Marriage Conference led by the Crofts (May 8-9 in Lexington, KY)

Marriage-conference-2-pic-300x169Brian and Cara Croft will be leading a marriage conference at The Baptist Church of Andover in Lexington, KY on May 8-9, 2015.  It will be a Friday evening through Saturday morning event.  All couples are welcome.

For further information such as cost, schedule, location and how to register go here.

Posted in Promotion

What produces a powerful sermon?

There are many correct answers to this question:  the power of the Word of God, the filling and movement of the Holy Spirit, the giftedness of the preacher, the eagerness of the people to hear, all could be mentioned when this question is asked.  Yet, I want to mention one answer that is commonly overlooked when considering the power of preaching and what produces a moving sermon preached that brings spiritual fruit from God.  I think this one overlooked aspect of powerful preaching is best summarized by the 19th century English pastor, Archibald Brown:

Oh, brethren and sisters, I would to God I could speak to you this morning as I would.  I only wish I could make this text blaze away before you eyes as it has before my own. I would that its tremendous force might be realized by you, as it has been felt in my own heart before coming here.  Oh, how it would shake some of you out of your selfishness, out of your worldliness, out of your pandering to the maxims of this world.

Brown’s words capture well an essential element to a powerful sermon, that is, the preacher first be deeply affected by the word he steps into the pulpit to preach.  Before the preacher can persuade any sinner to turn to Christ, he must first be persuaded himself.  Before the preacher can convince any Christian to trust in the promises of God, he must first believe those promises.

Pastors, as you prepare to preach God’s word and feed the souls of your people this week, make sure that word you study has changed you.  Make sure it is a part of you and that you truly believe what you are preparing to preach so that you are able to preach with an earnestness that only comes from someone who has met with God and experienced his help.

Posted in Preaching

How do I encourage my pastor?

Based on the emails, notes, and phone calls I continue to get, trust me…your pastor needs encouragement.  He needs to know that what he does week in and week out means something to God as well as those for whom he labors.  Here are 5 suggestions to accomplish this:

1) Share appreciation for how hard he works

Maybe the most hurtful words a pastor and his wife can hear are not, “Bad sermon” or “that was a dumb decision” or “I don’t like the way you do that.”  Rather, words that imply this message can be the most hurtful, “You are lazy.”  Because of this, some of the most encouraging words a pastor and his wife can hear are words of gratefulness for how hard he works to preach faithfully and shepherd their souls.

2) Give specific feedback to a sermon

I’m not talking about the slap on the back, “Nice sermon” comment.  Instead be specific…”that insight into the text was really helpful, or that application really met me where I am struggling.”  Don’t underestimate how impactful just one thoughtful, specific comment about your pastor’s sermon can be to him…especially on Monday.

3) Acknowledge the sacrifice of his family

This will encourage his wife and children, but it will also be very meaningful to the pastor.  The pastor knowing you are thinking of his family can often times mean more than you thinking of him.  Some of the most meaningful encouragement to me has been efforts like a card or gift to my wife and children thanking them for their sacrifice in allowing me to do what I do.  My kids especially always remember those things.

4) Reveal how you have spiritually grown under his ministry

This is one thing a pastor labors to hear and hopes is taking place all over his congregation.  Stop keeping him in suspense and tell him so he knows.  The Lord can also use these words to help a pastor learn what he needs to change or adjust in the way he is preaching or caring for people.

5) Tell him how you specifically pray for him

Your pastor of all people should know the significance of prayer.  The most meaningful things I hear isn’t, “I prayed for you” but, “I prayed that your sermon would be powerfully preached and eagerly received, or I prayed God would protect you and your family from the enemy through this important week.”  Write your pastor a text or email today and tell him what you prayed for him or how you will be praying for him this week.

If not in these ways, find some way to encourage your pastor this week.  Never underestimate how meaningful and well-timed it can be when God would so lead you to do so…especially on Monday!

Posted in Home and Family, The Pastor's Soul

How does a busy pastor plan his daily schedule?

By Brian Croft

Everyone is busy. This is the reality of our modern culture. There is work that needs to be done, a family to care for, a house and car to maintain, friendships to cultivate, doctors to visit.   There are kid’s activities to schedule and guests to host. For those of us who are Christians, you can add to the normal busyness of life attendance at church, possibly volunteering once a week. Life in the twenty-first century feels like an unending rat race. We only slow down when crisis and sickness force us to take a break.

Those who pastor God’s people experience many of the same pulls, pressures, demands, and responsibilities as other Christians. And because a pastor is called to be involved in the lives of the people in his congregation, he must learn to juggle his own schedule with the busy and hectic schedules of his church members as well. Their busy lives create additional tension in ministry, setting many pastors up for failure—even before they begin.

Many pastors fall into two traps here…

In some cases, a pastor quickly realizes that he cannot provide adequate care for his congregation, so he doesn’t. Even with a smaller congregation, it’s not possible to be at every surgery, ball game, funeral, doctor’s visit, home invitation, church work-day, and counseling request. Discouraged, some stop trying altogether. A pastor may choose to focus more broadly on administrating large activities, managing busy programs, and overseeing the general functioning of the local church, leaving the work of “ministry” to others—or neglecting it altogether.

On the other hand, some determined pastors recognize that they can’t do it all but they commit to pushing through the pain. They set an ambitious hand to the plow and hope that with enough effort they will at least please some people. This approach has its own dangers, though. The pastor is now enslaved to the demands and needs of his church. The congregation, whether directly or indirectly, largely determines how his time is spent. His ministry faithfulness and fruitfulness will be based on how happy his congregation is with his efforts, and while some will be pleased, there will always be people who can never be satisfied. Satisfying people becomes his way of measuring faithfulness, yet this will leave him feeling exhausted and empty.

To read the full article click here…

Posted in Oversight of Souls, The Pastor's Soul
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