Growth or Comfort

The following picture was shared online. There is profound truth. Take a moment and meditate on the message. If we want growth we need to part ways with comfort.


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.

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.

The Waiting Period

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:4-5,8 (NKJV)

The Waiting Period

I am learning that in order for things to work effectively and smoothly systems have to be in place. Our life is made up of systems. We have a system for everything we do. Even those who say they are unorganized have a system in place. Our morning routine is a system. The day to day activities at our job is a system. Our life is full of systems. In order to advance the message of Jesus Christ a system was implemented.

Today as a Church we moved into the book of Acts in our six month journey through the New Testament. I am reminded that Jesus instructed his Disciples to follow a system in order to be effective with sharing their faith (being witnesses). I will call this system, the waiting period. Being effective at doing any “one thing” we have to be empowered to do it. It could mean a certain strength, skill set, or knowledge must be acquired. Each of those things empower us, yet they come through a period of waiting. It doesn’t happen over night and you have to work at it.

In order to be effective in our life an ministry waiting is necessary. The disciples were asked to wait in order that they may be empowered to be a witness. A witness simply confesses what they have seen and heard. Yet, Jesus taught that in order for his followers to tell what they have seen and heard, it would take power. Waiting was necessary. For us, waiting is still necessary. I am learning that the waiting period is an important part of our life. Some people have a hard time waiting. I know I do, but our ministries and and personal life will be better off if we learned to implement the system of waiting.

What’s one piece of advice you can share as it relates to waiting? Be sure to leave a comment below.

I look forward to receiving your feedback. Also, if this post was beneficial to you take a moment to share it with your friends and followers. Also, if you want to stay up to date on current posts, consider having them delivered to your inbox. You can do so by signing up to the right.

Stop Trying to Be Great, Be Consistent

You don’t have to be great, but you do have to be consistent.

I want to be be great and I often feel the need to throw myself a “pity party for one” when I realize I am not great in a particular area. To be honest I am learning day by day that it’s not necessarily a moment that makes us great but consistency.

For example…

  • A great husband isn’t measured by saying I do, but by consistently fulfilling his responsibilities as a husband on a day to day basis.
  • Being a great father isn’t just being at the birth of his children, but by consistently fulfilling his responsibilities as a father on a day to day basis.
  • To encourage you to be consistent, let me remind you…

    David became consistent with a stone and a slingshot before he ever became great in the eyes of a nation.

    Not matter what your context, being great is accomplished by being consistent. So as I write this and am working on things in my life to be more consistent in, I hope you are encouraged to keep pressing forward.

    Don’t focus on being great, focus on being consistent.

    Thanks for reading, I value your feedback. Please take a moment to leave a comment below. If this post has encouraged you and you feel others may grow in their walk with Christ please take a moment to share it on the social network site of your choice.

    Also, take a moment to read a great post that I read this morning which encouraged me and was the basis for this post. Thanks to Pastor David Kemp for his leadership and ministry. It’s titled Choose Greatness and as I began reflecting on that statement I began to realize that my choice of greatness begins with consistency.

    Easter’s Past, Now What

    Another Easter weekend is in the rear view mirror. If you are unfamiliar about why we make such a big deal about Easter you can read in the Bible, John chapters 18-20. For all of my ministry friends I hope this past weekend proved to be one of your best weekends of the year. Maybe you didn’t quite reach the goals you set out to reach. Can I give you a word of encouragement? Just because you didn’t hit the number you were reaching for it shouldn’t get you down.

    At the time of this post I have only been at the North Aiken Church of God for about 7 weeks. Sure, we had some expectations but I haven’t let those expectations control me. We plan, we execute, but ultimately the rest is up to God.

    For instance, we were planning for an attendance goal of 75 people. We have been averaging 50. We had a total attendance of 55. Although we didn’t meet our planned goal of 75 there are a few things that we were able to execute by having that goal. If we were going to hit 75 we had to free up space in the sanctuary. So, we created an environment where children ages 2months – 5th grade can learn about Jesus and the purpose of Easter. That freed up close to 20 seats in the sanctuary for the guests that we’ve been inviting. We had a nursery for kids 2 months thru 2 years. A group for kids ages 3 thru 5 and a group for kids in k5 thru 5th grade. In total there were 13 kids present.

    Here’s what I have learned and I hope is an encouragement to you.

  • Don’t allow the fact that you didn’t have the number of people you expected and planned for make you unbearable to be around.
  • Don’t allow the fact that you may have had a record breaking attendance make you unbearable to be around.
  • Don’t forget to put the same amount of prayer and planning into this coming weekend.
  • Don’t forget to reflect on what God did this weekend in spite of us.
  • Don’t forget, it’s not about you it’s all about God and His plan and purpose for those he’s allowed you the opportunity to shepherd.
  • In closing let me add, the most important thing I believe that could have happened did. At least two people recognized that they have been trying to go through this life alone and recognized the need to turn it over to God and trust in Jesus.

    What was the highlight of your weekend?

    If you are a ministry leader what’s some sound advice you would give to other ministry leaders right after a big weekend?

    Who Should I Be Learing From

    Needless to say, 2011 is in full swing. Think about it, in a few short days we will be in February. I don’t do a whole lot of new year resolutions on January 1. I normally wait to set out my goals/expectations around my birthday…which by the way if you were wondering is February 1. As I get closer to my 29th, my mind is more and more on what I want to accomplish, set into motion, and strive for as my last year in the twenties creeps up on me. The thought just occurred to me, next year this time I will be about to start a brand new decade. One of my goals is to find other people to learn from. Without having the ability to head out and meet everyone one by one for a cup of coffee, technology has given us the next best thing. Blogs and Podcasts! Would you mind letting me in on who I should be learning from? I am wanting to grow as a Husband, Father, Minister, and want to get into a healthy eating/exercise routine. You can check out who I am currently learning from by scrolling over the I Recommend tab at the top of the page.

    Who do you recommend I subscribe to via blog/podcast (include link)? Why do you recommend this individual and what are you learning as a result of reading/listening to them?


    In the past few weeks of filling in with the preaching responsibilities at Hardeeville, I have noticed that by Thursday’s, I am wiped out.  I guess it can be in part to work as well but whatever the reason, by Thursday, I am completely drained. I am beginning to learn what it means to pace yourself when you have a lot going on and how important it is to do so.  I am going to blog in depth about that a little later when I get some solid time to gather my thoughts on it.  For now, I am going to get some things prepared for this Sunday.

    Keep Pursuing – GT

    A League Of Your Own

    A League Of Your Own is the statement one of the Judges said about Crystal Bowersox, one of the final two on this season of American Idol. I haven’t kept up with the competition this year with the exception of a few shows at the beginning and the final sing off between the last two contestants tonight. However, the first time I heard Crystal Bowersox sing in the start of the season I felt she would be the one to beat. She had determination, purpose, and she was herself. She didn’t change throughout. For so many in these types settings you end up seeing a different person in the end than who they were in the beginning. It’s almost like you see Minnie me’s of other artists or trends. A League of Your Own is what I feel should be the characteristic of a disciple of Christ. He is to be our example and our life is to be hid in Christ. We are not to conform to pattern of this world, but instead be transformed [Rom12.1-2]. I believe that transformation is a transformation to the image of Christ which will ultimately bring us into a League of our own… Not to get caught up in the trends or be like everyone else in the Christian community but instead, just be ourselves. Who God created us to be, in the image of His Son. There is nothing wrong with learning from others but we are not made to be them. Be different, be unique, let it be said of you, that you were in a League of Your Own.