What Do You Do in Galilee?

followers

“He departed to Galilee…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah…The people who sat is darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” Matthew 4:12-16

Here in Matthew 4:12-16, Jesus started His ministry. It was immediately after His baptism, and then the Bible tells us He began to preach. Jesus ministry began in Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to Capernaum.

Very often the call of God is moving from a place we know into the unknown. It’s a shove of our faith to launch out into the unexpected. Maybe God is moving you from a safe place to a stretch place?

Are you ready?

Whatever the season of life we all start out in Galilee. It’s the first place of ministry. We may not feel prepared but for that place we are. You may not be a polished pastor, a gifted speaker, or a well-worn writer but Galilee is calling you.

Like Jesus, we must go because those folks who are there are either lost (“darkness”) or in the “shadow of death” (maybe of hope) and a new light must dawn. We are the ones who should bring the light of Christ to every ministry God calls us to.

Our text says the people “have seen a great light.” When Saul (Paul) was called, that’s exactly what He saw. However, it’s a humbling call. Paul would later write some of the most beautiful words on God’s call in the Bible:

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

He tells them all I know is Jesus, the Great Light. Then Paul says, I was weak, scared, and didn’t have the right words. Been there?

When God calls us to Galilee, Corinth, or the Church in the Wildwood, we just give them Jesus. In our speech, spirit, and especially in our actions. When Jesus is all we know, then the people will see His light in us.

Are you in Galilee?

Keep Looking Up!

Pastor Rodney

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The Role of a Christian Woman in Leadership

leadership

Leadership starts with a purpose, not a plan. The leader is driven by beliefs that lead to action. The leader develops the capacity to think in convictional terms and leads followers to do the same. The leader draws followers into a story that frames all of life. A leader shapes the worldview of follows.

Passionate leaders driven by purpose beliefs draw passionate followers. Leadership begins when you learn to think like a leader. Leadership is not achieved until followers begin to think as well. The effective leader is the master teacher within a learning organization.

Character, communication, stewardship, and endurance are all important aspects of leadership. Not all managers are leaders but all leaders are managers.

Leadership is a transferring of conviction to others, affecting their actions, motivations, intuition, and commitment. Character is, in fact, the only secure foundation of leadership itself —any form of leadership.

Character is contagious.

Being a leader that communicates clearly and well is also important. Leaders must all endure and be good stewards of the position they have been given. 2 Timothy 1:12b says, “He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me.”

Leadership is influence. A leader is someone who leads a group of people towards a specific vision or goal. We lead because we are possessed by deep beliefs that mature into convictions.

Our leadership consists of developing these convictions in others who will then act together in the service of those beliefs, motivated to common action in the mission of sharing those convictions and living them out before watching the world.

James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

The roles of women change due to age, marital status, motherhood, life experiences, and cultural influences. The roles of women in ministry are vast and consist of more than one responsibility. The roles of women in ministry are wide-ranging because ministry, in general, is very wide-ranging.

While the are specific “roles” of women in ministry may change, there are specific “principles” for the Christian woman in ministry to embrace that remain forever unchangeable. These principles cannot exist apart from a true relationship with Jesus Christ and a submissive and teachable spirit to obey.
Biblical principles for the Christian woman are:
1 A handmaiden and servant of the Lord
a Luke 1:26-38
2 A calling to be recklessly abandoned to all the Word of God commands
a Acts 17
3 A calling to go wherever He may lead you to go
a Matthew 28:19-20
4 A woman who spends time in prayer
a Luke 10:38-42
5 A woman who spends time in the Word
a Luke 10:38-41
6 A woman who has a teachable spirit
a Luke 7:36-50
7 A woman who obeys the Word
a Psalm 119:11
b Luke 21:1-3
8 A woman who is burdened for others
a John 4
9 A woman who ministers to others
a Luke 8:1-3
10 A woman who is discerning
a Esther
11 A woman who stands up for her convictions and keeps herself pure: above reproach
a Proverbs 31
12 A woman who is evangelizing the lost
a Matthew 28:1-10
13 A woman who is discipling others
a Luke 1:35-45
14 A woman who is actively being mentored by someone else
a Ruth
15 A woman who influences someone others can follow

These principles are descriptive of the inward nature of a woman walking in the right relationship with Christ. Regardless of your role in ministry, you are called to live lives that have the principles listed above.

