106 – Help your congregation ask better questions [Podcast]

The best questions are Body-focused, not self-focused

 

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcastIn this week’s episode, I’m sharing some thoughts I have recently been sharing with churches on the questions people bring to the worship gathering.  The content itself is a recording of my message at Joplin Baptist Church, Joplin, TX on July 23, 2017.

 

 

Questions people bring to the worship gathering (especially related to preaching/teaching)

Do I find it:
  • agreeable?
  • helpful?
  • relevant?
  • comforting?
  • convicting?
  • stylistically appealing?
  • believable?
  • truthful?

These questions tend to be self-centered (“Do I find it …“) rather than Body-centered.  We are also less likely to find the message to be “truthful” if it does not meet the other criteria.

Better Questions

Am I prepared to:
  • discern truth when I hear it? (1 Corinthians 2:14 – “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised.”)
  • hear from God? (Jesus:  ears to hear – 7 times)
  • be an encouragement to the Body? (2 Sentences, 6 verses: Ephesians 4:11-16 – “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”)
  • do what God tells me to do? (James 1:22-25 – “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”)
  • see God’s world through God’s eyes? (Jesus: God so loved the world … Love your neighbor as yourself)

 

How you can help me help others:

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To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

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*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music for intro)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music for outro)

105 – You plan your ministry. When do you plan your life? [Podcast]

A planned day of reflection in real time

 

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcastIn this week’s episode, I’m sharing some thoughts on Life Planning and life rhythms for pastors and leaders by sharing real time thoughts that occurred on a planned quarterly day of reflection on my own life plan.

 

 

For more information on Life Planning resources, click here.

For more information on Personal and Spiritual Development resources, click here.

 

How you can help me help others:

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  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

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3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music for intro)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music for outro)

104 – Please, Pastor, just one sermon at a time! [Podcast]

Making the most of the incredible opportunity of preaching

 

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcastIn this week’s episode, I’m sharing some thoughts for preachers on something every one of us has done at some point: preached one sermon that should have been more than one.

 

 

Occupational hazards of highly motivated preachers

  1. We want people to know everything we know about a subject, so we give them too much information in one setting.
  2. We want to share insight that they’ve never heard, so we either dig around in the obscure margins or we try to get too creative.
  3. We want them to be impressed and inspired with our content and our delivery, so we spend too much time crafting and not enough time clarifying.
  4. We want them to respond with changed minds and behavior, so we expect them to come to the same conclusions in half an hour that we have come to in years of study.
  5. We want to be sure that our ministries are Bible-driven, so we try to do too many things from the pulpit.
  6. We want people to believe right things and do right things, so we tell them what to believe and what to do.

 

In preaching, spend more time clarifying than you spend crafting. Click To Tweet

 

Plain truth to give us a roadmap to make the most of the opportunity

  1. The power of a sermon is severely overrated when it comes to discipleship, pastoral care, and evangelism.
  2. A very, very small number of preachers can preach effectively for 45 minutes or more. That number is probably one less than you think it is.
  3. If your sermon points have sub-points, you don’t have a sermon; you have a sermon series.
  4. One powerfully clear big idea is more memorable than 3 creatively alliterated points.
  5. One clear, practical application that can be implemented in the next 24 hours is better than 3 abstract Biblical principles.
  6. A personal story of how this works in your life is more meaningful than a well-researched illustration.
  7. A topical sermon can be just as Biblical and effective as an “expository”  verse-by-verse sermon. Look at the sermons recorded in the New Testament.
  8. The sermon is a crucial component of corporate worship, but it is not the central focus. Only Jesus is the center. If corporate worship is a banquet, he is the host, the guest of honor, and the feast all rolled into one.

 

1 practical application, implementable in the next 24 hrs, is better than 3 abstract principles. Click To Tweet

 

Resources Mentioned

 

Alan Hirsch

@alanhirsch

Order the book from Amazon

Order the book directly from 5Q Central (iBook, Kindle, Paperback)

Find out more about 5Q Resources

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

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2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music for intro)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music for outro)

103 – Living with a sense of sacred “sent-ness.” [podcast]

We have already been sent

 

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcastIn this week’s episode, I’m sharing some thoughts on a topic I have been struggling with for a few weeks.  It was actually intended to be last week’s episode, but I just couldn’t get the handle on it that I wanted.

I need to thank Brad Brisco from Missional Church Network for starting my thinking down this path about a year ago.

 

 

Here am I, send me.

