9 Ideas to Release God’s Resources in Your Church

Resources“Whatever happened to those spiritual gifts surveys we completed about a year ago?” asked George. Twelve months earlier, the entire congregation was asked to complete the surveys along with a time and talent sheet. The project was led by Mary, the congregation’s Christian Education Director. However, like most churches, the information was never translated to a useable format for retrieval.

Would it help your church run more smoothly to get more people involved? Wrong question! A better approach, from the biblical perspective, is this: what is your church doing to help people find fulfillment by discovering their place in the Kingdom where God has uniquely created them to serve? It’s not about maintaining the institution. It’s about helping people find a ministry that provides fulfillment—producing fruit that is eternally significant.

 Focus on these issues:

  1. Many large corporations have an HR person. That stands for Human Resources. For your church, find the “GR” person—God’s resources!
  2. Distribute surveys, take the information, but don’t stop there!
  3. Determine what gifts, talents, and interests connect with various ministries in your church and your community. Develop a database that ties gifts and talents with ministries.
  4. Turn your focus from maintaining the institution to helping people find divine fulfillment.
  5. Focus on John 15 where Jesus points out that we are to produce much fruit, the kind that is eternal. Jesus adds, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” This is fulfillment!
  6. This person-centered approach should be consistent. If you find someone who has a passion, vision, and the gifts for a ministry your church doesn’t have, make it your responsibility to either create that ministry or help them find a church where they can exercise the uniqueness God has given to them.
  7. Teach and preach that finding your niche in God’s servant-Kingdom work is tied directly to fulfillment. Fulfillment is about giving not getting.
  8. An increasing number of people retire every year. Help them understand that retirement, from the Christian perspective, is “refirement”—redirecting where God has called them to serve.
  9. Recognize that when people are in their right niche, they don’t need motivation or schedules to make them show up.

Most large corporations wouldn’t operate without an HR person. Your church should consider this important ministry: the GR person. Even in the smaller congregation, a part-time volunteer can help people find their niche. Celebrate God’s plan for your church—release God resources for fulfillment within each person. The result? It ultimately achieves just what most churches need: the deployed resources to help make ministry happen.

How does your church release God resources for fulfillment within each person? We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.

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Sharing Your Faith. Six Tips to Make It Easier

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Do your knees knock, does your blood pressure go up, and does intestinal flu set in with the concept of telling an unbeliever about Jesus Christ? You can relax—it has just gotten a lot easier.

One of the most frequent challenges or concerns Christians tell us they have is about the desire to be able to witness their faith. We all have a neighbor, hair dresser, fellow worker, fellow student, who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We have often thought how we might tell them about the Savior. Most often, we don’t get it done. Why?

Most people don’t witness because they feel biblically inferior. Others are just afraid of rejection. These challenges, however, don’t exist much anymore. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar. People don’t really want a sermon about how Christianity is truth. They want to learn, does it work? Has it made a change in your life? As for rejection, our research shows that people are very spiritually interested. They want to talk about their faith and life.

Focus on these issues:

  1. Don’t worry about knowing Bible passages or theology. Most people aren’t interested.
  2. Learn to tell your story. Answer the question, “What has God done in your life?”
  3. Don’t worry about rehearsing a smooth presentation. Natural, honest and direct sharing is what is important.
  4. Look for relationships. When you have a relationship, what you say has influence.
  5. Continue to demonstrate a caring love relationship with others.
  6. Watch for the right moment. Timing is important!

How have you successfully shared your faith? We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.

Have the Church Doctor Report and more news from Church Doctor Ministries delivered direct to your email inbox by subscribing now.

Eat What is Set Before You: 6 Ideas to Let the Person You Are Reaching Set the Menu

What do these comments have in common?

  •  “We don’t have to reach out to our community. They know where we are. Let them come if they want to come.”
  • “That new translation of the Bible sounds like it is right off of TV. In an attempt to be modern, it loses the dignity of the version I learned when I was young.”

  • “That contemporary service dumbs down worship. It’s an insult to God.”
  • “I want my children in church with me. That is the way I grew up.
  • “Those teenagers ought to dress better for church. Their clothes are disrespectful.”

EatSetBeforeYouIn Luke 10:8, Jesus said “Eat what is set before you.” In this context, He was sending out the 70 disciples. He told them to preach, teach, heal the sick, and drive out demons. “Eat what is set before you.” What does that mean?

