Monthly Archives: March 2016

I Peter Sermon Series

This week, I am continuing our sermon series on 1 Peter. I have come to the passage that many Christians have memorized, but few actually put it to into practice.

1 Peter 3:15 says “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

How would it be possible to actively live out this verse?

  1. Reverence for Christ is the start, which means to be in awe of what God is doing on a daily basis.
  2. Preparation is essential for having an answer. Just like when we study to take an examination, the same principles apply. Followers of Christ must prepare by studying the Word of God. If we answer someone looking for the truth in our own words, chances are good they won’t find it.
  3. Answers. The world is looking for answers, and we are the ones that can give them those answers by way of God’s Word.

Sounds like we have some homework to do, right? Let us not just speak a verse that sounds great, let us live out the verse. A friend recently told me this: “I don’t want to know God’s Word, I want to live God’s Word.” Those words melted my heart because in the intellectual age we live in of information, many are crying out that we want to know God’s Word, but few are crying out that we want to live God’s Word. Live His Word today!

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7

Pastor Larry

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What a Week

holy-week.jpg

This is the week that we have all been waiting for. Holy Week. There is no other week quite like Holy Week because of all of the impact this week will have on the entire world. Jesus will be the talk of the nations all week. Some will claim His risen status for themselves, while others will deny that He even existed. Jesus is asking you the same question He asked His disciples; Who do you say I am?

At City Church Del Rio, we will be looking at what the resurrection and it’s power mean to us a people of God. We have 3 opportunities for you to worship with us, and 2 other opportunities for your family to enjoy as well. Here is the schedule for this coming Easter Sunday: 7 am – Bilingual Sunrise Service, 8 am – Breakfast, 9 am – Servicio En Espanol, 10 am – Easter Egg Hunt for Kids thru 5th grade, and 11 am – Contemporary English Worship Service. 

I pray that you will invite someone to church, as you well know that many that do not participate in regular worship services are more than willing to go on Easter.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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4 Reasons Your Pastor Left After One Year

I came across this blog from Thom Rainer’s tweet. Wow, did this answer a lot of questions I had after leaving a pastorate after 2 years. #4 really was the ah-ha for me personally. 

4 Reasons Your Pastor Left After One YearPosted by Sam Murray on 3/3/16 6:34 AM
Senior Pastors currently average between five and seven years for their tenure on one church staff, based on the polls and studies that come up from a quick Google search. Sometimes Senior Pastors leave after just one or two years on the job. The fact is, it’s becoming increasingly rare for a Lead Pastor to stay at one church for more than 5 years. So what’s causing them to leave, besides the prompting of the Holy Spirit?

Each Pastor’s story is unique, but these four broad stressors can cause significant tension and often lead to a separation from a church. Most of these issues can be avoided by improvements to the interview process and communication practices.

1. Expectations were not clear.

Everyone loves checking items off their to do list and achieving goals, so it is easy to get anxious when the goals are ambiguous. It is likely that Senior Pastors will wind up with more on their plate than any one person can handle if the job description is not clearly outlined from the beginning and reinforced through the day-to-day experiences. Flexibility is always going to be one of the most important expectations in any church staff role, but it cannot be the only expectation. Unclear expectations will almost always lead to burnout.

2. Expectations were clear but unrealistic.

It’s common for Senior Pastors to bite off more than they can chew. It is the responsibility of the Pastor search committee, who has a great perspective on the church and the role, to communicate realistic expectations throughout the interview process. If you are on the other end of that interview process, it is your responsibility to dig into those expectations and determine how realistic they are. Are there clear long-term goals and checkpoint goals along the way to track progress?

Once on the job, staff onboarding is essential to set someone up for success. Your staff and/or search committee must create systems to orient the new Senior Pastor with processes, culture, job responsibilities, and further expectations. It is unrealistic to expect someone to pick up on all of those intricacies without some sort of an on-ramp. Sometimes you are hiring for change, but it is still essential that the change agent is deeply familiar with the way things have been done previously in order to know how to best implement that change.

