Blog - Articulos
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March 20, 2014, 12:26 PM

7 Ways to Connect with Guests Beyond the First Greeting


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Your God is awesome. Your church is wonderful. Yet guests who visit your church don’t often return. No true connection was made.

A parking lot greeter in our church expressed that concern: “We’ve got to figure out how to actually connect every guest with another person. Our flippant hellos or glad-you-cames just aren’t adequate.”

Why not challenge every member of your church to use these seven tips to connect with guests:

1) Make a personal commitment to intentionally “connect” with one guest every Sunday. Ask God to make you aware of visitors. Be diligently alert—in the parking lot, foyer, nursery, hallway, worship service—to notice them. If you accidentally welcome someone who isn’t a guest, no problem. You’ve found a new friend.

2) Once you’ve found a possible newcomer, pray for God’s guidance. Smile, greet the guest warmly, and introduce yourself. Pay careful attention to his name. Repeat it. Write it down. You will want to call him by name next Sunday when he returns.

3) Chat casually and purposefully. You may ask, “Is this your first time to worship here?” Ask nonintrusive questions such as, “Did you just move to town?” or “What brought you to church today?” Warning: never ask, “Are you a native here?” That reeks of cliquism and warns the guest they aren’t welcome unless they’re from your town.

4) As you chat, listen carefully to find things you have in common. Most importantly, offer friendship. Make a plan to get together this week. For example: invite them to join you for lunch today, meet for coffee Monday, or be your guest at an upcoming church event.

5) Give the guest your email or phone number, and ask for their contact info. Call them Tuesday to remind them of the kids’ Wednesday program or on Saturday to say, “I hope you come back again tomorrow. I’ll save you a seat!”

6) Help the guest to connect with at least one other person at the church. As you converse, think of someone who has a common interest, i.e. children’s ages, similar life stage, employment, neighborhood, hobbies or background. Introduce them.

7) Say these words before the guest departs: “We want you here!”

I listened as two young couples bemoaned their search for a church home. Both had researched and visited multiple churches when they moved to a new city. They’d been welcomed, but not connected. One stated, “If just one person would invite us for coffee or show any true interest in us, we’d definitely join!” When we don’t bother to make true connections, we can exclude guests.

Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” As God brings guests to your church, will you intentionally connect with them? Eternity will be impacted.

 

Used with permission from pastors.com




October 17, 2013, 2:12 PM

5 Self-Truths to Realize to Become a Better Pastor


The painful truths are usually the ones that best aid growth. These five truths about yourself as a pastor are painful to realize but will help you grow as a pastor and as a person.

1. You are not the best pastor out there.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but name a pastoral skill (e.g., preaching, discipleship, administration) and you can find another pastor out there who’s better at it than you. And that’s okay. You’re not trying to be better than Pastor So-and-so (at least I hope you’re not), you’re trying to be the best you can be with what God has given you so you can serve the congregation where God has placed you.

2. Not everyone likes you or will like you.

I know you think you’re just lovable. Maybe you are and maybe you aren’t. Some people hate Teddy Bears and Mr. Rogers but lots of people like Lady Gaga. My point is, as wonderful as you are, some people just aren’t going to connect with you, like you, be able to follow you. That’s okay. As long as those people continue on to find a place where they can serve and don’t stir up trouble there, let them go with God and don’t bind yourself to their opinion of you.

3. You don’t know everything.

I sure wish I didn’t have to tell you this. If you have seminary training then your area of expertise is ministry, theology, or biblical studies, or a combination of those. In seminary my recognized area of expertise was systematic theology (I’m a systems thinker). This was validated by the faculty award I received at graduation. I have been trained in the other areas, however, and that along with my experience both in ordained ministry and as a layman means that I can speak with confidence as somewhat of an expert in those areas. Sometimes I am able to speak outside these areas. I was in management at a large mortgage operations center before getting into ministry so I can speak to some aspects of business life. I can talk about which copy machine company we should use because I use the copy machine and have been responsible for the machines in my department when I was in the business world.

In other areas I must defer to other peoples’ judgment. I know nothing about roofing so my opinion is pretty much useless when it comes to which roofer we should contract with to re-roof the church building. Ditto on a company to repave the parking lot. I don’t know what is wrong with the air conditioner. I cannot tell you where you should invest your retirement funds (I have a guy and I’ll recommend him but other than that…).

And, you know what? I don’t have to know those things. The church didn’t call me because I was a reliable air conditioner repairman; they called me to serve as pastor. As long as I’m the best I can be at that, everything will be fine. If the church is looking for something more or different, then they have unrealistic expectations.

