Opinion. Observation. Application.
Monthly Archives: October 2014
The cultural shift from generation to generation can be best seen in the Apostle Paul’s comments to the Greek culture of old: (Acts 17:27-28) “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in HIM we live, and move and have our being.” LIVE–MOVE–ARE: are the three different generations in any culture. In our modern culture it represents: The greatest generation–(present age 67 and above) who found their lives based in “PURPOSE” as in the accumulation of “stuff” and the providing of “stuff” for their loved ones. The baby boomer generation–(age 48 or so to 70 or so) who found their lives based in “IDENTITY” or their titles and accomplishments. (Just listen to baby boomers talk they quickly tell you either what their title is, the job they do/did, and their accomplishments). The millennial generation (official the under 35 crowd, but for purposes of what we are discussing, let’s say the under 45 or so) who found their lives based in “VALUE” or how they feel “valued” by others. The Apostle Paul addresses all the generations of the culture by saying: “You will never be completely fulfilled if you live your life for your “stuff” (the greatest generation), your “titles or accomplishments,” (the baby boomer generation), or how you are “valued” (the millennial generation). The only way to be fully fulfilled in life is by living your life for GOD! Hence, In HIM we live (value), move (find my stuff), and have my being (title and accomplishment). Further–THE DEFINITION OF SUCCESS TODAY IS SEEN IN THE “EXPERIENCE.” People enjoy the “EXPERIENCE” more than anything else. What was/is the experience like? The question people ask is: What did you think of…? How did you feel when…? Social media lights up with feelings of people’s experience. AND OH DO PEOPLE LOVE to tell of their experience! Those involved in ministry need to take a careful look on the experience your ministry provides people. The experience itself will determine whether or not people will come (or come back). People will bring other people if what they experience is positive enough to tell others about it. If your ministry isn’t experiencing growth it is because those who come feel obligated and will continue, but aren’t experiencing something that is positive enough to tell others about it with the excitement that is contagious. Can you create such a positive experience that people will bring other people? The answer is YES you can, but it will be only a temporary solution (creating a great experience), if the experience IS NOT centered in God. Ministry Leaders can run around analyzing and processing what people are experiencing when they come to my Church, and then create a better experience, but it is all man induced, man made, man created–unless–in fact–GOD ACTUALLY SHOWS UP! In the same way the Apostle Paul showed the Greeks that you can have a pile of “stuff”–and “titles and accomplishments”–and feel “valued”–BUT unless your life is God centered it is a never ending cycle of carnal effort. Plus: the actual effort in leading others in experiences has to actually start in WHAT AM I EXPERIENCING? People under your influence will never experience something you haven’t experienced first, and shared enough about it that they experience it as well. LEADERS NEED TO EXPERIENCE GOD! I have a Pastor friend who called this week with the news that his Church Work/Witness Team had a real experience with God during a two week trip. Upon their return the Team wanted to continue their spiritual experience so the Pastor created a time at 8 AM on Sunday Morning. He shared with me the time was used just to wait upon the Holy Spirit. He said the “experience has been/is spiritually impactful.” No program, no format, no liturgy–just waiting upon God. The only way to truly experience God is to wait upon HIM–not expect HIM to wait upon–or wait for us! A deeper experience with God in your ministry starts with a deeper experience with God in the Ministry Leader. So the great question is: How would you define your experience? Depending upon your answer, the solution to going deeper in an experience is to spend more time WAITING (on God).
