internet was supposed to be the mother of all information, the answer to all our information needs. Instead, it frustrates us most of the time—60 to 80 percent of the time. How ironic.

Still, by knowing how to properly search the web, we can flip that statistic upside down: we can find what we're looking for 60 to 80 percent of the time. Here are five tips for more successful web searches. By using these principles, you're highly likely to find what you're looking for online—in the first page of results. CLICK HERE for some outstanding help for beginning and advanced Internet and Online users.

Prayer & Action

Prayer and action... can never be seen as contradictory or mutually exclusive. Prayer without action grows in powerless pietism, and action without prayer degenerates into questionable manipulation. If prayer leads us into a deeper unity with the compassionate Christ, it will always give rise to concrete acts of service. And if concrete acts of service do indeed lead us to a deeper solidarity with the poor, the hungry, the sick, the dying, and the oppressed, they will always give rise to prayer. In prayer we meet Christ, and in Him all human suffering. In service we meet people, and in them the suffering Christ.
-- Henri J. M. Nouwen in "Compassion"

From "Doug Stringer"

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pastors' Prayer Groups - Nuts & Bolts

How Our Group Works

{Permission granted to post this exerpt from "Leaders That Last"}

There are a lot of conferences and books on leadership skills, theology, organizational development. "But what I value here is being able to talk to you guys about things I’m dealing with on a personal level and finding that someone has already dealt with these same issues. I get the benefit of all your experience."
Pastors in Covenant group member

Success in ministry isn’t just about knowledge, spirituality, vision, and leadership skill. Gary and I think it is also about emotional maturity, and part of that is connectedness with others. Pastors who excel in ministry recognize that they must be continually nourished, refined, and renewed with other people who are like they are.
Effective pastors have to address colliding expectations and shifting demands in ministry. They must balance self-care with service to the congregation, community, and their families. To do this effectively requires sustenance, support, and continual growth and change. As Gary has explained, growth and change come through the application of God’s wisdom and truth in the day-to-day experiences, difficulties, and crises of lifečas we are encouraged and coached by peers, mentors, advisors, and friends who understand. This is why we believe that God is calling pastors and other ministry leaders into a new leadership model that requires transformational covenant friendships.

Let’s Do More Than Lunch
What we are proposing, however, is a leap beyond ministers’ luncheons and prayer summits. Those kinds of things are both important and indispensable, but working togetherčor even praying together regularlyčdoes not necessarily allow us to do the kind of relationship work that is so desperately needed for leaders to last.
If your experience is like ours, you probably have become acquainted with other pastors and ministry executives in your area as a result of some event or task. It may have been something as basic and as vital as prayer, but it was a task nevertheless. Regardless of what denomination we belong to and how many apostolic networks and kingdom partnerships we form or are a part of, we leaders continue to dance and court without ever really making a serious commitment to one another to be long-term, accountable friends.

All Kinds of Leaders Need Support
My brother-in-law, Lynn, and I (Al) were riding down the cart path of the third hole of a beautiful desert golf course in Scottsdale, Arizona. A successful businessman, Lynn has survived multiple business transitions and crises and a few family ones too. Knowing that he had once gone to therapy himself and that his wife is a therapist, I was wondering what he would say when I asked him, “With the difficult things you’ve gone through, what has helped you the most in life?”
“My TEC friends,” was his immediate answer.
I kind of expected him to say, “My wife,” or, in jest, “Therapy.” But no, he said it was his friends who stood by him and helped him through life. Are you a pastor? A Christian leader? How would you have answered my question? Would you have given me a more “spiritual” response, like, “God sustained me”? Or, “The Bible”? Obviously, the foundation for wholeness in Christian ministry is our relationship with God and his Word! But if you are a leader, do you have significant friendships?
Lynn belonged to a TEC group for eighteen years. TEC is an acronym for The Executive Committee. Owned by Michael Milken, TEC is a program specifically designed for top business executives to ensure their long-term success. It’s based on the knowledge that “it’s lonely at the top,” and therefore high-profile executives need peer relationships. TEC members meet once a month for a full day, the morning session for a relevant business presentation and the afternoon session for personal sharing. Lynn told me, “My TEC friends helped me through the hard business times and also through the personal crises. I wouldn’t have made it without them. Since I’ve sold my business, I am no longer in TEC, but those guys are still my friends. We get together for lunch at least once a month.”
Isolation isn’t endemic to ministry leadership alone; it happens to all kinds of leaders. TEC is a profitable company that charges members dues of more than a thousand dollars a month. Business leaders gladly pay itčbecause it works! It helps make them successful. TEC cultivates leaders who last.

Intentionality - Core Value
Our Pastors in Covenant (PIC) model is similar to TEC. We didn’t design it that way; it just evolved naturally. Both, though, have much in common. For example, being intentional about relationships is a major core value for us. Pastors are busy; business executives are busy. Demands of the day often exceed the time limits of the day. If, however, we are too busy to have friends, we are simply too busy.
When husbands, for example, come to me for counsel on how to pay more attention to their wives, I tell them, “Just put it into your schedule!” I learned early that if Susan, my wife, was on my schedule for lunch Friday, I would end up meeting with her and enjoying our time together. But if I didn’t schedule it, something always seemed to come up. Every little pressure and crisis seemed to take precedent, and we’d rarely end up meeting for lunch. It’s what some have called “the tyranny of the urgent.”
Our good friend Hal Sacks has pioneered a bridge-building ministry for ministers in Arizona and has been influential around the country in getting Christian leaders together. After years of experience he says:
Relationship must be intentional. We are called to something we know nothing about and yet we preach aboutčrelationship with God, your family, and the world around you. After years of working with Christian leaders, I’ve come to realize that relationships are the most important issue and the most elusive. I’ve brought men together to pray assuming that prayer together would cultivate intimacy, but that in fact doesn’t happen.

Someone once said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Likewise, the road to failure in ministry is paved with good intentions. Pastors know so much more than they can ever practice. Most will agree that they need meaningful relationships with peers. Few, however, take the simple step of making and scheduling time for them.
I like our PIC model because it is an easy way to schedule needed relationship. And it is okay to schedule relationship. Those who are more relational connect easily with others, while some find connecting difficult. To form a peer friendship, however, one need not be highly relational, only intentional and consistent about scheduling time with peers to talk and pray.

