Saturday, January 30, 2010


I am a big fan of Southern Gospel music.  For several years my wife and I held permanent seats at the Southern Gospel Quartet Convention held in Louisville.  We would attend at least five of the six nights the convention was held.  We would sit there for six hours every night listening to some of the top SG performers in the country.  Although I enjoyed most of the groups my all-time favorite was the Cathedrals.  I was sitting in my seat the year the Cats came out without Glen Payne.  We were told he was in the hospital.  During their set he called the stage, talked with George Younce, the bass singer for the Cats, and then sang a verse and chorus of a song.  Although he was in the hospital and singing over a telephone, his song touched every person in that huge arena.  Many were crying by the time he finished.  A few weeks later Glen Payne passed away.

I don't think I heard anything from the next group as I sat there thinking about the faithfulness of Glen Payne and George Younce.  They had been together for years travelling the country singing Southern Gospel music.  They had already announced they would retire at the end of the year.  Never was there one word of scandal or accusations of poor behavior.  Although they were now at the height of popularity, there had been many lean years, but they had remained faithful to the calling God had on their lives.  As I sat there I felt the Lord saying that He wanted that same faithfulness from me.  It was a holy moment in my life.

The next year at the Quartet Convention a print of Glen and George was made available.  It would be signed by George and Glen's widow.  I immediately went to the display area and stood in line for a copy.  I paid more for that print than any I had ever bought up to that time, and later paid about the same amount for a frame.  It hangs in front of my desk as a reminder of that night when God challenged me to a life of faithfulness.

He wants that for you as well.  Your calling may at times be challenging, and sometimes you may wonder why it is so hard to be faithful in doing what God has called you to do.  You may question if you have even understood God's call on your life.  After all, shouldn't it be easy to follow God's will for your life?  No, not always.  I tell pastors in my workshops that sometimes being in the middle of God's will is the toughest place you can be, but it is also always the best place.

I miss the Cathedrals.  They are still my favorite group even though they did retire at the end of that year.  George is now gone as well, but their music lives on.  So does the inspiration to remain faithful in the calling God has placed on my life.  Stay faithful my friends.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who do you talk to?

I recently met with a minister who admitted he felt he was nearing burn out.  He was tired, and he was tired of being tired.  Everything he did made him feel he was trying to roll a large steel ball uphill.  After we talked for several minutes he noted that he really didn't feel he had anyone he could talk to about how he felt except his wife, and he didn't want to keep burdening her with his problems.

Unfortunately, he is not alone.  Many ministers can identify with his words.  Ministry can be a very lonely profession.  Most ministers have a lot of acquaintances but few real friends.  Their relationships may be a mile wide but only an inch deep.  For many ministers, the problem is one of trust.  They feel they cannot tell too much to other ministers without being judged or having their comments used against them at some time.  Some believe they cannot talk to their judicatory leaders without running the risk of having their words or feelings creating problems the next time they want help in finding a new place of service.  Many have been taught they should not have friends in their congregations, and since those are the people they spend most of time with, who can be their friends?  Finally, they cannot talk to anyone about things that would violate confidentiality.  As a result, many ministers carry around a huge load of issues they believe they cannot share with anyone.

First, I do not believe you cannot have friendships in your church.  That is an old philosophy of ministry that I just don't believe is relevant any more, if it ever was.  Admittedly, these are friendships that the minister must be careful not to abuse.  There are ministry related items that are off limits to share within these friendships.  When I was pastor I had very close friendships with a few families that have continued since leaving the church.  We still occasionally go out to eat together, but we are very careful to not talk "shop" while we're out.

I also believe that every minister needs friends outside of his or her church.  As a bivocational minister I worked with a number of believers who lived in various communities.  These became very important relationships for me, and a few became close friends.  We could talk about personal and church related issues without any fear that it would go any further.  Who do you talk to?  Every minister needs someone they can be honest with and talk to about their greatest challenges.  If you can't think of someone you can honestly share with I recommend you begin to develop such relationships with a few people. 

In the meantime, you may want to consider getting a coach to help you through some of the challenges you face.  A coach is someone who will ask you the tough questions that others won't or can't ask.  He or she can guide you through some of the difficult times in your life.  Although it may cost a little to get a coach I believe it is an investment rather than an expense.  It is an investment in yourself and your own personal well-being.  I recently heard a successful former pastor and now counselor say that he wished he had hired a life coach when he began his ministry because he believes that person could have helped him through a lot of the challenges he faced in his ministry and his life.

