1-3-5-The Better Church
Moses said to the Lord, “May the Lord, the God of the spirits of all mankind appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
Moses asked God to appoint a leader who was capable of directing both external and internal affairs-who would also care for their needs. The best leaders are both goal-oriented and people-oriented.
Moses gave him a variety of tasks to ease the transition into his new position. His display of confidence in Joshua was good for both, Joshua and the people. To minimize Leadership gaps, anyone in leadership position should train others to carry on the duties should he or she suddenly or eventually have to leave. While you have the opportunity, follow Moses pattern: pray, select, develop and commission.
From the appointment of Joshua as his successor to the taking of a new census, Moses demonstrated consistency in following God, Leaders today can learn from his example.
Two great problems in serving others are both problems of human nature, of focusing on our relationship with people instead of our relationship with Christ. The first problem is that people will expect too much of you; and the second, you will expect too much of them. Both of these problems are problems of unrealistic expectations. Expectations must be focused on Christ, not each other. He is the only One who will consistently not let us down.
The milk of human sympathy will undernourish your soul. No amount of human gratitude will properly compensate your effort to improve the human condition. When we focus on serving the person, we are inevitably disappointed. And what’s more, we will disappoint them. Serving people for the sake of their gratitude is a guaranteed formula for disappointment. Just when you begin to feel good about your labors, someone lets you down. Or, more likely, someone will expect too much from you and accuse you of letting them down. Either way, your destiny is to be terribly discouraged….
The key is the personal relationship with Christ. The focus must not be on serving others or on being served.
The focus must be on Jesus, on becoming so absorbed in the relationship with Him that every other thing is a response to our relationship. We don’t serve men; we serve God. Have no expectations of men. Focus on the personal relationship with Him, and there will be an overflow available for others.
Look to Christ alone for gratitude. If you serve Christ, then you will remember to look to Him for your approval, not to the milk of human sympathy. He will reward you for serving others; in fact, He is the reward.
When someone feels you let them down, you can surrender that relationship to Christ. You are serving Him only; He will give you the strength to serve that person more. You may want to flee from the ingratitude – the insatiable demands of other people – but Christ will empower you to be a servant if you take on His attitude. It can only come by devotion to the personal relationship.
The personal relationship with Christ is the oasis in the desert of human relations. When people begin to wear you down, let it remind you that you are not in the overflow. It is time to drink of Christ.
(From Walking with Christ in the Details of Life by Patrick Morley)
Take a motivation inventory. Do you serve others for the praise you receive or for the pleasure of serving Christ? When you have an opportunity to serve, ask God to help you have the right motives. Ask yourself: Why would I do this?
What hardships would Moses successor likely face? How would anointing a successor before Moses dies help to avoid these problems?
Who was your “Moses”? What problems arose when “Joshua” succeeded that person as your spiritual leader? How could those problems have been avoided using this passage?
For whom are you a “Moses” or a “Joshua”? How will you prepare for “the inevitable”?
“If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, ‘let us follow other gods’ (gods you have known) ‘and let us worship them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
New ideas from inspiring people may sound good, but we must judge them by whether or not they are consistent with God’s Word. When people claim to speak for God today check them in these areas: Are they telling the truth? Is their focus on God? Are their words consistent with what you already know to be true?
The temptation to abandon God’s commands often sneaks up on us. It may come not with a loud shout but in a whispering doubt. And whispers can be very persuasive, especially if they come from loved ones by pouring out our hearts to God in prayer and by diligently studying his Word.
How does falsehood among religious teachers, family members, or a whole community apply today? Is one a source danger for you? How so? What can you do about it?
Human nature begs to construct a picture of what we think God is like, a kind of spiritual box we can fit Him into. We want a fix on God. The how-to formulas are actually comforting – tangible evidence that things will work out the way we want them to.
The kind of disappointment or letdown that jars our faith, though, also causes the walls of that box to dissolve. The spiritual territory here is uncharted and sometimes frightening. Perhaps you took a wrong turn to arrive at such a place. You don’t know what else lurks in the darkness. As one friend said, “Suddenly, I realized that if the thing I feared had happened, then almost anything else was possible, too. I no longer felt safe.”
Can’t I just return to the days when faith seemed sure and simple? Can’t I just go back to where I was? These are natural questions to ask. We long for a Bible study or spiritual retreat or earnest effort or something that promises that old certainty. We long for faith to lose its tentative feel- to cease to feel like faith.
There is no going back, though. Our manageable belief system no longer works so well. The walls of the box begin to crumble. God often seems strangely absent, as though He has left us on our own to sort things out. Yet, in reality, what we are experiencing is this pain and confusion of letting go, not of God, but of the safe, secure, confines we built to house our concept of Him. God is not a concept to be mastered, a set of prescriptions we can control. He shows Himself to be more loving, more exacting, more faithful.