Luke 10:8 is a universal principal for every Christian. It is one of the most valuable teachings of “Missionary 101” for Christians today. When you are serious about reaching anyone for the Kingdom, the more mature Christian always subordinates his/her agenda and comfort to that of the person they are trying to reach — as long as it does not compromise biblical teaching.

The apostle Paul said “I will become all things to all people that by any means some might be saved.” Every great movement of Christianity has been accompanied by contemporary music, new Bible translations, new styles of worship, and new ways to reach out to people. God does His best work through those who are willing to put aside stylistic ways that have become comfortable in order to reach others.

As I travel overseas, teaching pastors, I have practiced this principle, to “eat what is set before you.” I have eaten some things that aren’t on my cultural menu: elephant, zebra, hippopotamus, mopani worms, dog — you get the idea! Why? Because as mature Christians, helping emerging Christians, we are willing to sacrifice our comfort for the sake of others. It’s a servant’s approach. Missionaries don’t demand that people do everything “the way we have always done it.” That would be evangelist imperialism: I am better than you are, my way is better than yours. That was the style of the Pharisees, not Jesus.

Focus on these issues:

  1. Christians, do not put the responsibility on others to find the church, or the truth.
  2. The use and style of a particular language, is a strategic issue, based on whether or not the message gets through to the intended audience, not what is familiar to the one doing the outreach.
  3. Worship in the heart language of the target group always delivers more meaning.
  4. Another style of worship that is different from your heart language isn’t necessarily inferior. It is just different.
  5. Parents, being more mature Christians than their children, should want to worship with their children. So, go with them and sit on the floor in children’s church. You don’t want to practice parental chauvinism either. Many have done that and lament that their children have “drifted from the church.”
  6. Be cautious about judging others by their outward appearances. You can not see into their hearts. If teenagers are dressed differently than your standard, rejoice and thank God that they are in church.

Let the person you are reaching set the menu. Don’t risk the relationship and an opportunity to bring Christ by offending those who eat strange foods, like different music, or are used to different styles. It is Missionary 101. Eat what is set before you! It is an act of grace.

How do you let the person you are reaching set the menu? We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.

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Biblical Principals for Communication: Watch Those E-mails!

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If you claim to be a Christian, and you are online, I’ve got a question for you: Are you spiritual enough to handle e-mail?

Let’s say the pastor said something that upset you. Or, your church Board made a decision you don’t like. Or, you just got an e-mail from someone else in your church that had something like that happen to them, and they told you about it.

Here is what we are seeing in churches: (1) an increasing number of people who use e-mail; (2) an increasing number of those who misuse e-mail – from the Christian perspective. From Denver to Detroit, from Boston to Phoenix, we are seeing churches in the middle of an e-mail firestorm, out of control.

The results are serious: people with their feelings hurt, choosing sides and damaging relationships. In the church! Come on people! Before you touch the keypad, think about how God guides you when you communicate to one another.

Just because you have the internet at your fingertips, remember, there are several ways to communicate. Even you, pastor. Just because you get a long e-mail from someone who unloads on you with 15 issues in the church that make them unhappy, you are not required to reply by an equally long e-mail. Just because they use the wrong method of communication, that does not give you the license to multiply the mess!

There are few biblical principles that speak to how we communicate to one another as people of faith. (They also apply to everyone.)

First, if you really require a conversation, then have a conversation. We see people get a long e-mail and respond with one equally as long. Then the two go back and forth, and back and forth again. The issue is resolved better with a conversation. Pick up the phone and talk.

If the issues are sensitive or personal, meet face-to-face and dialog. This provides the opportunity for body language and facial expressions. It gives the opportunity to shake hands or hug. If you are going to meet, pick the spot carefully. Don’t demand that you “meet on my turf” and act as a bully. Sometimes it is best to meet over coffee, or even buy lunch.

If you think someone has offended you, reread Matthew 18:15-16. Basically, it says “go” (not e-mail or phone) to the person privately (not a group) and settle it between the two of you never tell others). If that doesn’t work, do it again and take another carefully selected person with you. If that does not work, ask for help from the leadership of the church.

Finally, if you do e-mail, and it’s a volatile subject, don’t ever copy it to twenty others and escalate the tension. Even though “misery loves company,” don’t do it.

As you communicate, try to generate light, not heat. God will be pleased. Life has enough challenges. You don’t have to multiply them!

What have you learned about communication in light of today’s technology? We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.