PIC Group Meetings
Since understanding how a PIC group works may help you become more committed to relationship, I will tell you about our prototype PIC group. Dan Scott is the pastor of Valley Cathedral in Phoenix. We meet monthly at his church on North Central Avenue. He has a small, well-lit, yet secluded cottage in his church’s prayer garden. It is just right for us, because it is centrally located and private. Moreover, Dan’s staff always provides a very nice spread of refreshments. We meet from 9 a.m. until noon on the first Thursday of every month. A few of us are always on time and a few are often late, but no one gets too upset about others not being punctual. As Gary has often said, “I have to ‘perform’ everywhere I go. This is one place I can just be myself.”
I (Al) am currently the group facilitator, meaning that my role is to make sure everyone in our group gets a turn to share. This is a challenge when you’re in the same room with seven other strong-willed Christian leaders who are often far more comfortable speaking than listening. Others have served as facilitator in the past; we share leadership. Mutual respect is another of our core values, and we believe that leadership of the group is a shared responsibility of all of its members working within their gifts and abilities.
We also think that a PIC group, whenever possible, should be comprised of the leaders of both large and small churches. In our PIC group we have a mixture of church sizes. We even have a couple of ministers who are not presently pastoring a church. For example, I am leading a ministry that assists churches. Another member pastors a thriving “upscale” church of over a thousand, while another pastors a small messianic congregation. Gary’s interdenominational church has more than forty-five hundred attending every weekend. Another member, on the other hand, just left a church he founded to start a worldwide traveling ministry. One pastors a multiethnic congregation of several hundred, another is transitioning from a church to a parachurch ministry, and yet another is the second senior pastor of a one-thousand-member church that has been in crisis for several years. So, as you can see, our group is quite diverse. At eight participants, though, our group size is probably a little too large. When I share more about group dynamics, I will comment on how a smaller group size works better.
Our group meetings begin with informal dialogue between members. We spend time catching up on what has happened since the last meeting.
“Did you hear about....?”
“Did you know that ... is happening?”
These warmups are often followed by, “I read an interesting new book last week./.” Many group members enter into the discussion, others listen.
Our meetings seem inadvertently to follow the TEC meeting format my brother-in-law described. We usually start with “shoptalk” and conclude with sharing personal needs and concerns. The initial discussions often cover a wide range of subjects, from how to do worship services to the latest in church growth paradigms. We even get into local church politics on occasion.
Because our group members like to “preach,” we’ve had to make a rule. Near the beginning of each meeting, somewhere in the middle of the shoptalk, I ask, “Who needs time today?” This ensures we don’t miss the opportunity to hear and support a brother with a need. Second, we have committed to turn off the pastor babble by no later than 10:30 so that the remaining hour and a half can be focused entirely on personal issues. Most of the people in our group seem to feel more comfortable talking about ministry rather than personal issues. Once the sharing starts, however, all eyes are riveted on the person sharing his needs, and it is evident that everyone cares.
If no one needs immediate attention, we go around the room and check in. That means each of us shares a bit of what is happening in his personal life and ministry. Our sharing times over the years have been deeply personal and painful at times and joyful and hilarious at others. We’ve talked about everything:
ź attraction to women other than our wives
ź our marriages
ź conflict with staff
ź conflict with each other
ź children on drugs
ź children alienated from parents
ź every kind of church problem
ź personal doubts
ź ministry failures, successes, and opportunities

We have tried to be as open with one another as we know how, and we have made our share of mistakes. Not infrequently we have to remind ourselves of the guidelines we have embraced to keep us on track. Here are the more important boundaries we have set for our meetings:

1. Whenever we open up the meeting to share what has been happening in our lives, the facilitator needs to ask, “Is there anyone here who needs time today?” With so many dominant personalities, we don’t want to overlook someone’s need.
2. After someone shares we will often ask, “Do you need counsel on this, or prayer, or both?” It is not always appropriate to give each other advice. Sometimes the best thing we can do for one another is to listen and pray.
3. We all agree to allow any of us to ask any of us any question about our personal or professional life, not rudely, of course, but gently and in the best interest of the one being asked the question. Without this openness there can be no real accountability and authenticity.
4. Occasionally, when we are spending time sharing personal needs, we break up into two or more smaller groups. We think this is helpful because the larger size of our group may at times complicate the group process.

Our group style fits us, but it isn’t necessarily ideal for everyone. For example, Dan Davis and others in Austin, Texas, keep their groups smaller and in some cases will not allow shoptalk. Our other local PIC groups are also smaller. Some don’t have nearly as much interaction about ministry issues and prefer to do things like read a book together and share its personal application. Regardless of the individual group style and size, though, all of us in PIC groups have embraced common core values formed in the early stages of the formation of our first pastor’s groups. These are:

Relationship, Not Task
The core value that sustains us is treasuring relationship over task. Maybe a better way to say it is that our goal is to develop healthy viable peer friendships that will stand the test of time. The primary purpose of a PIC group is not to engage in joint kingdom partnerships or events. This happens, but it is not our goal. Yes, we believe that healthy pastors leading healthy churches change cities, and pastors and ministry leaders need to join together in life-changing initiatives. We believe that covenant groups, though, must remain relational in focus and not become task- or initiative-driven. Dan Davis, the catalyst for covenant groups in Austin, says it this way.

A major purpose of these groups is to help us become more human. I have needed what Pastors in Covenant promotes: a safe place to be connectedčwith the assurance that this is not just another organizational solution. Coming together around tasks does not sustain relationships, but sustained relationships can lead to effective kingdom ventures.

Gary and I believe that when Christian leaders are committed to forming healthy relationships with one another, cooperative ministry will be the healthy outflow of those relationships. Pastors are often entrepreneurial by nature. Many want to do something together with other Christian leaders, but often the missing element is the trust, personal commitment, and close relationship needed to partner together in the work of Christ.
George Barna tells us that only a percent or two of churches in the same area ever work together, even when they have shared vision. We believe that more partnerships are scuttled by mismanaged conflict, wrong expectations, suspicion, and lack of trust than from lack of vision. Relationship is a vehicle for purpose. One of our covenant brothers has struggled over the years with trying to bring churches together, but since joining a covenant group, things have changed. He says, “It’s the friendships I’ve formed in my PIC group that have made it possible for us to sustain combined joint efforts to reach our community for Christ. It’s also these long-term relationships that overcame the competition that existed.”