(From The Cleavers Don’t Live Here Anymore by Paula Rinehart)
Do you have a major decision or important step of faith to take? What role have you let God play? Pray today that barriers to God’s will in your life will be torn down. Be open to God’s plan for you.
God became a human being.
Read John 1:1-18.
Leaving his heavenly home, Jesus put on human flesh to bring us God’s Good News.
It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment…. that was like none other. For through that segment of time a spectacular thing occurred. God became a man. While the creatures of earth walked unaware, Divinity arrived. Heaven opened herself and paced her most precious one in a human womb….
God as a fetus. Holiness sleeping in a womb. The creator of life being created.
God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys, and a spleen. He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of his mother.
God had come near….
The hands that first held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty.
No silk. No ivory, No hype. No party. No hoopla.
Were it not for the shepherds, there would have been no reception. And were it not for a group of star-gazers, there would have been no gifts….
For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt. He felt weak. He grew weary. He was afraid of failure. He was susceptible to wooing women. He got colds, burped, and had body odor. His feelings got hurt. His feet got tired. And his head ached.
To think of Jesus in such a light is – well, it seems almost irreverent, doesn’t it? It’s not something we like to do; it’s uncomfortable. It is much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation. He’s easier to stomach that way….
But don’t do it. For heaven’s sake, don’t. Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out.
(From God Came Near by Max Lucado)
If people want to know what God is like, they can look at Jesus. If they want to know what Jesus is like, they should be able to look at his followers. Can people see Christ in you?
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. – John 1:5
Jesus, as our bodies grow old and feeble, give our sould strength, so that we can show Your light.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1
Whenever you feel yourself sinking because of broken promises or impacted by a sudden, jarring change, “The Word of Our God shall stand Forever” Isaiah 40:8. bring these words back as truth that can’t be changed.
Lord, in all the changes and chances of my life, You and Your Word are solid rock.
Character is what we truly are, compared with what we seem to be. You can appear to be generous even when your heart is that of a skinflint.
Character is different from piety. By piety, I mean a personal relationship with God. By character; I mean the quality of the person.. Even so, they are certainly inseparable; God is quite interested in character, and there is something wrong if a pious person does not have a good moral character….
When considering what makes for good moral character, the word virtue comes to mind. The ancient Greeks used the word to mean excellence.” I would like to consider the classic definition of virtue as part of our description of character.
In the Greek cardinal virtues – four things that you should never leave home without. The first is discernment. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by God’s will for you.
The second virtue is courage. It is the power to do well when the air is turbulent and the going gets tough, when life is tempting.
Temperance is the third virtue. A temperate person gives control to God, and in turn accepts what God gives him/her.
The fourth virtue is justice. The person of justice determines always to be fair, and does not treat one person differently from another,
In the long run, God will not ask how happy you were. He will ask, What sort of person were you?
(From “Basic Moral Characteristics” by Lewis Smedes)
God evaluates both motives and actions. Individuals’ inner heart attitudes, such as need to control your life and others, will eventually be revealed no matter what outward disguise they use. Which of these virtues do you most want to develop? Commit yourself during the next month to develop that virtue. Write a note to remind yourself of this goal. Put it on your mirror, in your purse, or wheelchair. Think about ways to develop virtue in your life.
The Better Church
No church is easy to manage. It is subject to all the problems that beset small organizations plus those that can, and often do, arise when people try to work together.
The questions in this checklist are designed to help church leaders view the management practices of their church. The comments that follow each question are intended to stimulate thought rather than to include the many and various aspects suggested by the questions.
1. Is leader’s time used on high-priority tasks? Yes No
It should not be dribbled away in routine tasks that can be done as well, if not better, by others. You may want to run a check on how your time is used by keeping a log for the next several weeks. Then review your notes and note areas for improvement. You may want to ask your key personnel to run the same sort of check on their time.
2. Do you set goals and objectives? Yes No
Goals should be specific, realistic, measurable, time-phased, and written.
3. Do you have written policies. Yes No
4. Is planning done to achieve these goals and objectives? YesNo
In a sense, planning is forecasting. If there are key trainees who can provide input into the planning, ask them to become involved in it.
5. Do you test or check the realty of your goals and plans with others? Yes No
Outside advisers may spot “bugs” that you and your people did not catch in the press of working through the details of goal setting and planning.
6. Are operations reviewed on a regular basis? Yes No
Determine the frequency of your reviews and place a tickler on your calendar to remind you of these review dates.
