Church Policies and Procedures Bring Freedom – Part 2

By Raul Rivera, CEO of StartChurch.com

God’s response to a frustrated prophet

In Habakkuk chapter 1, the prophet registered a complaint with the Lord.  He was concerned about the way God’s enemies were triumphing over the righteous because the righteous had no leadership.  The Word of the Lord came back to the prophet, and the Lord required Habakkuk to put into writing the answer (Chapter 2:2).  He was told to make it plain so that those who were in charge of dissemination would be empowered to carry out the details of the revelation.  What did he write?  The vision is revealed all throughout chapter two.  It was a set of policies that steered the nation back to a path of righteousness.  Established policies create consistency and consistency promotes faithfulness. 

Pastor, let me ask you a couple of questions.  Do you have any written policies that guide the church?   Do you have the following policies?

  • Church property use policy
  • Cell phone use policy
  • Budget policy

My frustrated friend

My friend admired his pastor and wanted to make sure he served faithfully, but it was difficult to do it with joy, when the church had no clear policies to make decisions on projects and no real spending budget.  All decisions had to be made by the pastor, and if changes were necessary then those, too, had to be brought to the pastor…but the pastor would often forget the decisions he made.  Oftentimes, weeks would pass by and then the pastor would get upset over money that had been spent or the way something was being done, even though those serving in the various departments were merely carrying out the pastor’s previously rendered decisions.  Understandably, this recurring issue had been a point of frustration not only to my friend but also to many on the staff.  My friend wanted to help his pastor by asking him what and how he wanted to lead and then creating policies for all to follow, but he couldn’t.  The pastor said he did not want to submit himself to written policies.  He wanted to make decisions as they came.  Hence, why the ceiling above my friend’s head was too low.

“Policies not only help to set the vision, but they free those who serve under you.”

God has entrusted you with a vision

As Pastors and ministry leaders, God has entrusted you with a vision. But having the vision and living the vision is two different things. Having the right policies in place gives the vision clarity so others can read it and run with it. While the process of developing your polices does not sound that exciting, building a foundation upon which vision can be built does.

Source: StartChurch.com - 04/22/2014

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Church Policies and Procedures Bring Freedom – Part 1

By Raul Rivera, CEO of StartChurch.com

Leading a church requires a pastor to have vision, compassion and above all, a humble heart that is willing to hear the Lord.  Often times a disconnect occurs between the pastor and the core team of the church.  It is very frustrating, because the pastor knows where he wants to go, while the leadership believes he is not sure where he is going.  It is here where I would like to propose an answer to this gap between the pastor and the leadership team.

Leadership requires giving forethought to everyday activities and preparing written policies to ensure a consistent performance of those activities.  Why?  Because, without established polices, those that serve within the leadership of the church lack the tools necessary to carry out the vision of the pastor.  That is often the failing point of many ministries.

Source: StartChurch.com - 04/22/2014

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Time to Suit Up

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  - Ephesians 6:11, NLT

Let’s be honest.  Most men don’t do well with vague invitations.  We seldom volunteer based on suggestions. We want to be called out. We want a reason, a cause, and a purpose for which we can pour out our lives.  The invitation to “suit up” represents someone who knows us deciding to depend on us.   There’s implied honor in such an order.  There’s even more honor in the command to “put on all of God’s armor.”

God gives us the equipment to “stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”  Life may seem like a game at times, but it is a deadly and eternal war.  God gives us daily what we need to stand with Him.  How much armor are you wearing now?

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Be Grateful

No matter what you are going through today, find a reason to BE GRATEFUL.  As long as you have breath, God has a purpose and a plan for YOU.  God is at work IN you to do a work THROUGH you!

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Happy Resurrection Sunday

He-Is-RisenMy family and I would like to wish you and your family a Happy Resurrection Sunday. Perhaps you don’t quite understand what Resurrection Sunday means.  We would be honored to talk with you about what Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday are about and how it affects all of us, including you!  I would also encourage you this morning to take your family to a Bible-based church to hear the true Easter story.  I promise you it will be time well spent.

Go and be blessed,
Ken, Elaine, and Nathan

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Make a Commitment to Biblical Conflict Resolution

As people reconciled to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are called to respond to conflict in a way that is remarkably different from the way the world deals with conflict.1 We also believe that conflict provides opportunities to glorify God, serve other people, and grow to be like Christ.2 Therefore, in response to God’s love and in reliance on his grace, we commit ourselves to respond to conflict according to the following principles:

Glorify God — Instead of focusing on our own desires or dwelling on what others may do, we will rejoice in the Lord and bring him praise by depending on his forgiveness, wisdom, power, and love, as we seek to faithfully obey his commands and maintain a loving, merciful, and forgiving attitude.As people reconciled to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are called to respond to conflict in a way that is remarkably different from the way the world deals with conflict.1 We also believe that conflict provides opportunities to glorify God, serve other people, and grow to be like Christ.2 Therefore, in response to God’s love and in reliance on his grace, we commit ourselves to respond to conflict according to the following principles:

