May 2013

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Partnering with God

Personal transformation is always critical for leaders

Six years ago we moved from the inner city to a three-acre plot with multiple fruit trees. I never realized how much work these trees require, naively assuming they produced their bountiful harvests year after year, sans intervention. I had much to learn. Fruit trees must be trimmed twice a year as well as repaired after any storm damage. They need to be sprayed multiple times ...

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Be Still, Ailing Minister, Part 3

Cocooning Is Crucial for Spiritual Transformation

Darkness is rich with theological meaning. Our first thoughts may be of evil things, ala "the powers of darkness." But there are other applications. Darkness hides things and people, like Nicodemus' first meeting with Jesus under the cover of night. From the darkness, chaos, and formless void God formed all created matter, and God's Spirit hovered over the deep. When Jesus' ...

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Be Still, Ailing Minister, Part 2

Cocooning Is Crucial for Spiritual Transformation

I had looked and felt much like Natasha about 18 months prior to our coffee shop chat. I'd sat in a stunned silence on the oversize sofa in the counseling room at QuietWaters Ministries, an intensive care retreat center for pastors and missionaries in crisis in Denver, Colorado.

Five and a half years of solo-pastoring had come to a screeching and painful standstill. Diagnosed ...

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Be Still, Ailing Minister, Part 1

Cocooning is crucial for spiritual transformation

Natasha cradles her coffee cup between her trembling hands. Holding that cup, it seems, is the one thing she can do to keep herself together.

Usually she sits erect—shoulders back, head up, chin square, eyes tuned in. Natasha typically leans in during a conversation and engages her audience, however small or large, with hospitality, confidence, and grace. This day she is a ...

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Catalyst Dallas 2013: Highlights and Reflections

A conference review

Last week, the Catalyst Conference blew through Dallas with more force than the gusty winds we experienced in the parking lot. This was two and half days packed full of church leaders, hip plaid shirts, soulful worship, and a who's who lineup of Christian authors and speakers. I attended Catalyst because it is one of the best leadership conferences of its kind and it was conveniently ...

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End the Struggle between Ministry and Money

I felt I never had enough…until I discovered a powerful secret

The Struggle

"Too much ministry; not enough money!"

That's how one pastor replied when asked about the biggest hurdle in the relationship between ministry and money. I agree. Or I did in the past. I have stumbled over that same hurdle, but now I am careful to avoid it, having discovered a secret.

That secret, however, first revealed a greater hurdle that exists ...

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Missional Budgeting

Does your ministry budget reflect God’s kingdom or church enterprise?

I remember creating my children's ministry budget for the year. This is what it looked like:

• VBS (a program inside the building): $6000

• Sunday morning celebration (a program inside the building): $10,000

• Team building and training (for the people who volunteered inside the building): $1000

• Conference and further education (so I could get better at planning all my "inside ...

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How Our Sacrifice Inspired Generosity and Commitment

During economic difficulties, we discovered the power of example

When my husband and I came to a new church plant immediately after seminary, we knew there were going to be some financial challenges for the small congregation. They had only 10 members and about 40 attending, including children. But they were a devoted, expansive-minded people, which gave us hope for the future of the church. And they offered us a livable wage, which was ...

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It’s Complicated

Examining the leader’s personal relationship to money

Money complicates ministry.

Sure, there is the difficulty of talking about money in your organization – sermons and stewardship campaigns. Salaries and budget shortfalls. But that's really the easy stuff.

What about a leader's personal relationship with money?

I am a ministry leader and a pastor's wife. While I earn money through my writing, teaching and leadership coaching, ...

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