Character Development
In attempting to define what we are trying to accomplish in our covenant groups, it was necessary for us to identify, understand, and embrace key core values. Godly character development is another one of those values. During one of our meetings, one of the guys shared about his background:

I grew up in a pastor’s home. When my father reached a point in his life when he was struggling in ministry, he had no one to go to. When he went to the guys in his denomination, they shamed him. So he left my mom and the ministry and has lived the last years of his life isolated from and hostile to the church. There was no place for him to deal with the inconsistencies of his life, so he just kept them hidden. I’ve seen that pastoral training and development is almost entirely information-driven, not character-based. Integrity is the gap between the way you ought to live and the way you actually live. Hypocrisy is acting like that gap doesn’t exist.

There is a desperate need for authentic relationships in the body of Christ. When I (Al) work with ministries in helping them select new senior pastors or ministry leaders, I challenge them to look for three things:

1. Calling. Without a clear call from God there will not be the grace necessary to meet the extraordinary challenges of Christian ministry. Grace for the task always comes with the call.
2. Competence. Look for the skills needed to fulfill the calling. If the job is primarily pulpit mastery and organizational envisioning, then make sure the person you select has these skills.
3. Character. Strength of personal character is the third foundation stone of a successful pastoral life.

Covenant group friendships cultivate good character development. When one of us is hurting and every emotion inside us wants to strike out, our close friends are the ones who help us bear the pain and respond rather than react. Responding to difficult, sinful people with a soft word, a conciliatory attitude, or a spoken apology demonstrates the character of Christ. We then become part of the solution rather than the problem. That’s when we live out what we preach. Here is what a few covenant group members have shared about their character development.

Through the intentional friendships I’ve developed with other pastors, I’ve discovered the God-given treasure of mature, godly friends, who speak into my life and refuse to let me drown in the swamp of my own self-interest. I couldn’t have survived and thrived in ministry without their love and firm wisdom.
The group has helped me become more transparent. Being transparent helps to overcome all the things that undermine my life and ministryčfear, insecurity, inhibitions, pride, anxiety, lack of training, my tendency to be overly controlling.╩.╩.╩.
We leaders can only lead out of who we are. We can’t lead effectively and do ministry out of concepts that are just ideas. Preaching is not where we fail. The subculture of the church is dysfunctional in proportion to the dysfunctions of its leaders. The church can never be anything more or less than who we are and how we act. The church will never change unless we repent of our artificiality, get real with ourselves and others, and change. My friends help me do just that.

Ten Character Assessment Questions
I (Al) borrowed the following idea from Bill Thrall’s Leadership Catalyst Seminar partner Bruce McNicol. It’s a list of key questions about character and conduct they use to evaluate whether or not a church leader is ready to participate in their leadership development program. I use their questions when interviewing candidates for ministry positions. How candidates answer them will tell the interviewer a lot about their character formation and relationships.

1. If you were losing objectivity, how would you reclaim it?
2. Whom do you trust? Whom are you willing to trust with you?
3. As you look over your shoulder, who is in the wake of your influence and how are they doing?
4. With whom do you intentionally share your needs? Which relationships have helped you mature?
5. Tell us two stories of times when you were in personal trauma, pain, or crisis and you trusted someone else to give you counsel and protection.
6. In what ways have you ignored advice that could have helped you?
7. Share two stories of when you paid the price for a choice of integrity, knowing that it could cost you reputation, a title or position, finances, or some other resource that was valuable to you.
8. Which of your life issues continue to surface to the extent that you need others to guard, guide, and protect you in those areas?
9. What challenges are you accepting for the benefit of those you are influencing?
10. What do you do to develop the kind of communities where integrity and character are nurtured?

Of course, no covenant group in itself can guarantee that a participant will develop godly character. What a group and intentional covenantal relationships do, though, is provide a context for growing in grace and character for those willing to risk the adventure.

Other Core Values
Values are the things we esteem to be most important, the things we live by, the truths that govern our priorities. Values, then, determine how we conduct ourselves with one another. Values are what we live by, not just what we believe. Here are a few more we think are important for covenant groups to be effective:

ź Dialogue. Forums on various theological, leadership, and personal issues are important to fulfill the group’s purpose of developing healthy leaders. We do this by both allowing and encouraging shared insights and knowledge among those of us in our group.
ź Availability. The members of our group extend their commitment to be available to one another outside the schedule of our monthly meetings for developing friendships further or for providing personal counsel in times of difficulty or crisis.
ź Inclusivity. We see the need for relationship among pastors of every denominational persuasion and ethnic group. It is healthy to intentionally include others of different traditions, church sizes, and ethnic or racial origins. Covenant groups should be open to anyone who feels a personal need to become a participant.
ź Consensus. We make decisions by consensus. We agree to disagree, but we will not make a significant decision affecting the members of the group unless there is full agreement among the members. Leaders in our groups facilitate and serve; they do not govern.
ź Process. Group members must be sensitive to group process. Pastors tend to speak in uninterrupted, thirty-plus-minute segments and at the end expect everyone to say, “Amen!” What works in the pulpit doesn’t work in board meetings, staff meetings, and especially gatherings of other pastors. As pastors learn how to dialogue with one another (and submit to one another!), they will become more effective with the gifted, outspoken people in their own congregations.
ź Transdenominational. There is an emerging need among pastors in denominational settings (including pastors of independent evangelical churches) to relate to other Christian leaders outside their own denominations and movements. We think covenant groups should cross denominational and nondenominational lines. We even have groups in which charismatic and Pentecostal leaders are in covenant friendships with those who are not charismatic or Pentecostal. Imagine that!
ź Multiplication without division. After more than six years of meeting together, we have discovered firsthand why it is so difficult for cell groups in the local church to divide or even to include new people. It takes so much time and energy to build meaningful relationships that people in those relationships are unwilling to start over and exchange them for new ones. We have determined, then, that to start up other groups, two or more must serve as a kind of leadership catalyst for a new group while continuing to participate in the original group. This allows multiplication without division.