Get the Log out of Your Eye — Instead of blaming others for a conflict or resisting correction, we will trust in God’s mercy and take responsibility for our own contribution to conflicts—confessing our sins to those we have wronged, asking God to help us change any attitudes and habits that lead to conflict, and seeking to repair any harm we have caused.4

Gently Restore — Instead of pretending that conflict doesn’t exist or talking about others behind their backs, we will overlook minor offenses or we will talk personally and graciously with those whose offenses seem too serious to overlook, seeking to restore them rather than condemn them. When a conflict with a Christian brother or sister cannot be resolved in private, we will ask others in the body of Christ to help us settle the matter in a biblical manner.5

Go and Be Reconciled — Instead of accepting premature compromise or allowing relationships to wither, we will actively pursue genuine peace and reconciliation—forgiving others as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven us, and seeking just and mutually beneficial solutions to our differences.6

By God’s grace, we will apply these principles as a matter of stewardship, realizing that conflict is an assignment, not an accident. We will remember that success in God’s eyes is not a matter of specific results, but of faithful, dependent obedience. And we will pray that our service as peacemakers will bring praise to our Lord and lead others to know His infinite love.7

1 Matt. 5:9; Luke 6:27-36; Gal. 5:19-26.
2 Rom. 8:28-29; 1 Cor. 10:31-11:1; James 1:2-4.
3 Ps. 37:1-6; Mark 11:25; John 14:15; Rom. 12:17-21; 1 Cor. 10:31; Phil. 4:2-9; Col. 3:1-4; James 3:17-18; 4:1-3; 1 Peter 2:12.
4 Prov. 28:13; Matt. 7:3-5; Luke 19:8; Col. 3:5-14; 1 John 1:8-9.
5 Prov. 19:11; Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 6:1-8; Gal. 6:1-2; Eph. 4:29; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; James 5:9.
6 Matt. 5:23-24; 6:12; 7:12; Eph. 4:1-3, 32; Phil. 2:3-4.
7 Matt. 25:14-21; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:18; 1 Peter 2:19; 4:19.

Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict. © 1997, 2003 by Ken Sande. All Rights Reserved.

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Appreciate Your Volunteers

Churches and ministries are fueled by their volunteers.  Imagine what would happen this coming weekend if all your volunteers decided not to show up to serve.

People in general, but especially those who volunteer, gravitate towards where they are appreciated and valued.  If you are a church leader and are not taking the time to 1.) understand what your volunteers do and the impact they have on the church, and 2.) tell your volunteers that you value the contribution they make to the church, don’t be shocked or surprised when they drift away from serving.

If you truly appreciate your volunteers, find some new ways to tell and show them.

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Truth

The truth sometimes stings, but our reaction to the truth shows what we are truly made of – our true character and whether or not we are a person of integrity. We can deny the charges and destroy evidence of our misdeeds, or we can take the truth humbly to heart and let it change us. Which will you choose today?

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Obstacles Versus Opportunities

Obstacles have the ability to take us out of contention, but we also have the opportunity to rise above them. We can cry, complain, and live in misery because of our struggles. Or we can react like Joseph in Genesis 50, allowing God, in His timing, to bring something good out of our circumstances. Are you allowing God to help you land on your feet?

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. – Genesis 50:20, NLT

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The Responsible Leader

Leading God’s people is a privilege and a responsibility. Through the Book of Zephaniah, God rebuked the leadership in Jerusalem because of their callous disobedience, irresponsibility, and sin. If you are in leadership, consider yourself in a privileged position, but be careful. God holds you responsible for the purity of your actions, the quality of your example, and the truth of your words. Don’t let pride take root and make you unable or unwilling to let God work in your life.

Zephaniah 3:1-20

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16 Habits of the Financially Successful Church

No matter if you are a company, church, not-for-profit ministry, or family of four, many of the good_habitsfinancially successful all have certain habits in common with each other. Here is a list of the top 16 key habits of the financially successful.

1. They establish and follow a budget.

Being able to plan ahead for your financial needs and setting limits on certain spending types will always result in better results in the long run. Anyone can make a budget, but staying disciplined enough to follow it is the challenge for some.

2. They keep their monthly expenses to a minimum.

Along with making and keeping that budget, they also evaluate their monthly expenses and reduce them if possible. By avoiding unnecessary spending they allow a larger portion of their income to go towards an emergency fund and long-term projects.

3. They are willing to learn.

The financially successful follow current financial trends and are not afraid to increase their knowledge so that they are able to make the right decisions when it comes to managing finances.

4. They focus on the long-term goals not just short-term experiences.

Those enjoying financial success today did not start planning for it yesterday. Being able to think about long-term financial goals while dealing with today’s fiscal circumstances is a key habit to practice if you want to achieve financial success.

