Friday, February 21, 2014

All Around the Web - February 21, 2014

9Marks - Why Your Second Hire Might Be an Administrative Pastor
Here are nine more reasons why your church might benefit from making the administrative pastor the second hire:

1. Strategy 

As the man who brings the Word of God, the preaching pastor is the natural vision and voice of any church. Nevertheless, every vision and strategy requires someone to come behind it, to drive the planning and discussion, to think through the practical details, and then to implement the nuts and bolts of it all. This takes a lot of time, patience, biblical knowledge, pastoral discernment, and hard work. This is what a good administrative pastor does in conjunction with the other pastor(s) of the church.

You might have seen the portrait of Charles Spurgeon that has a couple of men hidden in the shadows of the background. Did you notice the men in the background? The portrait serves as a gentle reminder that Spurgeon was able to minister as he did and have such success, in part, because he had such men in the background. Most, if not all, good ministries and ministers will have such people.
2. Organization and Infrastructure 

Typically, strategy consultants say that an organization will only succeed to the extent that clear processes and tools are in place to build, support, and maintain that organization and its strategy. Now, gospel ministry is different because true growth comes supernaturally through the gospel. Still, there is an important stewarding of our natural resources which churches must consider in building the trellis. And this is the job of the administrative pastor. An administrative pastor’s job requires that he build and maintain processes and tools for all the parts and pieces of the church. These nuts and bolts may include:
  • managing the church’s building(s) and property;
  • overseeing the logistics for the regular schedule and events of the church;
  • managing the administrative tasks, personalities, and details of the church staff, membership process, church finances, meetings, important church documents, and so on.
3. Communication 

The clearest strategies and the most effective processes and tools will fail without good communication and teaching. Much of the responsibility for communication falls to the preaching pastor and elders as a whole, but the administrative pastor sits in a special position and can therefore serve as the glue that holds together the church leadership, the non-pastoral staff, and the members of the congregation. A good administrative pastor sees all the details that make up a church body and its organization. At the same time, he will, by God’s grace, maintain an eternal, Christ-centered, gospel-saturated perspective.

Practically, this will play out in the way that he communicates to all the parts of the church and diplomatically ensures that all the parts hear and understand one another. He will lead the pastors in communicating effectively to the congregation and taking advantage of the regular means of communication. Especially in a congregational polity, an administrative pastor will be very helpful in teaching and leading the congregation through important, unclear issues.

4. Member Care 

A good administrative pastor will see needs among the congregation that others are not aware of. With pastoral discernment, love, and empathy, he will be able to act on behalf of the church so that they are faithful to care for one another. For example, he will assess needs and help build an effective deacon structure to cover those needs.

5. Staff Care 

A good administrative pastor practically cares for the staff. For example, do they have adequate health insurance, compensation, and housing, along with a comfortable work environment? Further, he can act as a liaison between the church staff and other leaders. A good administrative pastor understands that while businesses are profit-driven, churches are relationship-driven. This is a much harder task to manage.

6. Stewardship and Finances 

Much theological insight and pastoral discernment go into making a church budget and managing a church’s finances. Further, the ongoing accounting needs of a church require a man who is organized, efficient, above reproach, and trustworthy. A good administrative pastor manages and stewards a church’s resources faithfully. He uses wisdom in appointing a competent, like-minded treasurer. And he ensures that money counting and other financial processes are transparent, biblical, and effective.
7. Teaching and Discipling 

An administrative pastor should have the gift of teaching. Therefore, he should be able to serve as an elder and assist in the regular teaching, discipling, and mentoring of the local church. Further, he could train and mentor other men who feel called to such a position.

8. Corporate Witness 

Our God is a God of order, detail, and beauty. While a church’s physical appearance should not be the basis of our strategy for church growth and evangelistic outreach, it can subtly help or hinder a church’s witness. A good administrative pastor will put up attractive, unpretentious signs, landscape the grounds, ensure the building and grounds are safe and comfortable, work hard at informing visitors so that they can find the restrooms or other parts of the building, and so on. Such attention to practical details will encourage the community and attract the notice of visitors.

9. Glory of God

In many ways, the work of a good administrative pastor should go unnoticed. That is, if he’s doing his job well (with God’s blessing), the church should run smoothly and without too many bumps along the way, and all the while he’s standing in the shadows.

And such good work, attention to detail, and faithfulness in many small tasks will provide a solid platform for the preaching of the Word in public and private, bringing glory to God. In short, the faithful teaching and ministries of a biblically healthy church can be wonderfully enabled and enhanced by faithful management, stewardship, and administration.

Hershael York - Why Seminary Can Never Qualify Anyone for Ministry
When it comes to qualification for ministry, ordination should carry much more weight and provide much greater evidence of a man’s readiness for service in the church than any seminary degree.  A seminary alone is not sufficient to qualify anyone for ministry, no matter how faithful the faculty or how hard it tries. A seminary is a rigorous academic program, but that is very different from being a church in which the student can serve and demonstrate his gifts and calling while he is under its teaching, authority, and discipline.

