Category Archive: Ministry

Praise the Lord for a Breakthrough!

Hey Friends,

If you read this blog very often then it means you are either my mom or you care deeply for the Church of the living God! That means for most of us we care for the Church. We want it to be healthy, grow, and see major life transformation. I truly believe this about you. My question is, “How deeply are we looking into the spiritual side of the Church?”

For several months some people I trust at Faith Promise had told me something was wrong. We  prayed, studied, brought in consultants, and did everything we could to find the problem. We probably spent more time in the natural than the spiritual. In the natural we had plateaued. Our growth was stagnant at best. When the Church is not growing I am not a happy camper. Healthy things grow, especially the Church. We looked at every system and strategy we had. Nothing seemed to help.

Then out of nowhere God broke through! We lurched forward by hundreds and are 25% over the same time last year. What happened? God happened! We had a breakthrough in the heavenlies. Spiritual war is real and hell is out to stop all of our ministries. Hell hates the Church. We must destroy the works of the devil.

What happened? I wish I knew what the Lord did, but I don’t. I’m so excited that He did! The Church is moving forward. People are being saved. There is a new excitement in the air. That cannot be produced by our clever planning or promotion. Only God can create revival, save souls, and heal broken hearts and lives. He is at work and I just want to join Him in His marvelous ministry. He can do more in five minutes in His power than we can do in a lifetime without Him.

Where do you need a breakthrough? Our God can! I pray He moves on your behalf in any area you or your ministry is blocked. It is the devil’s job to dam up our lives and ministries. We have greater power than he does. Let’s ask the Lord to send revival and break the devil’s dam in your life and for the Holy Spirit to flow freely. Praying for your victory in Jesus’ name.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Can Trusting God Make You Lazy???

Hey Friends,

Before you think me a heretic please hear me out! This is a question I have been pondering for the last few weeks. Let me explain. I know that without the Lord I can do nothing. (Jn.15) I know we are utterly dependent and totally at God’s mercy. With that said, He has called us to do our part!

As a pastor, I prepare messages to be delivered to the Church or some other group. It is possible be lazy in preparation and just ask God to move?

The same question can be asked of anyone that does anything for the Lord in His Kingdom. Is it possible for the Church to get lax in preparation and in service and say we are asking God to move?

Again, I have been asking myself this question as it relates to my work. So, I thought I would ask you. Is it possible to over-spiritualize something and allow yourself to be lazy?

I think it is. God has called us to give Him our best offering. We are to pour our lives out to Him as a drink offering. He said, “Whatever your hands find to do, do …”??? __________________   “Heartily as unto the Lord.”

God expects us to give Him our best. When it comes to the Church and serving the saints we should be at our maximum ability. Let’s not be lazy and blame it on God. I think the best plan is to work like it all depends on you and pray like it all depends on God. Lives, souls, families, eternity, and the Church hang in the balance.

Love to hear your thoughts.

Just a question.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. I was on vacation last week and I appreciate too the love and help on getting the word out on TBN interview.

 

I Hate Feeling This Way!

 

Hey Friends,

I think I have found out why we don’t want to live by faith. We hate the feeling! Let me explain. At Faith Promise we are in the budget process. In 2012 we will complete the expansion of the Pellissippi Campus and we will add the North Knoxville Campus. We also have increased numbers in every aspect, driving up the cost of ministry.

So now, for 2012 we are looking at a budget increase of approximately 22%! Scary to say the least. Not to mention we are about out of space now at the Pellissippi Campus. How can the money increase when we have precious seats for new souls? A dilemma, without question.

So as I pray and consider the cost of the increase, I have the feeling of utter desperation and total dependency on our Lord. I have to say I’m not thrilled by the feeling in the pit of my stomach. It just hit me a few minutes ago that I don’t like this. Who does? Feelings like these are totally against the flesh. So what do we do? We move to a position where we do not have to feel like this. Guess what that means? We quit walking in the Spirit and by faith. “Those that walk in the flesh can’t please Him.”

So, what will we, I, you, do? I am going to push through and learn to like utter dependence and total desperation. I can promise you it affects my prayer life. Are you in a position where God has to move? Are we afraid to place ourselves on the line? Where is the line between presumption and faith?

All hard questions, but what is undeniable is the fact we do not like the feelings that walking by faith bring. Growth requires discomfort and means facing difficult issues. Are you ready? In what area do you need to step out of the boat? Are you walking by faith?

There is another way to look at it: It is a journey and we are to walk it with excitement and anticipation. The journey of faith with Jesus is true living; it is life indeed. Are you alive? Yes, it is scary walking on the water, but what a story we will have to tell!

Just a thought from my prayer time this morning…

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

 

 

 

 

Growth Changes Everything

Hey Friends,

As you already realize, I love growth! I love it personally, spiritually and ministerially. I love to see the Church grow. There is one problem with growth – IT CHANGES EVERYTHING!

