Pastors’ Forum

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Questions & Responses

Relationships With Other Ministers

How important is it for me to have relationships with other ministers in my community? What about relationships with other ministers who are not in my community, but are friends? Honestly, I stay busy enough with my own staff and my own church that it’s not easy to find time for meaningful relationships with peers in ministry. What is the value, and how much effort do other pastors put into their relationships with other ministers? Read the responses

Keys to Connecting

As a teacher/preacher, I believe that my content is solid, but I’m not always satisfied with how well I feel I am connecting with the people. What advice can other pastors give me on how I can be a better communicator, and more specifically, how I can truly connect better with those who hear me? Read the responses

Specialization?

It seems like different churches and pastors have different specializations or emphases in their presentation and ministry. I realize every church is called to worship, to teach, to evangelize, etc., but I see some churches being much stronger in certain areas than others. I would like to hear from other pastors how they manage the “general” responsibilities of ministry and still carry out whatever specializations they might feel called to fulfill. Read the responses

Guidelines for Youth Workers

We are bringing a new youth minister on staff, and I wonder what types of guidelines we should set for him relative to how he interacts with the young people. We have heard horror stories of people who work with youth who put themselves in compromising situations and faced terrible accusations. Read the responses

Comparison?

Have you ever fallen into the trap of comparing yourself with other pastors? If so, what resulted? How did you learn to quit comparing yourself with other ministers and focus on being yourself and doing what God asks of you? Read the responses

Recognizing the Call

Two questions about ministry and the calling: (1) How did you as a pastor realize that you were called to ministry and to the pastoral office in particular? (2) Knowing that many are called to serve who are not called to preach, per se, how do you help other people recognize and discern their calling? Read the responses

Church Security

Our church has not given extensive thought to security issues. What are some of the things, naturally speaking, that other churches are doing to address security concerns in today’s societies? Do other churches have armed security during services? What kind of training do you require for someone who is armed, and what kind of guidelines do you give ushers and others who may not be “security” in a technical sense but who do look out for the safety and well-being of the people at church? Read the responses

Setting the Right Moral Tone

I have been amazed, as I’m sure many other pastors are, to witness the moral decline in our society over the last decades. As a pastor, I want to set the right tone in what is ministered in our congregation. For example, I know that we have many visitors and even attenders who are living together without being married, and some think absolutely nothing about it. It seems to be a social norm. I don’t want to be known for what we’re against, but what we’re for. At the same time, I want to help people move toward godly, biblical values and standards. I understand that people coming out of the world are going to have worldly perspectives, but what especially troubles me is long-standing Christians who seem just fine with ungodly standards. Two questions: (1) How do pastors minister the love of God to people, and yet still promote godliness? (2) How do pastors help mature Christians and leaders not buy-in to compromised, worldly standards? Read the responses

What Constitutes Discipleship and Maturity?

There are obviously various levels of commitment among people who attend church. Some attend occasionally, others consistently. As a pastor, what are the traits and characteristics you look to help promote and build into people as you move them deeper into discipleship and further in maturity? What constitutes true discipleship? What are the traits of genuine spiritual maturity? What can a pastor to do help facilitate and further such discipleship and maturity in the hearts and lives of the people? Read the responses

Reminding Staff

I am learning that some of the staff and other leaders don’t know certain things (or need to be reminded regularly of things) that I would have assumed they would be mindful of. What are two or three things that other pastors regularly emphasize or remind their staff and key leaders about? Read the 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