These principles are not manufactured by self-effort but should be the fruits of a spiritually born-again woman. Leadership is a big responsibility and should not be taken lightly especially Christian leadership. Leadership is the ability to have influence.

Will we have a positive, lasting influence for the sake of Christ? Are we going to lead others to Him or to ourselves? Understanding leadership and all it takes and entails is important. Let us lead as Christ did in all we do and say. May our leadership be a reflection of who He is and how He leads us.

Nikki Hogan

Visit Nikki @hogannikki.wordpress.com

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How to Keep Your Pastor

How to Keep Your Pastor? I know it is an unusual title, but it’s more relevant than we know. We have a crisis in the church and especially in the pulpit today. Look at these stats from http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/statistics/
• Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year.
• Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause.
• Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year.
• Many denominations report an “empty pulpit crisis”. They cannot find ministers willing to fill positions.

There are a lot more stats, but let’s just think for a moment how long pastors stay at churches. How many pastors have come and gone to that particular local church in the past 10 years?

If you are a pastor, how many moves have you made in the past 10 years?

The reality is we have a real problem that we rarely talk about.

The reality is we have a real problem that we rarely talk about. We can say it’s the pastor, deacons, “those people,” or a number of other issues, but the truth is pastors are not staying put.

So as a pastor, let me write to my fellow pastors and especially to deacons/leaders and church goers on how you can keep the one you’ve got.

Encourage Often

This should be easy and a no-brainer. Everyone encourages the pastor, right? No. You could say very few people are gifted this way anyway. Encouragement is not something people normally do. You have to work at it and that’s why people don’t bless others like they should.

What the pastor normally hears is who is upset, or what is wrong. We listen to negative Nelly or Ned, but the old adage is true—the squeaky wheel gets the grease. That is often translated as there are problems. They build up and harden the spirit.

So encourage. Text, call, email, brag about them in front of others, encourage all the time.

You Rock
You Rock

The negative people don’t stop. They may quiet down for a week, but it starts again over a paragraph in a sermon, a decision to cancel something, a typo in the bulletin, or no paper towels bathroom.

Pastors hear everything that someone doesn’t like about Sunday. They need encouragers!

Fight Some of the Battles

Don’t let the pastor take all the arrows. Usually pastors are the outsiders geographically. They have moved their family from Frog Leg Florida to Tall Holler Tennessee.

The people of the church have known each other, gone to school together, and hung out for many years. They have been together through ups and downs.

That’s why a spiritually mature leader in the church should know how Ned and Nelly are. They didn’t just turn negative. They may have had some falling out with this new pastor, but usually this is a personality issue.

That’s why the pastor needs some people to fight some of the battles. The pastor can’t be the central complaint department or fixer of all thee things thou dost bring up.

There are too many disputes, disagreements, and pointless debates that tear away at the pastor’s peace.

Take an arrow!

Keep Things in Perspective

Just because someone thinks it’s a big deal doesn’t mean it is. Deacons need to listen to people, but they shouldn’t bring everything to the pastor. They certainly shouldn’t act like everything is life or death.

You would think this is something that everyone knows, but level headedness is rare these days as well. Maybe social media is to blame.

social media
social media

Things are known faster, and talked about more today than any other time in history. Something blurted out in a meeting or “thinking out loud” can get turned into we are painting all the children’s Sunday School rooms pink because the pastor has two girls.

Of course nothing like that has ever happened.

Don’t let people make a mountain out of a mole hill. Most circumstances are not THAT big.

These seem like little things, but they will go a long way in helping your pastor feel wanted, loved, and secure.

Protect your Shepherd, and you will be blessed.

Keep Looking Up!

Heaven is closer than you think.

May God bless your day.

Pastor Rodney

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4 Reasons Pastors Need Followers

pastor preaching

By Rick Ezell

“Let’s get behind the pastor.” Pastors are not perfect but most have a calling and a desire to lead their church to fulfill the Great Commission. When pastor and members are working together, the church can and will impact their community and the world for Christ. Pastor and church members, like wings on an airplane or wheels on a bicycle, are both needed to accomplish the church’s mission easily, efficiently, and effectively.

Leadership requires followers who will execute the mission, strategy, and plans of the organization.

Pastors and church members need to work together.

How can pastor and church members work together to foster the movement of God?