Spouses of Group Participants
Possibly one of the more interesting issues we have struggled with is how to include or even whether to include our spouses in our relationships with one another. Here are some of the comments from participants in our initial covenant groups (all men) about the involvement of our spouses in our group activities.
I do not expect my wife to have the same kind of relationship with the wives of the men in my group as I have with those men. I like the suggestion that everyone in their group should find a counselor for their marriage, for their family, and to report back to the group the specific name of the counselor. That seems like a good safety net.
My wife feels a need herself to connect when we are going through a crisis in the church. She can’t vent to people in the church, and few women understand the pressures on the pastor’s wife. And the smaller the church, the greater the pressure. My wife can’t go to her pastor (me) for help.
I believe my wife needs to know the men of my group have the right to speak into my life on every issue. The men in my group, by my choice, have great power in my life. So I’m looking for a way for my wife to get to know the men in my group.
My wife is generally not interested in knowing my friends. She has her own friends.
Sometimes it really helps me understand the other guys in our group when I see them in the context of their relationship with their wife.
Maybe it would help if we could encourage our wives to get into a group of women who can pray.
The issue is not who’s in each group, but whether or not we see the value of a support system, a group, to encourage spouses, to help them, to love and challenge them. Should we not consider encouraging our wives to reach out to form a commitment group? A support system?
Research shows that wives of pastors suffer more than their spouses. They are, perhaps, even more isolated than their husbands who are in the ministry.
And then there’s the whole issue of women in ministry, when the wife of the pastor is in ministry with him. My wife is in partnership with me, so she doesn’t want to meet with a bunch of “pastor’s wives.” Just because she’s female, she has been excluded from many church and leader meetings that could be so helpful for her.

So, what did we conclude when a number of us discussed this issue? Nothing! As you can see from the comments above, no one was quite sure what to do with the issue of including spouses. So on a group-by-group basis, some include wives in dinners or retreats and some don’t.
We do know of several women-in-ministry covenant groups that meet on a regular basis, and our group includes our spouses in our annual three-day retreat. Last September we traveled together to Coronado Island across the bay from San Diego. We rode bikes, ate out, walked a lot, played golf, and went boogey boarding in the surf. It was great fun, except for our structured meetings.
On Monday and Tuesday morning we all met in a large suite for morning worship and devotions. Everyone was pleasant, but the men were talking while the women remained quiet. One of the men began our devotional time by talking about how “riding the waves” of the Spirit can get you in trouble. That led into one of our typically loud, heated discussions about theology and church life. After ending our morning gathering with a good prayer, we were off to the business of having fun.
The next morning started out pretty much the same. We worshiped and then began the devotion. Once again the men were out-talking the wives, until my wife, Susan, blurted out, “Is anyone else here feeling left out? I am feeling marginalized by all this church talk.”

After a prolonged silence, the other spouses slowly but surely chimed in with comments like:
“All you guys do is talk at each other.”
“You don’t listen; you just talk.”
“What are we doing here?”
“Nobody is sharing anything personal.”
“I don’t want to keep coming to these retreats if this is all we’re going to do.”
“Is this what you do when you get together?”

One of the wives even confronted her husband, right there in front of us all, telling him that all he ever does is talk without listening. This led to some lively and surprisingly healthy dialogue about relationships and communication styles. As a result, we men have released the task of planning our next retreatčincluding the content and focus of our devotional timesčto our spouses.

The Journey
As we all know, successful pastoral ministry is a journey with ups and downs, twists and turns. Our covenant group is showing us that meaningful relationships are also a journey. Each time we think we have something working, along comes an incident (or our spouses!) to remind us that we still have a lot of work to do.
A friend said, “A lot of discouragement goes on in pastors’ lives. The covenant group is a safe place to share with and pray for one another. Real friendships have developed in the groups. These brothers are friends I can count on.” In the next chapter, though, I want to tell you what happened in our group when we didn’t count on each other.

A Praying Pastor's Prayer Emphasis

Household of Faith Prayer Focus

Phil,

A summary of our prayer emphasis for January and February is show below. Please pray with us as we make prayer the priority in our Church. I don’t want this to become another program event that we have done.

In Sunday School this Sunday we introduced the topic of Prayer using Chapter One of the classic How To Pray by R.A. Torrey. That chapter details 11 reasons to pray. Prayer Calendars will be distributed on Sunday. I’ll email you a copy. As things evolve, I’ll keep you posted. I am really looking forward to your ministry.

Pastor Lawrence Haskin
- - - - -
For January Our goals are:
1. 100% of membership active in prayer service and/or a prayer group,
2. Focused prayer for revival in our church
3. Train prayer partners for new members (Monica is developing a training session) and,
4. Develop evangelistic prayer teams for prayer walking and evangelism

I will be asking each member, beginning with the leaders, to commit to partnership in prayer for 40 days beginning January 18, 2004. This partnership will consist of :

1. Participate in weekly studies (Sunday School) on Prayer (Book list below)

2. Participation in a weekly corporate prayer time

3. Practice daily quiet time using “Returning to Holiness” or other devotional material for 40 days

4. Pray with your Spouse and Family

5. Participating in the Daniel fast from January 18th – February 8th

6. Attending Prayer Conference January 29-31

7. Accepting the 10-Day Daniel Challenge beginning February 19th - Demonstrate your faith in God bold way.

8. Participate in 2 Prayer walks session in Markham, Ill


See www.PrayKids@navpress.com. Kids Prayer magazine for sample magazines. You might find these useful for the children.

1.
What God Does When Men Pray


2. What Happens When Women Pray

3. Great Prayers of the Bible

The Art of Waiting ... On the Lord

The Art of Waiting
by Os Hillman

By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them.... ~ Exodus 13:21

How are you at waiting on God? How do you determine if God is giving you the green light to move forward? Many workplace believers make the mistake of adding up all the pluses and then concluding that God has given them the green light. Several factors go into making a decision from the Lord. It is important to do three things before you make a decision on a matter.

First, you should gather facts. Fact gathering allows you to determine all the realities of a given situation. However, this does not ultimately drive your decision, but it can put a stop to it. For instance, if you were planning to build a shopping center and you knew the only way to lease the space was to rent to a porn shop, your decision would be made. God would not lead you to enter into unrighteous ventures.

Second, is the Holy Spirit guiding you in your decision? "If the Lord delights in a man's way, He makes his steps firm" (Ps. 37:23). George Mueller cites that the steps are also "by the Lord." God puts hedges around us, but many times we bull our way through the hedges under the guise of tenacity and perseverance. This too is unrighteousness. One wise workplace believer stated that the greatest success one can have in business is to know when it is time to pull the plug rather than keep forcing a situation. Not all businesses last forever.

