How Your Attitude Can Lift Your Leadership

Positive Attitude sign with road background

John Maxwell set it best: “Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude”!

One of the key factors in leading a successful ministry is your attitude. Your internal thoughts , motivations, and feelings are incredibly important to your leadership ability. That is because thoughts lead to behaviors. If your internal thought life is not in harmony with God’s perspective on life, then your motivations and actions and decisions will also be out of sync with God’s desires. This, of course, will lead to problems in your church.

So guarding your thought life and attitude is key. But how to do it is the question.

You may be leading a church and someone has spoken ill of you. You may have Elders or Deacons who are trying to chase you away. There can be many ways that people will hurt you and possibly do you an injustice.

One danger area we have in life is when things go wrong, especially if we have been wronged in some way. When injustice of some sort has been done to us is a very dangerous time for our attitude. We feel hurt. And hurt people feel bitter. And bitterness will seep into our attitudes and perspectives on life. And this will impact our leadership.

Here are three ways that a bitter attitude will destroy your leadership ability:

1. You will begin to make “defensive decisions”. That is, you will not make decisions simply on the basis of what you think is right and true, but you will also begin thinking about what is the ‘safest’ decision to avoid criticism.

2. You will lose your joy in the Lord. This happens when you begin to wonder why God would let something like this happen to YOU. Afterall, you are a servant of God trying to serve God and His people. How could God let this happen to you?

3. You will begin to lose your love for people. Because someone has hurt you, you may begin to lose your capacity to reach out and care for others.

What is the solution to this negative spiral?

Scripture tells us to “guard our heart and mind in Christ Jesus”.

We do this by seeing life from God’s perspective.

We can learn a lot from the life of Joseph. Wronged by his brothers, enslaved, imprisoned for making a righteous choice, could all be factors which lead to him becoming embittered. But he did not. Why did these injustices not poison his attitude, destroy his joy, and dampen his love?

He shares the secret late in his life to his brothers as he reflects on all that befell him in life:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 NIV

And this is the key: The way to protect your attitude in the face of injustice is to rely on God’s sovereign power and love.

They may certainly be intending to harm you. Joseph’s brothers had no intention to do him well so that he might end up as second in command in Egypt. They hated him, wanted him dead, and sold him into slavery. These were evil actions. But God was still in charge. God intended it for good. He intended to save lives through the things which Joseph experienced.

And God intends to save lives through the things which you are enduring. He intends to empower you to share the love and saving grace of Jesus with many others.

Two Facts to Remember About God:

1. God is intending it for Good.
This does not mean the people who have wronged you are intending it for good. It means that God in His sovereign power is able to overrule evil and bring good out of it.

2. God wants to save people
All that God has done in sending Jesus Christ to die for the sins of humanity, is because He wants to save people. All that He is allowing you to go through is because He wants to save people.

So, when you need an attitude adjustment, ask yourself a couple of questions:

1. How can this experience make me Better, not Bitter?

2. Whom can I reach with the Good News because of what I have just been through?

Asking these two questions will protect your attitude, and guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. They will enable you to lead with wisdom and power. They will strengthen you as a pastor and a person of God.

Yours for making a church which is Well Fed & Well Led!

Dr. Bill

7 Secrets: How to Make Your Preaching Relevant

By Peter Mead

When you are planning your message, consider your relevancy strategy. When and how will you demonstrate the relevance of your message?

The Bible is relevant. We don’t need to “make it relevant,” but we do need to demonstrate how it is relevant. Here are seven quick points to consider:

1. There is a logic to the traditional Application-at-the-End strategy. Logically, we do explain the text before we can apply the text. This means that the traditional idea of taking the final few minutes to offer some applications makes sense. However …

2. There is a flaw in the traditional Application-at-the-End strategy. If people don’t feel that the message is relevant to life, then they are unlikely to listen through half an hour of distant and theoretical material in order to still be listening by the time the relevancy is demonstrated.

3. Generally look to demonstrate relevance throughout the message. As a general rule, seek to demonstrate relevance throughout the message. This would include:

A. Introduction—take the opportunity to show that you are not a Bible history lecturer, but someone who is aware of real life. Show that the message will be relevant to listeners’ lives. Point out that the passage itself is relevant. Three hits before the message has even begun!

B. Message Idea—make sure the wording of your main idea is contemporary. You can support it biblically, but word it for us, today.

C. The wording of every point—word the points “us” and “we” rather than historical labels for biblical content.

D. Explanations, Proofs and Applications throughout—traditionally called “illustrations,” make good use of contemporary experience and applicational description rather than offering lots of historical (and therefore distant) anecdotes and quotes.

E. Transitions—between each point, you can offer a glimpse of the relevance of the message again.

F. Conclusion—see point #1, above.

4. Recognize that there are exceptions to #3. If you are telling a biblical story with tension, then you probably don’t want to break that tension for an overt contemporary illustration. Know that the story will grip people if told well. And know that little asides can keep listeners subconsciously aware of the relevance of the message even as you tell the story. (For instance, a passing comment that the woman who found her lost coin texted her friends to invite them to celebrate with her won’t break the story, but will show you aren’t stuck in another world.)

Read the rest of this article here.

