• Renewal or Resolutions

    What do you do differently this year than you did last year? Is that difference helpful? These questions are basically the intent of the resolutions many people make at the end of every year. Essentially a resolution says, “I want to make a certain change in my life in order for something to be true.” But the reality is that most of us do not have the willpower to follow through on our desires. Thus, perhaps the naming convention should be New Year’s Intentions instead of New Year’s Resolutions. I used to make resolutions. For instance, one year my wife and I decided to join a gym because we wanted…

  • Being Labeled

    Labels are common and necessary in some parts of our life. For instance, when shopping for food or medicine, reading the label is important to know what the contents of the packaging are. However, labels can be harmful when they are misapplied. And when we label people, we often misapply. On Sunday, I intentionally labeled myself a sinner. As the picture shows, I did not do this verbally, I did it physically. I did it in conjunction with teaching about the story of Jesus telling of the Good Samaritan. My sermon notes can be found here if you want the details of my approach for the day. The truth is…

  • A Day of Prayer

    This week’s post is a little different. I often use this blog to share what God is teaching me after having time to reflect on what I taught during a sermon or other lesson. But this week, most of what I learned happened beforehand. I do believe this post may encourage a few (or many) people, and thus I share it. The post is ultimately about prayer, and how our church spent a day praying. At the end of the post, I share two very different views of prayer based upon Psalm 23. At our church this past week we had a day of prayer. I have been a part…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Policies and Procedures

    The last set of church documents to be reviewed are the policies and procedures of the church. Technically, these are two different types of documents with policies providing principles for WHAT the church (or any organization) desires and the procedure is the HOW to fulfill the outcome. Therefore, these two types of documents are very closely related and are often combined together in thought and in function. In last week’s post, I mentioned that in many cases, churches will create bylaws based upon a reaction to something. The example I used was not allowing red kool-aid in a place of worship. The challenge with this idea is that bylaws are…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Clarifying Bylaws

    Throughout the last couple of months, I have been blogging about the different types of documentation that a church needs. More types can be used than what I will include in this part of this series, but the items I have shared (Job Descriptions, Constitution, Bylaws, and to a lesser degree Team Descriptions) are important to help the church be properly identified, and know how to generally conduct the business of the church. However, two more important types of documents remain. One is a document defining policies and the other is the set of procedures. These two document types are commonly included together as Policies and Procedures. Many churches have…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – The Constitution and Bylaws

    Over the past several weeks, I have been discussing the need for church documentation. As I have tried to clearly convey, THE document of (and for) the church is the Bible. If a church places emphasis on any document (or book) above the Bible, then that church is in dire straits. However, having other documents to guide and govern the church is important. And these other documents should find their basis in the Bible. When most people think of a document that is used by the church, they might think of a bulletin, or perhaps, a newsletter. These documents are not the types of documents I am highlighting, but a…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – The Three-Legged Stool

    In this week’s post, I want to highlight the three-legged stool. First, let me give you a little background. One of the reasons that I chose to focus on Christian Education (and, as a byproduct, Church Administration) is the pragmatic nature of administration. Of course, in any discipline or field of study, unknown variables exist, but in the realm of the church, the spiritual element is impossible to measure. That is not bad – in fact it is GREAT. If we could accurately, and fully, measure the work of the Holy Spirit, then we would no longer need God, because we would be God. But, for some of us who…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Job Evaluations

    In the previous two posts, I have written about descriptions at the team and individual job level. Again, it is important to note that a job description does not need to imply the position is paid. Each position in any organization, including churches, can (and probably should) have a description of duties. Why? Well, the first is so the person(s) can know what the position entails. But the second is so that the person(s) can be evaluated. I realize that evaluation is not necessarily considered positive. Many people become tense when they hear the word “review” when related to a job. But we review any number of items every day.…

  • 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…