Coming off an Easter High

What is there not to love about Easter Sunday? All your church members show up on the same day with an extra family member in tow. Un-churched people need a place to wear their new Easter outfit so they come. And sinners feel confident to attend because they are pretty sure God won’t “get’em” on Easter. Services are filled to capacity and people respond to the invitation and get saved! Plus, attendance and offering are through the roof. You leave church stoked and pumped like no other Sunday! Uh oh, but what about this weekend? Is it back to the same old church grind? No, don’t let it.

This is not the Sunday to coast back into “normal.” We must use the momentum to take us higher and further as a church! In my staff meeting this week I told my staff, “This is the week most churches coast down the big hill of Easter and simply ride the momentum. I want you and everyone in your department to pedal hard this week. We pedal while going down the hill so we have EVEN MORE momentum to tackle the next hill. Let’s push to do an even better job this Sunday than last and ride the momentum of Easter longer and further.”

Let’s face it, Easter tends to be the one day all churches bring their “A-Game.” Make sure you and your team bring their “A-Game” every single weekend! Anything less than delivering with excellence is not an option. First time guests from Easter will return this weekend to see if Easter Sunday was a “one shot wonder” or if they can expect this same high quality church experience every weekend.

Praying God’s Best for You!
Dean Hawk

For more in depth teaching on “The Power of Momentum” CLICK HERE and watch Session #10 from last year’s ACCELERATE PASTOR’S CONFERENCE by Pastor Dean Hawk.

The Prayer Difference

October 2014 - prayer request

What do you do with all of those prayer request that come in each week?

Make a difference through prayer and add the personal touch to your church. Each week here at RFC we take the prayer requests turned in on Sunday and we are proactive in actually making sure prayer happens and that the individual is contacted. First off, all staff members are given a list of the prayer requests to pray over during our staff prayer time on Tuesday afternoons. That same list is emailed to our Elders to also cover in prayer. During staff meeting we divide up the prayer request and every staff member calls or emails the individual to let them know we received their prayer request and that we are uniting our faith with theirs for God’s victory in their lives and family. Our deadline for follow up is Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 pm. It is amazing how many members appreciate the personal touch and they are surprised that we would take the time to contact them.

Keeping it real in the church world!

Dean Hawk

24 Hour Rule

24_hour_rule_1Yikes, I just got a nasty email!!!

What do you do when you get a negative email, tweet, or Facebook posting?  Or how about when someone shares some heated gossip that a church member recently said about you?  If you’re like me you instantly think of what you could fire back to set the record straight.  I can hard wire several atomic bombs into an email in no time in an attempt to blow the lies out of the water.  STOP!  Breathe in . . . Breathe out!  Do not push “send” or “post.”  You are about to make a messy situation into a mudslide.  Trust me, I have learned from doing it wrong and from doing it right.

Here are several things we must remember.  First off, stop trying to please everyone all the time.  You are never going to do it.  Jesus couldn’t even make everyone like himself so who do you think you are?  You are always going to have antagonistic people who are in opposition to what you do.  Second, the truth will always prevail and the truth will always set you free.  It may not be in your timing or liking but truth always wins.  Don’t feel like you have to be the one to defend the truth.  Third, the moment you shift into defensive mode it will only cause the problem to expand and potentially more people to be hurt by the shrapnel.  We are not out to win the religious battle.  We are out to win the war against the powers of darkness.  Proverbs tells us, “A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated.”  Resist the temptation to fire back. Time is on your side.  Paul wrote to Timothy and said,

“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:23-26)

Be smarter than your enemy.  They already have their guns loaded with a response as to how they think you are going to reply.  When you do they simply launch another round and it becomes a battery of missile launches back and forth.  Accomplishing nothing for the Kingdom.  So here are my simple rules in life and ministry for hate mail:

1.  WAIT 24 hours minimum prior to sending any kind of response.
2.  PRAY for that person during the 24 hours.
3.  EDIT  Have someone read your reply and make edits prior to sending it.  Make sure your words are gentle and written in Godly love.
4.  BEST RESPONSE:  A simple reply is typically your best response.  “Thank you for your email.”  This let’s them know you heard, saw, or read their complaint without agreeing or disagreeing. Many times it may be in your best interest to not even respond.

Take the high road.  Be like Jesus.  He was daily faced with accusers and naysayers.  He never defended himself.  He allowed His life, His character, and integrity to stand up for Him.

Quench the Thirst of a Generation!

Pastor Dean

Clean

VictoryforMenChurch leaders, this book is transforming our church!  We need to wake up and pull our heads out of the sand.  Sexual sin is rampant in our nation and within our local churches. The statistics of men who view pornography on a regular basis are through the roof.  At a recent men’s conference nine out of ten of the 565 men in attendance said that lust, porn, and fantasizing were the habitual, continual, or fatal disconnecting factor in their relationship with God.  Pastors and youth pastors, we can sit by and pray or we can put action to our faith.  Dr. Doug Weiss, one of the nation’s leading experts on sexual addiction, has just released a new book called, “CLEAN – A Proven Plan for Men Committed To Sexual Integrity.”

This book is so powerful and liberating I made the decision to give one to every man in my church.  Doug’s approach to such a delicate issue is not to beat men up but walk them through God’s Word and give them hope, wisdom, and insight to a life of freedom!  Over the last several weekends we have given away close to 500 books and I challenge you to do the same!  It has been an investment in the moral and spiritual climate of my church.  Men have approached me every Sunday since, secretly thanking me for the gift and sharing the freedom it has brought.

Why give it away?  If I stood up and said, “This book on victory over porn, lust, and sexual sin is available for purchase in the lobby!” how many men in your church would go buy one in view of everybody?  Then I thought, “Okay, I will give them away and have them pick it up at the table in the lobby.”  Nope!  That denial and pride thing will keep a major percentage away from receiving the help they so desperately need.

Here is what I did.  In all three services on Sunday for three weeks I had all of the men stand up at the end of service and gave every man present a book if they had not already received one.  I told them I had read it and that we, the godly men at Rock Family Church, were committed to being sexually pure and we were all going to read it together.  One guy came up the following week and said, “You were right.  I would have never taken a book unless you did it that way.  You made it easy to feel safe in taking it.  My wife has already noticed a difference in me.”  I also told the wives they could not take one to give to their absent husbands.  They have to come next weekend and I will give it to them man to man.  The last thing we needed was a wife going home and tossing this book to her husband saying, “You need to read this!”

How can you afford to do it?  How can you afford not to?  The enemy is stealing good men and disqualifying them from pursuing the things of God.  The Bible teaches that you reap what you sow.  I choose to sow sexual purity and victory into men’s lives and I believe we will reap an amazing harvest as a church.  On the practical side – our church gives 10% of our income to local, national, and international missions.  I simply turned some of those local funds directly back into the purchase of the books for the men of our church.

Pastors, we are just as vulnerable as any man to temptation.  This is a book for you and me!  If you’re struggling, you’ll find victory.  If you’re on a path of purity it will ignite you and take you to the next level of honoring God as it did for me.  When the book arrives in the mail or your wife sees it on your desk, tell her “Dean told me to order this for our church.”

Let me pray for you and the men of your church.  “Father, I pray for my friends and partners in ministry.  I pray they would walk in victory over porn, lust, and sexual sin.  I ask for your Holy Spirit of Grace to empower them to a life of holiness that brings glory and honor to you.  I break the lies, deception, and powers of darkness that would try to entrap them and steal what you have for them.  God, I ask that you would supernaturally provide for each church leader to have the finances and resources to equip and empower the men of their church with this book.  I pray for a sexual revolution of holiness and purity to erupt in the men of their church.  I pray the men would be humble to receive the gift of the book, CLEAN, and would apply the principles which are enclosed.  In Jesus Name I ask this.  Amen”

I love you guys and I’m praying for you!!

Pastor Dean

CHECK THIS OUT:

Click here to watch a CLEAN video segment by Dr. Weiss:  http://www.drdougweiss.com/portfolio/sneak-peek/

Click here to order the CLEAN book and view the many other resources:   http://www.drdougweiss.com/shop/

To order large quantities of CLEAN at a discounted price call Dr. Weiss’s office:  719-278-3708  and tell them you heard about the book from Pastor Dean.

The Intersection of God’s Perfect Will

Intersection logo
As we navigate through life our goal is to follow God’s plan and purpose for our lives. In Romans 12:2 we are challenged to, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  This passage of scripture reveals an interesting concept, it is possible for us to be making good decisions in life that are not the best decisions.  It’s possible to be pleasing God with our actions yet not abiding in His perfect will.  Let me give you an example with the bull’s-eye graph. I have a calling upon my life to serve in the full time ministry as a career and as I obey and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in that career field I would be living in God’s “good will.”  I could be a missionary, children’s pastor, youth pastor, church administrator; all would be in obedience to the call.  However, to abide in the “pleasing will” of God He has instructed me to serve in the office of a pastor.  I am fully convinced as long as I was pastoring people, loving, and shepherding them my Father would be pleased as I operate in the gifting He placed within me.  Yet I desire to not just pastor any church in just any city.  I want to be doing EXACTLY what God has ordained me to do.
  •   The GOOD will of God: Serving in the full time ministry.
  •   The PLEASING will of God:  Serving in the office of a pastor.
  •   The PERFECT will of God:  Serving as the pastor of Rock Family Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

 

Intersection.1The closer you walk to the center of God’s will the greater the anointing will flow and the more powerful your gift will function.  I want to live my life with precision and walk down the center of God’s will.

However there is another element that will keep you in or out of the center of God’s will and that is the timing element.  The perfect will of God is found at the intersection of His purpose and His timing.  Habakkuk 2:2-3 “Write the vision? and make it plain on tablets,? that he may run who reads it.  For the vision is yet for an appointed time; ?But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it;? Because it will surely come,? It will not tarry. (NKJV)  How many of us are guilty of not doing what we know we are supposed to do?  We sense the Lord leading us in a certain direction yet we put it off.  Be careful or you will fall behind and miss an opportunity God has for you.  Lee Iacocca once said,  “Even the right decision is the wrong decision if it is made too late.”  DON’T let your “but” get in the way.  “But God, what about this?”    ”But God, it doesn’t make sense?” Our response should be, “Yes!”

On the flip side of being too late we sometimes sense the Holy Spirit’s leading and we hit the brakes and make the adjustment too quick.  Any one else but me guilty of getting ahead of the Lord?  Moses makes me feel better.  He hears God wants to use him to deliver the Israelites from slavery so he goes out the next day and kills ONE Egyptian and buries him in the sand.  Oops!  Not the right timing there.  Joseph has a dream that his brothers will bow down to him so he runs right out the next day and tells them!  Many of God’s plans for our lives don’t take place due to our lack of patience or an overabundance of zeal.  The first question we must always ask when we get direction from the Lord is, “WHEN?”

In the summer of 1999 when I visited Colorado Springs for my high school reunion,  God stirred in my heart to come back to Colorado.  I forgot to ask the Lord, “When?”  so I went back to Oklahoma and told Pastor Hagin I needed to resign from my position as youth pastor!  Thank God for a wise pastor who “talked me down” off the edge of the cliff.  I was going to hit the transition button too early but after hearing wisdom I put things on hold to wait for God’s timing.  It was exactly ONE YEAR later  that we actually relocated to Colorado Springs to begin a new phase of ministry.  Had I moved a year earlier I can tell you I would have been ahead of the Lord’s perfect timing and possibly blaming God; “I thought you told me to move here.  Why don’t I have a job?  Why are things going so horrible?  and He would have had nothing to do with it.

The important thing to know is you can always get back in step with the Lord’s timing and His plan. The evil actions of Joseph’s brother, the false claims of rape by Potiphar’s wife, or the forgetful memory of the Pharaoh’s cup bearer didn’t derail the ultimate perfect will of God for Joseph!  If you have missed it, just repent and get back on track with God.  If you’re not seeing the results, changes, or transition you thought was supposed to happen, stay faithful.  Though it tarries, wait for it!  You’ll be glad you did.

Quench The Thirst of a Generation!

Dean Hawk

The Law of the Leak

Why don’t churches grow?  Why do people leave one church for another?  We may be good at getting them in the front door but why are we losing them out the back door?

From a quick assessment everything looks fine.  We have all the major pieces in place.  It seems like we are doing what God called us to do and we are fulfilling the vision God has given us as a church.  Yet, as fast as we seem to bring people in they seem to be going out the other way?  It all comes down to the “Law of The Leak.”  The Law of the Leak is this:  The level of your retention is based upon your lowest point of productivity.  You can have 14 out of 15 ministry teams in your church functioning at level eight, but if your facilities are dirty and your janitor is only pulling off a level four, there’s your leak!  I compare our churches to a reservoir.  If Jesus has called us to be “fishers of men” then as a church we should become the best dam builders to contain His fish!  (No I’m not cussing.)  Are you starting to connect the dots?  Let me show you a series of dams and you will see what I am talking about.

CHURCH DAM #1:  The picture above is a perfect look at the ultimate flawless church.  Each team that makes up your church has a place in the dam.  They have an area of responsibility to shore up the success of the church.  Every department in this photo is functioning at a level ten.  Their volunteers are kind, they perform their task with excellence, and they all walk in love and unity.

CHURCH DAM #2:  Above is a more practical look at a normal church.  When I presented this to my leadership team I chose to pick on my department.  The “LEAK” in this dam is the senior pastor and his preaching.  Right behind him is the greeting team who are apathetic and not so friendly if they don’t know you.  The worship at this church is exceptional.  It is the highest point of attraction and retention.  Let me describe what will happen in this church.  People will come and fall in love with it because they enjoy the worship so much.  When they initially walked into the church they were actually somewhat turned off by the greeters or even the lack of any greeters.  They were thrilled with the worship and when they heard the pastor speak they gave him a C+.  Do they come back?  Absolutely!  Why?  Because they were so infused about the worship they experienced.  But here is the leak: eventually they will leave the church due to the unfriendly church environment and the teaching by the senior pastor just isn’t meeting their need. As much as they tried to make it work because of the incredible worship, the other “low areas” began to wear on them.

CHURCH DAM #3:  In the photo above, where is the weak spot in this church?  It has lots of strengths.  At first glance this pastor is feeling pretty good about his dam and ability to retain fish in his reservoir.  But you and I see it clear as day.  His children’s ministry is lacking.  The kids are bored, the volunteers are few, and they’re still doing flannel art.  Years ago we hired a new children’s pastor but after three months I began to notice more and more kids in the adult service with their parents.  Hmmm?  I met with the children’s pastor, “checked the gauges” and offered some coaching points.  However, each week the number of kids in the adult service increased.  What was happening?  The students were bored and not connecting with the children’s pastor.  As you see in the diagram above, the facility is spotless and the worship and preaching are good.  We should be able to catch fish right?  Wrong.  We’re leaking in the children’s ministry and right behind them is our guest information booth.  When the first time guests ask questions, the volunteers are ill-equipped.  They don’t know the answers to the questions.  They are more occupied with chatting with their buddies in the church than meeting new people.  There are your leaks!

Another leak I hear about and see on a frequent basis is the typical church plant who meet in a school.  They rent the local high school auditorium that has 500-700 theater seats for 60-75 people to have a church service.  YIKES!  (Echo sound effect.)  You may be the smoothest and most eloquent communicator of God’s Word but you have an awkward, uncomfortable, gaping leak; all momentum is sucked out of the room with people sitting so far apart due to too many empty seats.  Hey, we’ve all scored the “free tickets” to see the losing team with a half empty stadium.  It is dead and lifeless.  Your auditorium is the leak, so what do you do?  Find a facility that is a better fit for the size you are with leaving some room to grow.

CHURCH DAM #4:  In this diagram above the teams and various ministries are all functioning at a high level.  Retention is generally good throughout the church.  This church model represents the influence of the individuals that make up your church and serving teams.  Once you have raised the bar of excellence with all of your teams it is important that each department is sufficiently recruiting, training, and monitoring their area of ministry and the individual team members.  The leaks in this diagram represent individuals.  Let’s look at the Kid’s Check In Team who helps parents get their kids tags for class.  Generally everyone on the team does a very good job.  But “Harold” has not been adequately trained.  If the system doesn’t operate perfectly he doesn’t know what to do when there is a malfunction.  Harold’s line backs up, people are frustrated,and kids start crying.  There’s your individual leak.  Or how about the leak on the worship team.  One of the members is “Nelly Negative.”  She frowns when she sings, she pulls the team down in rehearsal with derogatory comments, and she talks bad about the pastor and the church.  No, the entire church may not realize it or see it, but it will eventually pull the worship team down and if she goes unchecked, she will potentially influence the entire team negatively and lower the wall causing a major leak.  There’s your leak!
Wrapping it up:  Before you run off from reading this article with a hammer to start pounding and fixing leaks within your church let’s keep the goal in sight.  Neither your church nor my church will ever be perfect.  That is not the goal here!  This is not about having perfect people and perfect ministries within your church.  This is a tool to help you and your teams see the importance that all of us need to give our very best every time the doors are open.  Today could be our one shot to reach someone for Christ!  Today could be the first time someone has ever stepped inside a church and he or she will rate every other church that exist based upon how well we represent Jesus Christ!  We can’t afford to have a bad day or an off day because today be the one shot we have.  We must always come willing to serve and give our best effort.
And before we start analyzing our staff and leadership.  We need to first examine ourselves and see where the leaks in our own life and ministry are at first.  Don’t try to remove the speck from your brother’s eyes until you first remove the plank from your own eye.  When is the last time you set down and watched or listened to your sermon to critique it?  When is the last time you ask several of your board members, “Where do you see I can improve as a leader and pastor?”  When you demonstrate a heart of change and growth it will influence and model to your staff and leadership team the path you desire them to take!

Quench the Thirst of a Generation!

Dean Hawk

Great Way to Get Christians Reading Their Bible

Christians Reading Their Bible . . .  A Novel Idea!

Community Bible Experience logo

Are you tired of people in your church professing to be a Christian but they never read their Bible?  Could your church use a spiritual boost?  Statistics say a very small percentage of Christians actually read their Bible on a daily basis.  The Bible declares people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.  In late 2012 I set out to plan a spiritual shift in our church for 2013.   In January we launched The Community Bible Experience in our church.  We had over 500 people read through the entire New Testament in just an eight-week period.  I am telling you it was crazy amazing!  We had small groups meeting weekly to share and discuss the scriptures they had read the previous week.  This was a HOME RUN in our church!  It ignited our members in their faith, created a spiritual awakening, and gave them a sense of accomplishment.  Many of my members had never read the New Testament from cover to cover!

 WHAT IS IT?

The Books Of The Bible is an NIV New Testament that has been uniquely laid out to make reading the Bible easier.  All of the chapter and verse numbers have been removed with natural section breaks restored.  The books have been reordered to promote a better understanding of the story.  At the beginning of each book there is an introduction that prepares the reader with a history and context for what they are about to read.  It is a Bible designed to be read from beginning to end as a love letter from God to His children.  Plus the four Gospels are divided up so you read a Gospel then several epistles, then another Gospel, and several other letters.

 The Books Of The Bible is designed so you will read approximately 12 pages per day, five days a week.   It takes the average person around 20 minutes a day.  Then believers gather weekly to share about what they read.  It takes on the feel of a “book club” rather than a “Bible Study.”  Our church responded so well to it that we have a large percentage that are now starting a NEW eight week read through a portion of the Old Testament.

The Bibles sell for $8 each and at first I thought the price seemed high until I understood what comes with it.  When you purchase the Books Of The Bible you also get a web site to download other resources.  You can download an MP3 version, a kid’s audio version, and an electronic version that works on your Ipad.  The resource web page also includes promotional materials, a Pastor’s Guide and Small Group Leader’s Guide.  What was so beautiful about this Bible thrust is we had entire families; mom, dad, teenager, and elementary students reading through the New Testament together and sharing about the Bible at the dinner table.  The Publisher, Biblica, will ship the Bibles directly to you.  And whatever Bibles you don’t sell you can send back for a refund.

GO FOR IT!

Books of the BibleGuys, I am very particular about resources I endorse.  I wholeheartedly challenge you to introduce The Community Bible Experience to your church family.  Trust me, you won’t regret it!  And for me personally, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Here’s why, both my paper and electronic Bibles are filled with highlights and notes.  What I realized as I read The Books of The Bible is there were things in God’s Word I continually overlook when having my devotional time in my other Bibles.  Why?  Because I would tend to skip over the non highlighted or underlined parts.  One day when I was reading The Books Of The Bible I literally stopped and thought there was a misprint.  Something leaped off the page that I would swear I had never read before in the New Testament.  I pulled out my other NIV Bible to see if it was actually in there.  Bingo, it was.  A powerful scripture surrounded by highlighted verses that I had mentally overlooked as I read my Bible because my eyes were focusing on the highlighted text.  I thoroughly enjoyed my daily time reading this Bible!

 To learn more about it please visit Biblica’s web site at www.communitybibleexperience.com

Here is a short promotional video on Youtube that will give you a great overview of the big idea:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeMg9uboWC0

Quench The Thirst Of A Generation!

 Pastor Dean

Competitor or Learner

 

Leader or competitor - title

It is always interesting when you go to a conference with other pastors and ministers becausethere seems to be this undertow of competition.  Some won’t admit it, but it’s there.  I loved it when one of my pastor friends was asked the infamous question, “So . . . how big is your church?”  His reply, “Ohh I guess we have about 25,000 square feet.”  The other pastor was dazed and confused.  He wanted to know the attendance not the square footage but he didn’t have the guts to ask again.  God has called us to be learners not competitors.  We must never think too highly of ourselves and always be willing to learn.  Someone once said, “The key to learning is closing your mouth.”  If we’re doing all the talking then we have not positioned ourselves to learn.  Last year I was with a group of youth pastors and got into a one-on-one conversation with a guy.  For 15 minutes all he wanted to do was tell me everything he was doing, how their youth group was growing, and the big events coming up.  The entire time I didn’t get in more than ten words.  I walked away thinking what a shame, he wanted to compete he wanted to show this ancient youth ministry guru what he could do and how his ministry was rocking.

I have been doing ministry for 32 years now.  BIG DEAL.  I still have a lot to learn, plenty of books to read, and wisdom to gain.  I choose to learn from anybody and everybody, young and old alike.  Put me in a group of ministers and I will walk out of the room with 15 good ideas.  Why?  Because all I do is ask questions and listen, I position myself to sharpen my axe.  We tend to do things the same way we have always done them.  Trying to cut trees with the same old dull axe.  Stop trying to be competitive by talking about yourself and start learning from others.

Here is just a sampling of questions to ask the next time you are talking with an individual or group of ministry friends.  What are you currently teaching/preaching on?  What has been the most popular sermon or series in the past year?  How could I get a copy of that?  What is the best book you have read recently?  What kind of outreach do you do to your community?  What has been the most effective way you advertise your church in the community?  What was your greatest struggle and your greatest victory in the past year?  How do you run your staff meetings?  What is your most effective way to recruit new volunteers? What areas has the Lord been growing you lately?  What do you do to protect your home and family time?  What has been your greatest frustration recently and how did you deal with it?  What percentage of your budget do you spend on staff?  Building?  What are some ways you have found to trim your budget?  How do you develop and train leaders?  Who have you had in as a guest speaker and would you have them back?

Be committed to learning.  Let’s put into practice and learn from one another.  I will lead and get the conversation going this month among this awesome group of church leaders who read this blog.  Leaders are readers.  So, what is your all time favorite book on leadership that you recommend every leader reads?

 

 

 

 

 

How To Get Started In Ministry

I am often asked, “How do I get started in ministry?”  Here is my testimony and wisdom for those who desire to make ministry a full time career.  For the many veterans in ministry that read my blog, pass this on to some “young guns” you know.

When I graduated from Bible college I was filled with just enough knowledge to be dangerous and packed full of zeal for the Lord.  I knew the vision God had placed in my heart to become a youth pastor and transform the lives of countless teenagers.  This was the career path I knew I was to take.  Ministry was what I wanted to do day in and day out for the rest of my life.  Yet as a young 20-something NOBODY was  interested in hiring this “young gun” because I was no “top gun”.  I was unproven and had no track record of faithfulness as a minister.  I was a tree with no fruit.  Welcome to the summer of 1981 when my ministry career began.

In June 1981 I planted myself in Dallas, Texas and I knew God had led me to a specific church to get involved.  It was one of the nation’s largest churches at the time and they already had a youth pastor.  But one of scriptures that stuck with me as I left Bible College was Proverbs 18:16,  “A man’s gift makes room for him,? and brings him before great men.”  In my limited knowledge I was smart enough to know this;  “If I will plant my gift in a church and pour myself into it, then somewhere, somehow, that gift will create a place for me.  I need to become so valuable as a volunteer that they can’t afford to do church without me.  I believe I have a gift the Kingdom needs, wants and desires.  But I have to plant myself and produce fruit.  When I produce fruit it will get the attention of great people in the Kingdom and open doors for me.”

The problem with those starting in the ministry today–they want it all delivered on a silver platter.  “God, I’ll do this but you have to open a door for a JOB (that pays me  to do Your work).”  And when you ask them for help in an area outside their passion you get, “That’s not my calling pastor, sorry.”  The art of serving, giving, planting, and investing is slipping away in the body of Christ.  My Jesus and my Bible instructs me that I am to be different than everyone else.  When the law of the land required you to carry a Roman soldiers pack and gear one mile, Jesus said, “Go above and beyond the call of duty.  Double it!  Carry his gear TWO miles.”  Everybody has their sites on doing GREAT things for the Kingdom of God but feel they are too good to do the “little things.”  Jesus said, “Be faithful in the small things and THEN you will be promoted and put over much.”

It seems like most folks today want to leap frog to the “much” side of life without doing the “little.”  Pride is running rampant in the body of Christ under the mask of spirituality and the disguise of “that’s not my calling.”   That is rubbish.  Let me predict that person’s future.  You will be sitting on the sideline’s of life and ministry five years from now and ten years from now, saying, “I just don’t understand why God hasn’t opened a door for me to get into the ministry.  People just don’t respect my gift.”  It is everyone else’s fault you’re not in the full time ministry. The body of Christ if filled with WANNA-BEES!  People who “wanna-be” in ministry.   People who wanna-be getting paid for their ministry gift.  Many are like a tumor that drains the life and blood from the body because they think the body is there to serve them and their gift.  When in reality they should be investing their gift into the Body of Christ, expecting nothing in return but a reward in heaven.  Giving their gift, planting their gift, and pouring out their life to advance the cause of Christ.  Your gift will make room for you if you will just plant it and be faithful!  Let me show you . . .

Let’s get back to 1981.  I met with the youth pastor and said, I am a Bible College grad and I am here to help in any way possible.  When I said it he crumpled up a piece of paper on his desk and threw it in the trash and said, “That was an announcement I was going to put in the bulletin about a need for a Sunday School teacher.  You’re it.”  For the next 12 months I volunteered my brains out in EVERY area and facet of the church, not just in the youth ministry.  I became a prayer room counselor, helped answer phones in the call center, helped usher, park cars, build sets, and volunteered whenever and wherever I could.  I worked part time jobs to cover my basic expenses, but if I wasn’t at work, I was at the church volunteering and planting my gift.  I even helped run camera for a children’s program on Saturday mornings, ugh.  But that finally led to a day job at the church on the film crew and then I still volunteered nights with the youth ministry.  But this taught me how to do video editing, direct programs, do lighting, shoot testimonials, set design, and so much more.  All of these talents and skills I would end up using throughout my ministry career.

Within twelve months of working full time on the video crew my gift made room for me and I was moved to the youth ministry department as the full time assistant youth pastor.  From there, 20 more years of full time youth ministry and almost nine years of being a senior pastor.  My gift made room for me and has brought me into relationships and associations with some of the nations brightest and most gifted leaders within the Body of Christ!

How do you get started in ministry?  Volunteer in any and every way you can.  Become so valuable to a ministry or church that they can’t live without you and WANT to pay you for your services because you do such an impeccable job.  And . . . if they don’t hire you, someone will see the tremendous fruit on your tree and they will.

Quench The Thirst Of A Generation!

Pastor Dean