Some would say that the financial crisis we are experiencing is the worst our generation has ever been confronted with and that we have not seen the worst of it yet.
How do we as individuals deal with it? How do we as spiritual leaders navigate it? Adam Reardon and I preached a series of messages based out of the Book of Proverbs entitled, "Financial Wisdom" at Meadowland Church in Johnsburg, IL.
Each message dealt with one of the five practical ways we are to handle the resources God gives us, whether in times of economic strength or crisis.
1. We need to check our attitude towards money matters - Proverbs 23:4-5
2. We need to deal with the debt we have accumulated - Proverbs 6:1-11
3. We need to determine a standard of living and live within it - Proverbs 30:7-9
4. We need to put God first in our finances - Proverbs 3:9-10
5. We need to practice a spirit of generosity - Proverbs 11:24-26
The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom...most of it is a father speaking into his son's life, calling him to live a skillful life, both morally and with discernment. No other time in our life do we need fatherly wisdom in regard to our finances.
Warren Wiersbe offers a excellent intro to the book of Proverbs, "We're living in the 'information age,' but we certainly aren't living in the 'age of wisdom.' Many people who are wizards with their computers seem to be amateurs when it comes to making a success out of their lives. Computers can store data and obey signals, but they can't give us the ability to use that knowledge wisely. What's needed today is wisdom. The Book of Proverbs is about godly wisdom, how to get it and how to use it. It's about priorities and principles, not get-rich-quick schemes or success formulas. It tells you, not how to make a living, but how to be skillful in the lost art of making a life."
At the end of this series of messages we asked the church to make a 90 day commitment of putting God first in their finances through bringing the first 10% of their income to the church. We asked them to live out the principle of "first-fruits" giving by bringing it to the primary place where they receive spiritual care.
In the first 30 days of this 90 day adventure the church's average weekly offering has gone from $2485 a week to $5015 a week. We are anticipating many "God stories" to come out of those who are putting God first in their financial life.
Are you considering planting or launching a new church? The FirstSteps Seminar is an indispensable training event for being equipped and equipping others. Twelve hours of interactive training that is incredibly help in understanding a multitude of issues that all new church planters face. FirstSteps offers the nuts and bolts of church planting in an interactive and inspiring atmosphere. A valuable tool for anyone serious about planting strong, mission driven churches.
NEW - FirstSteps Coaching Track Offered. We are now offering a NEW track at our FirstSteps for Planting a Missional Church seminars! It is an additional Coaching track for those actively involved in coaching or supervising church planters. It involves five hours of additional coaching training built around the FirstSteps training specifically designed for those who coach church planters at NO additional cost! Yes, at NO ADDITIONAL COST. Just sign up for the FirstSteps Seminar and mention your interest in the coaching track.
One of the differences between a follower and a leader is that a leader knows what the next steps are for their organization. Even if they don't know what the actual next steps are they will relentlessly search for ideas, advice and counsel to get their organization to the next level. NextSteps For Leading a Missional Church is designed for any church leader who embraces the missional lifestyle. It offers ideas and tools to build healthy church systems that allow the church to actualize its values and achieve its mission.
Milwaukee Area - May 19-20 - Sign up here - Hosted by Converge MidAmerica
Chicago Area - August 27-28 - Sign up here - Hosted by ChurchSmart Resources
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FirstSteps Online Training Program
The FirstSteps Network is designed to help church planters and coaches minimize their mistakes. In some cases mistakes made in the first six months of a church plant can take up to six years to fix.
FirstSteps Network is a learning community. Every time we start a church we learn something new. Files and cutting-edge samples will be uploaded weekly to the Network from church planters all over North America and beyond.
Created out of the extensive planting and coaching experience of Gary Rohrmayer. Gary has been a church planter intern, pioneer planter, parent church pastor, church planting coach, denominational leader and national trainer. You name it... Gary's done it in church planting over the last 20 years. His friend Tom Nebel writes,
I have known Gary for fifteen years as we have both been involved in the starting of new churches, and I have continually been impressed with his leadership, character, vision, and competence in the work of seeing new churches begin and expand. Over time I have seen Gary develop into a fine mentor and coach of new church planters and seasoned pastors. In fact, it would not be hyperbolic to state that Gary is one of the finest ministry coaches I have ever seen. His experience, natural intuition, and dedication to seeing church planters succeed so God's Kingdom might advance has rescued many, many church planters.
FirstSteps offers three unique ways to serve you.
FirstSteps is a source of creative ideas for planters and coaches. These fresh ideas and cutting edge samples come right from the frontline of church planting.
FirstSteps is an encyclopedia of church planting knowledge. With the easy reference tool you can find a number of stand alone topics related to church planting, church health and leadership development. Each subject is integrated with CoachNet Resources.
FirstSteps offers step-by-step process through the stages of planting a missional church. The topics are linked in sequential order so the church planter can move through each stage without missing a step or critical issue.
I would like to join FirstSteps!I understand that a year of CoachNet is included with my FirstSteps Network membership. Current memberships will be extended by 365 days.
In Bob Dylan's classic song The Times They Are A-Changin' he makes a poetic call to embrace change; it is "sink or swim".
Come gather 'round people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You'll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you Is worth savin' Then you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin'. HT
Change is rapidly hitting all sectors of life...economic, political and spiritual. How are you responding to the changes all around you? And how are you leading your people through the changes facing all of them?
1. The entrenched. Denial and/or "action frenzy" are the initial responses of people who are entrenched, according to Bunker. They tend to focus on riding out the change, but feel anxious and angry. They blame the organization for messing up what was working. The entrenched avoid taking risks but will continue to work hard.
Leadership Tip - To get through a tough transition, the entrenched need carefully paced learning activities, a safe place to test the new things they are learning, job opportunities that are developmental, and encouragement along with their feedback. Guide, push, but don't throw them into too-big roles too soon.
2. The overwhelmed. Bunker says the first signs that someone is overwhelmed are withdrawal and immobilization. People in this group often report feeling depressed and powerless. Because they are spending most of their energy trying not to think too much about what is happening, they have sincere difficulty learning what is needed to survive in the new environment. Their negative mindset can become infectious and inhibit the learning of others.
Leadership Tip - The overwhelmed need to be developed in place, rather than rushed toward empowerment or a major job change. They need support from superiors and peers who can, in effect, calm the waters.
3. The poser. False bravado is the initial reaction of the poser. People in this group express a high level of confidence about handling any change they encounter and are always eager to move on. "Unfortunately, their competence and self-awareness fail to keep pace with their bravado and self-promotion," says Bunker. "They jockey for positions of influence and recognition, but do not learn well and may lead the organization in the wrong direction."
Leadership Tip - The posers, who overestimate strengths and underestimate weaknesses, need regular, objective and accurate feedback, and they need to focus on development rather than taking action. Be careful not to rely on posers for key roles or to overload teams with posers.
4. The learner. Learners feel challenged and stretched, but in control of their destinies, says Bunker. In most organizations, these individuals tend to be at the center of the action as change unfolds. They look for opportunities in ambiguous and difficult situations and bounce back in the face of adversity. They seek to fill in gaps in their own development and need high-impact developmental assignments. They should also be rewarded and supported for being key players in the transition process.
Leadership Tip - If there is a risk associated with this group, it is the potential for burnout. Leadership may place excessive demands on them. Be sure to provide some relief from the expectation that they fill so many critical roles. HT
Leading through changing times is tough! It involves care for those you are leading, courageous decision making and confidence in God's providence. Joshua was a young leader who faced changing times and found the courage to lead not in himself but in the providence, promises and presence of God.
"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:6-9)