Tag Archives: Thom Rainer

Who Moved My Pulpit?

Today, I want to inform you of a new book by Thom Rainer. If you want to make a difference with your ministry team, then this book can help you to become the change agents of the church. Change will not happen without the pastor, staff, and elders leading the charge.

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Who Moved My Pulpit? may not be the exact question you’re asking. But you’re certainly asking questions about change in the church—where it’s coming from, why it’s happening, and how you’re supposed to hang on and follow God through it—even get out ahead of it so your church is faithfully meeting its timeless calling and serving the new opportunities of this age.

Based on conversations with thousands of pastors, combined with on-the-ground research from more than 50,000 churches, best-selling author Thom S. Rainer shares an eight-stage roadmap to leading change in your church. Not by changing doctrine. Not by changing biblical foundations. But by changing methodologies and approaches for reaching a rapidly changing culture.

You are the pastor. You are the church staff person. You are an elder. You are a deacon. You are a key lay leader in the church. This is the book that will equip you to celebrate and lead change no matter the cost.

The time is now.

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Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Gossip in the Church

Thom Rainer listed on His blog

The nine ways gossip destroys a church are:

  1. It’s evil.
  2. It’s idolatrous.
  3. It’s self-centered.
  4. It’s divisive.
  5. It’s often deceptive.
  6. It harms reputations.
  7. It destroys trust.
  8. It indicates hypocrisy in the church.
  9. It risks God’s judgment

Gossip is a destroyer of unity in the church. It can begin as a sampled seed and grow into a huge mustard plant. Many times we say things that we never intend to start a fire with, yet it happens. Words are said, and the forrest fire begins. It is difficult not to gossip because we have become so accustomed to wanting the “latest scoop” about the “latest juice.”

The next time you want to spread a little information on behalf of someone, don’t. Use your God instincts and choose the high road. Think about the source you received your information from before you begin that spark that leads to destruction.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

 

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Seven Reasons Why Your Church Should Have a Ministry to Widows

This is a post by Thom Rainer:

This verse in Scripture cannot be more compelling or clearer:

“Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)

Scholars have produced massive volumes on the biblical mandate to care for orphans and widows. The Bible is not ambiguous on this topic. I am grateful churches around the world have taken some steps to care for the orphans, though much more remains to be done.

But, in North American churches, I see hardly any intentional church wide ministries to widows. Millions are left to suffer and struggle in silence.

Though the biblical mandate to care for widows should be sufficient motive for our churches, consider some of the struggles widows experience. These seven factoids should give you at least a glimpse of the need for ministries to widows in your church.

  1. The death of a spouse is the number one stressor in a person’s life. Too many survivors are not ready to deal with the issues of widowhood (Holmes and Rohe stress scale).
  2. Over 800,000 persons are widowed each year. Of that number, 700,000 are women (U. S. Bureau of the Census).
  3. Widowhood lasts on the average 14 years. That is a significant portion of any person’s life (U. S. Bureau of the Census).
  4. There are over 14 million widows in the United States today. That is an average of 40 widows for every church in the United States (AARP).
  5. Upon the death of a spouse, a widow loses 75% of her support base. It is imperative for churches to stand in the gap (Widow’s Hope).
  6. Widows have a 30% higher risk of death in the first six months after the death of their husbands. They truly die of a broken heart (University of Glasgow).
  7. The poverty rate among widows is three to four times higher than elderly married women. Financial needs among widows are often great (Social Security Administration).

Please don’t walk away from reading this short post without considering some type of action in your church to care for widows.

It is one of the clearest mandates of Scripture.

It is also one of the most neglected mandates of Scripture.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Seven Reasons Why We Should Not Abandon the Term “Church Member”

Today’s Post comes from Thom Rainer’s Blog

Two years ago I released a book called I Am a Church Member. I’ve been blown away with the response; sales are about to reach one million books. One of the more frequent question readers have asked me is: “Do you think the term ‘church member’ is still relevant?”

My simple response is, “Yes I do.” In fact, I have seven reasons why I emphatically believe churches should never let go of this descriptor.

