I do a lot of weddings. I am really thankful to be a part of someone’s BIG DAY! I love being around joy and weddings are always full of joy. Weddings are a BIG DEAL, and they are a BIG DEAL to God. I found this article by Marshal Segal to be a good one on why your wedding is still something worth wanting. The target audience is those who are single but anyone can get something out of the article.
I’m currently attending the final residency phase of my Doctor of Ministry program and I’m working on my final Doctoral Project. I’ve been digging in to research on pastoral burnout and how it effects churches all across the nation. With 80-85% of churches declining or dying across America and with pastors leaving the ministry every day– there is a clear correlation between pastoral burnout and church decline . I’ve been shocked to read the latest research and find that last year over 1,700 pastors quit or were forced to leave the ministry every month…I’m gonna say that again…every month. That number is rising…
My project is focusing on the causes and correlations between burnout and decline in churches and the correlation between healthy pastors and healthy growing and multiplying churches. If we lose our leaders the research is showing we lose our churches. Since we trust Jesus’ words that his “yoke is easy and his burden light”
— what is causing such burnout among church leaders? So far, the research is that crushing expectations, no time off, always in “crisis mode”, wanting to please people and wanting to always be “On” and the pressure of putting together a good message for Sunday are all factors in burnout, moral failure and quitting amongst pastors in America. My goal is to help pastors and churches and find preventative methods and cures.
Here’s where you can help. If you know of a burned out pastor- either currently out of full time ministry or formerly burned out but back at it- please let me know by emailing me email@example.com. I would like to interview pastors and leaders and draw some conclusions and provide some solutions.
Gracias and peace,
Check out this idea on quick but effective and in depth prayer
“Silence is the language of God”- Thomas Keating
I’m learning about the importance of silence and solitude. I’ve taught on it for years and I’ve practiced it periodically. I want to flip that sequence.
God will not compete with our noise. He will not shout above the constant barrage of electronic stimulants and information overload. He does not push His way in to get our attention. He waits. Think about that. God waits for you and me.
He waits until we’re quiet enough in mind, heart, and soul, and then He speaks. 1 Kings 19 always reminds me of this….God speaks in a whisper.
He waits until we’ve prioritized Him. He waits until we’ve cleared our cluttered schedule to carve out space for Him (that sounds so ridiculous when I realize HE IS THE ONE WHO GIVES US TIME IN THE FIRST PLACE). Still, He waits.
So often, in my hurry, it’s as if God is speaking another language. I can’t translate the dialect He’s speaking.
It takes pure discipline as I’ve focused my time in silence before Him. Every thought must be held captive and pushed aside so I can have a clear mind, no distractions. My mind goes so many places for several minutes until finally it gets quiet. It’s in the next several moments that I meet with my Lord. These are good times. These are soul healing times. These are times of refreshing. It’s in these moments of silence that I can translate the language of God
In these moments I am reminded that I am not God, He is. I am not in charge, He is. All my hurry and all my worry is just me taking charge, it’s just me taking control. I need silence as a constant reminder that God is God and I’m not.
So, I’m learning. I don’t want to burn out, soften up, or lose to the enemy. So, I’ll do the waiting. I’ll listen to Psalm 37 and wait on the Lord, it’s the least I can do, He’s waited on me for so long.
My natural default is not, “seek something more difficult” – is yours? I doubt it. We seem to have a natural tendency to slide to the easy side of life. To hope for comfort and tranquility. Don’t get me wrong those are important at the right time and place. God made it clear that we are to, “keep the sabbath holy” Exodus 20:8
But in comfort and ease we do not learn the lessons of life. It is in labor, strife, and pain that our ears and hearts seem to be most open to God’s teaching. That is why I have prayed and offered myself up to God that I would do something “harder” for Him – whatever He desires. Admittedly I did not think the answer would come so soon. However, all indications are that answer has arrived in the form of leading two churches into become one church in two locations.
I did not think there was anything harder than starting a church. I was wrong, leading two young churches is harder. But, here is why I’m so excited about this. 1. It is a clear answer to pray. 2. It is an opportunity to have my faith stretched even more and for God to show up in ways I could never have imagined. I am already seeing this as we begin the process of becoming one church in two locations.
God is raising up workers for the harvest (Matt. 9:37-38) to make this happen. Obviously, I’ve got my hands full with one young church but the good news is it’s not about me. This is an opportunity for more people to get off the sidelines and into to game of ministry. Most people would say, “My life is too busy, I’ve got too much going on.” Me too! But, when you pray and ask God to make your life harder if that will bring him more glory you better be ready for an answer.
We see this problem of ease throughout the Bible. God does something amazing in the life of the Israelites, they worship God, then slowly over time they turn away from God as life gets easier. As trials and tribulations subside they forget about their God. But, as soon as things turn difficult they again turn to God.