4. There are people in your church who can do some things better than you.

This is similar to the previous point but hits a little closer to home. There are probably people in your church that are better than you are even at things like discipleship, evangelism, pastoral care, and other areas of church ministry. There are two ways you can respond to this. (1) You can be jealous, let ego get in the way, and refuse to let these people use their gifts to serve the church, serve the Lord, and make your life and ministry easier and better, or (2) You can be grateful God has sent someone to serve the church by making up for areas in which you are weak.

If this is all about you, then do the first, but if you’ve realized that this is about Christ and his church, then your only reasonable response is gratefulness that the body of Christ is being helped.

5. As gracious as you think you are with your people, sometimes they’re just as gracious with you.

I know people can be difficult. (Please believe me when I say, “I know.” I really do.) But sometimes you can be difficult, too. This is just a fact and you know it’s true (don’t pretend it’s not).

If you serve your people well and love them with Christ’s love, most of them will love you back. (The ones that don’t you must still love and serve but you must leave them to the Lord.) When your people love you back, they will put up with your less-than-stellar behavior as well.

I am notoriously cranky. I’m more than half a curmudgeon anyway but sometimes I just plain get cranky. I try not to be and I’ve had to apologize more than once for my crankiness, but they’ve always loved me in spite of it. I know that they’re being gracious with me simply because they love me and it’s even easier to love them back.

Their love for me in return just confirms that I am where God wants me to be.

 

(Used with permission from pastors.com)




May 17, 2013, 11:18 AM

Three Essential Core Values for Every Church



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Core ValuesThe ideals and values we hold, that are non-negotiable, that serve as filters for all of efforts to accomplish our mission. (My working definition)

The story of Jehu in 2 Kings 10 came in front of me recently, and reading it again, several things really struck me.

Jehu...found Jehonadab…coming to meet him. He greeted him and then asked, “Is your heart one with mine?

 

#1 Unity

We can’t accomplish the mission God has given us (Help People Find, Follow and Be-Like Jesus), if there is division in the ranks. Without unity, you will be thrown back two steps for every one you think you’ve made.

#2 Team

It is,” Jehonadab replied. Jehu said, “If it is, give me your hand.” So he gave him his hand, and Jehu pulled him up into the chariot with him.

There is always two parts to a team. We must be willing to take a hand of those we’re running with, and offer a hand as well.

A true team that are owning the mission and vision of your church will not play “turf wars.” If they do…You aren’t casting the vision well enough in the context of how each part is vital to accomplishing the whole.

#3 Passion

Then he said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord!”

As a key leader, it’s vital you own the entire vision, and spread that ownership like a flame among others. We have to live it everyday!

Our passion is our fire, it may be larger on some days than others, but it must always be burning. You can have the greatest vision and the greatest team, but without passion the vision will die a quick death.

Are these values a part of what your church truly believes and practices? It doesn’t matter how you state them, but if these values aren’t practiced, your church will suffer harm from the inside out.

 

Used with permission from pastors.com




March 21, 2013, 10:44 AM

4 Types of People Every Pastor Needs in His Life



Ministry isn’t meant to be a solo endeavor. Unfortunately, for many pastors, it is. A 2011 LifeWay Research survey said half of pastors in the United States experience loneliness in ministry.
Lonely ministry contradicts how God wired the universe. We need each other. You’ll find the phrase “one another” 58 times in the New Testament. We’re to love one another, care for one another, pray for one another, etc. Those references aren’t just for lay people. All of us — especially those in ministry — need other people to help us do what God called us to do.
Remember, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto! You weren’t meant to do ministry on your own. I wouldn’t be where I am in ministry without the help of others. For example, mentors have played an incredibly important role in my life. When I first moved to Orange County 33 years ago, Ray Ortland — from nearby Mariners Church — played a crucial role in my life. There were other mentors in my life before that.
And I’ve been able to mentor many young pastors during my ministry. In fact, mentoring is a driving focus of what I do these days.
You are well aware that pastoring is a lot more complex than most people think it is. Pastoring is more than preparing a sermon. Pastoring is being an example in speech, life, love, faith and purity. The fastest way to help someone grow spiritually isn’t giving them information. It’s showing people how to live in a way that honors Jesus.
You can’t learn pastoring like that just from seminary. You need mentors — you need other people to be your example, too!
But you don’t just need mentors. All of us in ministry need four different kinds of relationships.
  1. You need models. Some of your models may be dead! In other words, you need to identify people who have served faithfully in ministry and finished well. For instance, my models have been people like William Wilberforce, John Wesley, General William Booth and D.L. Moody — among others. They are great guys to learn about ministry from — through what they’ve written and what others have written about them
  2. You need co-workers. You may not have anyone else with you on staff, but you need other people to help you with the work of ministry. It can be staff or lay volunteers, but they are crucial. As a pastor, your job isn’t to do ministry — but to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. You can’t do all the ministry God has called your church to do on your own.
  3. You need friends. You also need people you can confide in — people who care about you and your ministry. I suggest you have some other pastors in your life as friends because they can better understand your world.
  4. You need mentors. And as I mentioned, you need people you can learn from in ministry. These are people who are further along in ministry —but they don’t need to be much further. Six months further will be helpful to you.