My tribe of the evangelical family has probably sent more missionaries than any other part of evangelicalism since our founding in 1845.  We currently have thousands of missionaries around the world.  We’re big on sending.  We even have a really large event called the Send Conference.

We seek to consistently focus on what is known as the Great CommissionJesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

We seek also to consistently pray for God to send more workers into the harvest: When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:36-38)

God’s calling of Isaiah in the Old Testament has been a central text in our missionary thinking: Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

I began a few years ago, praying every day at 9:38 a.m. (based on Matthew 9:38), “Lord of the harvest, send workers into the harvest.”  Recognizing that one of the great needs for harvest workers is pastors for pastorless churches, I added, “Send pastors into our churches.”  And then recognizing that so many churches have an almost exclusively inward focus, I added, “Send churches into their communities.” Finally, recognizing praying for God to send others leaves out a big part of being a Christ-follower, I added, “Send me where you want me to go.”

Then I had my first aha moment.  It is His world, His harvest, His workers.  So, I adjusted my prayer: “Lord of the harvest, send workers into YOUR harvest. Send pastors intoYOUR churches. Send churches intoYOUR communities. Send me where you want me to go inYOUR world.” 

That prayer has continued until recent months, when I experienced my second aha moment.  We’ve been hoping and praying that God would send someone (us or someone else) into His harvest.  We’ve been so focused on who He might send where, that we have missed this incredibly simple, but profoundly life-changing reality: we have already been sent.

 

I’m sending you

Here’s a profound quote from Alan Hirsch’s new book “5 Q“: “Toward the end of his [Jesus] ministry in Israel, he confers his own sentness upon the ecclesia; the movement is thus birthed through his apostolic ministry. The so-called Johannine Commission (“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” John 20:21) is one of the definitively apostolic texts in the New Testament.”

Here’s the aha moment we need to experience within our churches: Everyone who has been called into the community of the redeemed (the family of God, the Body of Christ, the church) has been called and gifted for ministry and has already been sent into the world.

Therefore, the final part of my prayer has now changed from “send me where you want me to go in your world” to “help me today to live sent.”

What would it look like if we didn’t just pray for God to send people to different places in His harvest, but we would pray that all of us would live with a sense of sacred sent-ness?

 

What sent-ness looks like

Here’s another quote from Alan Hirsch: “The church then is not only God’s redeemed people, but they are the human agency by which Jesus extends his own ministry into the world.  The church carries out the work that Jesus started and it does it in a way that is consistent with who Jesus was and how he went about his own ministry.”

He also shares a quote attributed to Augustine that gets to the heart of what sent-ness looks like: “A Christian is: a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which Christ loves, a voice through which Christ speaks, and a hand through which Christ helps.”

Now think about that in terms of where we have already been sent:

  • To our families
  • To our neighborhoods
  • To our workplaces
  • To our churches
  • To our communities
  • To our schools

If we saw ourselves as already sent to those places, would it affect our behavior?  Would it affect our words?  Would it affect our attitudes?

If we, in our churches, began to focus on the reality that we have already been sent, would it affect our ministries?  Is it possible that some ministries that only happen inside the church building would be scuttled in favor of ministries out among the people?

Brad Brisco shocked me last year with this thought: If all our ministries are directed toward getting people into the church – inviting them to move toward us – we are actually expecting them to live like missionaries. We can never forget that Jesus has sent us to them.

I have watched churches shrivel and move toward death with good intentions to be open, friendly, and willing to minister to anyone God sends to them.

Why would we expect God to send anyone to us if we are unwilling to fulfill our own sent-ness?

 

Resources Mentioned

Missional Church Network  

Brad Brisco – @bradbrisco_kc

Alan Hirsch

@alanhirsch

 

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music for intro)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music for outro)

 

102 – Small church pastor, this is just for you. [Podcast]

Online resources for the small church pastor

 

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcastIn this week’s episode, I’m sharing some online resources I have discovered over the past couple of years that are particularly focused on pastors and leaders of small churches.

 

 

Resources Mentioned

New Small Church

@karlvaters

200 Churches

Small Church Pastor (Dave Jacobs)

Dave Jacobs Quick Coaching Videos (Youtube channel)

 

Buy Kindle

Buy Paperback

 

How you can help me help others:

Specifically, in response to this episode, send me your helpful resources for small church pastors so that I can share them.  You can comment below or email me at contactgerrylewis@gmail.com.