Third, has your decision been confirmed? God has placed others around us to be used as instruments in our lives to confirm decisions and keep us from the deceit of our own heart. "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (2 Cor. 13:1b). This is God's way of keeping us within the hedge of His protection. "Write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser."

RESOURCE ...
This is an absolutely fantastic book on how Christians can prepare for and invite the transforming presence of God into their community. Through both Biblical and historical research, Alistair Petrie gives insight into: 1) 10 principles for sustaining genuine revival, 2) the four governing principles of revival, 3) four steps to rekindle passion, 4) common denominators of revival, 5) the Biblical role of the “gatekeeper” and “watchmen”, and more… This book is highly recommended reading for all Christians in a community, especially those in leadership roles in the workplace, on church staff, and intercessors. This book also gives solid understanding to those who question the whole “revival” thing.
TO ORDER: Faith and Work Resources

Copyright 2005. Market Place Leaders To contact Os Hillman, click here. To book Os Hillman to speak in your city, click here. To request TGIF reprint permission, click here. Permission granted to forward this email in it's entirety to others at no cost.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Need Encouragement, Pastor?

How To Encourage An Encourager
by Joe McKeever

Someone from Williams Boulevard Baptist Church in Kenner called the other
day and asked me to speak to their men's breakfast next Sunday morning on
"how to encourage a pastor." I like that assignment. I believe in
affirming these men who are called of God to do the most exciting, most
difficult work on the planet.

A few years ago when Mike Miller of Lifeway wrote a book on "Honoring the
Ministry," my church fed steaks to 125 pastors and deacons from all over
New Orleans and we brought in someone to teach that book. Encouraging
pastors is a longtime passion of mine.

Now, I've noticed something. When the Lord knows what I'm going to be
speaking on the following Sunday, He likes to help me get ready. (Ahem.)
That's why He sent Charlie and Karen Tackett to the church where I was
speaking last Sunday.

The pastor of Highland Baptist Church in Metairie, Scott Smith, was on
vacation with his family, seeing our nation's capital for the first time,
and I was filling in for him. Someone approached me just before the
service and said, "We have some missionaries here today. Could we give
them a few minutes in the service?" You bet.

Charlie Tackett told the congregation, "My wife and I are missionaries to
pastors. We go all over this nation, seeking out pastors especially of
smaller churches. Some of them feel isolated and lonely and they have no
one to talk to. When you have a problem, you call a pastor. Who does he
call? Some would say, 'He calls God.' Well, that's right, but sometimes a
pastor would like to have a sit-down with a human being. That's when we
show up. We take the pastor and his wife to a nice restaurant, and we
listen to their concerns and love them and pray for them. Our whole lives
are devoted to encouraging pastors."

All of which raises a good question: how would you go about encouraging a
minister and his wife? I know lots of ways that people have used with us
over the years, some better than others.

...read the rest of the article @
http://www.joemckeever.com/mt/archives/000142.html

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My Prayer Team . com

Hi Phil,

This is Rick Sawyer. I'd like to commend a rather new resource to you and the network. Check out
www.myprayerteam.com. The folks behind this have a sincere desire to serve Christ and His body and this is a valuable resource. And I hope many will consider supporting this effort, as Chris launched this endeavor by faith.

Grace & Peace,
Rick Sawyer
Executive Director Family & Children Faith Coalition
11989 SW 56 St Miami FL 33175
Family & Children Faith Coalition / info@fcfcfl.org
= = = =

Thanks Rick!

This is a great resource for pastors who are building a prayer shield for their personal life and ministry,

Phil

Monday, August 15, 2005

Inbox "Message" to Prompt Prayer

Pile your troubles on God's shoulders—
He'll carry your load, He'll help you out.
He'll never let good people topple into ruin.
Psalm 55:22

The Message Community is distributed freely each month by www.messagebible.com
Copyright © 2005, NavPress®, 3820 N. 30th Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80904, a publication of The Navigators. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Praying Abut Your Calling?

“Getting the Role of Pastor Right Again”

John H. Armstrong

[Visit "Antiphon: Theological Soundings on Modern Ideas", John's Blog at www.johnharmstrong.com]

For a long time I have had serious doubts about many of the models of pastoral ministry used and promoted in the West. These models range from academic and biblical teacher models to chief counselor and care-giver. In my estimation they all fail the biblical test at some crucial point, and some fall even further short than others. Worse still these various models generally hinder the church from being the church in the best sense. Until these models are radically altered I do not believe that we will see the kind of renewal that we need in the church in America.

Put very simply, the primary vision of ministry that we gave to pastors, from the time of the Protestant Reformation right down to the present, has been that of a well-trained teacher explaining the Bible to the flock. In response to the specialized priestly role that had developed among the leadership of the church over the course of centuries, the Reformers recovered the centrality of the preaching of the Word of God and restored a pulpit to the church. For this recovery I am profoundly grateful. But, it was by this means that the minister became the primary teacher of the flock in time. When seminaries arose they were specifically designed to prepare the pastor to be the primary specialist in Bible and theology and thus the best teacher in the local church setting. (In reality, Calvin saw two different roles in the Ephesians 4 description of "pastor-teacher." He thought the church was best served by two different persons, the pastor who cared for the flock and the teacher who was the resident theologian who made sure the truth of the gospel was preserved and taught.)

In this development the Bible was central. And the pastor's chief task was to teach it faithfully. By the late twentieth century this role had undergone significant changes as the church began to respond to the modern era. By the 1980s the pastor has become a counselor-therapist in many settings and then, in an even more important shift, the pastor became a manager, or CEO. The stalemate that resulted was huge. On the one side we have people arguing that the pastor should be the scholar/teacher of the flock. On the other we have the pastor as management consultant/visionary/CEO. Other roles pop up now and then but among evangelicals these are the two dominant ones in most of our churches.

I have publicly argued that the first model is primary, at least since the 1980s. I have generally remained skeptical of the second. I am now prepared to say that I can not argue for either as primary. While the second is quite unacceptable, lacking clear and sufficient biblical support, the first is also distorted and lacks biblical support as well, though in a much less obvious way to some. How can I make such a seemingly conflicted statement?

My short answer is simple. To equip the people of God to become meaningfully engaged in the worship and mission of God in Jesus Christ is the primary call of God upon the pastor's life (Ephesians 4). Teaching, at least as an end in itself, is not the pastoral role. But when we make teaching the Scriptures the goal then the pastor who can handle the text faithfully (which, I submit, he must be able to do), and preach like a trained professional, can leave the ministry at that and soon believe that by preaching he has done the job. Put even more crassly, he can feel that he the job is done if he is faithful to the test and what the folks actually do with the teaching is not his real burden at all. He can learn to leave the results to God and the people, and feel he has done his job.