1. Pastors need to have the character, competence, and calling that others are willing to follow.
A woman once said to her pastor, “Pastor, I would follow you on an assault on hell with water pistols.” That’s the kind of follower a pastor wants and needs. But it begins with the pastor being the kind of person that others want to follow. Interestingly, the greatest leaders are not the most charismatic; they simply have the conviction about where they are going and what they are doing. In the church, the pastor is easier to follow when he follows the Lord. The apostle Paul stated it precisely, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1 NIV).

2. Leadership is important but without followers a leader is just a lone nut.
Isn’t it interesting, however, that people are taught to lead well, but comparatively little affirmation or instruction equips the majority of us to follow well? Countless books can be found on leadership but few, if any, are on following. Our culture places a limited value on following and exhorts all people to become leaders. That’s ridiculous, not to mention highly ineffective. The old adage comes to mind, “Too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” We celebrate the great leaders, but dismiss the many loyal followers. To succeed as a church, pastors must teach their followers not only how to lead, but just as importantly, how to follow.

3. Good followers make leaders great.
A comedian once said, “Good children make great parents.” I would paraphrase that statement for this context to say, “Good followers make great leaders.” In other words, many a business’ employees have made a CEO look good; many a team has made a coach better than he is; and, many a church has been gifted with talented and motivated members that have made the church be effective, sometimes in spite of the pastor.

4. It’s not about the Pastor (leader) or the church members (the followers), but the mission (God’s kingdom).
The sooner pastor and members set aside personal agendas and personal preferences and get on board with the movement of God, the more effective the church will be. The problem today is that we want to make the church about us. The church is not about the Pastor. The church is not about the members. The church is about extending God’s mission in the world.

So remember leadership is important but it’s not everything. Churches need Pastors and members to embody and deploy God’s message into the world. May pastors and members come together in harmony to show the world God’s love and communicate Jesus’ message of hope and redemption. The eternity of people’s souls hangs in the balance.

Rick Ezell is a pastor and author.

Check out his blog at https://definingmomentssc.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/RickEzellDefiningMoments.

Shall We Dance?

Couple Dancing

by Michelle Medlock Adams

“Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3

Since our oldest daughter, Abby, is getting married in June, Jeff and I decided it might be a good idea to take some dance lessons since we know there will be lots of dancing at the reception, and we’d rather not embarrass ourselves or Abby. Jeff and I were high school sweethearts and we’ve danced at a lot of dances over the years, but we haven’t danced well.

Sure, we have a good time but we truly have no idea what we’re doing. So, surprisingly, when I suggested we take ballroom dance lessons this Fall, he wholeheartedly agreed. I didn’t even have to coerce him!

So far, we’ve learned some Salsa, Swing, the Foxtrot and the basic Waltz. We’re making great progress, but we’re no Fred and Ginger…we’re more like Fred and Wilma. Still, we’re having a wonderful time learning to dance.

But, dancing isn’t all that we’re learning.

Last week, we had the entire class laughing because Jeff picked me up and pulled me where he wanted me to go on the dance floor and proclaimed, “Woman, let me lead!”

Apparently, in my enthusiasm to get the steps just right, I had taken over “the lead,” which had us bumbling and fumbling all over the dance floor. While it was a humorous moment, it was also a teachable one.

Our amazing and accomplished dance teacher Kathy Thompson (who is also the owner of Kat’s Performing Arts Studio in our hometown) stopped the music, smiled, and said: “Ballroom is enjoyed the most when it is done correctly. With the man leading very strongly and the woman following his lead.

Just the way God has intended a man and woman to live together in this world. The man essentially doing most of the work and making major decisions while the woman adds beauty and nurturing. This makes the unit so enjoyable for the participants and to those observing.”

I think every man in the room said a hearty, “Amen.”

Jeff pulled me in for a big hug and said, “See, you gotta let me lead!”

He was right, and so was Kathy.

Jeff is the spiritual leader of our home, and I respect him with every fiber in me, but sometimes in my overzealousness, I try and take the lead and everything gets out of whack. Just like our dance became ugly and confusing on the dance floor when I took the lead, our marriage lacks harmony and ease when I become “Tammy Takeover.”

Truly, life is so much sweeter when we do things God’s way. Ephesians 5:25-33 clearly tells us that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church and that wives are to respect their husbands. This passage of scripture has gotten a bad reputation in some circles, but it shouldn’t because it works.

The Word always works!

When our husbands love us the way that they should, and we respect them as we should, we move through life as one, and it’s a beautiful dance.

Michelle Medlock Adams

Visit Michelle @ michellemedlockadams.com

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