Why Pastors Need to Preach on Marriage

Marriage is one of my favorite topics to preach on. More that 50% of my congregation is married and the balance of the church wants to tie the knot. That means, whenever we announce a series of teachings on marriage, everyone is excited. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few challenges associated with teaching on marriage. Some singles get frustrated about talks on marriage. It’s somewhat difficult to teach in a new and fresh way. However, the benefits outweigh the challenges.

So I thought I’d share 5 reasons for you to keep a marriage series on the preaching calendar every year…

#1 – Preach on Marriage because it’s good for your marriage – I’ll be honest, there are times that I wanted to cancel a marriage series we had planned because Carey and I got into an argument and I didn’t feel like studying all week about how to be a great husband. The reality is, that’s exactly what I needed to do. Most of the time the disagreements are my fault anyways (haha!) and I need to get into God’s Word and straighten out my own heart. It also reminds me of things I should be doing that I may have gotten lax about.

#2 – Preach on Marriage because Your Congregation Needs It – The #1 reason people come to Calvary for counseling is due to marriage related issues. Every week many couples walk through your doors who are hanging on by a thread. For this reason, we need to be preaching a message that helps couples work through problems.

#3 – Preach on Marriage because We all Struggle – One of the most common themes I hear when I teach on marriage is, “Pastor Bob, I didn’t realize so many people are going through the same things.” Yes, all couples argue. Yes, all couples go through challenging seasons. When couples know that they aren’t alone, it gives us hope because if other came make it, so can we.

#4 – Preach on Marriage because it will Help Unchurched People – Every week I talk to couples who started attending Calvary because we they were invited to our marriage series. Unchurched people struggle in their marriages and are looking for answers on how to be happily married. I’m grateful the church can be that place where we can welcome fellow strugglers and all work together to have happy, healthy marriages.

#5 – Preach on Marriage because It Will Grow your Church – People need Jesus. Many times, marital struggles are simply the tip of the iceberg. I make no apologies that I want Calvary to grow. There are over 5 million people in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and they need to hear the Gospel. I want people to come to know Jesus and grow from infancy to maturity in their walk with God. This happens within the context of the local church. I’m not talking about numbers so we can puff ourselves up in pride. I’m talking about adding people, lives, families to the Kingdom of God. Pastors, never be ashamed for wanting for community to know Jesus and for you be one of the vessels God uses to help them grow. That’s why you got into ministry in the first place.

So preach on marriage, you’ll be glad you did.

Why Churches Stay Small (and Never Break 200)

This year Calvary, the church I pastor, was named the 5th fastest growing church in the United States by Outreach Magazine. There was lots of clapping by our congregation, congratulations by ministry colleagues, and even a cake from my staff. However, I remember when Calvary was a struggling church of 50 trying to reach people and get into triple digits. Over the last year I’ve been many times to explain how Calvary went from a church that reached new few people to a vibrant congregation. However, that’s not the real question people are asking. They want to know how their church can start growing and reaching people. what is the best online bingo site

As I’ve coached more than 2,500 pastors in the last 4 years, I can say that the path to breaking the 200 barrier in attendance isn’t difficult. However, it takes courage to do things that are next to impossible in some church settings. But for those who wish to make the bold decisions needed to reach people far from God, I believe there are 5 reasons churches don’t break 200 in attendance….

#1 – There’s No Bigger Vision Beyond Current Circumstances

A few years ago I was consulting with a church that wanted to break 200. I arrived at the church and found a sanctuary which sat only 100 people. While they were doing 2 services on Sunday, the church could not exceed 200. The diagnosis was easy. The remedy was far more difficult. The church needed to move so they could keep growing. This is why churches need to be careful when picking meeting space early on and building auditoriums later on. If you aren’t careful, the shoe will tell the foot how big it can grow. If you want our church to grow beyond your current size, there needs to be a God-sized vision, not a survival mode mentality. us real money casino android app

#2 – There’s No Commitment to Reproduce Leaders

I tell our leaders at Calvary that you cannot build a 20 story building on a 10 story foundation. That means, for the church to further grow, we need to continue investing in leaders at every level of the organization. Everyone who serves at Calvary receives investment. The individual’s level of commitment determines what level of investment they receive. The reason is because we want to give the most training and time to those who are the most committed. Churches who want to grow beyond 200 can start this today. Gather a group of leaders and potential leaders and start investing in them. Do some teaching. Read a book together. Rub shoulders with them. Investing in leaders always returns a huge dividend.

