Pastors’ Forum

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Questions & Responses

Responding to Discouragement

What do you do when you find yourself facing discouragement? I know that praying and reading the Bible are typical responses, but how specifically do you pray, and are there particular areas of Scripture on which you focus? Also, do you have any strategies beyond Bible reading and prayer that you implement to bring yourself back into a state of encouragement? Read the responses

Funeral Resources

Would you please send us any material that could be helpful to other pastors relative to conducting funerals? Any tips or suggestions? Is there a helpful story or illustration that you’ve found to work well at funerals? Do you have any funeral message outlines you’d like to share (please remove names)? Whatever you send us this month, we’ll add to the “Funeral Resources” section on our website. Read the responses

Devotionals?

I’m looking for some good daily devotionals, both for my own personal enrichment, and to be able to recommend to members of my congregation. What are some of the different devotional books or materials that other pastors have found helpful for themselves personally and for their members? I’m interested in general devotionals as well as any “specialized” devotionals that focus on helping people through specific issues or different challenging seasons of their lives. Read the responses

Inventories and Testing

I hear other pastors talk about giving "personality profiles" and “gift mix tests” to help determine the temperaments and the giftings of their people. I’ve also heard of these being used in providing spiritual guidance, especially in terms of helping people prepare for marriage. Has this truly been helpful to churches and the people taking these kind of inventories? If so, how? Can you tell me some of the better tests and inventory tools that are available for use in the local church? Read the responses

A Bible School in the Church?

I’ve been contemplating offering our church people something more in-depth teaching-wise than what they can receive in regular services or periodic small group settings. I know that some churches offer a lay-Bible school, and some even offer certain college or university classes. What are the pros and cons of some of these types of approaches? What has worked well and what seems to be most effective in providing interested church members with more in-depth teaching and training? Read the responses

Social Media and Church Leaders

As a pastor, I preach on various moral, ethical, and social issues from a biblical standpoint. However, I avoid expressing personal opinions when it comes to partisan political issues (candidates, parties, etc.). I have a staff member who has become very outspoken politically (and in my opinion, very divisive) in a partisan way on social media. I’ve also had some high-level, visible volunteer leaders who have posted some pictures on social media that I felt were bordering on inappropriate and distasteful. I want those in leadership to set a high standard of godly behavior and avoid even the appearance of evil. How much prerogative does a pastor have to address these issues to staff and to high-level volunteers? Do any churches have written statements they use to communicate such guidelines? Read the responses

Current Tensions in the United States

It seems that the whole nation has been riveted on news relative to racial tensions, allegations of systemic discrimination against minorities, the targeting of police in deadly attacks, etc. What can a pastor say, and what can churches do to be a part of the solution, to be salt and light? How can a pastor help people to have godly attitudes and perspectives and to be true representatives of Christ during troubled times? Read the responses

Standards for Those Who Serve

It seems harder and harder to find “qualified” people (according to the standards in 1 Timothy and Titus) to serve in leadership and helps positions in the church. Do pastors ever modify their standards in order to get people involved serving, even in entry-level types of positions? What kinds of character and lifestyle standards do other pastors and churches communicate for those who are going to be involved in serving? Read the responses

Staffing Questions

When is it best to add to your staff by promoting from within, and when is it best to go outside and bring someone in? If I do need to hire from without, what are the best channels and avenues through which to seek a qualified staff member? Finally, in bringing someone in from the outside, how do you help that new staff member learn and adapt to the culture of the church? Read the responses

Easter Evaluation

I would love to hear feedback about how other churches do their Easter weekend services. What do they do that’s special, different? How many churches add extra services for that weekend? What kind of special advertising or marketing is done? How do pastors get the congregation involved in inviting guests? Are pastors generally pleased with the results they see on Easter weekend? Are there any strategies that churches have to get Easter visitors to come back on a regular basis? Based on your experience from this and previous Easter weekends, what do you plan to do different next year? Read the responses

Beyond the Pulpit

We all know that pastors regularly teach and minister to others from the pulpit. How do I, as a pastor, more effectively mentor, coach, instruct, and disciple others when I’m outside of the pulpit? I’ve heard of others who regularly use all kinds of occasions as “teaching moments” when working with staff, leaders, volunteers, and others. What does this look like, how can I become better at this, and how do other pastors better “grow" others outside of the pulpit? Read the responses