7. Is your leadership reviewed regularly with the objective of improving it? Yes No
8. Do you ask outside advisers for their opinions and suggestions on theology and procedures? Yes No
Outside persons, of leaders and management personnel from other religious personnel, can help you see the facts about your theology and operating procedures. They can provide the fresh viewpoint of persons who are not so involved as you and your key personnel. Board members can make valuable contributions.
9. Are reach-out and evangilization policies reviewed periodically? Yes No
The best church in the world can run into trouble if reach-out and evangilization policies are not right for it. Periodic checks can help you to be aware of changes that may be taking place. Can you still meet the requirements of your members by using your traditional approaches.
10. Are there periodic reviews of financial reports? Yes No
11. Do you have an organization chart? Yes No
12. Do you use job descriptions for your key personnel? Yes No
Provides a clear understanding of what is to be done and by whom, when volunteers are involved. Spelling out duties may not prevent conflicts between you and others, but such detail can help you resolve misunderstandings, if and when they occur. In addition when and if a key person leaves the job description is a helpful tool in recruiting and training a replacement.
13. Do you periodically compare performance of key personnel with their job description? Yes No
Periodic performance checks, helps your key personnel to be efficient. It also helps to pinpoint weak spots for you and them to work in for improvement.
14. Do you provide opportunities for key personnel to grow? Yes No
Your aim should be to help key personnel stay alert to knew and more efficient ways to do things. Rotating job assignments is a way to make key personnel aware of the problems their counterparts face.
15. Do you face the issue when key personnel stop growing? Yes No
It may be the result of not matching personnel and the job.
16. Are there policies and plans for motivating staff? Yes No
Your aim should be to help key personnel stay alert to know and more efficient ways to do things. Rotating job assignments is a way to make key personnel aware of the problems their counterparts face.
17. Is there lack of communication among key personnel? Yes No
Do key personnel refrain from expressing disagreement with you?
18. Do your plans include self-development projects for yourself? Yes No
19. Are there plans for succession in the event of the untimely death of a key person? Yes No
20. Have you had a spiritual retreat recently? Yes No
Many people these days are accepting Christianity as an explanation of life, but they’re not willing to accept it as a way of life…. Christ calls us not only to accept an explanation, but to practice a way. That’s tougher.
For one thing, it means meshing your life as closely as possible with other believers. No snobbery. No privileges. All together, sharing the same ideas, the same friends, and the same practices.
One of the young wives in our church was talking to me recently. She said, “Jerry and I have been praying over the passage that says if you have two coats, to give to him who has none. We discovered that we’re now over the median income of our church members, so we’re two-coat people, and that gives us responsibility of caring for others.”
I said to her, “Do you remember, Linda, several years ago when Jerry was going through seminary, you were the no-coat ones; and how often believers would lovingly slip you money, or put a bag of groceries in the back door?”
She said, “And now that it’s the other way, we’ve upped our church giving, and we’re also looking for the ones who need our help.
She named a single mother raising teenagers; and she told gleefully about a sneaky plan to meet one of her needs anonymously. I couldn’t help being tickled because she was so tickled.
Sharing in the family of God is a sure sign of authenticity. I love it when we get so comfortable with each other that we can think, “I do believe Sharon would look better in this sweater than I do; I think I’ll offer it to her!” It’s not a matter of charity as we now use the word – it’s not who’s richer and who’s poorer; it’s charity in its old usage – just pure love in the Body!
From Discipling One Another by Anne Ortland.
We should help others live life, even if by doing so we receive no direct benefit. Look for someone today with whom you can share some of your resources in Jesus’ name.
Records – How Long to Hold On
Bank reconciliations-1 Year
Bank statements and deposit slips-3 years
Chart of Accounts-Indefinitely
Checks-canceled-payroll and general-7 years
Expense reports-5 years
Financial statements-end of year-Indefinitely
Vouchers-for payments to vendors, etc-8 years
Corporate Bylaws, charter, minute books-Indefinitely
General Coirrespondence-1 year
Legal and Tax-Indefinitely
Insurance Policies-4 years
Employment applicaations-3 years
Purchase orders-3 years
The following seven-step approach to better decision making can be used to study nearly all problems faced.
1. State the Problem
A problem first must exist and be recognized. What is the problem and why is it a problem? What is ideal and how do current operations vary from the ideal? Identify the symptoms (what is going wrong) and the causes (why is it going wrong). Try to define all terms, concepts, variables, and relationships.
2. Define the Objectives.
Which objectives are the most critical?
3, Decide what methods are going to be used, what kinds of information are needed and how and where the information is to be found.
