Trouble with Authority

You're bound to be tested

It didn't take long to face opposition once I started a career in ministry. Of course, I had a lot of strikes against me from the start. First of all, I was young, fresh out of college, and in my first-ever paid ministry role. On top of that, I was a woman, the only woman serving with the pastoral staff. And, probably most significant, I was hired to launch a brand new ministry–church-wide ...

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And Then There Were None

Three things to do when people leave your small group

Groups. We've all been in one where the numbers keep whittling down until it's just you and the leader left.

When you're the one leading, what do you do if people start leaving yours?

1. Don't freak out. This does not stamp you with the World's Worst Small Group Leader award.

Breathe. Chances are the reason they left has nothing to do with you. Sometimes ...

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Five Tips for Creating a Mentor Program

The key to cultivating exceptional leaders

Things change continually in ministry, for better and worse. One area that seems to have improved drastically over the past 15 years or so, though, is the emphasis placed on mentoring and its role in creating fully engaged employees.

Being good stewards of resources goes far beyond just dollars and cents. Mentoring allows us to be good stewards of one of the greatest ...

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Developing a Divine Appetite

What makes us hungry for God?

As leaders, it's so easy to get distracted by the demands on our everyday–the deadlines, the unforeseen circumstances that sap our time and energy. In the midst of our packed schedules, we can find ourselves chasing after that which is most pressing rather than that which is most necessary. We need to be intentional about pursuing God and seeking his voice in our lives. We ...

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I Was a Reverse Discriminator

My gender-based policy revealed my spirit of fear

It would take a lot for me to change my mind about allowing men to be alone with my children.

Seven years counseling women recovering from all kinds of horrors experienced at the hands of men, a season that coincided with my first seven years of motherhood, instilled in me a firm belief that men should not be caregivers for kids. At least not for mine.

Yet this month, ...

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IRS Increases Mileage Rate

The Internal Revenue Service announced it has increased the optional standard mileage rate that employers can use to reimburse employees who drive personal vehicles for business purposes.

The IRS increased the rate to 55.5 cents per mile for travel occurring between July 1 and December 31.

The rate was 51 cents for January 1 to June 30.

Many pastors and staff members ...

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What Shape Are You In?

A routine check-up for managing all of our life roles

When I start to feel drained of energy, or when I snap at people or feel resentful when I'm asked to help, these are my clues that my life is out of shape. Usually saying yes to too many opportunities is what pushes me over the edge. When life starts feeling like it's getting out of control, it's time to stop and assess priorities. Here's a check-up I use ...

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4 Tips for Time Off

Making the most of vacations
4 Tips for Time Off

One of the things I tend to neglect (and I know many leaders who struggle with this as well) is fully utilizing vacation time. I underestimate the value of rejuvenation that happens when I disconnect my mind from my usual routine and responsibility. I too easily miss the importance of time with family and friends, laughing, playing, and resting. And oftentimes my vacation ...

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Every Need Is Not a Call

Focusing on the right community ministry
Every Need Is Not a Call

I frequently work with churches that are located in communities with multiple needs and issues. In urban neighborhoods, and more frequently now in suburbs and rural communities, you might find the following issues:

  • high levels of unemployment, with families struggling to meet basic needs as a result
  • an achievement gap between children who live in poverty and those who don't, resulting in lower graduation rates and college attendance for youth from poor families
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Why the Church Needs to Teach about Body Image

A five-day church fast revealed a different hunger.

Recently, my church experienced its first-ever Five Day Challenge, an initiative launched several years ago by Willow Creek Community Church. The Challenge encourages people to eat only small portions of rice and beans at each meal as a tangible experience of the hunger that the bottom economic half of the world endures daily.

Like any good leader, I prepared my team in advance. ...

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