#3 – There’s No Strategy to Reach the Community 

Growing churches know that the community isn’t going to just come to them. Churches need to get out in the community and start serving, inviting, and sharing the Gospel. Churches also need to recognize that they need unique strategies to reach those who have friends who at you church versus those who have no idea your church exists. Obviously, word of mouth costs nothing and servant evangelism costs next to nothing. So if you can’t spend money on postcards, billboards, or Facebook ads, do the things that don’t cost anything. We do an entire module in our Breaking 200 course about the Bootstrapper’s Guide to Church Outreach.

#4 – There’s No Commitment to Excellence on Sunday

Too many pastors are putting together their sermons on Saturday night and wondering why the service on Sunday doesn’t run on all 8-cylinders. I tell pastors to make an appointment with themselves during the week to study and get Sunday’s message ready. Because here’s the reality: people are judging your church based on the Sunday experience. You can have exceptional small groups, but no one will get that far unless Sunday grips them. Pastors need to understand that their greatest contribution to the church comes in the form of casting vision and preaching. I want people who attend Calvary to have the best experience possible on Sunday because that is where they are making decisions to stay or go.

#5 – There’s No Glue to Keep Those You Reach winpalace casino for iphone

There are few things more frustrating than reaching people through the front door and seeing them walk out the back door because there’s no process to help them stick. Unchurched people don’t know the drill when it comes to church. They attend, enjoy the service, but it’s up to us as church leaders to help them their next steps with God. That means we need to make these steps easy and strategic. That means we need to follow up with those who God brings to us. I have long said that the greatest stewardship we are given is the stewardship of people. Treat people like the gifts they are. Help them grow. Crete a process that leads them from infancy in Christ to maturity. When you do, breaking 200 won’t be a problem for very long.

How Does Your Church Get Results With Direct Mail?

This question shows up in my inbox every week.

Though we are in a digital age, people are still opening their mail every day.  In fact, with the flood of email we get, you actually have a better chance of standing out with an actual mail piece.

At the same time, if you don’t know what you’re doing with direct mail, you can waste a lot of money.

So, here’s 5 things you must know if you’re going to get great direct mail results: 

#1 – You must know who you’re trying to reach – most churches have no idea who they’re best equipped to reach

#2 – You must know what you’re going to say to them – Most churches are not connecting their copy with the recipients of their direct mail.

#3 – You must know why you’re reaching out – direct mail that doesn’t give a call to action doesn’t make any impact.

#4 – You must know who you’re not equipped to reach – we’re not good at reaching everyone. Focus on who you’re best equipped to reach.

#5 – You must get their attention with your copy AND your design – everyone thinks they can do this; few actually can.

So, next time you’re about to send out a mailer, at a minimum go through this list of 5 items and make sure you’re covered.  Otherwise, you’re wasting your church’s money. virtual fusion bingo

To help you a little more I’ve written a short ebook for you called “Direct Mail Secrets.”

You can get for free here:

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Darth Vader On Leadership

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I loved the New Start Wars Movie (comes out on DVD soon!) but I will say that I miss our classic villain: Darth Vader.  So today I’ve got 3 leadership takeaways from this villain who got it all wrong.

Takeaway #1: Insecurity

You remember the scene. You were probably 5 or 6 when you first saw it, but by now you’ve seen it close to 150 times. Darth Vader walks into a meeting on the Death Star and someone challenges his authority.

So what does this leader do? He decides to choke the guy until he agrees. He even throws a spiritual phrase in there to boot: “I find your lack of faith disturbing!”

starwars-lackoffaithWhat’s the deal with this guy? us online casinos ipad

It’s really simple: he’s insecure. Insecure leaders refuse to have someone disagree with them.

Let’s be honest, no one likes it when people disagree. If you do, let me recommend you ask your doctor for stronger medication!

But leadership is about fulfilling the vision for your church or organization. It’s not about the leader needing to be right.

I think that was one of the biggest problems I had when we first started our church. I was under the impression that I had to come up with all of the good ideas and solutions to our problems as a church.

Then I discovered the people that God has placed around me were really gifted and talented. They were sitting on the sidelines waiting for me to ask them for help. The day I did, a flurry of new perspectives, ideas, and solutions arose that I would have never thought of. zeus ii slot machine online

That’s when I realized we were all on the same team. So the question is, are you empowering your leaders to think freely and even disagree with you in a healthy manner? If you do, you’ve find some of the most innovative ideas will emerge and you’ll be a lot less stressed as a leader.

Takeaway #2: Dealing with Mistakes

Mistakes. Everyone makes them. The issue that will affect your ability to lead is, “How do you handle it when those around you make mistakes?” Let’s look at Darth Vader’s leadership on staff mistakes.

In The Empire Strikes Back, Captain Needa has made a critical error in allowing the Millennium Falcon to escape. He apologizes to the dark lord of the Sith and Darth Vader chokes him to death and says, “Apology accepted, Captain Needa.”

apology acceptedWhile we probably don’t choke people to death when they make mistakes, let’s be honest, we probably want to. No one likes mistakes, but they are going to happen. We are all going to screw things up at some point in time. That’s just a fact of life. But a truly great leader is one that can take a failure and make it an opportunity for teaching and training.

If you decide to take that moment and turn it into a lesson, we’ll gain an ally for the long haul. But we will never build trust with our teams if we humiliate them publicly and ‘choke them’ through our words and reactions.

The truth is if our team members are making mistakes, it means they’re doing something. And I’d rather have active team members making mistakes than perfect benchwarmers any day!

Takeaway#3: Trust

“I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.” – Darth Vader

altering the dealThose words must have hit Lando Calrissian like a ton of bricks. He made a deal with a leader and he broke his promise.

One of the keys to leadership is trust and when we go back on our word we lose whatever credibility we have built.

I believe Kouzes and Posner were right when they said that the foundation of all leadership is credibility in “The Leadership Challenge.” John Maxwell called it, “The Law of buy-in: People buy into the leader, then the vision.” virtual casino craps

It only makes sense because a person can have a great vision, but without proven character very few will get on board. That’s is why when we promise to deliver something to someone on our team, we need to follow through.

The greatest leaders make a promise and keep it because they know that if a leader doesn’t have his word, then no one will be willing to follow him.

I don’t think Lando is going to make any more deals with Mr. Vader any time soon. Because a leader that alters the deal is a leader that isn’t worth following…

I hope you enjoyed these lessons from our classic villain.  I created a short ebook to help you get a few more pointers on leadership.  You can get it here free:

Need More Church Staff After Easter?

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I’ve been talking to a lot of pastors, especially those in our coaching networks, and a lot of them experience a lasting bump in growth each Easter.

If you’ve broken a certain threshold, you might now be thinking about bringing on another staff member.

So how do you go about finding the right person?  video poker online gambling

When it comes to staffing, most leaders start with a person they’re looking to hire. I believe that’s the wrong approach.

When you’re looking to add someone to your team, the place to begin is with a job description.

This is important when staff come to you and say, “I need help. Can you hire me an assistant?”

The first thing that should should happen is for that staff member to write a job description of the position.

The key here is to answer the questions:

– What skills does this person need?

– What responsibilities are required?

– What gifts and talents are needed to make this person excel in this person?

This is the only way to interview well. If we aren’t beginning from a clear job description, it’s next to impossible to interview well. Without a job description, we can decide is we like the person we’re interviewing and if they’d gel with the rest of the team (this is really important, but they won’t last if they’re in the wrong position no matter how nice they are), but we can’t discern if they’d be right for this position.

So if you’re looking to add staff, start with defining the position. Then begin the search. It will make your process easier and you’ll hire better.

To get more staffing tips get my free Church Staffing Survival Guide here:

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