I love what Larry Osborne said in his book, Sticky Teams: “Never forget, growth changes everything. A storefront church, a midsized church, a large church, and a megachurch aren’t simply bigger versions of the same thing. They are completely different animals. They have little in common, especially relationally, organizationally, and structurally.”

I used to think you just added more chairs or services and now I realize that growth causes major restructuring in the organization. Most pastors are so focused on the spiritual that we miss the required recalibration to sustain the growth and additional people. Without realizing it, many of us have hamstrung our ministries due to organizational mismanagement. Not on purpose, nor is it sin; its just not the proper structure or governance.

It is amazing that what used to work at 500, now is a barrier at 1,200. This is what I call the danger zone. Things have to change and yet no one really wants them to. We like it how it is. We like the relationships we have fostered and the reporting structure. We like it and we enjoyed watching the growth.

This leads me to a question: Which do you like more – how it is now or the vision God has given you to accomplish? You did not think it was going to be that easy, did you? If we are vision-driven then the goals and the outcome will drive our organization, not necessarily what we like.

Right now, what is holding you back from going to the next level? There is no question that change is a basic requirement. Are you ready?

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Leader Development – How Do We Keep It a Priority?

Hey Friends,

Even as a casual reader of this blog, you know I am totally committed to leadership and developing others to reach their leadership potential. Yet, it can easily fall out of a primary position in any organization. Even though I firmly believe everything rises and falls on leadership, radical growth can kill leader development. For the last several years Faith Promise has grown at a rate of 15-20 percent annually. With growth like this it is easy to find yourself living with your hair on fire!

With this kind of growth, hundreds of volunteers, small groups and connection points are required to assimilate God’s harvest of souls. Last year we baptised over 500 people. That is a lot of baby believers to disciple and care for. Let this go on for several years and you tend to drop leader development and just try to keep up with the growth. I know better and it still happened to me!

I am grateful God grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and pointed out my omission. Now it is time to get our hands dirty with raising up ministers and leaders.  Can we really drown in God’s blessings? We have slowed down in growth at our first campus due to space limitations. But I think there are more limitations than just space.

I am convinced that the Lord will only send us the people we can care for. Without knowing it, leadership, volunteers and groups can be the limiters, not just the facilities. Here we are with four campuses and all that is required to keep them running. Time to get back to the fundamentals!

This is not an easy shift for a staff and church that are used to radical growth. I am so excited about the future and the challenges before us. There is “gold in them there pews!” It is time to mine the potential of people who are just sitting in the pews! I believe this is God ordered and He will empower us to accomplish His vision. Your vision can never outdistance your leadership.

How do you see it?

Just thinking out loud.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. My new book, The Plan of Your Life-Managing What Matters Most, goes on pre-sale this weekend at Faith Promise!

 

Ministry: Asking the Right Questions

Hey Friends,

Yesterday I wrote a blog about asking the right questions to the right people to get the right answers. I gave you 10 questions I have been asking the Lord about my personal growth. Today let me give you some questions I have been asking Him about the public ministry He has me leading:

1. Where or how am I limiting Faith Promise? Everything rises and falls on leadership. At the end of the day, usually the leader is the bottleneck to growth. If you are not where you want to be, start with you as the potential problem.

2. Where am I blinded by my education, experience, or personal paradigms? Let me give you an answer the Lord gave me. I have been limiting our Saturday evening service because I thought 50% was maximum capacity. I heard this at a conference and it made sense. So, I have been self-limiting that service. How?  I said it can’t grow anymore and quit challenging the people on Saturday night. Thank You, Lord, for Your clear direction.

3. What miracle or gift am I blocking that You want to pour out? If we do not believe by faith then we will miss it – like Jesus in His own hometown.

4. Is an incorrect view of You, thinking, or doctrine taking me down a wrong road?

5. Am I insecure or fearful in following any edict You have given me?

6. Ministry is messy and can easily become the monster that must be fed. Am I missing it anywhere?

7. How can there be a shortage of singers, musicians, or worship leaders in Your body?

8. Am I missing the simplicity of the New Testament?

9. Lord, what is right in front of me that I can’t see?

10. Can Your Word truly be lived out in community?

As I lead Faith Promise to where the Lord has called us, I know how easy it is to miss it! I don’t want to work on the wall only to find out the ladder was leaning on the wrong wall. I don’t mean I doubt Jesus or His Word. I mean we are all prone to miss where He is leading. It is easy to get blinded by your past, success, education, experience, and a host of other things floating around in our heads.

Asking the Lord the right questions and waiting for His direction and discernment are key in walking His path for us.

Love,

Pastor Chris

 

Humility is Essential in Raising Up Leaders!

Hey Friends,

I had a new thought, and yes, before you ask it was lonely!

 Humility is essential in raising up leaders.

