Category Archives: Ministry

A Pastor in a Duck Dynasty impacted world

Evidently Phil Robertson shared what he believes with GQ Magazine.  I read the story on CNN’s website and was a little concerned for some of the colorful language about body parts he used.  In fact, I was struck with his presentation of his beliefs and felt that he could have been gentler about it.  Nevertheless, he quoted Scripture and what was quoted is what the Bible said.  In my opinion, Scripture is truth.

While reading through some posts on blogs and Facebook, I continue to notice that each Christian has an opinion.  In fact, as I read through what each Christian post I found myself agreeing and disagreeing.  Sometimes I just didn’t like how they presented their view even if it was, in the end, right.  As a Protestant, I am reminded that our basic background is that we believe we can read our Bible and develop our view point of Scripture.  In other words, we do not have someone setting doctrine for us because we, as individuals, do that for ourselves.

As a result, I listen to other Protestant pastors from time to time and I think that they are just wrong on their interpretation of different passages. Yet, in Protestant churches this is what makes us unique as groups.  I always caution my congregation where I serve about my sermons too.  I encourage them to read the Bible themselves to hold me accountable.

As a pastor in the United States, I also hold Constitutional rights.  My dilemma is that I’m a citizen of Heaven while a citizen of the US at the same time.  This means that I am accountable to be as civil to others as expected by God first, then by the Constitution. The problem for me, as a pastor, is that I am supposed to share biblical truth when asked.  This is where those in The Church and those outside of The Church need to give a little understanding to Phil in my opinion.  As a minister, he was asked a very touchy, because of our political climate and culture, question.  As a pastor I have been asked these very tough questions.  Questions much like Phil was asked so I can imagine the tension that was in the interview because I feel it too.

As a Christian I am called by God to love Him and others.  In fact, that is what I want to do.  I think the possible result of my answers can be abrasive from another pastor’s, Christian’s, or citizen’s point of view too.  While my answer would have been hopefully less colorful, it would have had to be the same if I want to stay true to Scripture.

Another concern that I have right now, and it seems to be a big one,  is that many Christians and non-believers are saying that this is not a freedom of speech issue, but a contractual issue between Phil and A&E; in other words, a business issue.  My thought is that if true, then a small church pastor like me who is bi-vocational may be at risk to lose his job too.  After all, I may be under contract with my other employers who hold a different point of view of sin than I do.  Unlike Phil, I and many other pastors, have to work another job to provide for my family.  I’m not a millionaire like Phil.  I’m just trying to make ends meat.

Now I’m protected, for now, by the Constitution to have free speech.  Yet, the bigger issue seems to be that the government isn’t going to protect me from losing my job for practicing my rights as a citizen of the US if people I’m employed by do not like what I say.  So now do we as Americans want to introduce this type of discrimination into the conversation?  The LGBT’s say that this is who they are.  Can I not say that a Protestant Christian is who I am?  Thankfully, homosexuals have been able to make Americans aware of discrimination that happens to them.

So can we really say that this is not an issue of free speech?  I find it alarming that CNN ran a story about a sermon that Phil preached.  A lot of the terms he used came out of the Bible.  CNN interpreted it as a type of hate speech and wondered if A&E, Phil’s employer, heard this before he was hired.  Just consider what I just said for a moment; especially in this digital age where we find ourselves as pastors on Internet media.  As a Protestant he can preach his interpretation how he wants; or can he in the US?  So what is next?  Are the news agencies going to start pointing to those who preach against certain types of sin as hate mongerers and fight to have our employment taken from us?  If so, how dangerous is that for America?  Is it okay for what happened to Phil to happen to me and others?

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Filed under Duck Dynasty, Homosexuality, Ministry, Pastor, Phil Robertson, Small Church

A minister’s path to success in the 21st Century

Here is a list of characteristics, skills, requirements, and yadda yadda yadda,  that are needed to be successful in as a Christian pastor; or at least to feel successful.

