Short-term mission trips are vital for Christians and the Church. Here are five reasons to get involved with short-term missions at your church.
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It has been my experience that every church is going through a process of revitalization in some form or another. I have never met a pastor who did not want their church to be healthier or to grow. Every church that I have served in tirelessly worked to be more useful for the glory of God.
We pushed because we knew church health and the salvation of souls hung in the balance. We worked hard in revitalization because we knew that churches that revitalize well, in most cases experience biblical growth and churches that do not work at revitalization end up in stagnation and death. Church revitalization must be a constant work of every church leader. But what does it look like to revitalize well?
After leading churches in the work of revitalization and working through countless hours of materials on church revitalization, I have found three things to be imperative for the work of revitalization. Here is the third step.
Understanding The Pastor’s Role in Church Revitalization
The Pastor is the Front Runner For Revitalization.
The pastor plays a vital role in communicating the vision of church revitalization. The pastor is the out-front and visible leader of the church. Therefore, the pastor is designed to be the one leading the charge for church revitalization. He is delegating tasks and letting people know what needs to get done. There is also great power in the pulpit to steer the church, and the pastor must utilize this power to lead the church in the process of revitalization. Casting a vision of the church’s bright future to reach the next generation for the cause of the Kingdom, and proclaim salvation in Christ alone is the pastor’s privilege and responsibility.
The Pastor is the Visionary for Revitalization.
The pastor must have a clear vision for revitalization. When a church makes shifts to become healthy and effective, the forces of evil always push back. Pushback may present itself through spiritual warfare on the pastor’s family, or resistance to change from the church family. Regardless of the method, the pastor must have a clear vision of the Lord for the mission of revitalization. If the pastor committed to church revitalization, the church will lose sight of their purpose and return to stagnation. But if the pastor is clear and committed to what the Lord has called, he will remain faithful and see his calling for church revitalization through.
The Pastor is the Leader for Revitalization
Church revitalization is hard work for a pastor. Churches consist of people who want to run the church their way, individuals who desire for nothing to change or grow, apathetic people who don’t care whether the church grows or stagnates, and others who wish to see their church grow but don’t know how to go about it. Therefore, strong pastoral leadership is a requirement for church revitalization. Pastors must determine if they are ready and committed to lead the church to take on the mission of revitalization. Church revitalization takes time, and if the pastor is already considering a move or is uncommitted to the church’s future, it would be best for the pastor not to take the leadership role the process of revitalization.
The process of church revitalization is not an easy task. Leading a church through the many stages of church revitalization, namely, grieving the past, working through change, and envisioning a future takes patience and endurance for even the most seasoned pastors. Theologically we must understand that while church revitalization is complicated, God cares about the health of his church. Jesus loves his bride greatly, and he will return for her soon (Rev 19:7). He has even given her great, enduring power in a dark world and has promised her victory over the powers of hell (Matt 16:18). While the work of church revitalization is no doubt hard work, God has called us to the task, and I believe the work is worth the effort.
Last week I wrote a quick blog on the types of questions a pastor interviewing with a search committee should ask in order to dig deeper into the identity of the church.
As I was writing that, I felt that there is a need for questions to be used by pastoral search committees.
In my limited experience with search committees I have found that they are made up of lay members that occupy positions of authority within the church. In most cases these individuals may be educated in the secular job world but are not thinking through the important questions they need to ask a potential pastor. Therefore, I have written 45 questions that every search committee should ask a potential pastor in an interview.
- How did you come to know Christ? Describe for us the situation and how your life has changed since.
- How were you called into the ministry?
- What is your view of the Bible?
- What is your method of Preaching? (Topical, Expository, Blend, Etc. – This should tell you something regarding the previous question.)
- What is your view on God’s Election?
- What is your view of Women in Ministry?
- What is your view on the Spiritual Gifts?
- What is your view of using those gifts in worship?
- What is your view on Baptism?
- What is your view on the Lord’s Supper?
- What is your view on Deacons and Elders?
- What is your view on Evangelism?
- When was the last time you personally lead someone to the Lord?
- If you were to come to our church, how would you encourage the people to practice evangelism?
- If you were to come to our church, how would you lead our church to reach out to our community?
- What is your view on discipleship?
- When was the last time you discipled someone?
