Monthly Archives: December 2012

3 things

It’s a busy week for all of us preparing for the holiday.

Here are 3 things I would ask you to keep in mind.

1. When you have 4 minutes and 12 seconds, enjoy this version of Mary Did You Know set to footage from The History Channel’s new miniseries called, “The Bible.”

2. Remember that we will not have a teacher’s meeting this week due to all the holiday activities.

3. I’m all in favor of you making a lot of contacts and having a huge small group experience in Sunday School this week. But spread the joy of reaching out. Share the fun of making contacts to show people they are loved.

And remember that the most important small group in your life…is the one that lives in your house.

See you Sunday.

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A beautiful reading of “The Innkeeper”

I want to share this video with you.  Whether you watch it alone, or share it with your class, I pray it will bless your heart.  It is a side of the Christmas story that I had  never considered.

Merry Christmas.

 

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The importance of “trust” in church.

More and more recently I find myself reflecting on the value and importance of trust in relationships.  I am a pastor and I get to make a big deal about Jesus for a living.  Church (Jesus’ people) is what I am passionate about.  So when I read books like The Speed of Trust by Steven Covey, I apply the principles I learn to what I do…building up the church.  Interestingly, most of the principles one reads about the value of trust are biblical.  That’s because trust is a biblical value.  The Scriptures teach us that relationships are of supreme importance to God.  Trust is inherently relational.  “Do people trust me?” is a relationship question.  When I do not feel that I can trust someone else, our relationship is broken.  Our God is in the business of restoring brokenness, especially broken relationships.

trust

The first broken relationship that God has sought to fix is that between Himself and me (and you).   In my sin and rebelliousness I was separated from God.  He created humanity, and He knew that humanity would fall.  He created me, and He knew that I would love myself at first more than I loved Him.  He knew that my misplaced loyalty would cause me pain and lead to death.  But He restored me through the  loving act of sending His Son to make a way of righteousness for me , which  I could not make for myself.  He sent Jesus on a rescue mission to build a relationship bridge for me with the cross, so that I could be right with Him.  This broken world offers us thousands of hard questions to answer.  People are suspicious and skeptical.  But the answer that is at the heart of the Gospel is this…we can trust God.  He is trustworthy.

And since He has created us as relational beings, and called us to be more like Him; we can be assured that trust matters to God.  When we build relationships that create and maintain trust, we reflect the truth that our God can be trusted.   Many of us have existed for years in relationships that have little to no real authenticity.  There is the shadowy indication of trust and trustworthiness, but when pressed beyond the surface these relationships have no substance.    There is avast difference between pretending to trust, and really trusting someone.  In many cases we have gone through the motions of coexistence so long that we have become numb to the  distance between us.  We convince ourselves that the paranoia we live with is only wise caution in relationships.  “Watch out for yourself, because no one else will”, we tell ourselves.  This is a false lifestyle that is a poor shadow of what God wants for us.  These are counterfeit relationships that when viewed along side God’s real thing will pale in comparison.  The sad reality is that lost people are better at spotting counterfeits than we are.  People know authenticity when they see it.

If we in the church do not insist on moving beyond shallow counterfeit relationships into the deep, safe, meaningful relationships God wants for us, then we will continue to do great harm to the cause of Christ.

This is especially true in Sunday School, which is the heart of relationships in the church.  The quality of our time worshiping together every week is directly related to all the other time we spend in private worship.  We can serve and minister so much more effectively together than we can alone.  But we cannot even begin to accomplish the goal of Sunday School unless we are with other people.

Join me in making a commitment to authentic, trust building relationships.    As leaders in Sunday School we can set the standard for gospel honoring trust relationships in our church.

From an article I recently read:

Here are 7 ways to gain and keep trust as a leader:

Always display confidence but never cockiness.
People will trust a competent leader, but one who is arrogant will be dismissed quickly.

Always follow through, so don’t over-commit.
When a leader does what he or she says they will, people gain trust. When the leader always bails on responsibility, people begin to doubt everything the leader says.

Always put trust in others, so they’ll put trust in you.
Trust is a mutually exclusive commodity. People won’t extend you trust they don’t feel they receive from you.