  1. You must study leadership, over and over, so that you can play the part of a professional.  After all, you are the leader of the church and possibly Jesus wants you to become very successful so that one day you can write a book.  You need to know how to exercise “power” among people to hold them accountable toward reaching your goals.  What you will learn is that you are a good leader when you are successful, but when you are not successful, you don’t have good followers.  You will learn how to get rid of those who are standing between you and reaching your, I mean, God’s goal.
  2. You must move on from the CB and Ham radio to Twitter.  Once you are on Twitter, you have to tweet simple sayings about leadership.  Preferably, you must let others know that you are a person of vision and they must develop one too.  Never Mind the vision that Jesus already gave His followers.  A great tweet to consider might be something like, “Leaders lead from influence.”  Or, “Leader, let the people see you sweat.”  These are short enough to likely get retweeted by those you followed, and after they followed you, you dropped them, so that you can have it listed on your Twitter account that you have 6,000 followers.  Plus, it is great to show that you are only following 60 people who are worthy enough to gain your followership.  With 6,000 followers, you have now become a person of influence even though you might be pastoring a church of 45-100.
  3. You must have an attractive appearance.  It would be helpful if you could attract the same type of attention that King Saul did when he was not king.  Looking hip is a big help in the 21st Century.  A gym membership is a must, along with hair coloring and very intellectual eyeglasses.  How you dress will help keep the undesirables away too.  A classy wardrobe simply lets people know that you only hang out with a certain group.  This way you will gain an audience that may have enough money that you won’t have to get bogged down in their problems.
  4. You must travel back and forth to major conferences routinely so that you can mingle with other professionals.  Successful ministers budget for the top conferences.  These are a must even though many conferences are centered around the same topics.  The point is that you are traveling, and this helps to maintain your professional appearance.  What is more, you can possibly squeeze in some golf during one of these conferences too.  Hanging out with professionals will build your network that will bring you clout for leadership.  This was where the Apostles went wrong, they caught peoples’ attention, but at the end of the day the people realized that they were uneducated men and were not professionals.
  5. Your vision must include reminiscing about your awful experiences with church growing up.  This will help to communicate to everyone that your church has finally developed the formula that will keep humanity from ruining the experience.  The experience has to outweigh the disappointment every week, even though God seems to mold and shape His people through disappointment with church experience and others.  In addition, you will help to eliminate the competition of those smaller churches that have to make use of their older facilities.  Likely, these were the churches that messed you up when you were younger, before you found the right formula.
  6. You must attach yourself to every new trend that comes around in the Christian world.  Warning, this may require a new wardrobe and younger look if you have been around for a while.  You never know when something new will make a splash sent in from the Christian writer’s world of thought.  For example, those who went for the attraction movement may now have to jump into the missional movement.  Be warned though, poverty is beginning to gain traction in the Christian world.  If so, this will change the path to success dramatically.
  7. You must be able to recite the Starbucks menu by heart.  Even if you are not a coffee drinker, it is in your best interest that you begin acquiring the taste for it.  After all, whoever heard of an up and coming minister that did not have meetings with potential white middle-class church attendees anywhere else?  It gives a sense of an artsy appearance and intellectualism to those who frequent the coffee house.  While there, don’t forget to tweet about it.  Something like, “Working while at Starbucks, love the private atmosphere, it keeps me close to the real people.”  This will help remove any guilt you might feel while your lay people are working; because they now know you are working too.
  8. You must have the newest Apple technology on the market.  You cannot run around with a flip-phone, or just a regular PC.  You have to have a Mac.  You need an awesome IPhone too (I have an IPhone also).  I keep mine in case I have a trendy Twitter thought about leadership that I would need to post.  This will simply give the appearance that you are on the cutting-edge of things.  We all know how important that is for ministers who are successful to blaze a trail before others.
  9. You must woo people by talking about their potential.  I mean, never mind talking about them decreasing so that Jesus can increase; that is outdated.  Instead, talk about how they too can become a great leader like you.  Further, talk about how God wants them to be happy  and that life is not supposed to be hard, especially once you teach them how manage properly their sin.    After all, Dr. Phil has been successful with doing this too.  I wonder if going to conferences regularly helped him.
  10. You must have trendy clothing that goes well with the Christian culture of today.  I prefer special caps along with this piece of the success puzzle.  Shirts with the Phoenix are slipping as I type, but it appears that shirts with patches and jeans with holes are sticking right now.  Shoes . . . that is a huge statement about the character of the successful minister.  Try to live with flip-flops and hiking shoes.  These demonstrate your oneness with nature.  You know going Green is a great trend to attach yourself to also.

Now this post has been written in fun.  Nevertheless, there are still truths in this post.  I won’t say which of these 10 I struggle with, but be assured that many do struggle with these.  It is time that ministers start distancing themselves from CEO role playing and consider people as those whom God treasures and not buildings or the work they feel called to.

My battle is to make sure that I’m not role-playing with a motive that is really more about me than it is the church that Jesus has entrusted to me.  If nothing else, this list could be a way for lay people and ministers to hold each other accountable so that we can be re-aligned with the purpose that Jesus has for His Church; the Kingdom of Heaven is near.

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Filed under Christianity, Leadership, Ministry, Pastor, Small Church