A large portion of my life has been devoted to seminary education, both my own and that of thousands of others. I am committed to quality theological education in the seminary and believe it to be a marvelous way to learn the Scriptures from brilliant and devoted men and women of God whom he has raised up for this purpose. I love seminary and would encourage every young minister of the gospel who has the opportunity to enroll in seminary—especially in a residential program, but that is a subject for another time. I love and believe in seminary education, to be sure. Even so, something important needs to be said.

A seminary is not the church. Jesus made teaching and training part of the Great Commission given to his church. He loved the church and gave himself for it. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages. He has set some in the church. The Scriptures don’t say a single word about seminaries, not only because they did not yet exist, but also because they aren’t integral to God’s plan for making his name great among the nations. The church, on the other hand, is God’s plan for global evangelism and discipleship.

Reformedish - Four Reasons I Blog as a Pastor
1. I Like Thinking Things. I think and read a lot. Communicating what I read and think about tends to be  fruitful way for me to process it. That said, to be perfectly honest, I can’t preach half of what I think about. I mean, can you imagine me unleashing a talk on theological epistemology on my college kids? That’d be just abusive. Until I get into a Ph.D. program or something like that, blogging is an intellectual outlet for me to rip into some of the nerdier, or less immediately relevant theological and cultural analysis I might be tempted to engage in. In that way, it’s kind of a nice little intellectual pressure release for me.

2. Directly Serving the Church. The second reason I blog is that I think that it can directly serve the Church in general and my church in particular. I can think of at least three ways this happens:
  • For one, some of my students, especially my away-at-college students, tell me they read the blog occasionally, and so hopefully they’re learning from some of what I’m addressing. It’s one way for me to keep teaching them, even when I don’t have their butts in the seats right in front of me.
  • Next, some of the stuff I hammer out on the blog actually does make it’s way into my preaching eventually. Just this last week I was doing some research for an article I was writing that ended up dovetailing perfectly with my sermon. This happens regularly enough, that I can safely say my writing has helped improve and expand the wealth of material that I’ve actually processed and insights gained to be redeployed in direct ministry context. In other words, writing helps me be a more insightful preacher and pastor.
  • As for the broader Church, I know I’ve gained from other pastors and theologians who have tackled issues online that I have been grappling with, or didn’t even realize I should be. Without presuming too much, I hope my own writing contributes to blessing the church at large, both through the edification of their elders, or by directly addressing theological and practical questions in a popular form. My hope is that this blesses the life of the broader Church as it is built up in the knowledge of Christ.
3. Stewardship of God’s Gifts And Sanctification. Next, if God has given me an ability to communicate, it’s actually just responsible to continue to steward it and develop that gift. Blogging is a way to keep developing my skills as a writer and a communicator. What’s more, it’s pushed me character-wise as I’ve engaged in the broader community, and connected me with other like-minded (and not-so-like-minded) brothers and sisters who have helped develop and shape my thought, I think, for the better.

I can’t tell you how much of a blessing my Christ and Pop Culture team has been to me, or the growth I’ve had in working with the crews at The Gospel Coalition or Mere Orthodoxy. I think my church has, in some ways, a holier pastor because of the writing. (Which, based on my writing, might raise the question of just how bad was I before I started?)

4. Joy. Finally, I blog because I enjoy it. Honestly, I don’t know about everybody else, but once I started writing, it started getting addictive. Yes, the prideful stuff like page-views and twitter-followers is there too. I’ve been sanctified in Christ and yet, I am still being sanctified, right? Still, the pure joy of crafting an argument and turning a phrase is just enjoyable. Some articles can be a task and dull at times, but fundamentally, the practice of writing is something I have come to love doing for its own sake.

Russell Moore - Questions & Ethics: How do you deliver a eulogy for a non-believer?
Russell Moore offers advice for delivering a eulogy for a non-believer. He encourages ministers to take the opportunity to deliver the message of salvation and the gospel.

US News - Nancy Pelosi on Marriage: Meh
But marriage generally? Pelosi gave it a "meh" in a recent interview with NowThis News.

“But I would say, you know, if you’re getting married -- why are you getting married?" Pelosi asked. "Why would you get married? Why would anybody get married? In that the person that they love so much, that was irresistible, that they had to get married?”

Pelosi then articulated her theory. “I’m not a big one for rushing people into marriage as wonderful and happy as mine was,” she said, giving a shout-out to her husband of 50 years, Paul.

Breitbart - 1 in 4 Americans unaware that Earth circles Sun
Americans are enthusiastic about the promise of science but lack basic knowledge of it, with one in four unaware that the Earth revolves around the Sun, said a poll out Friday.

The survey included more than 2,200 people in the United States and was conducted by the National Science Foundation.

Ten questions about physical and biological science were on the quiz, and the average score -- 6.5 correct -- was barely a passing grade.

Just 74 percent of respondents knew that the Earth revolved around the Sun, according to the results released at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

Fewer than half (48 percent) knew that human beings evolved from earlier species of animals.

40 Weird Word Origins

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