  1. It is biblical. One of the best descriptions of church membership is in 1 Corinthians 12. The Apostle Paul specifically uses the term “member” at several points in the chapter. For example, in 1 Corinthians 12: 27, he says: “Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.”
  2. It is a perfect metaphor for belonging. Read the same chapter, specifically verses 15 to 20. Look how many times Paul uses the word “belong.” To be a member of the body of Christ, the church, is to belong to an incredible gift given to us by God.
  3. It is a perfect metaphor for contributing. As Paul describes the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12, he highlights the diversity of gifts of the members, and emphasizes the absolute mandate for every member to function and contribute. There is no place in the church for non-contributing members.
  4. It is a perfect metaphor for caring. Because church members all belong to the same body, they are motivated and mandated to care for one another. Paul states this truth clearly: “So there would be no division in the body, but the members would have the same concern for each other” (1 Corinthians 12:25).
  5. It is a perfect metaphor for unity. Church members are members of something greater than themselves, the body of Christ. Once again, we are reminded of this truth in 1 Corinthians 12:27: “Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it (emphasis added).
  6. It is commonly understood by most people. Some churches use terms other than church member to describe those affiliated with their congregation. My purpose in writing this article is not to disparage them, but to advocate for a term that is both biblical and clear. Most people do indeed understand the basic meaning of church member.
  7. It does not yield to culture. We have abandoned too many things in our churches in order to accommodate culture. While we recognize that some people will think of membership in the sense of country club membership, we in the church need to reclaim its biblical intent. Church membership does not mean we get perks and privileges because we “pay our dues.” It means we give, sacrifice, and serve.

The essence of church membership is the sense of belonging to something so much greater than any one of us individually. We are thus motivated to give, serve, love, and care. The biblical understanding of church membership is an incredible concept. It is not a term we should abandon. Let me know what you think.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Church growth

Church-growth

A growing church can be one of the most exciting times in the life of a particular congregation. New people, new excitement, new believers, new needs, and a lot of newness.

Sometimes with growth, there is chaos with the current membership. Change is the one thing in any situation that many people do not like or except. In a church setting, it can begin to fell like an us verses them scenario.

I cam across a few things that happen when a church grows by Thom Rainer:

  • When there is growth taking place, new people come into a church and things change.
  • Many times we are too concerned about our needs, our preferences, and our comforts in the church.
  • When churches grow, groups are the key to maintaining intimacy.
  • As a church grows larger, it has to grow smaller through groups.
  • Worship style continues to be an explosive issue in many churches.
  • Don’t just explain the what of a change but the why as well.

The seven reasons some church members do not like church growth are:

  1. Loss of familiarity.
  2. Loss of memories.
  3. Loss of comfort.
  4. Loss of power.
  5. Loss of perceived intimacy.
  6. Loss of worship style.
  7. Loss of worship time.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Seven Reasons Some Church Members Don’t Want Their Churches to Grow

Today,

I am posting an excellent article by Thom Rainer. Let me know what you think.

It is highly unusual to hear church members say that they don’t desire their churches to be obedient to the Great Commission. Indeed, it is common for the members of a pastor search committee to tell a prospective pastor that they are looking for a leader who will guide the church toward growth.

And most church members do desire to see their churches grow . . . until the growth affects them. It is at that point they can become disillusioned and critical.

So what is it about growth that impacts some members negatively? Let me suggest seven reasons.

  1. Loss of familiarity. When a church is growing, it becomes a different church over time. The difference is not necessarily good or bad, but it’s not the same as it was in earlier years. Some church members grieve when they see their churches change. They miss “the good old days.”
  2. Loss of memories. I recently heard a poignant story from a lady whose church was demolishing the old worship center to build a new one to accommodate growth. She and her husband were married in the old worship center. She understandably grieved at the loss of that physical reminder of their wedding.
  3. Loss of comfort. Growth can mean that the closest parking spots are no longer available. Growth can mean that the traffic flow in the parking lot is more difficult. Church members can feel that their creature comforts are compromised by growth.
  4. Loss of power. New people in a church can mean that power bases are diluted. The growth can result in new influencers in the church. Some of the longer-tenured influencers may not like that.
  5. Loss of perceived intimacy. It’s a common response: “I used to know everyone in this church. I just don’t feel as close to members as I once did.” Indeed, growth can mean that all the members may not know each other as they did when the church was smaller.
  6. Loss of worship style. New members and attendees might have different worship style preferences. They often influence church leaders to make changes. Existing members may resent these changes. They might also start worship wars.
  7. Loss of worship time. Growth in the church may necessitate adding worship services or changing times of worship services. Some members may be frustrated that they have lost “their” worship time.

Obedience to the Great Commission often results in growth in the church. But growth in the church is not always received well by some members. Some of these members have an attitude that the church is there to serve them and to cater to their needs. Healthy church members understand they are to be giving and sacrificial members of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). They will rejoice when more members join the fellowship, and when more people become believers in Christ.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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