 

(Used by permission from pastors.com)




March 4, 2013, 10:34 PM

The Music Ministry Essentials



 

 

                                                                                                                       

THE ESSENTIALS
Abner “Andy” Báez
 
  1. Music is a vehicle for worship
  • Music by itself is not worship
  • Since the book of Exodus 15, music has been a vehicle of praise and worship to our Lord.
  • In the Old Testament times there were songs for every aspect of life.  Music was considered part of life (the language of the heart).
  • Music could be expressed with many different instruments and ways.  Psalm 150 is an example of it, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord”.
  1. Music is God’s gift
  • As musicians in the kingdom of God, we have a mandate from the Lord to make His praise glorious. Psalm 66:2 “Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious”.
  • What we are and what we have is our gift to God.
  • It is important to offer our best to the Lord.  1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God”.     
  1. Music ministry should be done with Excellence                               
  • "To excel is to move beyond a proper limit.  So the pursuit of excellence is finding ways to increase the measure of the value of what we offer to the Lord." - David Morris  
  • The greatest quality of excellence is demonstrated by the desire to increase the capacity of the container” – David Morris
  • God wants humble and teachable hearts that He can use to touch His people.  Not only He wants to fill us, but also He wants to flow through us as open channels.
  • Excellence is not the pursuit of a great performance or perfection; it is ministry (service) with an open and honest heart based on the truth of the Bible.
  • Psalm 33 is a good recipe or guideline for all the church musicians.  “Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the Lord with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.  Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.”  (Vs.1-3)
  1. Motivation
  • Why do you want to be part of the music ministry?
  • Why do you do what you do?
  • Is there something I need to prove to others or to myself?
  • What do I hope to accomplish by doing this ministry?
  • Do I feel more accepted by God when I sing or play in the music ministry?
  • Is my sense of validity or significance found in this ministry?  
  • What if God hasn’t called me to be part of this ministry?
  1. Authority
  • The fact is that some one in some way will always be our authority.  It is helpful to understand this concept.
  • God –> Pastor –> Director of the Ministry
  • To be able to grasp this concept and live by it, we need to re examine our Motivation for doing what we are doing.
  • "We should be able to submit ourselves to our leader regardless of who may be more talented, educated or gifted.  This is a test of humility, God delights in proctoring." -David Morris
  • James 4:6, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says; God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
  • Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek (gentle, mild, humble, submissive), for they shall inherit the earth.”
  • Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
  1. Faithfulness
  • This means the commitment or pledge to do something.
  • Am I able to support the direction of the church’s vision and make it my own?
  • 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
  • Faithfulness is a by-product of the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives. Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…”
  1. Holiness
  • The priestly call upon our lives.
  • It means separation1 Peter 1:16, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
  • It does not mean isolation.
  • This is not something we can accomplish by our own human strength. Colossians 1:21-22, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.”
  1. Sensitivity to the Spirit
  • 1 Corinthians 2:12, Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
  • Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
  1. Skill
  • This is the icing on the cake for the called musician.
  • 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
  • Christian musicians should be better musicians that non christian musicians.  We have the power of the Spirit to energize our hearts and minds to comprehend and communicate through music.
  • “Determine what the call of God is upon your life, and do whatever is possible to build an altar with it.” – David Morris
  • 2 Samuel 24:24, “Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. ”
  • Psalm 33:3, “Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.”
  • We don’t want to play skillfully to become the center of attention; but to glorify the God that gave us the gift.  It is a vehicle to take people to His presence, not the focus of attention.
 
Resources:
Called to Radical Devotion: A totally practical, non religious guide to worship
by David Morris
 

 


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