The Best Team Ever

I am a proud member of God’s team. That puts me on the winning team. He has called me and equipped me for one purpose—to serve Him. If you are a follower of Christ, God has extended the call to you as well. He has uniquely equipped you for service and ministry. We serve His church and His kingdom. Are you serving? What are your unique “gifts”? How are you using those gifts to accomplish God’s purpose?

If you are a big fan of football, and I am, you understand that it is the team that wins games; not the player. Sometimes I wonder if we forget this principle when it comes to ministry in the church. Service and ministry in and through the local church is not for the few and the proud. God calls and equips ALL of his people to service and ministry in HIS church and in HIS kingdom. We need to work together to accomplish God’s plan. We are better together. We can accomplish more, together.

It is the coach that calls the plays, not the players – We are SO busy! Our calendars are full. Our church calendars are full. It seems there is no margin in our lives for the most important things. We are busy doing lots of good things that we miss opportunities to accomplish great things for God, together. What is God calling you and your church to accomplish together in your community? Let Him call the play and you do your part to the best of your ability.

Just some thoughts…

  1. Listen to God. Obey Him. Do what He wants you to do.
  2. Work with others. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Ask them, let’s do it together.
  3. Mentor others. People need help in knowing what their next step is in becoming a servant for God. Give them a job. Encourage them and brag on them. Help them succeed.

It is not about us. It is all about God. Let’s take the field (football lingo) and accomplish great things for God—together.

5 Minutes with the Sunday School Teacher!

People are busy. I know that. There is a lot you want to do and a whole lot more you are expected to do. What I would like do is to take 5 minutes of your time to talk about one thing that I know God expects of you.

Go and Make Disciples – This command from Matthew 28:19 is the clarion call to all lay leaders to equip the saints, to make disciples who will make disciples. There are tons of voices out there telling you all the ways to make disciples. Lots of experts who have developed tools, resources, strategies and workshops that will help you make disciples. Many of them have great ideas and insights that work great—for them. Unfortunately, you are not them and your church is certainly not like theirs.

I want to make this simple. There are principles that many of these experts are teaching, but how do you apply that to your situation. First of all, let me restate your purpose as the leader of your class. Your job is to make disciples who will make disciples. The churches best strategy to make disciples is through small groups.

With all of that being said, most of you already have a structure that can already accomplish this purpose. In many churches it is called Sunday School. The problem is that most of our existing groups have lost their purpose. It is your job as leader to lead them and equip them to make disciples. I know you are doing the best you can to accomplish the purpose you believe you are suppose to accomplish. Along the way, maybe you have lost sight of the purpose of your small group. It is your job to remind them. At the same time, let’s be honest, some people will never understand the purpose of their small group. Let’s focus on those that do. Our model is the Great Shepherd.

He led by loving them – Change is not easy to most people. Don’t announce changes, encourage change. Don’t make demands of them, equip them. People respond to your heart and your actions, not from your words.

He led by showing them – Exemplify change. Be willing to go the extra mile. If you are willing to commit, follow through and live the life you want them to; they will follow.

He led by equipping them – Show them what’s most important. If everything you do is important, those who follow will not know what’s most important. Tell them, show them, equip them and lead them to know what’s MOST important.

He led by caring for them – Those you lead need to know that you care about them and those in your community. I know you care, but do they know that?

Leader, you are the one God chose to be in your role. He can and will use you to make disciples that make disciples.

5 Minutes with the Pastor!

Pastors are busy. I know that. There is a lot you want to do and a whole lot more you are expected to do. What I would like to take 5 minutes of your time to talk about is one thing that I know God expects of you.

Go and Make Disciples – This command from Matthew 28:19 is the clarion call to all pastors to equip the saints to make disciples who will make disciples. There are tons of voices out there telling you all the ways to make disciples. Lots of experts who have developed tools, resources, strategies and workshops that will help you make disciples. Many of them have great ideas and insights that work great—for them. Unfortunately, you are not them and your church is certainly not like theirs.