We see this in the life of the Church as well. History shows us that the Church grows fastest through persecution, trails and tribulations. The fastest growing churches in the world are in places where it’s illegal to have an independent Jesus centered church. China is booming with underground churches growing by the thousands daily.
We see this in the life of individuals as well. Martin Luther’s life wasn’t made easier by putting all he had into translating the Bible into the “Lingua Franca” or “common language” so you and I can now read it. No, he asked God for more difficulty and more strife if it brought more glory to Him. We need to seek the harder things because in those we grow. Otherwise we slide…we slide away from God, away from ministry, away from faith.
The easier our life gets the farther we slide from God. I’m not talking about all out rebellion like the Israelites often did by turning to other gods and cultic practices. Ours is a more subtle drift that begins like this: Less Bible reading in our devotional life, less prayer, less church attendance, less participation in ministry and serving. But, we add other things as we slide away from God; more to do at our job, more kids sports functions or after school activities that have nothing to do with the Lord, more participation in things that have nothing to do with building or growing your faith. It’s a simple slide away from the Lord and it’s really easy. It’s really subtle. All of the sudden you realize, “I haven’t had my devotions in weeks…I haven’t been to church in weeks…I haven’t….”
Do something harder. Tell God today you are willing to do something harder for Him, something that will bring Him more glory through your life, something that might make a difference in someone’s life.
Life is so much about patience. Waiting in an emergency room is a good reminder that the world does not hurry for my needs. I think we turned down the wrong hall somewhere because this is clearly NOT the emergency room. This is the “it says emergency room outside but that is so hypothetical…room.”
We have been ushered, like a legless turtle, down the hall into a room where I’m listening to doctors and nurses guess at the amount of sedative they just gave the patient behind curtain 6…which is terribly comforting at this hour.
The better news is I’ve been sitting in this chair which at some level has become part of me except that it is a really uncomfortable part. It’s like sitting naked on broken sea shells.
Our pregnant pause is past 5 hours. It’s 2:00am now and there is no sign that Riley will get his stitches any time soon. His chin looks a lot like and opened oyster right now. Ah, but the time will come soon enough, patience, oh sweet patience. It could be worse.
Soon, I will see the sun will come up, or soon The Son will come back, not sure which one will be first but am anticipating the second much more than the first and at this point don’t want to be sitting in sea shells when the first happens. However, if it so happens that it is the sun before The Son, I shall remain patient.
God seems to meet us there on that mountain. I know He meets us in the valley too but it seems we can hear Him more clearly. It’s probably the lack of distractions, the calm peaceful setting, the snow and the raging fire in the fireplace.
We’ve been coming to Forest Home for various retreats since 1999. The past two years we’ve been blessed by Forest Home and used their free two night Pastor’s Cabin.
The kids love it too. They play in the snow, we hike, sled and adventure together. The pictures say it all.
During our stay I decided to have Riley shoot a video of me talking about snow and how it is an illustration of purity and how God cleanses us and makes us “white as snow”…a very serious moment…except our little comedian Aidan had plans of his own for this video shoot.
Friday night went great at Olympian HS. We had such a great turn out to help from our church that we cleaned the entire stadium both home and visitors side in about 20 minutes. Thanks to all who helped! The school was very grateful and we were glad to Serve Our Community. Our next clean up date is this Friday night September 12. Join us, just let the people at the gate know you’re with Seven SD church and you’re here to clean up.
The Wolf Begins: This Wednesday night Sept. 10 at 7PM we will have a practice service at our new location, Wolf Canyon Elementary School. Check our website for the map
Thanks to our service teams for making this happen!
We had our walk through at Wolf Canyon and we are thrilled to report that it seems like a perfect facility for 7SD. We are having a Grand Opening Launch party for this new location on September 14. Tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow students, etc., come help us kick off and celebrate this new location.
4th of July weekend for churches is hold your breath time and hope people show up…unfortunately…however we are very happy to report that we had a great start to July. 4th of July weekend was a win!! We finished up our mini-series called “Wasting Time with God.” Wesley Van Fleet did a great job of sharing his testimony and talking about how he puts God first by wasting time with Him.
What a great day. We were thrilled to see so many people at Seven SD. It is so strange in a new area of ministry to try to gauge the patterns, mainly because there are no patterns in a new church. So, when so many people showed up today, on a day that “normally” would be a low attendance day we couldn’t help but get a little giddy. We’re not fooling ourselves, there is much work to be done, we’ve far from “arrived.” There is so much I want to do and often I feel far behind where I want to be. But, it is encouraging to know we’re on the right track. I have been praying Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, ask the Lord of the harvest to send the workers.” There are so many areas in our ministry where I can see God bringing someone to fill the void. We’re getting there, we’ve got a long ways to go, but today was one of those “wins”. New churches need wins, especially when there seems to be so many tough days.