Preacher on the Run…

Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

20 Questions to Ask Other Leaders (Feature Friday 01/17/20)

Having opened up my laptop and logged into my student portal, I sat excitedly waiting for the virtual classroom session to begin. It was my second semester as a graduate student and I was beginning to think I was in over my head. “I don’t belong here”. “Everyone else is so much more intelligent or successful or better leaders than I am”. “I’m still not even sure what I want to do with my degree if/when I get it”. These were all thoughts running around in my mind and I was considering calling it quits.

That’s when the professor started the class and uttered words I will never forget…”Leaders are learners”! My professor was Dr. Howard Hendricks and with that 3-word statement, I realized I was right where I needed to be – learning!

I had imbibed the myth that leadership is knowing all the answers and having it all figured out. That is a lie. Leadership is more about questions than answers. It’s more about listening than speaking. That’s why Michael Hyatt’s article “20 Questions to Ask Other Leaders” has been a game-changer for me.

As a leader, I need to be asking questions all the time…good questions. But sometimes I am out of good questions so this list is one I keep handy and fall back on often. What other questions would you add?

Enjoy the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day.

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

3 Key Components of an Effective Discipleship Group (Feature Friday 01/10/20)

I was reflecting this morning on yet another new year beginning. My reflection began looking to the past. I thought about the events in my life over the past year. I put time into thinking about how many of those things were the results of intentional decisions on my part and how many of them are the results of a lack of intentionality on my part. One of the areas I reflected upon was a small group of guys that I gathered with a couple times a month this past year.

This group of guys was an encouragement to me. Even though I may have initiated the gatherings and routine meetings, I feel as though I benefited as much if not far more than the guys I invited into the group. And as I thought about this group, I was reminded about so many other groups I have participated in or led before. All of these groups had a common purpose…discipleship. We all wanted to grow in our likeness of Jesus Christ.

That led me to think about the common threads of each group. What brought all of these diverse people together and what made each of the groups an encouragement and greenhouse for my growth and others. I think Jim Putnam hits the nail on the head in his article “3 Key Components of an Effective Discipleship Group.” As I think about the groups I have been a part of, the ones that were effectively shared these 3 aspects. The groups that were missing any one of these ended up being – well – less than effective.

Enjoy the article. What else would you add to it? As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Bad Biblical Theology Leads to Bad Sermons (Feature Friday 01/03/2020)

Fresh year, fresh goals, and a fresh perspective. Just a few reasons this time of year can be so invigorating and encouraging. It seems like every new year we reflect on the past year and look forward to how this coming year might look different. It is a good practice and much needed in my life. Which is why one area I annually address a personal goal in is physical health.

Now, I would not count myself as an “unhealthy” guy, but I know that I am much room to improve in the area of health. Three chocolate peanut butter brownies as an evening snack are not the most “healthy” choice. Honestly, what I put into my body and how I eat is one area I know I need to work on in 2020. Truth is: a bad diet undercuts good health. What is true physically is true spiritually. What is true as an individual is true of a church as well.

Just like a bad physical diet can keep me from being healthy and stunt my growth, “bad biblical theology will undercut a congregation’s health—warping the message of Scripture and stunting a church’s growth in the knowledge of God“. But that is not all bad biblical theology does.

Sam Emadi shares 4 ways “Bad Biblical Theology Leads to Bad Sermons“. When I don’t eat well, I may not see the effects immediately, but over the long haul, my body will show how my diet has been. The same is true of the church and her steady diet of sermons.

Enjoy the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

5 Reasons You Should Commit Your Goals to Writing (Feature Friday 12/20/19)

I’ve been doing it for the past 4 years faithfully now. When I began doing it, the process was clunky, unnatural, painstaking. It took me far greater time to figure out how I would do it, than the time to actually begin doing it. Some years it goes smoothly and quickly while other years it still takes considerable time. But the truth is, writing my goals down has made me much more effective at reaching and accomplishing the goals that are really valuable to me.

Let me be clear, these are not New Year’s resolutions. As Michael Hyatt says, “…while New Year’s resolutions don’t work, goals do.” The process I go through at the end of each year is not making resolutions, it is setting goals. These are pursuits I want to accomplish or see improved in my life, not just things to check off a list. For instance, one goal I had last year was to “Take my wife on a date at least once a month in 2019”. I was thinking actual, real, well-thought-out dates, not just an hour without the kids in our living room (although those types of dates are needed as well). The amazing news is, we actually did it. We can go back and look at our calendars and see the date, times, and locations of all 12 of our dates (well 11, our final one is coming up tomorrow…). I am convinced this never would have happened, or been far less likely to happen if I had not written the goal down and reviewed those goals.

Writing my goals down every year has changed the effectiveness at which I accomplish my goals. I am still far from perfect at accomplishing every goal I write down, but I am far more successful at reaching them each year now that I am writing them down. If you want to reach some new goals in 2020, or you would like to make more than a New Years’ resolution that will be forgotten by springtime, check out Michael Hyatt’s “5 Reasons Why You Should Commit Your Goals to Writing.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas as well as New Year. As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day. Enjoy the article and I’d love to hear what some of your goals are for 2020.

Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

The First Two Minutes Matter Most (Feature Friday 12/13/19)

Every weekend it happens. They drive into the parking lot, get out of their cars and head for the entrance. As they approach the door they may be greeted by a smiling face or not greeted at all. Then they will have to endure walking through a foyer where they know absolutely no one. Surrounded by strangers, in a strange land, they must find their way to where the service will be held. This is when the real fun begins.

A welcome will be given, by someone they do not know. Songs will be sung they likely have never heard before. Another person will get up and possibly ask them for money. The lead communicator will then speak at them for the next 25+ minutes and likely about things they have heard very little about ever before. Then another song they don’t know and a closing remark. Then it happens…they find themselves in a room full of strangers far from the exit and unsure what to do.

This is the moment. This is where, as Tim Challies puts it, “The First Two Minutes Matter Most“. People visit churches for the first time every week. It is a strange, unique, experience, but it doesn’t have to be a bad one.

Enjoy the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day and make the most of the first two minutes after the service.

Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

Sharing the Essential Elements of Jesus’ Gospel (Feature Friday 12/06/19)

What is an elemental substance of life? One could argue oxygen or hydrogen or a number of other elements. While all of the other options may have a degree of truth at it’s the most foundational level we know life requires water. Without water, human life would end within days if not sooner. Water is an if not the essential element of sustaining human life. To form water you must have two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Without those two elements in that ratio, you do not get water and thus cannot have life.

If water is essential for physical life, what about spiritual life? Are there essential elements to a life with God? The answer is yes. While many things could be said and tome’s have been written on the subject at the core of any understanding of life with God must stand the gospel message of Jesus Christ. But what are the essential elements of the gospel message? Bill Hull writes about “Sharing the Essential Elements of Jesus’ Gospel“. In it he gives what he declares are the 7 essential elements of the gospel of Jesus.

I find Bill’s article compelling because of the simplicity, clarity, and Biblical grounds for his essential elements. Too often we can overcomplicate the gospel, but there are times where we commit the opposite and under-communicate the fullness of the gospel message. Bill steps in to give 4 declarative statements and 3 imperative responses that comprise the entirety of Jesus’ gospel.

Enjoy the article, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Bill’s essential elements and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Levi XU on Unsplash

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