Exegesis & Exposition via Peter Mead

What is the difference between exegesis and exposition? Haddon Robinson put it this way, “Exposition is drawing from your exegesis to give your people what they need to understand the passage.” This implies that the preacher will have a lot more material after the exegesis than they are able to present in the sermon. Here […]

via Exegesis and Exposition — Biblical Preaching


Name Change?

Let’s change the name of the church! I ask, why?

The following statement is one I left on a post in an online forum. The original poster asked how to get people on board with a name change. Further how do go about getting them tied into the vision and mission of the name change.  Below was my reponse.

A name change without a DNA change will not help.

  • For example, if changing the name is “the secret sauce” for growth, you’ll still be stuck.
  • If the DNA…(values, vision, mission) necessitates a change of name, go for it.
  • Though I have never personally led a church through a name change, I was on staff at a church who changed their name. After the pastor left (that initiated the name change) the church name eventually went back to the original name under the new pastor. Why did that happen?
  • The answer I believe is due to the reason why the name was changed to being with. The name change wasn’t organic. The values, vision, and mission of the church didn’t necessitate the change. The DNA of the church didn’t change. Same church….different name.

Write the vision, make it plain.

  • Allow people to get tied to the vision first. Once that happens begin tying a new identity (name) with the new DNA (values, vision, and mission).
  • It could be a tag line at first. For example. Say the tag line from your values, mission, and vision was the following. A place for people looking for life and significance.
  • As people live out, or reproduce the values, vision, and mission, it may  be, that you find out the vision and mission necessitates for you to identify as Infuse Church.
  • The name changed because the identity changed.

Allow the name change to be from the values, vision, and mission. Let it be organic.
Just to be honest, my advice may not be worth the time it took to write it out. I admit, I’m limited in my experience with the question, but, maybe it’s helpful.

Share this: Some helpful tips if your thinking of changing the name of the church.

  1. A name change without a DNA change will not help.
  2. Write the vision, make it plain.
  3. Allow the name change to be from the values, vision, and mission. Let it be organic.

Read more here… https://georgetallmageonline.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/name-change/

Learning to Carry What You Can’t Put Down (The Weight of Responsibility)

Being a Pastor has it’s perks. I should say blessings. It also has it’s weight. There is a weight that comes with every commitment. For instance, there was a moment once my wife and I said our vows and signed our marriage license a weight was placed on my shoulders. Not a ball and chain weight but rather a weight of responsibility. To be honest I didn’t expect it, but it came. With the birth of our first child a weight came, not a ball and chain but rather a weight of responsibility. It seems everything I have committed to, a weight of responsibility has come with it. Leading in the roll and call of a Pastor and Ministry leader has a weight of responsibility which comes with the call.

With Every Commitment Comes a Weight of Responsibility

The weight of my call is no different. There are two ways I can choose to look at the weight of responsibility as it directly relates to the call God has placed on my life. It can be a burden I want and seek to be relieved from or a burden I learn how to carry. If you are in ministry you have a choice as to how you look at and handle the weight of your call. It can be a dread which you just want to see finished or something you learn how to manage and carry.

You decide the way you view the weight of Gods call on your life. It can be a burden you want and seek to be relieved from or a burden you learn how to carry.

Before I end let me leave you with this. I recently had the opportunity to attend our annual South Carolina Church of God camp meeting in Mauldin, SC. Without taking too much time unpacking everything I gleaned, here is one area God helped me. Long story short I went to a seasoned, well respected Pastor within our state. I had one question I was hoping for insight on. I asked him, “The weight of ministry gets heavy and so often I feel inadequate and not effective. How have you learned to carry the weight instead of just finding something else to do. I can’t step away because that would be disobedience, so if I am to thrive in my relationship with God and in my call, can you teach me how you’ve learned to carry the weight and burden which God has called you to?”

First let me say, my question wasn’t answered directly by this Pastor. Instead, God allowed me the opportunity, when asked a series of questions by this mentor, to have an “Aha” moment. I will share more on that in the next post.

As A Small Church Pastor, 3 Day Weekends Can Be Less than Exciting, Here’s How I’m Preparing For It

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. Typically this means attendance is at record lows for a lot of churches. As a small church pastor one of the ways you can combat the emotional low that comes with holiday weekends and low attended weekends is to expect it and find a way to enjoy the weekend with your own family. Here’s a quick tip on how I’m going to deal with it and what it will provide for me and my family.

Go out of town, even if it means staying close so you can get back to Church in order to preach. My families going camping with good friends. We are leaving on Friday. It’s close enough for me to come back and feed our dog daily as well as be back for Sunday morning in order to encourage those who choose to attend service. Here’s what getting away does for us even though much of our schedule, especially the weekends, is dictated by my calling as a Pastor. Getting away allows us to be a normal family. We did this last year also, not camping, but we made it a point to get away and come back for the morning service.

You know, without looking I can’t tell you how many people we had in service or how I was feeling emotionally due to that. However, I can tell you my emotional state on that Sunday because of our family time. We had a blast in TN making memories. We stayed at the Inn at Christmas Place, had cookies with Santa (in May). Not only that but we also stayed in a cabin at the top of a mountain with family, went to Ripley’s aquarium, ate at the Apple Barn…etc.