Hosting Guest Ministers

Approximately how many guest ministers do you have in your pulpit each year? Do you have a specific purpose when you have a guest minister, and what do you look for in selecting those you will invite to share with your people? What is your philosophy and approach when it comes to providing compensation for a guest minister? Finally, what benefits has your church received from guest ministers in the past? Read the responses

The Condition of the Church

What do you perceive the condition of the Church in America to be? Where is the Church (overall) doing well, and where do significant improvements need to be made? What are you endeavoring to do through your own life and ministry to bring improvement? Read the responses

Communication Skills

I want to learn how to be a better communicator. I've been told to "preach the word" and to "have the anointing," but what are some practical skills I can learn from seasoned communicators? How do other ministers create interest in their message, establish rapport with the audience, use illustrations, develop a powerful conclusion, etc.? I would really like to learn the skills and mechanics of being a better communicator. All tips and advice are welcome. Also, if certain books or other resources have helped you in this regard, I'd like to hear about them. Read the responses

Do-Over

If you had a chance to do something over relative to your journey in ministry, what would it be? If you want to share more than one example, that's great. This question is not meant to get anyone to focus on past mistakes, but rather, to help younger ministers learn from the wisdom and experience of others. Read the responses

Life-Long Learning

I've heard it said that pastors need to be life-long learners. That makes sense to me, but I wonder exactly how pastors go about accomplishing that? Read the responses

Accessibility?

I’m a pastor who is endeavoring to balance church, marriage, family, work, etc. How accessible should I be? Should I be accessible 24/7 to everyone? Who should know my cell phone number? My house number? What is a healthy balance? I’d like to hear how other pastors manage their accessibility and make sure the people are properly cared for. Read the responses

Church Software and Apps for Today’s Giving

With technology changing at a rapid rate, it seems confusing trying to find the right user-friendly software to handle the giving records at church. I wonder what church software the different churches are using and why? Also, what apps and other systems of giving are churches using, and how are they working? Are such avenues creating an increase in donations, and if so, how much? There are so many ways today to give like cash, check, credit card, online, phone apps, etc. Read the responses

The End-Times

I believe I need to do some more end-time teaching than I have in the past. What are some of the approaches that other pastors take in teaching on such issues, and what are the basic things that pastors teach along these lines? I realize there are many different views when it comes to eschatology - how can I teach my people healthy, wholesome doctrine that avoids weirdness? What resources are recommended? Read the responses

Better Funerals

It looks like I will be doing my first funeral as a pastor in the very near future. I’d love to hear from some seasoned pastors about what they’ve learned from their experiences in conducting funerals? How can I most effectively minister to the family and those in attendance? Are there some do’s and don’ts I should be aware of in conducting funerals? I’d also be interested in hearing the experiences of pastors who’ve had to do “difficult” funerals. Thanks for the tips and advice. Read the responses

Developing and Delegating

I'm curious how other pastors develop their leaders, and how they delegate responsibilities to others. I'd like to increase my proficiency in these areas, and would love to get insights from other pastors. Read the responses

Most Important Skills

What three skills help you the most in carrying out your pastoral ministry? How do they help you, and to what degree did you feel gifted in these three areas, and how much did you have to work to acquire and or develop them? Read the responses

Vital Statements

I would love to hear a collection of statements from various pastors. What are the concise statements they have which communicate the vision and purpose of their churches? These would include vision statements, mission statements, listings of core values, etc. I would even like to know the slogans and mottos that churches use. In addition to statements that speak to the entire congregation, I would also like to see any statements or concise lists that churches have just for their leaders or staff, such as lists of expectations, priorities, key principles, etc. Read the responses

How to Be Abased and How to Abound

Paul said, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound" (Philippians 4:12). To be honest, I get really uncomfortable when church finances are tight. I’m not sure I’ve learned how to be abased and also be content. Also, I'd love to get some insight as to how to handle money very wisely and strategically when it does come in abundance. Can pastors advise me on how to be a steady, proficient, and wise steward in both lean times and in times of abundance. Read the responses

Cleaning Up After a Guest Minister

I am a new pastor at a small church, and met an evangelist through a friend. I felt he would be a good fit for our church. After he came, I realized he was little more "over the top" than what I expected, and it seems that more damage may have been done that the good that was accomplished. How do I follow up with what I feel was a big mistake on my part? What can I do to "clean up" now, and also avoid such situations in the future? Read the responses