But if the pastor is to “equip [Christ’s] people for works of service [ministry]” (Ephesians 4:12a) then I believe the pastor can only complete the work Christ gave to him when he has taught and prepared the people so that they can be engaged in the mission of Christ, namely service. The verse that follows these words in Ephesians 4:12 further adds that this equipping is “so that the body of Christ may be built up, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12b-13). Pastors, in other words, are not given to the church to simply teach it great truth. They are given to teach people in such a way that they are “equipped” to minister. This is, if the truth is honestly faced, an entirely different calling from simply teaching well.

Based upon this rather simple, but striking profound, observation I deduce the following:

Churches that place the primary emphasis of the pastor’s ministry upon communicating content, as an end in itself, are likely to be satisfied when the teaching content is solid and the manner of delivery done well.

Churches that make the congregational worship experience a “classroom gathering” are less likely to become missional, while at the same time they often continue to believe they are faithful.

Churches that see the ministry as simply a teaching office will inevitably see this as an end in itself. And such a view is commonly rooted in conservative doctrinal contexts precisely because these models are the ones that can best explain clear doctrine and correct false teaching, while giving the impression that this is an end in itself.

The correctives for this problem include:
The teaching of faithful ministers-which must be clear, sharp and doctrinally based-must intentionally be aimed at leading people to become involved in mission and ministry. Every-member ministry is not just a 1970s fad, it is the biblical model lost throughout much of the church’s history. We need to develop the truth, still virtually unknown in the West, that the members of the church are the “informal” everyday missionaries of our movement.
The faithful pastor must himself learn how to become a missional equipper intentionally. In most cases this will require massive effort since schools did not teach him this approach. This calls for honest evaluation and must be undertaken in faith before God.
Churches and schools must make it a priority to prepare leadership that is not primarily about priesthood, or simply teaching solid content, but about mission. The Western church has had a bad case of missional amnesia for decades. Only by facing up to this problem can it be changed. Professors who teach future pastors must not teach theology, church history, and Old and New Testament studies as an end in themselves. They must teach them as missional equippers who are helping prepare servants for the church. From Genesis 12 to the last chapter of Revelation the Bible makes it clear that we are blessed by God’s grace in order to be a blessing to the nations. We must recover this in every aspect of ministry and preparation.
Pastors must stress mission to the world over separation from the world. As the Christendom model increasingly fails this will becomes more and more obvious. This means we must become less and less interested about who is in and who is out. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are meant to provide the real boundary markers and churches that recover their proper place will be better able to pursue mission.

Sine I wrote my first draft of this article a fine piece by my friend Glenn Wagner came to me own box and helpfully addressed this problem. Wagner writes:
But when you look at the church in other parts of the world, we see a different picture. We find that 40,000 people a day are coming to Christ in Latin America, 70,000 people a day in China. The greatest numerical revival in history is happening with the two notable exceptions: Western Europe and North America.
When you fess up and shut up long enough to listen you find out the reason. The American Church uses a corporate model of leadership and the global church uses a biblical model of leadership. They have figured out that to lead a spiritual revolution, you must use spiritual models. In short, we have to “rethink leadership” so that we are driven and informed by the sacred rather than the secular (“Rethinking Leadership,” August 1, 2005, available at: www.futurelead.org.

We clearly need a new reformation in the West. Wagner is right when he says new tools and methods are not the answer. He, like me, calls for a new foundation, an entirely new priority in the ministry. The reformation that we need must provide a number of serious correctives to the traditions that we have assumed to be biblical. One such corrective will be to get the role of the pastor right in terms of the mission of the church as seen in Ephesians 4. Shepherds who know how to love and equip sheep to minister to others will be the job description of the pastor if we are to experience reformation.


Reformation Revival Ministries
PO Box 88216
Carol Stream, IL 60188ph : (630) 221-1817
fx : (630) 653-3050

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Resource for the Leader You Are Praying to Become

BLEEDERSHIP: Biblical First Aid for Leaders

`Do you want to be a good example of a Christian leader, one that people will follow and respect?

`Would you like to become a better leader at work or at home?

As I was sitting in church one Sunday in December of 2003, our pastor was speaking about the birth of Jesus. He mentioned that God could have chosen anyplace for Jesus to have been born. He could have been born in a huge palace in a gold bassinette with lots of wealth. However, we all know he was born in a manger, next to farm animals. Our pastor went on to say, “Imagine that. The greatest leader that ever walked this earth came from the humblest of beginnings.”

At the time of this sermon, I was vice president of sales for a small division ($160 million in sales) of a $1 billion publicly traded company. I reported to the President of our division who was extremely difficult to work with. He was a very proud, arrogant, demeaning and demanding person.

As I digested my pastor’s sermon, I was struck with the dichotomy of his message and the leadership style of my boss! I immediately began writing notes on the back of the church program and soon over the next days, weeks, and months, the text of Bleedership began to take shape.

Bleedership is a book that tells real stories of leadership from a business perspective. It focuses on what I feel are the eight most common leadership pitfalls that we all make at times (my boss just happened to make them most of the time) and I contrast how my boss and leaders in the Bible handled similar circumstances.

I believe this book provides a unique perspective to anyone who is a leader or desires to be a leader. While the examples are primarily set in a business setting, the overall principles are also very appropriate for coaches at any level and especially for parents as they are probably the most important leaders we have today.

SPECIAL OFFERS:
My book for free (with a trial subscription to my monthly newsletter)
My Bleedership Life Planning Assistant (free download)
A free 9 day email course on Christian leadership

BLEEDERSHIP: Biblical First-Aid for Leaders
Jim Lange
Tate Publishing; 2005
===>Click headline to find out more

Friday, August 12, 2005

Who Prays For YOU, Pastor?

JOURNAL ENTRY: March 5, 1996 -- (11 years ago) ~ Anna Maria Island vacation.
Finally, time to reflect and catch up! I sat on the beach this a.m. (slept till 8:15) reading Augustine on Prayer realized how long it has been since I could be still and concentrate enough for fresh ideas to develop! Augustine wrote the following in 430 A.D.