I will be prepared for service but I won’t be down because it was an off day. I’m expecting the off day by preparing mentally and having a blast building memories with my wife, kids, and good friends.

Hopefully this post will offer some encouragement to a Pastor or ministry leader who is looking at this coming weekend and thinking, “I wish I could get away like everyone else and be a normal family.” You can, you need to, you deserve it.

The Hardest Part of My Job Is My Win

Growing is not an option as long as we’re living. All life grows. We either are growing up or growing old, never the less we are still growing. Growth is painful. Growth is beneficial. Growth is necessary.

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a Pastors and Church Leadership Mentoring Session, in Fort Mill SC with Pastor David Kemp. I have written before on attending conferences etc. so I won’t go into all of that in this post. I will say that I have made a personal commitment to grow by seeking out leaders to meet with once a month for the purpose of identifying and putting into practice disciplines and lifestyles which can help me fulfill my God ordained responsibilities as a Pastor.

For the past good while, months even, the following passage has been at the forefront of my mind. I keep coming back to it and it even ended up in my daily reading this morning.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:11-16 NLT

In the particular translation I am reading right now, as a Pastor and Teacher of Gods word I am overwhelmed by the second sentence of this passage. Basically my responsibility, my job, my win as a Pastor and Teacher is to EQUIP Gods people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. It is Gods desire that the whole body (the Church) is healthy and growing (mature and reproducing.) That happens when each part of the body does its own special work and helps the other parts grow. As a Pastor I can’t depend on people to read my mind and just get it. I have to equip or train them of the desired outcome and help them use their God given gifts and abilities in their respective callings.

I believe the first step in equipping people to do the work of ministry is to help them identify their calling/gifting. For me that is the hardest.

A Quick Thought From A Book I’m Reading

Yesterday I picked up a few books which I felt would benefit a few people I know. Instead of just giving these books away having not personally read them, I’ve decided to take the next few days to read them in hopes that I may be able to get a feel for what the books are about prior to giving them away.

In the first book by Dave Anderson, “How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK…A biblical blueprint to bless your business, Dave describes what he calls foxhole leaders. He writes, “Foxhole Leaders are servants.” The following are a few observations which Dave writes regarding foxhole friends.

Foxhole friends are those you want on your side when the going gets tough. You can count on them they have your back. Foxhole friends will pay a price to be with you and be a part of what you’re doing.

Another point that I found convicting and I believe all who are in a leadership position must grasp whether it be Pastor, Teacher, Owner, Manager, etc. We are here to serve. Here is what Dave writes regarding serving.

Serving means you add value to others rather than waiting for them to add value to you. Serving acknowledges that you need your people more than they need you. Serving acknowledges that the good of the team must come before your own comfort level or agenda.

Individually United

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT

The past few days in my daily Bible reading I have highlighted verses regarding harmony or unity. When a particular topic keeps coming to the forefront through various passages and texts I can only be left with the conclusion that God wants me to stop and listen more intently.

Harmony is a beautiful thing. There’s nothing better than a seeing a group of people who are not distracted by their personal differences but in harmony with the overall mission.

The overall goal as a body of Christ, that there be no divisions in the Church. Simply put, no two visions can work at any one place. That creates division. It doesn’t mean any one vision is necessarily wrong but it does mean there is a divided front. One individual or group believe the Church should be about _______________ another individual or group believe the Church should be about _____________ and what you end up with is valuable time being spent trying to decipher which you are going to do.

The antidote for division among the Church is pretty clear according to the above verse, “Be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” Simply put, think about the same things and put all your energy and effort into fulfilling one mission. This doesn’t mean you take away your individuality but it does mean you are going to use your individuality to help accomplish the collective goal.

Live in harmony, set aside division, and be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

People Over Personal Preference

“So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.” -Romans 14:19 NLT

I love the simplistic way the NLT translates this verse. It leaves no doubt whom Paul is addressing and what He hopes the hearers will do. Paul writes to believers about believers. The ultimate goal, harmony. The process by which the goal is accomplished, edification, or the process of building one another up. In other words, harmony takes place when each person makes a deliberate effort to choose people over personal preference.

I firmly believe if we as believers are going to be an example to those outside of the church, harmony must be present among us as a collective body. The Church (fellowship) should be a place where peace, unity, and harmony is prevalent. Discord and disputes should be as common as a frog with wings.

I am convinced that the reason there is a lack of harmony in most Churches and homes is do to the fact that our aim is off. We’ve chosen personal preference over people.

I’ve seen through the years of growing up in church that our aim/focus has been on lesser things than the main thing. For instance, we can rally around a particular team, sport, political party, and or candidate but not around the mission that Christ has called the church to accomplish. We aim for lesser things than the main reason for our existence, Jesus Christ. Let this be a reminder,

Christ built the church, Christ loves the church, and Christ is coming back for the Church, and the Church is made up of people.

In the movie The Patriot, the main character played by Mel Gibson taught his young sons how to shoot. Before firing in a tense situation the young boy kept reminding himself of the lesson his dad taught him, “Aim Small, Miss Small.” In other words, the only way you can hit your desired target is to be accurate.