I had never realized this until recently. It is easy to raise up followers. As a matter of fact, raising up followers can prop up pride and inflate insecurity. Raising up leaders that will be equal to or above you, now that cuts the heart out of pride. John said, “I must decrease and He must increase.” In the process of raising up leaders we must be willing to step back and let someone else have the spotlight. That is not easy unless you are walking in humility.

We all like hitting the winning shot, being the MVP, hearing the accolades, and receiving the pats on the back. All of these feel so good because they feed the flesh. To be able to risk by letting a younger leader take the shot even when he or she might miss it, security and humility are essential. Someone gave you a shot or you would not be where you are today.

Pride is when we feel that it all rests on our shoulders. “I have to preach all the messages, I have to be the one to lead the worship, I have to do all the teaching…” If we think no one can do it as well as we can, then we will “hog the ball.” We will subconsciously raise up followers but we will hold on for dear life to our power and position. You have to give up to go up.

Jesus descended into greatness. Read Phil. 2:1-12 and see how He humbled Himself. If we are going to raise up the next generation of leaders, we will have to step back out of the spotlight with humility and let others spread their wings and fly for Jesus.

This is the only hope the Church has to grow and reach another generation.

Praying for you.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. If Jesus was willing to lay down His glory to pay for our sins on a cross, what should we be willing to lay down to see His Church advance?

 

30 Years of Ministry and I Feel Great!

Hey Friends,

We have all heard before that ministry is a marathon, not a sprint. A sprint is everything you have for a brief few seconds. You hold nothing back and after 10 seconds you are spent. A marathon is a long distance race and is run in a very different way. A marathon can be 26.2 miles and some are 56 miles. You must pace yourself and manage your energy. The problem I see in ministry is most people in it run it like a sprint. That is the reason 90% of ministers QUIT!

You may have heard these horrible stats about ministers, but let me give them to you again:

  • 80% believe that pastoral ministry has hurt their family
  • 33% believe ministry is a hazard to their family
  • 75% report a significant stress-related crisis in their life
  • 90% feel inadequately trained to cope with the demands
  • 25% of wives see the ministry schedule as a source of conflict
  • Clergy has the 2nd highest divorce rate of all professons (I have watched several.)
  • 80% say they have insufficient time with their spouse
  • 56% of pastor’s wives say that they have no close friends
  • Almost half experience depression
  • 70% do not have a close friend
  • Most would quit if they had another profession they could go to

These are horrible.

Those whose job it is to give care must receive care, but they don’t. Pastors feel guilty about taking care of themselves or their families. The demands of church members are relentless. Everyone sees their own problem as an emergency and think that whatever the pastor is doing, he must stop and care for them.

So, pastors run the ministry and their lives as a sprint – racing to care for people that they love and feel called to care for. This is a recipe for ruin. This is one of the main reasons for the 90% drop-out rate.

A lesson I learned early that has helped save my life, ministry, and family is: do not let anyone set your agenda or your schedule but you. What has God called you to do? What is it that only you can do? Take vacations and rest. It is not selfish to care for your physical and spiritual health. It is a command. You cannot please everyone, so don’t try. If you go to bed at night and God is smiling, then you have been successful.

Remember, it is not how you start the race, but how you finish. Let’s run to the end and fall into the arms of a pleased Lord. A tired, burned out heart makes terrible decisions. Are you filled and rested and ready to run? That is the will of God.

Just a thought…

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. The best thing I can do for the church I lead is to be healthy and close to Christ. This is why I started the coaching network for leaders.

 

Fifteen Awesome Years

Hey Friends,

I was blown away this weekend at Faith Promise. The church honored me for 15 years of service. Normal FP, they had a hilarious video. My son, Micah, honored me by praying for me. It was a moment I won’t soon forget.

Josh Whitehead also said some nice things – miracles will happen! I love Faith Promise and serving the Lord as the lead pastor. They have made it so easy to lead. I was really blessed to the max.

I feel so sorry for pastors and leaders where that is not the norm. Many people feel it is their lot in life to make it hard on the leader. Many churches feel the need to ruin the lives of every pastor they have. It is more than sad, it is satanic. Do you make life a joy for those who lead you? The Word says it would be unprofitable for you to make it hard on them. By giving your leader a hard time you are hurting and hindering yourself, the church, the organization, and the future for everyone involved! This is just not a great move.

I must say again that FPC makes leading a pure joy. They challenge me to be a better leader and serve our Lord at a whole new level. Maybe that is one of the reasons God’s favor is resting on us. The church has given me a 30-day sabbatical to grow closer to Christ and gain a new vision. I am so fired up about the time. You can see how they make it easy to lead. I am so grateful to God for how He blesses me.

In what ways can you make it easy for leaders to lead?

Just a thought.

Love you,

Pastor Chris

 

Why Doesn’t Anybody Get Me?

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