Marceil is a follower of Anne Graham Lotz’s blog. She shared something on Facebook that I read this morning. According to Anne Lotz, Eric Metaxas, the author of the modern Bonhoeffer book, was outraged by Mayor Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston, Texas who subpoenaed the sermons of five Pastors in Houston, Texas who have supposedly targeted homosexuals in their Sunday messages. I don’t know if the thing is over blown or not, but Governor Mike Huckabee urges every Pastor to send Mayor Annise Parker their sermons. Eric Metaxas has urged every Pastor to send Mayor Parker a Bible. Years ago I was the target of a City Councilman in the City I was a Pastor. He kept sending City Inspectors to our Church location in an effort to fine us for everything: Tree branches, side walks, easements, parking lot, on and on it went. Anne Graham Lotz says “I agree with Eric Metaxas, the red line has been crossed. Persecution of God’s people has begun.” (I personally don’t think it ever stopped since the beginning of the Church). People have been persecuted all around the world for their faith. We are seeing it raise its head right here in America. What can we do right now? I’m doing what Governor Huckabee suggested. I have written Mayor Parker a nice note and packed up my sermons that are housed in 24 books I have published over the last 20 years. I am also sending it out in a priority box in a couple of hours when the Post Office opens (that is going to cost me)! I’m not saying what the best thing for you to do is or is not–because I think the “red line” that Anne Lotz talked about in her blog was crossed quite a while ago. But for Pastor Marc Royer, I say if Mayor Parker wants to look at sermons, lets all help her out! I am sending 24 books to The Honorable Mayor Annise Parker, City Hall, 901 Bagby Street, Houston, Texas, 77002 in a priority box this morning. (By the way: I even included a copy of my Dad’s sermons in the book “Honest John, Pastor Royer”–Dad has been in heaven since September of 2010, but I really think he would have wanted to be included in Mayor Parker’s desire to read sermons)!
If you have ever had to read an email “thread” this is one! A Pastor friend of mine posed a question to me yesterday morning about a dip in his attendance after the hard launch and great response from starting a new contemporary worship service. This Pastor is one of the sincerest, hard working people you will find in Christian ministry today. I asked his permission to share both his question and my answer to my Coaches Network and on my blog. You can start at the bottom and work back up, but I think you will get the idea if you just start below.
A special appreciation to all of you who labor for the Lord in connecting people with God. It is exhausting work–but with eternal results. Hebrews 12 encourages us to “run the race with perseverance, fix our eyes on Jesus, cast off everything that distracts us…..don’t lose your focus and give up.”
Blessings and Best Regards,
From: Marc Royer [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:36 AM
To: Bob Miller
Cc: David G. Roland; Marceil; email@example.com
Subject: Re: Modern Service
Bob: First of all–you had a great launch! Second, the reason I cautioned you about this issue is the drop off after an initial hard launch is normal.
Here are a couple of ideas and issues in “real time.”
I visited my old Church in Eugene, OR a few weeks ago. It had been 20 years almost to the Sunday since I had been there for a service. The guy that followed me ran a Church running 800 into the ground. I call it–“getting down to a manageable size…” BUT because 20 years ago we did a capital stewardship campaign we had the mortgage paid off. The Church was taken on by Wayne Cordiaro’s New Hope–and a Pastor about your age hard launched it 18 months ago and they are averaging 800 again! When I was in the service he introduced me as a former pastor. I give Pastor Aaron one piece of advice. This same piece of advice goes for someone as motivated and on fire for The Lord as you, Bob—I said, “Enjoy the trip.” I mean: have fun (in The Lord). Enjoy the process of it. The end game is not the statistics–the end game is the story represented in the changed lives of people. If you celebrate The Lord in changed lives, the spirit of celebration will push back the clouds of darknesses and you won’t notice the weekly dips as much because where the numerical has a tendency to dominant our thoughts, the spiritual journey will prevail.
On the practical side of things:
1. I mentioned when you started this service have the next hard launch in mind so you can start promoting it immediately. Growth begats growth (I figured this out being raised on the Old King James Version with the “begats”). The reason you always have the next thing out there is to prevent the thing you are ruminating on (the dips) from becoming discouragement.
2. Follow up…follow up…follow up.
3. Now–show them how to follow up. You have to successfully pass off the concern you have for the dips in attendance to others. The pass off in this critical area comes from your personal investment in recruiting, training, and RELEASING your follow up team members. You can’t micro-manage the attendance burden or you will burn out.