5. They make savings a priority.

Simple math will tell you that if you save money now, you will end up with a more financially secure future in the event of economic downturns. Many of the most successful today share the same habit of always putting some of their income aside in savings.

6. They do not compare themselves to others.

Simply put, the financially successful are not interested in “keeping up with the Joneses.” They do not waste time, energy or money by looking at what others have and trying to have that too. They keep focused on their own goals and their own financial abilities.

7. They eliminate and avoid debt.

Financial success can be easily achieved when there is no debt to stand in your way. While it is not always easy or fun, it should be a top priority to try to eliminate as much debt as possible.

8. They control impulse spending.

Is this a need or a want? Some struggle with sudden impulses to buy something they want, but do not necessarily need. The difference between some people and those that enjoy financial success is the ability to control these impulses.

9. They are careful when making decisions.

Those who have found success with money usually have this same habit in common. They rarely make quick decisions without giving the situation thorough thought and planning. They take the time needed to research the possibilities, pay attention to current circumstances, and focus on what’s really important. They take whatever time is needed to be able to make informed, calculated and logical decisions.

10. They track their spending.

Those who flourish financially usually do so because they are keenly aware of exactly who and how much they owe, the interest rates on each debt, and the extra costs associated with those debts. By tracking and staying aware of each of your debts, you will be able to better focus on which to pay off faster and which can wait a little longer.

11. They live within their means.

To remain financially successful always live within your means. Evaluate your expenses to eliminate what is unnecessary and constantly make adjustments to your budget when possible.

12. They set goals.

Most people would agree that the the most financially successful companies, churches, and families in the world started setting goals for themselves early and continued to set new goals when the old ones were achieved.

13. They don’t procrastinate.

They do not ignore debts hoping they will go away, nor do they put them off until later only to accrue unnecessary additional fees or interest. They pay their bills and other debts on time every time.

14. They work with trusted advisers.

Even the smartest and most successful in the world still rely on the assistance of others. They are not afraid to seek and implement the advice from other people who specialize in certain areas.

15. They are patient.

Rarely does a company, church, not-for-profit, or family become financially successful overnight. More often, that success comes from years of hard work and dedication. The ultimate habit to have in order to accomplish this feat is simply patience.

16. They learn from past mistakes.

Making mistakes with money is a common occurrence in life. Those who ultimately achieve financial success in life not only make those mistakes, but more importantly, they learn from them.

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Surefooted Confidence

Remember that God gives His followers surefooted confidence through difficult times. At the proper time, God will bring about His justice. In the meantime, God’s people need to live in the strength of His Spirit, confident in His ultimate victory. Take your eyes off of your difficulties and look to God.

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The Downward Spiral of Defiance

by Charles Swindoll

Defiance begins with carnal attitudes. Long before there are carnal actions, there are carnal attitudes. Here are some actual thoughts in the minds of a defiant person:

The first thought says: “I want my way!” Those who are defiant aren’t interested in anyone’s way but their own – not even God’s way. That is an attitude of selfishness.

The second thought says this: “I won’t quit until I get what I want.” That is an attitude of stubbornness. “I want my way, and I want it when I want it. I will not quit until I get it.” That’s just plain obstinacy and stubbornness.

Third: “I don’t care who it hurts.” In other words, “I want my way. I won’t quit until I get it, and I don’t care who it hurts—husband, wife, peers, parents, kids, the team, my church—I don’t care. I’m going to get my way.” That is an attitude of indifference.

Fourth: “I refuse to listen to counsel.” I don’t care what the Bible says or my peers say. That is an attitude of resistance.

Fifth, and finally: “I am not concerned about the consequences.” That’s contempt. Pushed to the wall, this extreme reaction includes ignoring the consequences—a total lack of concern for the results.

“I want my own way. I won’t quit until I get it. I don’t care who it hurts. I will not listen to counsel. I am not concerned about the consequences.” Those are the words of a defiant person. And regrettably they can come from the lips of a follower of Christ just as readily as from a person without Christ. The defiant person represents selfishness, stubbornness, indifference, resistance, and contempt.

Those are dangerous words. If they are there in your head, you’re on a powder keg that’s going to explode. I ask you to find the hope of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. He is there, and He awaits your turning all that turmoil over to Him. The longer it boils, the more lethal it could become.

For the LORD sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness. – Proverbs 5:21–23

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Fix Your Thoughts

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. – Philippians 4:8, NLT

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Beautiful Facades

In the Bible, in Nahum 3:1-10, we see Nineveh had used her beauty, prestige, and charisma to seduce other nations. She had enticed them into false friendships. Then when the other nations relaxed, thinking Assyria was a friend, Assyria destroyed and plundered them. Beautiful and impressive on the outside, Nineveh was vicious and deceitful on the inside.

Beneath many beautiful facades lies seduction and moral decay. Don’t let an attractive institution, movement, or person seduce you into compromising your principles and integrity. Ask God for the wisdom to stand for truth.

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Church and Ministry Development