• Love One Another

    There are days within our lives that we wake up with the expectation that the day ahead will be challenging. Perhaps we have a meeting about a particular challenge our organization faces or with a particular person whom we find challenging. Many possibilities exist and when the day ahead is expected to be a challenge, we often do not sleep well the night before. I wonder how Jesus slept on the last night He would sleep. While the events leading up to Jesus crucifixion account for about 25% of each gospel, we do not have any real description of His sleep. We can tell by His actions that He was…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Job Descriptions

    In last week’s post, I provided some insights on why having a team description is helpful. Although many churches and organizations do not use this idea, knowing how a person (and position) fits into the overall dynamic of a team can be helpful. Many mid-sized and larger churches are using more of these ideas as more and more are becoming concerned with the overall interpersonal dynamics that are involved. However, the primary reason Team Descriptions are not prevalent is that many churches do not have job descriptions.* And people are more concerned about what they are doing (or are to do) than they are about fitting in with others, at…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Team Descriptions

    “I didn’t know that was something I was supposed to do!” “If I had known that, I would have never signed up for this!” Have you ever heard (or thought) these phrases? They are quite common. Why? Because of a lack of clear communication (see last week’s post here). Many leaders (and far more managers) are capable of communicating a general idea of what must be done, but do not focus on how the task fits the greater cause – and that is a problem. In fact, even that last sentence is a part of the problem because too many people focus on tasks instead of responsibilities! Generally, managers are…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Communication

    Last week, I shared a particular challenge within many churches is the lack of participation by the congregation and the lack of allowing for participation by the leadership. These two issues represent two sides of the same coin and often boil to a lack of expectations – either that someone wants help or that someone can get the job done. But one reason that jobs do not get done is a lack of communication. This issue can impact many areas of a church – large or small. Insufficient, or ineffective, communication can prevent people from knowing what opportunities are available for service, what the responsibilities are in service, why the…

  • Towards A Healthy Church, A Major Reason Involvement Is a Challenge

    Over the past four weeks, I have shared my testimony of moving from being apart from the church to being a part of a church to now being a leader in multiple aspects of The Church. These testimonial posts allowed me to personally review how God has worked over time in my life, and to share with others the need to both be invested in by others and to invest in others. However, before we leave this part of the series, I want to move from the personal to the practical. That is, I want to provide a few specific helps to help you, or help you help others, to…

  • Towards a Healthy Church, A Personal Testimony, Part 4

    This post is the fourth and final post of my testimony related to becoming increasingly involved in the life of a church and in ministry overall. I allude to the three previous posts in this post. If you wish to read them for context, you can find them in the following links. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Although every person who follows Jesus is called to serve Him in some way, I realize not everyone is called to pastor a church, teach in a seminary, or lead a mission organization. In fact, a true understanding of the body of Christ ensures that such a calling is not possible. Otherwise,…

  • Towards a Healthy Church, A Personal Testimony, Part 3

    The blog this year has focused on the idea of what makes a church healthy. As I said early in this series, I am not attempting to re-write what has been offered by experts such as Dever, Rainer, and others, I am simply adding my perspective which can then be infused into the overall conservation. As part of adding my perspective, I am sharing my personal testimony as it relates to becoming involved in a/the church. Overall, the idea is more than becoming involved; the idea is about discipling others. However, getting people involved in ministry does allow for discipleship opportunities as I have shared over each of the past…

  • 3 Tips for Those Who Find it Hard to Pray for Others

    In one of the courses I teach, the first part of the class focuses on helping church leaders know more about themselves – that is, the way God made them, gifted them, and how to organize their lives to be more effective as leaders within their respective churches. One of the aspects in Week 1 is to do a spiritual gift inventory. I realize many are skeptical of these inventories and they do have many weaknesses the greatest of which is trying to objectively measure something that is divinely given. However, these assessments can help people to gain a perspective on their ministry and why some things seem to come…

  • Living In Not Of

    Welcome to the new home of the fotonni blog! In the initial post of this blog, I want to briefly share a thought about the general idea of living in, not of, the world, and then explain why doing so is such a challenge. (I hope most posts are not quite this long, but this post is necessary for an overall explanation, so I will share in full, even if it is a little lengthy.) First, we are to live in the world, not of it (in, not of, which backwards spells fotonni) because Jesus prayed for us to do so (see John 17.14-18). But living in this manner is…