The necessity of evil

Why can’t we all get along? Why are some people so irritating? Why are some so down right evil?

Although we don’t want any of these negatives, there is a place for them. They contrast and highlight the good. Without the evils, the good won’t seem so good. We would just take it for granted.

Evil was not part of God’s plan, and there will be an end to evil. But Satan has impacted our society so much that there are many who think doing good is only an alternative. But for an appointed time, let it be so. These evils will help in highlighting the good.

 

Care is an investment

When tragedy strikes our friends or acquaintances, we are often at a loss regarding what to do. Of course, there are emergency services and organizations that handle the brunt of the professional tasks involved. Although we don’t want to get in the way or even attempt to replace what they do, it’s clear that we are not sure how to respond.

According to the need, and according to the willingness of the people to accept our help, we need to extend our hand of care. Keep your words to a minimum but keep our hands open and ready to help in every way possible. We’re not to expect anything in return as Jesus said “You received without paying; give without pay.” (Matthew 10:8).

See your response as a contribution to this world and into the lives of people. That’s why we are placed here in this world as a community. Ultimately, what you do to help others will become an investment into God’s kingdom.

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If there is a car up ahead

When the road is pitch dark with no street lights and raining, it’s beneficial to have another car in front of you. You just need to follow.

Thankful for those who have gone before us. They shed the light in dark places. Their light puts us at ease. Their presence gives us hope. We can do this. Even when it’s dark, we’ll make it through.

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Looking cool and doing cool

It obviously takes effort to look cool. That coolness shows up in the kind of clothes you wear, the brand of devices you use, the vehicle you drive, and other external items that define coolness. It’s a popularly recognized image of sophistication that you hold up to other people. Whether you want to take the effort to do this or not, it’s your choice, your preference.

There’s another level of coolness that goes deeper. This coolness is expressed through your work. Do your work with excellence and focus. Have the tenacity to push for the best of your ability in your work. Without immediate results or financial benefits, keep working your best. Put your heart and mind into the task and do your work at a higher level.

This “coolness” also takes time and effort just like the other one – maybe much more. I’m not sure if you’ll get the same level of recognition as looking cool. But surely in time, it will show up in your work. Over several years, the results of your work will bear fruit.

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Essentials for pastors of small churches

Being the pastor of a small church for a long time can be a rewarding experience. But it surely comes with its own set of challenges. Yet there are some things we can do on a consistent basis to help us in the leadership process. Here are some things I’ve been striving for during the last 20 years in my present location.

  1. Understand that you have chosen a noble task
  • Never feel guilty about taking on leadership in the church.
  • Don’t think of this as something lower than other professions.
  • It is a calling of great magnitude.

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” (1 Timothy 3:1)

  1. Notice what’s happening around you

Be an observer as you walk around and through the church in each of the meetings, small groups, or any event. Here are some things to observe:

  • Interactions among people
  • Attitudes presented through words and actions
  • Openness to ideas and people
  • Team spirit for the various aspects of the organization
  • Contention between people as they deal with various issues.
  1. Respond appropriately

Every effort is commendable. Usually, the intentions are good, but the attitudes and approaches may be confusing.

When you find positives:

  • Give immediate praise when you find someone doing well

When you find negatives:

  • Thank them for their efforts and encourage them to do better when correction is needed
  1. Find needs and delegate

Every need is an opportunity. Every problem is an opportunity for growth and development of leaders in the organization. Here is what you need to do.

Identify – Look for an appropriate person to perform that task or lead that initiative.

Recruit – Once you find a suitable person, convince them of the need and their suitability and get them to make a commitment.

Train – Either you train them or find a suitable person to do the training required to do the task. Some training may take just a few minutes of instructions. Other situations will require more.

Deploy – Release them and get them started on the task. Encourage them and trust them to do the job well.

Monitor – Check back with them regularly to see how they are doing. See if they require help or additional training. Encouragement and appreciation is always a must. Give it lavishly.

  1. Keep your eyes on Jesus, not the numbers

The temptation for number is real. Just keep your eyes on Jesus. Whatever you have to offer, give freely and abundantly. Jesus never held back. His style of evangelism was quite different from what we commonly see around us. His generosity and openness was beyond understanding. But when it came to discipleship, his demands were quite steep.


These practices I’ve outlines above are not special secret keys to make your church grow. But they are essentials for us to keep the church moving in a healthy way toward the mission and goals we have set. With lots of attention that goes to large churches and para-church organizations, the task can be quite difficult. But there is no need to despair. The key is to stay there, be consistent, and don’t give up. 

What has been your experience? What have you found to be essentials as you have led a small church?

When you hear the people grumbling, turn to God, and open your eyes to the possibilities all around you (Exo 15: 22-25)

But it’s easy to get caught up responding to all the grumbling people. Because that is the most urgent need at the moment, and they will demand your response. Their expectations have not been met. Hold your responses. Just listen, and cry out to God.

When God opens your eyes, you will see possibilities that you may not have noticed before. The solution may be quite simple as a kind word of understanding, or it may be as complex as developing your next strategic move. Either way, the answer is right there. Ask God to open your eyes of leadership.

Begin with a smile

The unsure, suspecting, careful, calculated look can be quite intimidating. It really penetrates a person’s spirit and alters the tone of the entire conversation. As a result, the encounter may not be the most pleasant one for both parties.

But at the beginning if you​ counter that look of suspicion with a warm smile, everything changes. A genuine smile from the heart also penetrates the spirit and puts one at ease. It puts a positive twist to the entire conversation.

So go ahead and begin with a smile.

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Those perfect people

They’re actually quite good at what they do. In fact, they do their tasks better than most others. They stand out from the crowd in whatever they do. Organizations can really benefit from their skills and passion for perfection.

But their excellence may affect them negatively in three areas. First, they struggle to connect with people. Part of the reason for this is due to their determined focus on their work. They put so much care and attention into the task that they neglect connecting with people. This lack of connection leads to the next negative.

Since they do everything with such quality, they may have difficulty caring about people with lesser abilities. After all, since these people do so well, caring about others who perform poorly is quite a difficult task. They can care, but it will take an additional, conscious effort in that direction.

The final hinderance is a lack of listening. Since they stand out from the crowd, they may only associate with people at that level of excellence. But if you don’t care enough to listen to the common, “lesser” people, you’re losing out. Most of the work you do may be for the benefit for the common people. Listening more to them will actually improve your ability to do your tasks more effectively for the benefit of the common person.

Keep on being excellent. But don’t forget the rest of us.

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Invitation to messiness

When the area is a mess, people are prone to dump trash and make it more messy. There is something unique to messiness. It just invites more of its own kind.

Neatness will do the same. An area that’s kept clean will invite more cleanliness. The urge to create a mess is deterred by the neatness.

Yet there will be those who continue to create a mess. They are the ones who are not deterred by the neatness. Their inner slant toward messiness or irresponsibility overpowers other deterrents. Then messiness will rule.

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Imagined offenses

Offenses offend. That’s what they are meant to do. And those offenses stick to the person like skin on bones.

Imagined offenses also offend. Misunderstanding and misinformation will cause these imagined offenses. But the effect is the same as actual offenses. 

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