4. If you want a short cut the old timers used: Dr. Tommy Barnett; Dr. John Maxwell; Dr. Jack Hyles; Dr. Stan Toler (although Big Stan puts it in a more sophisticated way)—GIVE EVERYONE A JOB! It creates immediate ownership of your ministry.
5. Keep doing what you are doing. Find a cadence in it. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Give it time. Part of what you are feeling is also the side effects of adrenaline on your body. Adrenaline is something God created us with, but it kicks in at times and the side effects are basically toxic: A. It makes us perfectionistic thereby being to hard on others. B. It causes us to rehash old baggage we took care,of spiritually long ago. C. It can cause to self loathe, self blame and become,depressed.
How do I deal with body chemistry? 1. Spend one hour every day alone with God. 2. Spend one hour every day exercising.
6. The up side is you desire God’s Church to grow. TCRG is currently working with 150 to 200 different Pastoral Ministries. A large percentage of these haven’t come to terms with “urgency” like you have, Bob.
7. Always give it to God–keep yourself totally dependent upon God. ” I will cast all of my cares upon you. I will lay all of my burdens down at your feet. Any time I don’t know what to do, I will cast all of my cares upon you.”
Sent from my iPad
On Oct 21, 2014, at 8:32 AM, Bob Miller wrote:
Have you recovered from your coast to coast tour yet? I’m sure it was a wonderful trip.
Our 2nd service is 5 weeks old now and things are going well for the most part. The one area of concern for us is the attendance. Since our first service we have dropped to an average of around 43 people. Yes, I believe the first service was inflated in attendance because we had a lot of people there to support the first week but was hoping for some increase by now.
One of the biggest problems is the hit and miss attendance. There are several who are here a Sunday or two and gone a Sunday or two. You did tell me that would be an issue but is there a solution? Is there a NEXT STEP? By that I mean now that we are 5 weeks old, is there a next step we should be taking? A new advertising campaign, follow up campaign, etc?
Your recommendations are greatly appreciated.
Ossian Nazarene & Fireside Ministries
By Dr. Marc D. Royer
We are pleased to send to you Dr. Royer’s new book for 2015 – a study on Eternity. The End Times are knocking at our door. There has never been a greater sense of URGENCY to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Take time today to open this study. It doesn’t take long to start with “The Step Across” through a glimpse into the eternal mansions concept. Dr. Royer takes readers from the joyful Marriage Supper of the Lamb, to the somber aspects of the Great White Throne Judgment. This book answers the question asked so often: “How could a loving God send someone to hell?” This book is a compelling study and it is our pleasure to send this to you.
Also, at http://www.tcrg.org, you can now download electronic copies of some of the TCRG books at no charge. (For my computer, I downloaded a free e-reader called Calibre. – Marceil)
Dear Friends of The Christian Resource Group:
Marc and I wanted to update you on all the “stops along the way of life” that has been our joy to share since my retirement on August 1. On our first trip, we visited family in Iowa and Texas, and dear friends in Omaha. In Texas, we were privileged to stay with our son, Mitch, and his family – and attend the church where Mitch serves as a full time children’s pastor. (His adorable daughter, Fiona, has a heart like her daddy and runs through life with a smile on her face.) On our second trip, we visited dear friends and family in the Phoenix area. It is always a special time to pray together on these short visits.
We JUST returned from a 6500 mile trip. We were gone almost a full month. During that time, I was driving – so I stopped at just about every National Park and National Monument I could find along the way! (Once a teacher, always a teacher.) The most valuable aspects of our trip was our time with Christian friends in Bend and Eugene, Oregon, and in Nebraska. Times with our many friends in Oregon, Iowa, and Arizona are too private to share, but the victories and spiritual times we were honored to share with churches at North Platte and Omaha (Heritage Hill Church and time with the Coles), and at the Pastors and Mates Nebraska District Retreat will remain with us for a lifetime.
Thank you for your help and generosity in allowing us to share resources, time, prayers, and from our experiences with others.
Enjoy the new book!
Marceil Royer (along with Marc)