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8 Ideas to Handle Contrary People in Your Church

contraryThe meeting ended about a half hour later than scheduled. But that didn’t stop Tom from grabbing Jim in the parking lot. “Hey, what’s with George lately? I don’t want to gossip, but is it just me, or is George against everything the pastor is for?”

Jim knew George well. They went to school together. “Oh, that’s just George. He was like that in seventh grade…and he’s been that way ever since.”

The problem is that George made the meeting go long. Thirty minutes times ten men is 300 people minutes wasted. Worse than that, George continually discourages the pastor and other leaders, especially these elders. Should George be asked to consider some other ministry in the church? Probably so!

Focus on these issues:

  1. Some people are contrarians by nature. They believe in Jesus and come to church faithfully. However, they’re against what most people are for.
  2. The contrarian has flawed people skills. It’s not the purpose of the elders to teach George people skills.
  3. It is within the ministry of the church to pray for George and, through a developed relationship, encourage him to get some counseling.
  4. It is not a spiritual requirement to tolerate George in meetings.
  5. Sometimes it’s appropriate and necessary to speak the truth in a spirit of love.
  6. People should be able to disagree in the church. They should not be allowed to be disagreeable.
  7. There is not a “fine line” between disagree and disagreeable. It’s most often a no-brainer. Everyone knows. It’s the pink elephant in the room no one wants to talk about.
  8. George needs to know God loves him and so does the church. But the church needs to lovingly help George into another ministry where he won’t de-rail the enthusiasm and excitement of other people.

Your church might have contrary people. Love them and help them find the right spot for them, for you, and for the Kingdom.

How does your church leadership handle contrarians? We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.

Have the Church Doctor Report and more news from Church Doctor Ministries delivered direct to your email inbox by subscribing now.

Pioneering Thought: A Christian Tract and the Fighting Bishop

Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. Acts 7:58-59 NKJV

Leonidas Polk

Leonidas Polk

Leonidas Polk was born, 1806, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to a soldierly family dating back to before the Revolutionary War. His father, William, served in the Revolution with the rank of Colonel and acquired substantial land holdings from his service. In 1823 Leonidas was given an appointment to West Point.

During his time at the Point he developed an interest in Christianity and began pursuing informative materials after reading a Christian tract left in the barracks by a young man who had sought counsel from Chaplain, Charles P. McIlvaine, for the loss of his father. Chaplain McIlvaine had instructed the grieving cadet to leave the tract in a conspicuous place.

Cadet Polk sought out the Chaplain confessing that in his reading there had never been a professor or cadet ever professing religion at West Point, but he was a changed man and wished to do right. The Episcopal Chaplain encouraged Cadet Polk to take a stand in Chapel. The next day, Sunday, Cadet Polk knelt at the altar to symbolically demonstrate his Christian commitment. Present that memorable day, were cadets Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, Joseph E. Johnson, Jefferson Davis, and Robert Anderson. Each would serve with the Armies pitted against one another 36 years later. Polk, who was commissioned a Bishop with the Episcopalian denomination, would become a General with the Confederacy.

In 1825-26, the United States Army Chaplaincy, 1791-1865, Volume II, records a massive religious revival at West Point under the Chaplaincy of Charles McIlvaine, who had been appointed to the academy, January 1, 1825, by the Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun. Cadet Polk’s public witness was a catalyst for that revival.

After graduating in 1827 he resigned his commission to become a priest in the Episcopal Church and would become a Bishop in 1840. Bishop Polk was the leading founder of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

May 18, 1864 the same Albert Sidney Johnston, who witnessed Polk’s conversion at West Point, asked the Bishop to baptize him while Johnston lead the Confederate forces toward Atlanta, and in the midst of warfare Bishop General Polk willing obliged his classmate who he now served under. Generals William Hardee and John Bell Hood were witnesses.

One month later, June 14, Polk joined Johnston and Hardee, at Johnston’s invitation, on Pine Mountain near Marietta to view the valley. Near the crest a federal cannon ball crashed through the Fighting Bishop’s chest opening a wide window that freed his indomitable spirit. In his pocket, now blood-stained, were two Christian tracts he had prepared for the two Generals.

PRAYER: Oh Lord, you, who have wonderfully intervened in my life and chosen me to perpetually carry your message of unconditional love and willingly share it with humanity, grant that I will be faithful. Open doors to impact men in low and high places and cause that influence to change their history.

PIONEERING THOUGHT: Pioneers recognize the superseding hand of God in their lives, and live accordingly, seeking occasions to impress the love and acceptance of God on those within their sphere of influence.

-Dennis L. Kutzner

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