What are the assumptions (facts assumed to be correct) of the study? What are the criteria used to judge the study? What time, budget, or other constraints are there?
4. Collect and Analyze the Data.
What does the data reveal? What facts, patterns, and trends can be seen in the data?
5. Generate Alternate Solutions.
Rank them in order of their net benefits.
6. Develop an Action Plan and Implement.
Select the best solution to the problem but be certain to understand clearly why it is best, that is how it achieve the objectives. Then develop an effective method (action plan) to implement the solution.
7. Evaluate, obtain Feedback, and Monitor.
“Who am I?” is not simply a question asked by adolescents searching for their identity. It is a question we all ask ourselves throughout our lives.
Our response to that question includes how we view ourselves and how others view us. We are influenced by the ways in which our parents, our friends, and our colleagues or peer’s see us. Their comments and opinions are informative. But their accuracy depends on how much we reveal ourselves to them. Few of us walk around with all of our walls down. Few of us allow others to see both our public selves and our private selves. Many of us act one way in public (out in the open), and differently by ourselves (or within the walls of our homes).
Our society in the 1980s and 1990s had been obsessed with the idea of introspection. The self-awareness field extends from scientific analytical personality profiles to discovering our colors. Self-discovery can be a fulfilling experience. But it can also be scary. What happens if we look inward and we don’t like what we find? The important missing factor is looking inward with God.
We will take a journey inward–discovering who we are in the light of Scripture. We will look at our self-image, our values, our personality, and our hang-ups. We will discover what we believe, what we fear, and what we hope for in our lives.
As we take an in-depth look at ourselves, let us remember that God has created us in his image. In the following gospel story, Jesus uses a parable to show how a position of privilege can lead to a distorted perspective of spiritual reality. If Jesus were teaching the parable today, he might say, “Your outward actions reflect your heart’s desire.”
Read the following Scripture. This parable (from Luke’s Gospel) is about God’s kingdom, which is given to a far different group of people than the ones who were traditionally thought to have earned it. It stresses the attitude of repentant humility as a requirement for being right with God.
Read Luke 18:9-14
Which person would you feel closer to if this incident occurred in front of your church, and the two people were your age?
Why would you feel close to the person you chose in question 1?
How many of your problems would you share with these people?
Why do you think the Pharisee acted the way he did?
Why do you think the tax collector acted the way he did?
How much of the Pharisee or the tax collector do you see in your own life? Put a percentage (%) for each, so the two add up to 100%.
In all honesty, how do you view yourself right now?
What is Jesus teaching you through this parable?
What motivated you to come to this course?
What are some goals or expectations you have for this course?
Suppose you gave yourself to the Lord – to be wholly and altogether His, made and molded according to His own divine purpose, determined to follow Him wherever He may lead you. It is just at this point that you are faced with a new and very practical difficulty.
The first thing you must do is to ask the Lord to help you quietly examine the motives of your heart. Be sure that you really have set your will to obey the Lord in every respect. If this is your purpose then, and your soul is merely waiting to know the will of God in order to consent to it, then you have done your part.
From this point, you can be certain that He will make His mind known to you and will guide you on the right paths, for “He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out… he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3-4)…. And, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him”
Let no hint of doubt turn you from a steadfast faith in God’s willingness and ability to guide you.
Remember this though: Our God has all knowledge and all wisdom. Therefore it is very possible He may guide you into paths wherein He knows great blessings are awaiting you just around the next fearsome turn – paths on which, to our short-sighted human eyes, there seems to be only confusion and loss.
You must become settled on this spiritual fact: God’s thoughts are not like man’s thoughts, nor are His ways like our ways. He alone, who knows the end of things from their beginning, is able to determine what the results of any course of action may be.
(From “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” by Hannah W. Smith)
Learn to avoid sinful practices. Don’t rub shoulders with those hostile to God. They will have a negative affect on you. Do you keep a devotional journal? If not, try it for three weeks. Write down thoughts from your daily study or devotional time with God.
BIO:Quintus Florens Tertullian 160-220 North African defender of the
faith. Tertullian was born of heathen parents in Carthage, Africa. He
studied law and lived an exceedingly sinful life until he received the
Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 30. He became an intense, hardhitting
defender of the fundamentals of the Christian faith against the
traditions of Romanism. He joined the Montanists, a group of
premillennial, Bible-believing Christians, and spent the rest of his
life writing and preaching primitive Christianity as opposed to
Romanism with its ecclesiastical traditions and ceremonies contrary to
ARTIST’S NOTE: The cool colors designate the objective, scholarly
approach of the man. Tertullian is shown with a manuscript scroll of
the Holy Scriptures.