Always extend grace, but be firm in some non-negotiables.
We need to allow people the freedom make their own way, including the freedom to fail, make mistakes and be assured we will forgive them if needed. We should have, however, some standards that are not open to discussion. Those should usually be issues of character, vision or values.

Always try to be knowledgeable and aware by constantly learning, but realize you don’t know everything and you’ll know far more with a team.
People trust a teachable leader. They are leery of a leader who knows it all … or pretends they do.

Always exhibit humility, but take great pride in your work.
A humble but diligent and effective leader is a trusted leader. It’s as simple as that.

Always value people more than you value progress.
This is especially difficult for driven leaders, but people trust people who care for them.

As always, I appreciate your feedback in the comment fields below, or on Facebook at  http://www.facebook.com/dwalker96sc

Disclaimer: WordPress sells ads that may appear below this article.  If you see a video ad, it has nothing to do with the content of this site for PSBC Sunday School leaders.  I have no control over the content.  Probably best to ignore them.  Thanks!

Categories: Keeps People Connected, Wants to Grow | 1 Comment

The Department Store Church

I was 25 when Bonnie and I made the decision to sell our house, step down from my job, and go back to school full time.  When you are 25 with a wife and a 1 year old, going to school “full time”  means taking a full load of classes while you also work full time.  I did some internships at churches and the South Carolina Baptist Convention, but for the most part I made the decision to work “non-church” jobs while in seminary. My goal was to get experience  that would help me better relate to people who aren’t pastors.  Funny thing about  churches, most are made up of  people who aren’t pastors and haven’t been to seminary.  I figured if all my experience was working at a church and studying theology I wasn’t doing much that would help me relate to the people I would be ministering to.  Crazy thought I know.

So when I was in college and seminary I worked at Barnes and Noble.  I loved it.  I loved being around books and people who wanted to talk about them. I loved the flexible schedule and the big discount on coffee.  One of the unexpected  benefits I experienced while working there was great organizational training.  The store was divided into departments, and each department had a director, or manager.  The department managers had meetings where we discussed  how to accomplish our goals and we tracked the numbers to see how we were doing.  We had store wide meetings where all the booksellers came to be trained and  equipped to produce bigger numbers.  We learned industry standards or “best practices” that  helped us serve people better.  “Put the book in the customer’s hand.”  There was a Store Manager who delivered motivational speeches and made sure the department directors were managing their responsibilities.  Not a bad business model.   Does any of this sound familiar?

Sounds a lot like a lot of churches to me.

The “scorecard”, or measuring stick for department stores is clear.  Higher sales, better merchandising, better workload planning, loss prevention, and effective customer service from your employees.  Excel at these things and your business will be successful.

But the church should have a different scorecard.  Our measuring sticks are different from the world’s.  It’s true, the church is a delicate mix of organization and organism.  We are God’s living and breathing Kingdom.  And we organize ourselves to accomplish His work most effectively.

But if we are not careful we  begin to track  the success of our organization the way we track the success of our jobs in the “real world”.  (That’s a good place to have a little chuckle.)

We set goals, pursue objectives to accomplish those goals, and measure our effectiveness.  Sure.  But what really matters?  What are the real marks by which we should check ourselves?

Are we producing disciples?  That’s it.  Are more and more people becoming sold out to Jesus because of our church?  That’s what matters most.  Trust Him with the rest.

Are we producing disciples?  

 Consider the following process to evaluate this question:

          Our discipleship process involves three elements.

                    Element 1. Engaged in Worship.

                    Element 2. Connected to the church family. (Sunday School small groups)

                    Element 3. Involved in ministry and missions.

   How many of our people are committed on all three elements?  This is the measure that matters.

We express it in our purpose phrase, “Worshiping God, Strengthening Families, Changing Lives.”  It is the thing that should drive us forward.

Think about the people in your small group.  Are more and more getting connected on all three elements, and are they leading others into the process?

We are God’s living and breathing church, the body of Christ,  not a department store that sells Jesus.

Disclaimer: WordPress sells ads that may appear below this article.  If you see a video ad, it has nothing to do with the content of this site for PSBC Sunday School leaders.  I have no control over the content.  Probably best to ignore them.  Thanks!

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