“Love, but take care what you love. Loving and possessing God is what constitutes a happy life. A man is what his love makes him, it transforms the lover into the image of the object loved. That love needs a medium of expression, that need is supplied by prayer--the affectionate reaching out of the mind for God. It is your heart’s desire that is your prayer.”

--------------

JOURNAL ENTRY: April 27, 2005 ~ Reflection
Prayer in my life, since birth and even before, has been like an underground river at times surfacing in a geyser and other times silent and unseen. But always there, bringing me ever more into His presence. There is no way of knowing who prays for Marilyn and me today. We have supporters of our ministry who tell us they pray for us every day! We must have that! There is no greater gift we ever receive! Who is praying for you? Have you recently asked for prayer?

Paul made the urgent request, “Don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time.” (Eph. 6:19-The Message)

SAYING YES TO GOD-bob and marilyn yawberg- Vol. VI #9

REALITY; The "Prayed For" Variety

Two Realities by Francis Frangipane

At any given moment, standing before our world there are two core realities. The first is that which is the consequence of present and past events. In this realm, wars become more destructive, immorality becomes more rampant; disease multiplies out of control, and fear strengthens and becomes immobilizing. In part, this darkened, demonically manipulated reality is what we actually have today, yet clearly a more hellish, worse version of our present world is preparing to emerge. It is of this diabolical world that the scripture speaks of when it warns: "the days are evil" (Eph 5:16).

Yet, there is another reality that is also available to mankind. This second realm is the "prayed for" version of the first reality. It, too, stands prepared to show itself. This reality is full of miracles, divine reversals and divine intervention. It is the world of sin confronted, conquered and redeemed by the power of heaven. The scripture calls this reality "the day which the Lord has made" and commands us to "rejoice and be glad in it" (Ps 118:24).

Since time began, both of these realities have always existed. The Scriptures bear witness to numerous occasions when people have cried out to God and found the Almighty a willing ally in transforming their culture. When Israel humbled themselves, repented and prayed, and sought again the face of God, the Lord intervened and scattered their enemies. Consider also the ancient Ninevites. When they, too, humbled themselves with fasting and prayer, divine mercy fell upon their culture as well. Indeed, the transformation of their culture was so stunning that Jonah, the prophet sent by God to announce Nineveh's destruction, actually was displeased that Israel's enemies received mercy. Jonah lamented, "I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity" (Jonah 4:2).

Jonah knew the mercy of the Lord. He also knew that, once a people humbled themselves before the living God, no enemy that stood against them could prosper. The Lord, indeed, was standing ready to show Himself strong on behalf of those who feared Him.

As I have lived and known the Lord, He has relentlessly proven over and over again to be a God who answers prayer. He stood with our armies in WWII; He helped bring down the atheistic Soviet Empire. I believe He stands ready today to overthrow militant Islam as well.

However, I also know for God to answer prayers, we must pray them. Muslim extremists are poised in many countries of the world to launch terror attacks. Some of these might be terrible in size and devastation. The source of many of these terror attacks are the Mullahs who preach hatred and stir up radicals in their Friday night meetings. At the same time, Intercessors for America has set apart Fridays for prayer and fasting, specifically to counter the demonic powers that attach themselves to the words of these Mullahs. We aggressively support this initiative and want to encourage everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus to join this prayer siege until we see the demonic power behind radical Islam broken.

For more info,: www.ifapray.org/PrayerGuides/Friday%20Watch%20Fires.htm

We also ask that pastors and church leadership teams embrace a lifestyle of prayer, leading their congregations into intercession during all regularly scheduled services. It was prayer that brought an end to the Soviet Empire; it will be prayer that breaks the demonic power that is fueling Muslim extremists. No man can stop the march of time, but our intercession can bring the power of heaven to bear upon this world. With hearts aflame with the spirit of Christ, we can rejoice together in seeing the day which the Lord has made.


Subscribe to receive Francis Frangipane's FREE weekly email message:
frangipane-subscribe@MyInJesus.com

Monday, August 08, 2005

Dear Pastor, What You've Been Saying About Revival...

The Pastor Got This Anonymous Letter
By Joe McKeever

"I believe what you have been saying about revival is real and needs to happen.

"Over the last few years I have realized that our church and its message has been the only thing in my life that has never failed me. And yet it's the one thing I feel I have failed. It's me that needs reviving. I can only imagine the impact a 'revived me' would have on our church and people I come in contact with everyday. It blows my mind to think what if it
happened collectively as a church.

"I don't know what it will take to revive me. I know it won't be easy. It's like the illustration you gave a few weeks ago about someone drowning and how he will fight the very person who has come to rescue him.

"Maybe it's more like an organ. When all the 'stops' are pulled out, it sounds great! My stops need to be pulled out. My greatest fear is that there isn't much music, if any, inside to come out and that I will just be broken. But I guess that's what Jesus is all about, right? He is the Music and He fills up empty and broken-down organs.

"I know I am not alone in this. Many of us need our stops pulled out. I don't know if we will do it on our own or have to pull each other's out. I have a hunch it is both.

"I know you have earned the respect and love of our church to be a 'stop-puller.' Some of us may fight you (or I should say the Holy Spirit) quietly and others vocally. Stay faithful! Those of us who end up playing music will never be able to thank you enough."

The letter ...
--
Read the entire article, make a comment or read what others had to say at:
http://www.joemckeever.com/mt/archives/000135.html

To subscribe, send a blank message to: joeslist-subscribe@joemckeever.com

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Prayer: "Dead Last" with American Pastors

When American pastors were asked about their ministry priorities for 2005, 47% said spiritual development was number one, while 46% said evangelism. (These are good and important!) There were twelve different emphases in all. The one that ranked dead last, at 3%, was prayer. Something is wrong when decades of big movements and packed out stadiums results in prayer being the last of twelve priorities in the hearts of America’s pastors. If we widely believed that the need of the church today was the renewing of God’s grace in Christ alone I think prayer would rank first. I do not think we will see anything like a real work for renewal until prayer is taken seriously again. And I do not think we will take prayer seriously again until leaders restore it to its proper place.

The Weekly Messenger – John Armstrong
c/o Reformation Revival Ministries
P.O. Box 88216 / 630 Paxton Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188
RRMinistry@aol.com

The Health of a Pastor's Family

The Health of a Pastor's Family



Research results being released for the first time in the July/August edition of Facts & Trends magazine show that many Protestant ministers in the U.S. see significant problems within the families of clergy members, but usually not when it comes to their own family. The study conducted by Ellison Research , Phoenix, Ariz., asked 870 Protestant senior church ministers nationwide about the health of their family and the pressures associated with being the family of a minister.