3) The change is hard and uncomfortable.

Change can be hard for the church. If the new Lead Pastor was hired to be a change agent, was the church ready for the change? If a church has been without its Senior Leader, it may not initially respond well to someone being back in the role, especially someone different then what they were used to.

CONSIDER THE CLIMATE YOUR NEW SENIOR PASTOR IS STEPPING INTO AND PREPARE THEM 

Be as honest with them as you expect them to be honest with you. It is tempting for everyone to put their best foot forward during interviews, but you also need to provide them with the information they need to get a realistic view of the church, role, and vision.

Change can be as hard on the Pastor as on the congregation. This is a new setting for the Pastor as well, and adapting isn’t without discomfort. We hear a lot of stories about how the cultural or geographic change was too big of a shift for a new church staff member. Often, the new hire’s spouse or family never gets plugged in or connected. Did you involve the spouse in the hiring process? Was everyone prepared and understanding of the level of change that would be experienced by both the church and the Pastor?

4) Surprise!

We hear Pastor candidates say all the time, “I can handle anything but a surprise.” The element of surprise is the most frequent reason that a new Senior Pastor would feel a need to leave around the one or two year mark. A surprise feels like a betrayal, like they were tricked into something they didn’t agree to. Was the vision they were promised different than reality? Was there conflict on the staff that was not disclosed? Was the financial climate a wreck? Did you overstate the level of autonomy the Pastor would have or misrepresent the structure of the church? None of these issues are going to scare off the right candidate for your church, but the lack of trust that will result if these are not disclosed before hire will never be repaired. Pulling a “bait and switch” is a surefire way to drive away a new church leader.

MOST PASTORS WILL GLADLY TAKE ON CHALLENGES AS LONG AS THEY ARE PREPARED FOR THE DYNAMIC.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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6 Benefits of Having a Church Staff Blog

From Thom Rainer’s Blog:

6 Benefits of Having a Church Staff Blog
Communicating with church members has become more and more difficult as the frequency of church attendance has waned over the past few decades. A “regular church attender” used to mean attending three times per week; now it’s three times per month.

Because of the lower frequency of attendance, there has been increased pressure to develop more ways to communicate effectively to church members. A church staff blog is one of the most efficient ways to do this.

Simple, short posts written by the church staff can be immensely helpful to church members throughout the week. Whether you’re providing information or encouragement, your church members can benefit from a church staff blog in these six ways.

1. Communicating the needs of each area of ministry. When your church staff blog on a regular basis, they have the opportunity to let the entire church know what’s going on in the ministry they lead and where they may need help. In children and student ministry, the need for volunteers is constant. In the music ministry, needs may involve a special event or service. In other ministries, the needs will vary, but they can all be communicated each week through a church staff blog.

2. Helping launch new ministries. When a church determines to launch a new ministry, a staff blog allows for space to explain the need and goals of the new ministry. Over the course of a few posts, you can answer questions, recruit team members, and cast vision to help launch new ministries in your church.

3. Updating members on church-wide campaigns. Churches often journey through capital campaigns or a specific season of spiritual focus. Staff blogs can track progress, give updates, and encourage further participation in these campaigns.

4. Promoting upcoming events. This might be the most obvious use of a staff blog, but it can be the biggest downside if overdone. If all your blog does is promote event after event, it becomes white noise to your members. Strategically promote events and mix this in with other content so event promotions stand out to your readers.

5. Celebrating wins. What you celebrate, you become. If you use a staff blog to celebrate what is happening in your church, it will encourage members to invest more in what is happening at your church. There is something to be said for excitement and how it motivates us toward Kingdom work. Celebrating your wins as a church only encourages involvement in what God is doing through His Church.

6. Showing how God is moving in the church. Related to the previous point, staff blogs can offer spiritual encouragement from leaders and provide an avenue to post testimonies of how God is working in the lives of church members. This is not only an encouragement to other members, but shows guests the power of the One we live for.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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