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I’ve been pastoring for six years, and I’ve been on a church staff for 12. There is something that “we” (I mean staff and pastors) do when someone leaves our church that drives me crazy. I am as guilty as the next guy.

When someone tells us they’re leaving (if we’re lucky), and they give us the reason why they have decided to leave, our defense mechanism kicks in, and we immediately begin to think of reasons why their opinion isn’t credible. It’s like when we got dumped in middle school. On Tuesday we loved Becky, but on Wednesday after she dumped us, we told our friends how miserable we had been for the last few weeks, and how annoying she was. I know I’ve done that with members who have left my church. They are great members, but once I find out they’re leaving, I start making comments like, “Well they haven’t been coming to church much anyway,” or “They’re just takers.” 

The truth is we’re hurt. We’re wounded, and we try to convince ourselves we’re better off without them. (Isn’t that what our pastor friends tell us to make us feel better?)

While all of this is going on, we usually write off their critique or reasoning for leaving the church without giving it five

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As I thumbed through the program of the graduation ceremony I was about to witness, I came across the descriptions and honors for those students earning doctorate degrees in various studies.  This one caught my eye and I still am not sure I have the correct pronunciation of all the words.

Protein folding, in vivo, is a co-translational process wherein the synthesis of nascent polypeptide by the ribosome is coupled to its folding. The rate of translation elongation is non-uniform and altered rate of elongation can affect the growing polypeptide.

I kept reading it over and over and it occurred to me that someone was about walk across the stage and receive a degree in front of me who knows something I certainly don’t!  Now, I have always tried to learn as much as I could and consider myself a reading, learning leader but I don’t know everything.  I’m confident you don’t either—and nor does this esteemed young man who now possesses an earned doctorate from one of America’s premier instituations.  Yet, as learned as we might be the reality is that we don’t know everything, in fact we don’t know a lot. 

I don’t know how gravity works…but I value it.

I’m pretty convinced that

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A few weeks ago I had a really cool day that revealed an amazing truth to me as a leader and Pastor. The staff from both of our campuses took an outing to go see the Rome Braves play the Asheville Tourists in a Single A Minor League Baseball game. Every few months our staff will get out of the building to do something fun together and to celebrate all the amazing things God is doing at our campuses.

 

On this day that outing was a 10am baseball game featuring mostly 18-22 year olds on their quest to make it to the big leagues. Our tickets were up in the 2nd section, but I’ve never attended a ballgame I couldn’t “move down” and find a better seat, so I ended up sitting on the 1st row right behind the visiting team’s on deck circle. It gave me an opportunity to do a little “trash talking” and to take in the game from a very close vantage point.

After the game was over we returned to the church to continue our workday. Later that evening I again found myself at a baseball game. This time, though, I wasn’t watching I was coaching. And it wasn’t 18-22 year olds, it was 7-8 year olds. I did a lot less “trash talking” and a lot more encouraging from my even better vantage

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If you’re reading this article then you probably have seen other articles (like this http://www.patheos.com/blogs/afewgrownmen/2013/05/why-men-have-stopped-singing-in-church/) recently floating around the internet centered on the topic of modern worship and specifically why it seems like congregations aren’t as involved in worship, mainly singing, like congregations were in the past. I have read the articles and the many comments, I’ve even commented on them myself, but wanted to take the opportunity to elaborate my thoughts on the topic.

Just so you know where I’m coming from, I have been serving in ministry for 12 years. I grew up in a Pentecostal (demonstrative) church style and have spent the last 10 years in what could be considered more of a “modern” church style. I’ve been a worship leader for 7 of the 10 years and have served in my current role as senior pastor for the last 6 years.

If you are unfamiliar with the argument being made against the current state of worship, the quick summary is that congregation participation has seemingly diminished as we have lowered the lights, sung newer songs, and introduced original music into the worship sets. While it has never

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Ok, they might not be secrets but they are counter intuitive. I’ve been privileged enough to meet, and get to know, many great pastors, and what separates them from the rest is probably not what you think. Sometimes we are guilty of judging a pastor or leader based solely on their public giftedness. In other words, we believe great pastors are great speakers or visionaries. While they probably exhibit those qualities, I have found 4 consistent qualities in almost every truly exceptional pastor that I know.

1. Counseling
So many people think counseling is only for weird people with problems, but counseling for most pastors is their monthly detox from all the emotions and stress they carry around. It’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of, as a matter of fact, it screams of security and health. Going to counseling provides you an audience with someone who couldn’t care less about your church “success” and couldn’t care more about your mental and personal health. Only 10% of ministers retire as a minister. That’s scary. We have to take care of ourselves.

2. Coaching
Iron sharpens iron, and coaching sharpens leaders. Once a leader is confident and secure enough to ask for

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