Navigation
Subscribe

Entries by Dave Kraft (929)

Wednesday
Aug242016

Eight significant "Time-Drainers" for leaders!

It’s no trade secret that many pastors and leaders feel like a lot of time is wasted on a regular basis. Here is Thom Rainer with eight of the greatest time drainers and some practical solutions.

Originally posted by Thom Rainer

“The greatest gift you could give me is more time.”

The statement was made half jokingly by a pastor. Of course, he didn’t think I could create days with more than 24-hours. But he was busy, overcommitted, and worn out.

He is not alone.

What if I told you I could help you get 10 or more hours of your week back? That’s like having an extra three weeks a year. In order to make this quest a reality, let’s look at some of the greatest time drainers of pastors and staff, with suggestions about improving each of them.

  1. Regularly scheduled meetings. How many hours do you spend each month in meetings you feel obligated to attend? Probably a lot. Solution: Ruthlessly evaluate all of your mandatory meetings. You can probably eliminate two or more. And never add a regularly scheduled meeting without eliminating another.
  2. Add-on meetings. “Pastor, can we get together this week to talk about something?” How many times have you received similar requests? Think of the time expended scheduling the meeting, going to the meeting and, possibly, following up on the meeting. Solution: Say no. Tell the person you will talk about it right then. The conversation will likely be shorter than five minutes.
  3. Non-productive meetings. Have you ever ended a meeting thinking it was a total waste of time? Or perhaps most of the meeting was a waste of time. Solution: Never go into a meeting without a clear and specific agenda. Also, have a definitive ending time. Don’t go one minute beyond that time.
  4. Telephone calls. Many of you are constantly answering the phone. You get started on one project, only to be interrupted. Solution: Get a second phone number to share with church members. There are some services and apps that offer a free number. I use Google Voice. Any call to Google Voice goes to voicemail, where I decide later how I will handle the call.
  5. Social media complexity. Some of you pastors and staff are constantly interacting with church members on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. I wouldn’t be surprised if the amount of time spent on this task is 10 to 15 hours week. Solution: Stop it! You have no obligation to respond on social media. Get rid of the guilt trip and get your time back.
  6. Old school secretaries. The world of support staff has changed dramatically. If you have a secretary who is still in the 1990s or 2000s, you are wasting a lot of time. That secretary provides you no efficiencies. Solution: Get a productive assistant. If your church cannot afford one, check into a virtual assistant. I personally like EAHelp. I will expand on this issue in my next post.
  7. Time in the car. Depending on your hospital visits or commute, you could spend a lot of time in your car. Solution: If possible, select a specific day to do hospital visits, so that you are not interrupting your other days continuously. Also, make the most use of your time in your auto. I love Audible books by Amazon. For less than $10, I choose a new book every month. My learning curve has gone up yet again!
  8. Counseling. I know one pastor who counsels over 20 hours a week. Needless to say, he is burning out as he counsels and carries out other responsibilities. Solution: Most of you pastors and staff are neither trained nor equipped to do counseling. Stop it and refer requests to those who can do the ministry better. Limit your counseling to one-time sessions and to times for spiritual counseling.

Time is a gift from God. It is not to be wasted or abused. Go through these eight items again. Do you see some areas where you can gain back time? Are there some other insights you can provide us?

 

Monday
Aug222016

You won't be a leader God can use unless...

You are okay with being misunderstood, disliked, and unpopular

You can delegate responsibility for making decisions to others, not just tasks 

You are willing to feel alone and lonely at times

You can make decisions without second-guessing yourself or being fearful of what others may say or think

You can get over trying to keep everybody happy

You are more interested in being trusted and respected rather than being liked

You are willing to lose friends or followers. Many, perhaps most, of the early followers will leave

You are comfortable with change and ambiguity

You can say with authenticity that we did it rather than I did it

You can think outside the box and color outside the lines (What lines? I didn’t see any lines!)

You see people as valuable for who they are in Jesus, not just a means to your ends. We should love people and use things, rather than love things and use people

 

Saturday
Aug202016

Five ways leaders can loose their ministries

The apostle Paul in I Corinthians 9:27 mentions his concern that he “Should not be disqualified.” There are things leaders can do that would disqualify them and cause them to lose the ministry God has entrusted to them. We need to be “Watchful” as Peter exhorts us in I Peter 5:8.

Eric Geiger shares five ways that can happen!

Originally posted by Eric Geiger

It is deeply tragic when ministry leaders lose their ministry, when sin sidelines them for a season. Not only is it painful for the leader, but also it is painful for the people who have been impacted and influenced through their leadership. Because sin is always crouching at the door and because Satan prowls around like a roaring lion looking to devour, we shouldn’t be surprised when great leaders implode. We should grieve, pray, and love, but we shouldn’t think ourselves better. In fact, here are five ways to lose our own ministries:

1.  Believe in yourself.

If you want to lose your ministry, believe in yourself. When someone stumbles, struggles, or falls and you think, “That will never happen to me,” you are placing your confidence in the wrong place. If you believe in your ability to stand strong, you are standing on shaky ground. Believing in yourself is a clear indication of pride that leads to destruction. If David, who penned many of the psalms, could crumble—any of us can. If Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, could end his ministry importing idols, surely we are susceptible to idolatry in our lives. If Peter, whom God used to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, could foolishly reject Gentile believers, then surely our lives can drift from our doctrine.

2.  Isolate yourself.

If you want to lose your ministry, isolate yourself. After all, “no one understands you or knows the pressure you face.” We should remember that before King David committed adultery and murder, he isolated himself. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Sin demands to have a man by himself,” and a leader can be alone in the midst of others if the leader is not seeking or receiving counsel and correction from wise leaders. If you only surround yourself with people who validate everything you think, you’re actually isolated with merely the impression of community.

3.  Place “the ministry” above your family.

If you want to lose your ministry, neglect your family. The most important gathering is the one that meets at your house. The most important group in your ministry is the one under your own roof. If you place “the ministry” above your family, your family will be hardened to the ministry and you won’t set a good and godly example. According to Jonathan Edwards, “Every Christian family ought to be a little church.” He stated:

Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules. And family education and order are some of the chief means of grace. If these fail, all other means are likely to prove ineffectual. If these are duly maintained, all the means of grace will be likely to prosper and be successful.

Every family should be a little church, and your little church should not be squandered for pursuits of “ministry success.”

4.  Preach repentance for everyone else.

If you want to lose your ministry, stop repenting. If you want to lose your ministry, believe that the messages you herald are for everyone else and not for yourself.

5.  Use people to build ministry.

If you want to lose your ministry, use people to build your own kingdom and agenda. Leadership that is Christian in nature is the exact opposite. Godly leaders use ministry to build people, not people to build agendas. They believe and behave on the basis that people are image-bearers of God, sons and daughters of the King, and holy priests gifted by God.

There is a better way. Instead of believing in yourself, understand your weakness and rejoice in the grace God gives. Instead of isolating yourself, throw yourself fully into the messiness and beauty of Christian community. Instead of placing “the ministry” above your family, minister to your family. Instead of preaching repentance for everyone else, first preach repentance to yourself. And instead of using people to build a ministry, use ministry to build and serve people.

 

Friday
Aug192016

The power of praise

I have never met a person who felt they were encouraged too much. Maybe those people are out there, but I have never met them. Most people are starved for affirmation and encouragement and get little of it.

Many come from families where it was sparse or non-existent; which was the case in my family of origin. Even among workers in churches and those on your team--those who report to you want to know that who they are and what they do, based on who they are, is valuable, significant and that they, and their efforts, are noticed and appreciated.

The renewed emphasis on expressing thanks--acknowledging both privately and publicly the person and what they are doing--has been written about and addressed in a myriad of ways over the last few years, both in the business world as well as in the Christian leadership world. 

It may then come as a surprise that a recent Gallup pole (mentioned in an interview with Mattison Grey) uncovered the fact that 65% of workers said they had not received any positive feedback in the previous year. 

There is a good chance that we are missing an important truth related to giving positive feedback.

Mattison Grey, a Houston-based leadership coach and author with consultant Jonathan Manske, wrote a book titled "The Motivation Myth."

Ms. Grey speculates that the praise, affirmation, feedback and encouragement people are receiving is perceived as being more about others and the organization rather than about them.

If we are not careful, the praise can be perceived to be all about making the boss or company look good and not about the work done by the employee. The issue is not that they didn’t get any feedback, but that they didn’t hear it. What they hear is: “I really appreciate what you did as it is important to me and has helped the company. It has helped me achieve my goals. It has helped the company be more profitable, etc.”

Grey suggests that the praise be focused on the worker and not over emphasize yourself or the company. “You did an outstanding job of delivering this product on time.”  “You hit a home run with that new idea you presented at our meeting last week.”

The main issue is that what came across loud and clear was not about them but about the boss and the company.

In a Christian context, let’s take it one step further by focusing on who the person is in Jesus and how Jesus has gifted and graced them to be able to do what they do. “I love the fact that you are gifted in administration by Jesus and that He has enabled you to do the awesome work you did on the project we just finished. Thank you for your faithfulness and dependability.”

Okay, application time:

Are you too busy to praise people at all? Do you need to slow down and take time to acknowledge who they are and what they’re doing? Are some of the 65% previously alluded to people who work for you or with you?

Do you have too many people reporting to you so that the greatest need is to develop another level of leadership? When you offer praise, compliments, affirmation and encouragement, are you making it about them and Jesus who has gifted them and not about you as the boss or the church, or organization you both work in?

I do not do a good job at this. I easily fall into the trap of expecting excellence, faithfulness and dependability in people and don’t affirm enough who they are in Jesus and what He is enabling them to do. I tend to be more focused on what is not right rather than what is right and affirming that. I need to grow in celebrating all wins--small and big. I need to catch more people doing something right!

God has been changing me to be more of an encourager, but it doesn’t come naturally or easily to me. I’ve got a long way to go.

There is a book on my blog under BOOK NOTES titled “Practicing Affirmation” that deals with this issue.  Check it out.

As you read Paul’s letters to people and to churches, they are filled with thanks and appreciation. Philippians is just one example: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” Philippians 1:3-5. 

Paul was a great encourager.

Wednesday
Aug172016

Perry Noble 

Most all of us know who Perry Noble is.

We are mostly aware of what happened with Perry and New Spring Church. What can we learn as we pray for Perry and New Spring? What lessons are there which can be applied to our lives, ministries and churches. Ron Edmondson has some extremely insight things to share with us on this subject.

Originally posted by Ron Edmondson

I have a heart for hurting pastors. Several years ago I bought the domain name HurtingPastors.com, but have yet to do anything with it. My schedule hasn’t allowed the time, but my heart for pastors in trouble has continued to grow stronger. Over the years, and in a few different churches, we have been blessed to have some of the pastors in between ministries, or who have dropped out of ministry, attend our church while they recover.

So recently when another mega church pastor hit the news for having been removed from the pastorate my heart went out to him. And, there have been so many others in recent years. It breaks my heart, because I believe it surely must break the heart of God. And, gives the enemy a (temporary) laugh. 

But, my heart, as much as it goes out to the ones we’ve known, goes out equally to the ones we don’t. Surely all pastors are under temptation. Some more than others on any given day. 

So, I have a question. It won’t be for all my readers today, but I hope it reaches the one who needs it most – whoever you are. 

Here is my question: 

While the Christian world was buzzing a few weeks ago about pastor Perry Noble – were you sweating profusely thinking – “Wow! It could have been me!”? 

Perry was busted. Bloggers and Christian news agencies were scrambling to get a post up about his dismissal from the church due to struggles with alcoholism. Thankfully, most of the posts I read were encouraging of grace. The responses I have seen from Perry have been remorseful and, honestly, helpful to Newspring and the Body of Christ in dealing with yet another fallen pastor story. He admitted his wrong, asked forgiveness, agreed with the decision of church elders and encouraged people to continue attending and supporting the leadership of the church.

By all appearances we didn’t shoot our wounded too badly this time. Good job, church. 

(Honestly, this is one of the reasons I usually choose not to post on these stories – and, why I waited on this one. I don’t want to appear to capitalize on the downfall of one of our own.)

But, my heart goes out to the other group I mentioned. I’m not ignoring Perry. I certainly pray the best for him. I have met him a couple times, and although we are not personal friends, I would certainly help him any way I could to seek restoration. 

I just got the feeling Perry’s story probably had a far reaching impact – well beyond Perry and the Newspring family.

Because Perry was such a public figure – because his sins were made widely known – because he was removed in such a public way – there were countless others who could have been – but weren’t. The story could have easily been about you. This time it wasn’t.

Perry was busted. And, for now, there are other pastors still able to hide their sins.

Those are the ones to whom I am writing. If reading of Perry’s downfall caused you to cringe a little – if conviction began to rise in you and you felt a sweltering of guilt in your gut – this post is for you! 

If you have hidden sins of alcoholism, drugs, pornography – maybe even an affair – I want to say a word to you. If you’re caught in depression – or emotionally you are about to crash – if the weight and the secrecy of your sin is overbearing – will you keep reading? 

Here are 7 words of encouragement to the pastor who got busted by Perry Noble:

1.  Jesus loves you. Yea, He still does. You hopefully teach this to your church every Sunday. Please, know it applies to you also. Still. 

2.  You need help. You know this. Again, you would tell anyone in the church this who was living in the sin in which you are living. What makes you think you can do this on your own. We aren’t designed by our Creater to do life alone. Yes, you’ve probably been crying out to Him, and you should continue to do so. You should be wise to whom you confess, but God designed community for times like these.

3.  It will be hard to admit. No sugar-coating here. I’m not pretending otherwise. Saying the first words – admitting the sin – those will be some of the most difficult words you’ve ever spoken. The hardest step will be telling the people you love the most. 

4.  Consequences will be what they will. Yea, I know, this is the one which scares you most. And, we don’t always get a reprieve from consequences. No guarantees the mercy of God will remove them from you. Sometimes, however, our mind is capable of a worst case scenario far greater than reality. The focus in your mind should be less on the consequences, however, and more on the recovery you want to eventually experience.

5.  It’s better to come forward on your own. It is. There is less of a scandal this way. It won’t be as messy. Control is not what you should be seeking now, but it will help you feel less out of control. 

6.  You probably have more supporters than you think you do. There are people who will love you even at your worst. These are the genuine people. They weren’t following or loving you because you held a position of authority. They were following and loving you because you are you. And, what a blessing these people will be when they are truly revealed. And, there are those people around you. I’m sure of it. 

For the continuing of this article go to Ron Edmondson