Results regarding marriage showed that:
The vast majority of ministers in the U.S. are currently on their first marriage (80%) — evangelical ministers (88%) — mainline Protestant ministers (69%).
Fourteen percent have been divorced (12% have since remarried, while 2% remain unmarried) — divorced evangelical ministers (8%) — divorced mainline Protestant ministers (23%).
Fourteen percent of ministers are themselves the child of a minister. Following a parent into the ministry is equally common among mainline and evangelical pastors. The vast majority of Protestant clergy believe there is additional pressure on pastors' families. Ninety-four percent agree with the statement, "There is extra pressure being married to a minister," including 54 percent who strongly believe this. Ninety-one percent also agree that "There is extra pressure being the child of a minister," including 46 percent who feel this way strongly. Lutherans and Presbyterians are considerably less likely to perceive strong pressures on their spouse and children than are pastors from other denominational groups. Southern Baptist and Pentecostals, particularly, feel that "Churchgoers often expect pastors' families to be 'better than' other people's families."

Regarding the health of their family relationships, using a scale of 1 (extremely unhealthy) to 5 (extremely healthy), most pastors believe they have an essentially healthy family. The average rating pastors give to their relationship with their spouse is 4.3 out of 5, with 47 percent saying this relationship is extremely healthy. Pastors who have no children under age 18 are particularly likely report a healthy spousal relationship (53% call it extremely healthy, compared to 35% among those with adolescents in the household). Evangelical ministers are more likely than mainline ministers to call this relationship extremely healthy (49% to 37%). Only 18 percent feel they spend an extremely healthy amount of time with their spouse (the average rating is 3.6).

One of the most puzzling findings in this study is that, while pastors tend to feel pretty good about the health of their own family, they have significant worries about the health of other ministers' families. While the average rating they give to their own family's health is a 4, the average they give to the health of pastors' families throughout their denomination is just a 3.2. While eight out of ten rate the health of their own family at a 4 or a 5 on the scale, just three out of ten rate the health of pastors' families in their denomination at a 4 or a 5. Methodists and Southern Baptists are among the most concerned about the health of ministers' families in their denomination. Further, the average minister estimates that almost one out of every four pastors he or she knows is having significant problems with a child, and that one out of every five fellow pastors is having significant marriage problems.

Ron Sellers, president of Ellison Research, noted the difference between how pastors see their own family health and how they see the health of other clergy families. "Ministers apparently have a much more optimistic view of their own family than they do of the families of other ministers," Sellers stated. "When one out of every twenty ministers feels his or her own family unit is unhealthy, but one out of every seven ministers believes the family units of others in their denomination are unhealthy, there's a disconnect. ... Protestant clergy in the U.S. need to take a careful look at whether they have too much optimism about their own family situation, or too much pessimism about the situations of others."

*More than half of small business owners (51%) say they check in with the office by phone or e-mail every day while on vacation, according to USA TODAY Snapshots. Twenty-seven percent never check in, 14 percent check in every few days, while four percent check in weekly. The government warned doctors Tuesday to be on the lookout for rare but deadly infections in women using the abortion pill RU-486. The pill may be responsible for the deaths of at least five women since sales began in the year 2000. The drug RU-486, sold under the name Mifeprex, is approved to terminate pregnancy up to 49 days after the beginning of the last menstrual cycle by blocking a hormone required to sustain a pregnancy — effectively starving the pre-born baby. After the initial dosage of Mifeprex is achieved, the patient then takes a second drug called Misoprostol which causes a spontaneous abortion.
*Americans continue to widely support keeping the national minimum drinking age at 21, according to ABCNews.com. Nearly eight in 10 Americans oppose lowering the drinking age in all states to 18.
*Empire High School near Tucson, Arizona, may be just about to make education history. Empire will be the first all-wireless, all-laptop school in the state. There will be no textbooks. Every reading assignment, all homework, and every test will be online. The laptops will cost the district about $850 apiece.
*Kentucky has just been noted as among the nation's unhealthiest states, according to the Courier-Journal. This self-inflicted condition is due to smoking, eating fatty foods and not exercising enough.
*Americans who attend church weekly are much less likely to drink alcohol than are less frequent churchgoers, according to a recent Gallup Poll. When asked the question, "Do you drink alcoholic beverages?" — 77 percent of those who seldom or never attend church, said, "Yes;" 68 percent of those who attend church nearly weekly said, "Yes;" and 42 percent of those who attend church weekly said, "Yes."

by Tony Perkins

Copyright © 2005, Focus on the Family
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
Not a subscriber to PWB? Sign up today at www.family.org/pastor/pwbeform.cfm
Other inquiries or comments should be directed to pwb@family.org or to Pastoral Ministries at (719) 531-3360.
Toll-Free Care Line for Pastoral Families: (877) 233-4455 Web Site: www.parsonage.org
The Pastor's Weekly Briefing - Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO 80995-7001

Things Pastors Sometimes Say that may not be completely true...

Things Pastors Sometimes Say that may not be completely true...

10> "I want your honest feedback."

9> "I could be happy pastoring this church for the rest of my ministry."

8> "Feel free to call me at home anytime."

7> (to another pastor) "I hear only good things about your church."

6> "Great--everything has been going just great."

5> "It won't take much of your time."

4> "We have an exciting service planned."

3> "My spouse would love to."

2> (to a spouse) "The calendar will lighten up in a week or so."

1> (to a critic) "It took a lot of courage for you to share that with me."

Copyright (c) 1995 Christianity Today, Inc./LEADERSHIP Journal Found at http://home.flash.net/~go4crown/chhumor.htm
From Sermon Fodder and Joke A Day Ministries. To subscribe drop an email note to Sermon_Fodder-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please leave this attached if you forward this to friends.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Becoming A Prayer Champion Workshop

Pastor Phil has designed a new workshop - Becoming A Prayer Champion - for praying pastors and congregational prayer leaders.

For information on how you can bring Pastor Phil to your church or cityiwde prayer leader training, send an Emessage to: phil@nppn.org

Recent workshop at the Church Prayer Leaders Convention at Grace Church in Edne Prairie, MN: