Tag Archives: church

God Help Us!

By Rev. Jerry Chiles

In March 2020 we lifted our voices to heaven crying, “God help us! Deliver us from this pandemic called Covid-19.” At that point in time, we had no idea what would be the extent of the pandemic. Over and over, we cried out to God to deliver us.  When relief did not come, we asked, “Why not God? Why have you left us to struggle, unable to return to your house and be with your people?” Similar other cries of deliverance are found throughout the Bible in Joshua 7:7, Psalms 79:9, Matthew 6:13, and Matthew 26:39.

What do we do, when we cannot hear a word from the Lord? Maybe we are just not seeing the word the Lord has given. Open our eyes Lord, so we can see you acting.  Here are four answers I have seen.

What if the word of the Lord is, The Church is not a building? Is God saying to us that buildings are not important? He is saying, “My people are to be primarily in the world and not in a building”. Jesus said, John 17:18 “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” How many Christians, who normally would be in a building, have been doing God’s work in neighborhoods and other unique places?

What if the word of the Lord is, I have provided you new ways to communicate to a world already proficient in technology? In Isaiah 43:19 we hear these words, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” How many times have we said ugly things, as we struggled to become proficient in technology when God had already put the gifted people in our midst to teach us?

What if a word of the Lord is, I have already shown you what is good? “He has showed you, O man, what is good. ….to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8   This pandemic has helped us see a bigger world. He has called us to see people in need of food and housing and recognize the plight of people different from us. We must find ways to give people dignity, worth, and equality.

What if a word from the Lord is, All people from all tribes and nations, saints and sinners are welcome at My table?  In Matthew 9:10 Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners. In Matthew 26:6 he ate with a leper. As we begin to break down barriers to His table, we will experience resistance. In Matthew 9:11 the Pharisees asked, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” Who does God want you to invite to His table?

We now have vaccines. Maybe it will not be long, before we have herd immunity and can return to some sense of normality. Is God calling us back to where we were, or is he calling us to move into a new world?

These thoughts above are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex. He has served in various churches across the Southeast as an associate minister. For more information about how he can help you, contact him here.

Another Twist on E=mc2 for Your Church

The second part of Einstein’s equation that is symbolized as c2 stands for the speed of light multiplied by itself.  Yet how can this relate to your church?

In my years of working with churches the primary way that God’s Light, His Word, gets to us and therefore gives us energy is found in two avenues. The first approach is through worship. From the first words sung to the Amen of the benediction, transmitting God’s Word to a spiritually starved church family must be high priority. Please don’t get me wrong! I am not putting God’s Word above the Trinity. But it must be relatable and nourishing in this time of corporate worship. Have you thought about doing a responsive reading of a Scripture text so that everyone, and not just the minister, gets to read the Word? Do you have a lay leader who can share the Good News on Sundays? When was the last time you had a skit or drama that acted out the biblical text?

The second key aspect of God’s Light that will help bring about sustained energy is found in your small groups. Are your ongoing Bible study groups or short-term discipleship groups doing a good job breaking down the Scripture so that it can relate to everyday life? These groups must not only be excellent places for fellowship and support but also must be conduits to enrich each member’s understanding of the Word for that day and throughout the week.

Other than the pastor, these church leaders are the key to sustaining an effective energy source for the community of faith.  If that is the case, when was the last time your small group leaders had training? Are they up-to-date and aware how a student in their class learns? Do they know how to use more than one way in sharing God’s Word? Without trained and effective small group leaders, God’s Light gets a little less bright and your church’s energy wanes.

A Twist on E=mc2 for Your Church

So how does your church get the energy it needs from God? Many churches have fallen into the trap that if we are actively doing good things it must be God’s will.  Busyness or goodness doesn’t equal spiritual energy. It must come from a different more focused and sustainable source.

In order for your church to thrive in today’s society, it must have the right M – mission. My definition of a church mission is the following – reasons why a community of faith exists to serve God, its community and the world. Every congregation has their own unique mission DNA. One cannot duplicate one approach from another church family and expect it to work in their spiritual environment. Yet many of you can think of churches and their leaders who rush out to buy the latest book or copy a program from the church down the road hoping that it will bring life to the church.

But how do you get started on your mission? Some pastors are gifted in seeing and putting together a great forward thinking model for their flock. If so, a church family is blessed! But if the minister has been there for a while or is overwhelmed with the other M – maintenance, it may be time for a fresh voice. Inviting someone like a Barnabas partner to begin a discussion about your church’s mission may be a step in the right direction. Don’t miss out on the untapped energy God has in store for your church!

The Philosophical Side of Business Matters

I have been writing a lot lately about business matters on a rather practical side, but now I want to share a little about the philosophical side.  I encourage all church leaders to read about business and leadership and not always from “Christian only” perspectives.  The secular world is filled with excellent authors, scholars and leaders and we should be willing to learn.  I have enjoyed several works by Patrick Lencioni on Leadership.  Lyncioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” gives a lot of food for thought specifically in areas of trust and accountability.  I also enjoy reading about giving and fundraising, one of my favorites is “Not Your Parent’s Offering Plate” by J. Clif Christopher.  He gives great insight into how stewardship has changed throughout the years and gives great insight into questions we need to ask, but perhaps are afraid to.  Another great read is Peter Drucker’s “Managing the Nonprofit Organization.”  Drucker is one of our nation’s leading thinkers on management and his writing is both challenging and practical. Keep reading and if you care to share with me your favorites, I would be blessed.

These thoughts above are from John Daniels, our partner based out of Wilmington, North Carolina. His primary focus is working alongside churches in administrative challenges and opportunities.

Business Matters and Church Phone Bills

In last week’s newsletter article I shard about forming a Technology Committee to keep up with those pesky contract dates and renewals. Today I would like to specifically talk about the church’s phone bill. I have found that many folks in the church office do not realize that you can “shop” your phone bill. After the FCC breakup of Ma Bell multiple years ago and with the growth in VOIP (voice over internet protocol), numerous solutions are at your disposal for your phone service. Simply do an internet search for business phone service in your area and you will be met with potential vendors. You also may want to consider trying to bundle your internet and your phone service, normally this will involve a multi-year contact but the savings can be significant. One other thing to check on your phone bill is an advertising charge. I have found that a large portion of the church bill is related to advertisement we purchase in the phone book or yellow pages. Here are some practical questions you should ask concerning the phone book advertising: Are persons in my area still using the phone book for information? What would these same advertisement dollars purchase from the local newspaper or radio station? Finally, what cheaper options are there on phone book advertising, such as a smaller ad, less words, etc. Freeing up resources through good business sense may be freeing up dollars for ministry in your hometown. Think about it.

These thoughts above are from John Daniels, our partner based out of Wilmington, North Carolina. His primary focus is working alongside churches in administrative challenges and opportunities.