We don’t have formal commitment contracts for staff at Lancaster Baptist Church. I’ve always felt like I wanted the people who serve on our staff to be here because they want to be, not because they signed a commitment to be.
That said, before someone comes on staff, we do have conversations about intent. If someone is joining our pastoral staff or leading a team, I would prefer that their intention at least is to stay long enough that I can invest in and train them and that they can become a real asset to our church family.
Just over eighteen years ago, Tim Christoson and I had this kind of a conversation. At the time, he was in his last year of Bible college, engaged to Nicole, and looking to serve as an assistant pastor. When I interviewed him, I could see that he had a heart for the Lord and a desire to be used of God. I asked him if he were to come to Lancaster Baptist Church, if he would commit to stay at least ten years. (more…)
If the ministry is anything, it is labor. Paul told Timothy, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work” (1 Timothy 3:1). And that is exactly what it is—work.
I know there are many who look at a pastor or those who serve on a church staff and think they have something close to a one-day-a-week job. But the truth is far different. Caring for the church as a faithful undersheperd requires not only sermon preparation and administrative work, but also the love, prayer, care, bearing others’ needs, and intense spiritual warfare that Paul referenced when he wrote, “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28).
But the work of the ministry is a great work. It’s a work I love, and I get to do it for people I love. Does it have inherent burdens? Yes. But does it have inherent joys? A hundred fold more. (more…)
I firmly believe that Christ’s last command must be our first priority. I believe that every Christian individually as well as corporately with their church family should be actively engaged in sharing the gospel year round.
As a pastor, I take seriously our responsibility as a church to share the gospel, and I take seriously the spiritual maturity of our church family in making soulwinning a priority. If soulwinning and outreach times are attended by fewer and fewer people, that reveals a disconnect between what we say we believe and how we behave. Thus, we consistently give attention to keeping our soulwinning program strong.
And yet, like all priorities in our lives, sometimes we allow what is urgent to take place over what is important. Thus, every spring and fall, we press a restart button on the church soulwinning program, encouraging every member to enlist or reenlist in reaching our community with the gospel.
So, what do we do to prepare for a soulwinning relaunch? Each year is slightly different in the theming we use, but below are eight basic components: (more…)
One of the highlights every year for me at Spiritual Leadership Conference is the pre-conference Church Planter’s Luncheon on Monday afternoon.
All church planters and their wives are invited for a complimentary meal, great fellowship with other church planters (and pastors who are heavily involved in church planting), a lesson from a veteran church planter, and a Q&A to close.
This year we had about sixty church planters present. As they went around the room introducing themselves, it was a thrill to me to see so many young men from across America (and foreign fields as well) planting fresh works for God. (more…)