I want to make this simple. There are principles that many of these experts are teaching, but how do you apply that to your situation? First of all, let me restate your purpose as the pastor of your church. Your job is to make disciples who will make disciples. The churches’ best strategy to make disciples is through small groups.

With all of that being said, most of you already have a structure that can already accomplish this purpose. In many churches it is called Sunday School. The problem is that most of our existing groups have lost their purpose. It is your job as pastor to lead them and equip them to make disciples. Most Sunday School classes are doing the best they can to accomplish the purpose THEY believe they are suppose to accomplish. Along the way, they have lost sight of the purpose of their small group. It is your job to remind them. At the same time, let’s be honest, some people will never understand the purpose of their small group. Let’s focus on those that do. Our model is the Great Shepherd.

He led by loving them – Change is not easy to most people. Don’t announce changes, encourage change. Don’t make demands of them, equip them. People respond to your heart and your actions, not from your words.

He led by showing them – Exemplify change. Be willing to go the extra mile. If you are willing to commit, follow through and live the life you want them to; they will follow.

He led by equipping them – Show them what’s most important. If everything you do is important, those who follow will not know what’s most important. Tell them, show them, equip them and lead them to know what’s MOST important.

He led by caring for them – Those you lead need to know that you care about them and those in your community. I know you care, but do they know that?

Pastor, you are the one God chose to be in your role. He can and will use you to make disciples that make disciples.

Make Disciples

Go and make disciples.

Simple, direct and to the point.

You would think that Christians would know Jesus commands us to go and make disciples. Why is it then that many of our actions as a class or small group do not reflect this purpose?

I believe that the church’s best strategy to make disciples is through small groups (special note to my friend Brian Haynes, Senior Pastor at Bay Area Church in South Houston, who says, “the best discipleship strategy is in the home”).

For those of us who are the church, we are to make disciples everywhere we go. It just makes sense that we would provide the environment where that can happen best (i.e. the small group).

I believe that every effective, disciple-making small group needs four priorities. Some of those we will be better at than others, but our attention and our focus must always return to these four things.

  • Share the gospel with the lost.
  • Develop biblical community.
  • Help people to grow spiritually.
  • Equip people to live missionally.

The ReGroup strategy is built off of this one purpose and four priorities. You can help your class or group to “ReGroup” around this core message and these objectives.

For more information about the ReGroup strategy and events and resources, go to LouisianaBaptists.org/ReGroup.

Two Things Church Members Need from Their Leaders

Most people in your church, if asked, would say they want their church to fulfill the Great Commission. They want their church to grow. They want to reach the lost. They want to grow in their faith. Sometimes, however, we as leaders don’t give them what they need most to get to the next level personally, in their church and in their community.

Your people need HOPE. They need to know that there is something that God has for them that is better than what they have right now. They need to clearly see what we as leaders are leading them to become and to accomplish. If they can’t see it, how can you motivate them to do what is necessary to make that HOPE a reality? 18 Where there is no vision, the people perish,… Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) Our people need to have hope. Change can’t happen until they believe God has something ahead of them that is worth the effort to change. 7 Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Psalm 39:7 (HCSB)

Your people also need to TRUST you. Trust doesn’t happen instantly. Sometimes, it’s the little things you say or do. It is difficult to lead others when there is doubt about your character or integrity. Over time, people can learn to trust you. People realize that you are looking out for them and not just your own interests. You can’t control what people believe or perceive about you but you can continue every day to live a life that is worthy of their trust. As a leader, people need to know they can trust you to follow you. 14 “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, John 10:14 (HCSB)

You are a shepherd to the sheep that God has given you the privilege to lead. As the Pastor, you are the under-shepherd to Jesus who is the Great Shepherd. Even as Sunday School or Small Group leaders, we too have shepherding responsibilities. Do you know their name? Do they know yours? I am not just talking about their literal name, but the name that your reputation, your character and your integrity give you. Are you Trustworthy? If so, your people need to know where you are leading them and what they will find when we all get there.