11 Ways to Evaluate Your Preaching and Teaching

By Chuck Lawless

The more important our work is, the more imperative it is we strive to improve. If you are a preacher or teacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you are proclaiming the most significant message in the world. Thus, those of us who do this work must be open to evaluation. Here are some ways to do so:

  1. Read good books on teaching/preaching, and compare your approach. No two people preach/teach alike, but we can learn from experienced proclaimers. Even a nugget of truth can affect our preaching/teaching in a positive way. Two books I recommend are Bryan Chappell’s Christ-Centered Preaching and Haddon Robinson’s Biblical Preaching.
  2. Enlist a preaching/teaching team to help prepare and critique your sermons or lessons. Others can help you exegete a text, consider appropriate illustrations, and determine applications for your particular audience. That same team can then evaluate each sermon or lesson when it’s delivered.
  3. Pay attention to your hearers. Are they attentive? listening? sleeping? texting? Your hearers may have a multitude of reasons not to listen well, but boredom might be one – and that issue most often lies at the feet of the speaker.
  4. Do immediate self-reflection. As soon as you finish preaching or teaching, make a few notes. What worked? What didn’t seem to work? What would you change?
  5. Record and watch. I don’t know many people who like to watch themselves preach or teach, but this approach is invaluable. After 30+ years of preaching, I still catch myself giving too little eye contact, fiddling with coins in my pocket, etc.

Read the rest of this article here.

5 Keys to Preaching Gospel-Centered Sermons

There is a difference between preaching a gospel-centered sermon and preaching a sermon with the gospel in it. Either the gospel is the sun, or it’s Saturn or one of Saturn’s moons or—worst case—Pluto. Does your sermon revolve around the work of God in the Lord Jesus? Or does Christ’s death and resurrection revolve around your sermon at a distance? And can that distance be measured in light years?

So how can you place the gospel at the center of your preaching, instead of just tacking it on somewhere near the end because you’re supposed to?

1. Apply the gospel to your life every day, throughout the day.

Do you let the significance of what Christ has done guide your interactions with others throughout the day? Do you process the ups and downs of your day in light of the cross? By the time the afternoon rolls around, have you preached the hope of a new heavens and a new earth to the morning’s disappointments? How quickly do you repent of a moment of envy, anger, lust, gossip, impatience, etc.?

How are you going to be a gospel-centered preacher if you aren’t a gospel-driven person?

I’m confronted with my need to grow in this area when I discipline my children. I sit them down to explain what they did that was sinful, why it was sinful, how it hurt another person (often a sibling) and how it is the opposite of what the Bible teaches. Often as I do this, I think to myself, I need to go through this process more often.

The more faithfully we bring the gospel to bear on our own hearts, the more it will become central to our preaching.

2. Preach against the sins and sinfulness raised in the passage.

You can’t preach the good news without the bad news, and most passages come with the shelves well stocked with the bad news. We are sinful and we can’t do a thing about it.

Preaching that is positive and encouraging, but fails to preach against sin is only telling half of the story, and will ultimately leave people wondering why they need the encouragement in the first place.

The more you can help your church to feel the weight of the bad news, the better the good news looks. So describe sin’s consequences with vividness—the consequences in this life and the life to come. Tell your church what is at stake if they continue in the sinful pattern described by the Scriptures you’re focusing on.

3. Look for the gospel-solution that is right there in the passage.

I find that pastors are usually able to find the main sin issue addressed in the passage, but often struggle at identifying the “gospel-solution” to that sin issue that is right there in the passage. The result is either neglecting to preach the gospel, or attaching the same gospel message to every sermon. (How many of your sermons end with the same “Jesus did for you what you couldn’t do for yourself” line?) A sermon with a perfunctory gospel presentation can hardly be called gospel-centered.

Read the rest of this article here.

Preaching Through Cultural Chaos

By Mark Dance

Preaching through cultural chaos is not easy. Pastors feel pressure to be tough and tender at the same time when addressing various front-page topics. This pressure is both internal and external, which can be overwhelming in times like these. Pastors and leaders often second guess whether we have said enough or too much.
Today I want to offer some encouragement and instruction from God’s Word for those who teach it regularly.

Paul instructs Titus and Timothy to recruit pastors who are not “arrogant or hot-tempered … holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to rebuke those who contradict it (Titus 1:8-9); “Say these things, and encourage and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you” (Titus 2:15).

1. Pastors Are Shepherds, Not Sociologists.

Paul’s consistent call to encourage and rebuke usually starts with encouragement.

Encouragement (parakaleo) means to comfort, console or stand alongside. Titus and Timothy were instructed to encourage their people with sound teaching, not scare them senseless.

These young pastors had to address rampant immorality, apostasy and injustices in Ephesus (Timothy) and Crete (Titus), just as you and I do today. Instead of shaking their fists at society, they focused on solving the problems inside the church—where judgement begins.

“For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household” (1 Peter 4:17).

2. Pastors Are Apologists, Not Pushovers.

If all we do is encourage our people, we have left our job half done.

Paul challenged Titus to both “encourage with sound teaching and to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9). He repeated that same instruction again in chapter two, then also brings it up to Timothy.

This apparent either/or dichotomy is false because the Gospel demands both from us and our preaching. One text can simultaneously “encourage” some and “rebuke” others. For example, whenever we encourage biblical marriage in our sermons, we are simultaneously rebuking any inferior substitutes. In the same way, we rebuke racism by living out and preaching its polar opposite.

Pastors do not need to be pushy, but neither do we need to be pushovers. Jesus authorized and commissioned us to spread, as well as to defend, the Gospel. There is no need to defend our biblical positions defensively either, because there is no lack of clarity in Scripture about most ethical issues.

Read the rest of this article here.

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