We occasionally have people come to us who have been living together (outside of marriage) and they want us to perform a wedding ceremony for them. What should a pastor do in that kind of situation, and what kind of policies do churches have regarding this?
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I just discovered that one of our highly visible leaders (a volunteer) doesn’t tithe, and hasn’t tithed for some time. Should I speak to the leader about this, or leave it alone? Should I have some type of policy in place regarding tithing for our leaders and workers? For our church employees? How involved should I be in setting policies for this kind of thing, in monitoring it, or should I just leave it between the individuals and God? What do other pastors do in this regard?
What wisdom tips do you have for small (growing) churches that are starting their first building program? What wisdom do you have specifically for the pastor to consider before starting and during the building process?
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Other than the Bible, what two or three books have influenced your approach to pastoring and leadership the most? Can you share a sentence or two about how each of these books influenced you? What is the key thought you received from each one?
Seven years ago, my wife and I pioneered the church we now pastor. Other ministers tell me that we have made and continue to make good progress, but I thought we’d be further along after seven years of pastoring than we actually are. My wife tells me I just need to be more patient, but I think people should be more proactive doers of the Word than what I’m seeing. If the people who considered us their home church would all attend regularly, serve faithfully, give generously, and invite others consistently, we could be so much further along and be so much more effective than we currently are. I’m thankful for where we are, but I’m also frustrated because I see all kinds of unrealized potential. Am I unrealistic in my expectations? Am I being impatient? If so, how do I handle all of this. I don’t want to “drive” the people, but I want to see them be all that God wants them to be. Help!
How does your church operate through the holidays? What kind of special events, services, or outreaches do you have? Do you typically eliminate certain services to give families more time together? What do you and your family do on a personal level to make the season special and to keep yourself rested?
As a young pastor, I’m in the process of building my staff. I’m deliberating how to fill our next staff position, and am contemplating on whether to hire from inside the church or to look outside. I’d love to get some insights from pastors on the pros and cons of hiring from within or without, and any general guidelines they use in considering and selecting people for staff positions.
As a young pastor, it’s been difficult for me when people leave our church. At times, I’ve taken it very personally when people leave, as though I have failed. In other situations, I’ve found myself getting angry at people when they leave. I don’t want to be crushed or calloused. How can I process these situations spiritually, emotionally, and even logistically when people leave the church. I have to deal with all of this internally, but I also have to continue to lead my staff and rest of the church people through these situations. Can you give me some advice on how to handle “departures” both on a personal level and as a leader?
I am curious how other pastors today are handling financial responsibilities when it comes to guest ministers. Is it the host church’s responsibility to cover all travel expenses in addition to lodging? Do churches generally receive an offering for the guest minister during each service, during certain services, or do they just provide an honorarium? Are expenses taken from the special offerings, or are they taken from the general fund of the church? In the event of conferences, does the church charge a fee for each person attending, or just receive offerings?
As a pastor, what do you experience (practically speaking) that makes your work fulfilling? What contributes to you having a great day? Also, what do you experience (practically speaking) that makes your work frustrating? What contributes to you having a really challenging day?
As a pastor, what do you find to be the most fulfilling part of your ministry? What is the most frustrating thing you experience in ministry? How do you keep the frustrating part(s) from getting you down?
I’ve heard it said that a pastor and his wife should not have friends in the church. We are young in ministry, and are trying to navigate this issue properly. My wife and I are both very social people, and I can’t imagine us being distant and aloof from the people God has called us to serve. However, we do want to avoid any pitfalls in this area. What are the pros and cons in the area of “friends in the church,” and what can other pastors share with us from their experiences?
How does one in a middle management position (associate pastor), foster friendships within the congregation and remain effective in a leadership role with those same people? When relationships develop into friendships it seems to result in a lack of respect (or less effectiveness) when I later have to function as a leader toward them. It seems to be a balancing act that I have not yet mastered. I want to be friendly, but I don’t want to minimize my effectiveness in leadership. What guidelines would you give to a staff minister who is trying to get this area right?
I’ve noticed that many people who begin in ministry do not stay in ministry long-term. If you had a young person from your church who had just finished Bible School and just accepted their first staff ministry position (at your church or somewhere else), what would be three things you would tell them that you think would help them continue in ministry for the long-haul?
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Paul not only said that all Scripture is inspired, but that it is, “…profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). He also told Timothy to, “convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). How does a pastor find the right “blend” in his preaching? I want to be positive, uplifting, and encouraging in my preaching, but I know there are times that serious issues need to be addressed. How do you address negative issues without coming across as harsh or “beating the people up?” What tips would you give a young pastor who wants to preach the whole counsel of God without coming across as condemning?
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As a pastor, I’m curious as to what other pastors do in terms of providing financial reports to the congregation. Most of the people in our church are fine to simply let our board handle all of that, but a few of the people are from church backgrounds where detailed reports are given to the congregation. How much information do most churches give out, and how/when is that information disseminated?
I’m considering joining a local ministerial alliance, and am wondering if that’s a good investment of my time. These pastors are from varying backgrounds, and I wonder if the differing beliefs will create a problem. What do other pastors have to say about the benefits and possible pitfalls of being involved with other pastors in the area?
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I’m considering hiring an immediate member of my family to be on our church staff. I’ve heard some pros and cons to this. What are some of the guidelines I should be aware of and implement to make this a success? What are the pitfalls I should watch out for? I’d love to hear from other pastors what’s worked well for them and what’s not worked so well in this regard.
How are you doing ministry different than you were ten years ago? How has your style and structure changed with time? How do you see your ministry changing in the next ten years? Do you have a succession plan in place, and if so, what is it?
It seems that the members of my church are way more inward-focused than outward-focused. Everyone enjoys good teaching and fellowship, but it’s rare that my members invite the unsaved to church or express any kind of deep concern for the lost. To be honest, I’m more teaching-oriented than evangelistic myself. What can I do to improve myself in these areas, and what can I do to help mobilize and equip my church members to become more evangelistically-minded? Are there any books, videos, or other resources that we can use for study guides? Help
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It seems that the only discipleship format out there that is working is the cell group. Is anyone doing anything different that is working? How are pastors plugging new believers into their churches and assuring that they are getting grounded in the Word and in fellowship?
Is pastoring different today than it was ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago? It seems like it is, but I’m trying to define how it’s different. Is society different? Are church members different? Are the expectations and commitment levels of people different? Can you help me understand this? Read the responses.
I recently returned a cash gift with a polite letter because it came in the same letter as a pastoral referral request for an application to a Christian school. It felt like a potential conflict of interest. I was happy to recommend the person and did so. What clear guidelines can you recommend for receiving or declining gifts/offerings in the future? Have you ever sent back or declined a gift/offering and under what terms?
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