- If you were to come to our church, how would you lead our church to practice discipleship?
- What is your view of missions?
- What missions experience do you have?
- If you were to come to our church, how would you lead our church to participate in missions?
- What is your view on Spiritual Disciplines?
- If you were to come to our church, how would you encourage the people to practice spiritual disciplines?
- Describe for us your devotion time with the Lord? (Time, Place, Frequency, Practices, Etc.)
- What was the last Scripture you memorized?
- What is your view on Church Discipline? Describe a time when you had to lead out in church discipline.
- What role do you think children play in the church?
- What role do you think teenagers play in the church?
- What role do you think families play in the church?
- What role do you think the elderly play in the church?
- What role do you think the small group ministry plays in the church?
- What do you believe is the role of the Pastor in the church? Describe your ideal pastoral work week.
- How do you think the Pastor should interact with the other church staff?
- Would you describe yourself as a team leader, a mentor, or a boss when it comes the other church staff? Why?
- If you have taken a spiritual gifts inventory, what are your top 2-3 gifts?
- If you have taken a personality test, what are your dominant personality traits?
- Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
- How involved have you been or would you like to have been in convention life?
- If you were to align with a convention, which one would it be and why?
- What was the last continuing education you attended? When was this? Why?
- What was the last book you read? When was this? Why?
- What do you believe is your greatest strength in ministry?
- What do you believe is your biggest weakness in ministry?
- Does your wife support your ministry?
- How does your wife support you in ministry?
This is by no means a comprehensive list. So feel free to add to it.
If you were to add other questions, what would they be?
As I sit down today to try to catch up with ministry thank you & encouragement notes (an attempt that I am forever behind on) I cannot help but realize how hard this is. This process is a hard one simply due to the amount of notes I would love to send combined with a lack of time and energy required for writing all the people who have, are, and continually impacting my life in ministry. There are so many around me that are growing in their walks with Christ & being used as the hands and feet of Jesus that it is hard not to think about the words of Paul to the Hebrews.
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
These Scriptures are an encouragement to me & I strive to fulfill them in the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have also seen how these Scriptures ring true in our culture today. There are so many around us that simply need a kind word of encouragement in life & in faith.
I would like to exhort you today as Paul did the Hebrews to encourage someone you know in the faith. Tell them how great they are doing. Tell them how their walk has affected your life. Tell them how their sacrifice is worth it and how it is building the Kingdom of the Lord.
It will not take too long.
Who will you encourage today?
As many of you may know, the close of a season occurred last Friday afternoon as I graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (@SWBTS) with a Master degree in Divinity and a concentration in Evangelism. This has been a long time coming and a long journey to get here. Even though I was able to get through the program faster than Kristen and I expected, it has been 3 full years of long nights full of homework and papers along with the financial pressures that come with going back to school.
Although this journey has been a long one, it has been a great one. I have made friends in seminary that I would not have connected with other wise, I have grown in the Lord personally, and I have watched the Lord do things that are simply unexplainable. The Lord has been faithful in providing when He called me to seminary.
At this point, many people have wondered what is on the plate for Kristen and I in ministry and life.
Well this last Sunday I began a pastorate at First Baptist Church Jewett, TX. Kristen and I felt called to Jewett last April and I accepted a call to be the lead pastor of this loving family of faith. We are now in transition to move to the city of Jewett over the next month as Kristen is still finishing the school year. As you can understand, this is a crazy time of excitement and joy, watching dreams and calling come to reality. It is a real adventure!
In the near future I will post more pictures of the church and give some more details about the community we will be ministering to.
Please be in prayer for FBC Jewett, the community of Jewett, Kristen and I as we press forward to see what the Lord has in store for our family.
People warned Spurgeon that he would break down physically and emotionally under the stress of such expansive preaching. Spurgeon replied: “If I have done so, I am glad of it. I would do the same again. If I had fifty constitutions I would rejoice to break them down in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He added: “We find ourselves able to preach ten or twelve times a week, and we find we are the stronger for it…. ‘Oh,’ said one of the members, ‘our minister will kill himself.’ … That is the kind of work that will kill no man. It is preaching to sleepy congregations that kills good ministers.” Spurgeon found strength in preaching.
-Steven Lawson, The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon