Archive for the ‘Rural Resource’ category

Rural Resource – 20 Things That Might Be Killing Your Church

June 7, 2012

The Rural Ministry Blog’s Rural Resource is where I post a book review, article link, website link, video, or any other type of resource that I think would be of interest to the Rural Ministry community.

Today’s Rural Resource is an excellent article by George Bullard entitled 20 Things That Might Be Killing Your Church.  In this article George gives an interesting analogy comparing the life cycles of people with the life cycle of a church.  He then goes on to list 20 things that could easily either kill, or at least severely cripple, your church.

I must admit that as I was reading the article I kept asking myself “Is this true for my church?” I think this is a question that all of us must honestly and objectively ask ourselves. It’s easy to believe that everything at our church is just fine, but reality can be very different. After reading the article I sent a link to several of my church leaders and asked them if they saw any of the items listed at our church. One leader responded; “This was very good. Let me think about how it applies to us. But I do believe every church struggles with a number of these issues if they are honest.

Here’s a link to the article

20 Things That Might Be Killing Your Church

What are your thoughts on this article? Did anything in particular stand out to you? Can you think of anything else that should be on the list? Leave a comment below.

Disclaimer: The resources mentioned on the Rural Ministry Blog are things that I feel contain content relevant to the Rural Ministry community.  This does not necessarily mean that I fully embrace or support everything that the author embraces or supports.  For more information on this topic please read this Rural Ministry blog post – Eat the Meat and Spit Out the Bones

Rural Resource – Balance Beam Video

February 20, 2012

Each Monday on the Rural Ministry Blog I post a book review, article link, website link, video, or any other type of resource that I think would be of interest to the Rural Ministry community.

Today’s Rural Resource is a video clip from Francis Chan called Balance Beam.  In this video Francis challenges us to stop playing it safe.  This is a real issue in Rural Ministry.  Way too often we go with what’s safe instead of doing what will make the most impact in the Kingdom of God.  You can watch the video here:

URL – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA_uwWPE6lQ

This video makes a great sermon illustration or discussion starter.  To download it  simply go to http://www.keepvid.com and paste the URL into the download box.  After about 45 seconds the download links will appear.  My suggestion would be to right click on the .MP4 link and choose “save as.”  Once you have downloaded the video you can convert it to any other video format by using the Any Video Converter software featured in this Freebie Friday article.

What do you think about Francis’ message?  In what areas are you currently playing it safe?  Leave a comment below.

Disclaimer: The books, videos and articles mentioned on the Rural Ministry Blog are things that I feel contain content relevant to the Rural Ministry community.  This does not necessarily mean that I fully embrace or support everything that the author embraces or supports.  For more information on this topic please read this Rural Ministry blog post – Eat the Meat and Spit Out the Bones

Your Safety Comes First

February 16, 2012

Fire helmetI’ve been involved in volunteer Fire and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) since I was a teenager. This has allowed me a very natural way to become part of my community and I am currently serving our local volunteer fire department as the first assistant chief as well as being an EMT with the ambulance. It is often said in Fire and EMS that your own safety must come first. It’s very easy to focus only on the immediate problem at hand and forget about looking for potential hazards. It’s natural to look only at the victim trapped in the wrecked car and not see the live electrical lines from the broken utility pole lying nearby. It’s natural to see only the burning building and ignore the propane tank that could possibly explode. If I do not look for, and take action against, possible dangers, then I myself could become a victim. If I become a victim, then that means I cannot help whomever it was that I came to help. If I become a victim, that also means the resources that were intended to help someone else now need to be used to help me. If I want to be an effective firefighter, then I must make sure that my own safety comes first.

The same thing could easily be said for those of us in rural ministry. Our own safety must come first if we wish to help those around us. Obviously we don’t have to worry about live electrical lines or exploding propane tanks, but there are hazards that are just as real and potentially just as dangerous. Recent statistics show that approximately 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention within the church. These issues are very preventable, as long as they are recognized and dealt with properly. The problem is that we can sometimes be so focused on the crisis at hand that we do not realize the dangers and run the risk of becoming victims ourselves.

When we become victims, we cannot help those to whom we are called to help. When we become victims, resources that were intended to help others must now be used to help us. And unlike many instances in Fire and EMS, the consequences of us as rural ministers becoming victims often leads to negative eternal consequences for those we are supposed to help. It is paramount that we take the necessary steps to insure our own safety while we fulfill God’s call on our life.

None of us entered the ministry thinking that we would have a moral failure or burn out, yet it’s happening to 1,500 of us each month. Of course we never think it will happen to us, it’s always the “other pastor.” One of the first things we must realize is that we are not infallible. That the laws of life and ministry apply to us just as much as the next pastor. Over the next three weeks we will be taking a look at the big three safety hazards of pastors (moral failure, burn out, and contention within the church) and what we can do to effectively deal with these problems.

I know that the whole concept of “your safety comes first” seems to contradict what we’ve always been taught. I’m sure all of us have heard at one time or another the lesson on J.O.Y. Which, of course, stands for Jesus, Others, You. If I put my own safety first, does that mean that I’m putting myself before others? Not at all. I would argue that in order to consistently put others before ourselves that we must put our safety first. We must make sure that our emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being is where it needs to be before we can ever hope to effectively serve others.

What about you? What potential dangers do you see in your ministry and what steps can be taken to avoid them? Leave a comment below.

Rural Resource – 10 Small Church Strategies

February 13, 2012

Each Monday on the Rural Ministry Blog I post a book review, article link, website link, video, or any other type of resource that I think would be of interest to the Rural Ministry community.

Today’s Rural Resource is an article from Outreach Magazine that, in my opinion, has been needed for a very long time.  When I read the opening line I knew that this was an article that I would enjoy:

“There are countless numbers of websites and blogs out there dedicated to helping churches realize the potential of developing a strategy for effective ministry. Unfortunately, there is a curious shortage of strategies that can be easily implemented by a small church with limited resources.

Nathan Rice, the author of the article, does a great job listing 10 things small churches with limited resources can do to increase their effectiveness.  You can read the article by clicking here:

http://www.outreachmagazine.com/features/4109-Small-Church-Strategies-Big-Church-World.html

Which of the 10 things listed can you start implementing?  Can you think of anything else to add to the list?  Leave a comment below.

Rural Resource – Tips for Overcoming Insecurity

February 6, 2012

Each Monday on the Rural Ministry Blog I post a book review, article link, website link, video, or any other type of resource that I think would be of interest to the Rural Ministry community.

Today’s Rural Resource is a blog post by one of my favorite bloggers, Dan Rockwell.  Dan is a pastor and award winning blogger who has a passion for people and leadership.  His blog,  Leadership Freak, is a must read for anyone in a leadership position.  Although it’s written primarily for the business world, the principles taught can easily be adapted to Rural Ministry.

In this article Dan deals with a topic that virtually all Rural Ministers face – Insecurity.  I tend to be pretty confident in who I am and in what God has called me to do, however insecurity often rears it’s ugly head in my life.  When it does my effectiveness and motivation takes a serious nose dive.  If this insecurity is not quickly overcome, it can very easily cripple my ministry.  Dan’s article provides 15 great tips on how to overcome insecurity.  You can read the article by clicking here:

http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/15-tips-for-overcoming-insecurity/

In what areas have you felt insecure?  Are there any other tips you can recommend for dealing with insecurity?  Leave a comment below.

Rural Resource – 5 Factors that Brought a Dying Church Back to Life

January 30, 2012

Each Monday on the Rural Ministry Blog I post a book review, article link, website link, video, or any other type of resource that I think would be of interest to the Rural Ministry community.

Today’s Rural Resource is an article I found on Churchleaders.com by J.D. Greear called “5 Factors that Brought a Dying Church Back to Life.”  Even though I pastor a church that is very much alive, I found the article to be quite thought provoking.  Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Click here for the article

What can we, as rural ministers, do to insure that our churches do not die?  Leave a comment below.

Disclaimer: The books and articles mentioned on the Rural Ministry Blog are things that I feel contain content relevant to the Rural Ministry community.  This does not necessarily mean that I fully embrace or support everything that the author embraces or supports.  For more information on this topic please read this Rural Ministry blog post – Eat the Meat and Spit Out the Bones

Rural Resource – Simon Sinek: Start With Why

January 23, 2012

After a long hiatus the Rural Ministry Blog is back!

Each Monday on the Rural Ministry Blog I post a book review, article link, website link, video, or any other type of resource that I think would be of interest to the Rural Ministry community.

Today’s Rural Resource is a video that I recently discovered on TED.  In the video, speaker Simon Sinek draws a very interesting conclusion: people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.  Although this video is directed at the corporate world I think the parallels to the world of Rural Ministry are very obvious.

Here’s the link to the video:

Simon Sinek: Start With Why

When I first asked myself the question of why my church does what it does the obvious answer was, of course, to fulfill the great commission.  This should be the primary reason any church exists.  Even though that’s the ultimate goal and primary purpose, I’m not sure that telling people “we’re here to save your soul” is the most effective way of getting them interested in the things of God. I think we need to also communicate other reasons for why we do what we do.  Do we have a passion for our communities?  Do we have a burning desire to provide for the poor?  Do we get excited about building healthy families?  Whatever these other reasons are, we need to find ways to effectively communicate them to our communities.

What was your initial reaction to the video? How can we relate the ideas presented by Simon to our ministries?  Why does your church do what it does?  Leave a comment below.