The means by which we obtain harmony in the body of Christ is the process of building one another up, edification.

It’s not about my personal convictions, it’s about helping one another grow in their personal walk with Christ. I am reminded that I must aim for harmony and be deliberate about building one another up in the faith. People matter and they must be built up.

Who can you build up today? Give them a call, send them a note, stop by their home or place of work just to tell them they matter.

Future Success is Built on the Past

“The future won’t look like the past, but it will build on the past, on its great history.”Dr. Bob Rhoden

The above quote was stated by interim Pastor at Calvary Assembly in Orlando, FL. Calvary was once a mega church that through the years has declined. It was an article on Ed Stetzers blog that brought me to the story and this quote by Dr Rhoden. Personally, as a young Pastor given the charge to Shepard a church which just celebrated 58 years of ministry, Dr. Rhodes quote inspired me.

Often as Pastor’s, especially young ones like myself, we have so much zeal and vision going into a position for the first time or as we move from one place to another, that we end up doing more harm than good at the place which God has called us. In short, God opens a door and we go. We feel Gods plans for that congregation is __________________. In our zeal and inexperience we push our vision without putting in the time to build trust and learn about the particular place God has called us. Often we hurt our chances of doing the most good because we haven’t taken the time to know the history and people whom God has called us to Shepherd.

With that said, here are a few things that I am in the process of learning and even gleaned from the above quote.

We can’t go back but we can look back.
Here’s the truth, you may have the zeal but the reality is you do not have the tenure. Get to know the past history of the place God has called you to. I am not asking you to go back, but get to know the past successes and failures. Learn who came before you, their tenure and investment in the life of the congregation you Pastor. Remember, early on you may have the title of Pastor but the trust has not been built to be the Pastor.

Build the Foundation of the Future on the Pillars of the Past.
I have come to view Church ministry as multi-level as opposed to single story. A single story building has one large foundation separated by rooms. A multi-level building consist of a base foundation of a certain size in which pillars/supports would go up in order to be a support for the floor above it. As we Pastor, especially in a Church that has been in existence for any length of time with multiple Pastor’s preceding us, it is not our job to tear down the foundations that have been laid. It is our job to go in a build on the pillars that have already been established. Building the foundation for the future it isn’t going back to a certain style but it is proclaiming that you embrace the identity of the past and allow that to be a launching pad for the future. The pillars which have been erected prior to your arrival, if you let them, will give structural support for the foundation you lay today. The pillars you erect are going to be the structural support for the foundation that the person lays once you are gone.

Celebrate the Churches History while Offering Vision for the Future
Celebrate the past but don’t get stuck in the past. You need to know the past in order to build the future. A detrimental mistake is to be a cocky pastor who doesn’t listen to the history. I understand why we choose not to listen, we are arrogant. We think our way is the best way. We may be uncomfortable who God created us to be that we squirm when we here praise for the people who came before us. Please allow me to speak into your life, listen carefully. Celebrate the men and women who came before you in front of the people you serve. The only way to build a future is to celebrate the history.

Maybe you are like me and are serving in a new ministry assignment. It’s been a little over six months at the time of this posting in which North Aiken Church of God has given me the opportunity to be their Pastor. I served at my previous assignment just a couple of weeks shy of two years. I write this with a little under 3 years of Pastoral ministry experience but I want to leave you with 6 things that you can do today which I believe can give you success over the next 6 months. I will expound on how I have put these into practice in the coming days but for the sake of time in this post, here is a short list.

  • Preach the Word
  • Build Relationships
  • Learn the history of the Church, the past success and failures
  • Find out the organization date, former Pastor’s names, length of tenure
  • Remind those you lead of the past success of the Church
  • Don’t just tell the people you serve your vision, preach and live your vision.
  • Helpful links from this post:
    Morning Round Up 9/23/2013Moody’s Policy Change; Megachurch Not For Sale; Ph.D. Perils | Ed Stetzer
    North Aiken Church of God, Aiken SCAn assembly of devoted Christ followers with a passion for God and a Love for people who are reaching upward and reaching outward in order make a difference in their community.

    Help, My Pastor Preaches too Long #OurCOG

    Have you ever sat through a movie that seemed like it wouldn’t end. Maybe it was a class where after a certain period of time it seemed like you checked out. I am sure that if your a Pastor you imagine each person sitting through your sermon never wanting it to end because it is so engaging and life changing. If I can be so blunt, as a Pastor I feel like I spend too much time on each message. I am sure that many of those who are listening to us feel the same way.

    I am looking for some feedback…

  • As a Pastor when your in the congregation listening to another speaker, how long do you want them to speak?
  • As a Pastor how long do you normally spend delivering your message, do you think those your preaching to wishes you would shorten it up a bit?
  • As a church attendee if you could be open an honest with your Pastor, what would be the ideal time for this Sunday’s sermon?
  • As an attendee, how long does your Pastor normally spend on his message, is it too long?
  • Please take a moment to leave your thoughts in the comments. I look forward to reading your responses.