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music for intro)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music for outro)

101 – Yes, a Sabbatical is possible for the small church pastor! [Podcast]

Interview with Pastor Bobby Cates

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcastIn this week’s episode I’m sharing an interview I did recently with my friend pastor Bobby Cates of Slidell’s First Baptist Church in Slidell, TX.

A few months ago, Bobby got to experience something that a lot of small church pastors never get close to and I wanted to spend some time with him to talk about it for the benefit of other small church pastors.

 

 

 

 

Key insights from this interview

“Biblical rest is intentional.”

“This is not my church. It is the Bride of Christ.”

“The best thing we can give our family is ourselves.”

 

Contacting Bobby Cates

Repenting Rebel Website

Repenting Rebel Podcast & Radio

Repenting Rebel Facebook

Repenting Rebel Twitter

Repenting Rebel Instagram

 

Slidell’s First Baptist Church Website

Slidell’s First Baptist Church Facebook

Slidell’s First Baptist Twitter

Slidell’s First Baptist Instagram

Resources Mentioned

Blinkist

Wordswag

Society for Church Consulting

 

Podcast episode with Farsi Pastor

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music for intro)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music for outro)

100 – Two tiny letters with massive impact [Podcast]

We need to master the use of the letters "N" and "O"

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. I’m back from hiatus and excited about what’s ahead.  I’m also excited to reach the amazing milestone of releasing EPISODE ONE-DADGUM-HUNDRED!

In this episode, I’m talking about the massive impact possible when we master the use of the two tiny letters “n” and “o.”

Every pastor (and most leaders) have gotten requests to add something new (program, ministry, activity, resource).  Sometimes they come in the form of, “Pastor, God has put it on my heart that our church should …

How can we respond well?

8 Principles for Responding

  1. No” should be our default answer.  Give me a reason to say, “yes.”
  2. Filter every request through your church’s mission, vision, and values.  This is your big “YES” through which all requests must pass.
  3. No” doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be done.  It means that you are not going to do it yourself, it is not going to become an official ministry of the church with people and financial resources and calendar priority.
  4. Don’t leave the impression that the door is open for the request at a later date.  “Not at this time” is not a clear response.
  5. Give people permission to do ministry and equip them with skills to fulfill their calling.  Make “equipping” a strategic priority rather than simply adding new programs and ministries.
  6. Make your mission, vision, and values so central that they become a way of thinking for your congregation.  If those things become your church’s identity, requests will not be for new things, but for ways to enhance what’s already happening.
  7. Develop strategic processes that keep your folks engaged in ministry.  Engaged and fulfilled people are not usually looking for something new.
  8. Constantly evaluate what you are doing.  The 4 Helpful Lists is a great tool.

Every “yes” requires you to say “no” to something else.  Choose wisely.

 

Every YES requires you to say NO to something else. Choose wisely. Click To Tweet

 

A Two Letter Bonus

The letters “n” and “o” are not simply used in the word “no.”  They can also be used in the word “on.”

When we understand ourselves, our strengths, our vision, and our “yes,” we then know what is “on.”

ON” ministries get full out support – financial resources, people resources, calendar priority, visibility, public celebration, passion.

 

Do you have questions about how to discover and implement your mission, vision, and values?  Or how to develop strategic processes?  Or how to move from telling and providing to training and equipping?

Send me an email and let’s talk

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music for intro)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music for outro)

099I – Are you enrolled in Auto-University? (encore)[Podcast]

Encore episode during hiatus

 

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. I’m currently on podcast hiatus until June 2, 2017 when I will be back with a brand new episode for episode 100. Between now and then, I’m releasing encore presentations of some of my favorite previous episodes. In this episode (99i) I’m going all the way back to Episode 40.

 

 

For the original show notes, please click here.

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music for intro)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music for outro)

099H – First follower (encore) [Podcast]

Encore episode during hiatus

 

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. I’m currently on podcast hiatus until June 2, 2017 when I will be back with a brand new episode for episode 100. Between now and then, I’m releasing encore presentations of some of my favorite previous episodes. In this episode (99h) I’m going all the way back to Episode 49.

 

 

For the original show notes, please click here.

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)

099G – How to avoid death by committee (encore) [Podcast]

Encore episode during hiatus

 

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. I’m currently on podcast hiatus until June 2, 2017 when I will be back with a brand new episode for episode 100. Between now and then, I’m releasing encore presentations of some of my favorite previous episodes. In this episode (99g) I’m going all the way back to Episode 33.

 

 

For the original show notes, please click here.

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)