Could having a coach help you?  Check out my webpage for more information on coaching and a list of times when having a coach could benefit the bivocational minister.  Just click the coaching tab.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Campbellsville University

For several years it has been my privilege to serve on the Church Relations Council at Campbellsville University in Kentucky.  Yesterday I attended the Executive Committee meeting to plan our upcoming Spring council meeting and to hear some of the exciting things that have occurred on campus since our last gathering.  As always, I was amazed at the exciting things occurring at the university, and there are two things I want to highlight in this posting.

Campbellsville University (CU) offers an on-line 27 hour, accredited program for bivocational ministers that will earn them a Certificate in Christian Ministry when they complete all nine courses.  Many bivocational ministers lack any kind of formal ministry or seminary training, and this is an excellent way of obtaining that education without having to leave your home.  The cost is very reasonable, and if you decide later to pursue a degree at CU you will receive college credits for the work you did in this program!  You can get more information about the program and contact information at  At that site you can also get information about the Heartland Bivocational Ministry Center at CU.  By the way, if you wonder if they understand bivocational ministry at CU I can assure you they do.  Some of the people at the university serve as bivocational pastors in local churches.  I should also mention that if you already have your bachelor's degree, the School of Theology at CU now offers their Master of Theology degree on-line.  I have a friend who is a bivocational minister who recently enrolled in this program because he believed it would offer him the best opportunity for him to pursue his master's while serving his church and working at his job.

The second thing I want to suggest is that you encourage the high school students in your church to consider Campbellsville University when they are looking at colleges and universities.  This is an exciting campus.  For the third year in a row US News and World Report ranked CU in the top 25 colleges in the South, and US News has ranked CU as one of "America's Best Colleges" for 17 consecutive years.  It's small enough so everyone can know one another, and yet it's large enough to offer a wide variety of excellent educational opportunities.  One of the things that always amazes me is the large number of students who go on mission trips every year from the school.  I don't know that I've seen a more active campus ministry program in any school.  They also have an excellent athletic program that will only get better.  They are currently adding lights to the football and baseball fields and putting down turf grass on the football field.  I could go on, but for me the best thing about CU is that it believes in the value of Christian higher education.  They believe there is no reason that a school cannot maintain high Christian values and provide its students with the best education.

I encourage you to go to and check out the school for yourself.  If you are interested in taking some students there for a tour of the campus, or if you want to visit the campus yourself, please contact me and I'll help set up an opportunity for you to do that.

Campbellsville University offers a lot for young people ready to begin college, and I believe they have a lot to offer bivocational ministers.   

Monday, January 25, 2010

Church controllers

I recently had a call from a church member who was concerned that their pastor might be leaving because of the opposition he was receiving from a small faction of people within the congregation.  The caller said that the majority of members supported the pastor and wanted to know how to keep him from resigning.  This caller said that there is a small group of people who consistently keep things stirred up in their church, and because of that they cannot keep a pastor.  I explained that if a majority of members want to keep their pastor they must be willing to confront the controllers and demand they change their behavior.  Of course, the caller resisted that advice because he is a nice person who doesn't want to come across like the controllers.  I then shared one of my favorite lines:  The problem in many of our churches is that we are made up of very nice people who are not willing to confront those who aren't so nice thereby giving them the power to control everything that goes on in the church.

This is one reason some of our smaller churches are so unhealthy.  Church controllers are like a cancer in a body.  Cancer cells attack healthy cells causing the body to become unhealthy.  If left untreated the cancer will eventually bring about death.  When doctors find cancers they usually take immediate, drastic action.  Many of the treatments for cancer are unpleasant and no one wants to go through them, but without the treatment the long-term prognosis usually isn't very good.

Nice church people do not want to confront controllers.  It's not very pleasant.  You hear nice church people say things like, "I don't go to church to fight."  They may not like the things the controllers are doing to the church, but they aren't willing to stand up against them.  They avoid business meetings because they know the meetings will be unpleasant.  As a result, the controllers are allowed to do whatever they want to do until they drain the very life out of the church.

Tom Bandy asks a great question in his book Fragile Hope.  "All you need to ask is: 'Do you love controllers more than your own children, parents, neighbors, and work associates?'  Is it more important to keep controlling clergy, matriarchs, patriarchs, wealthy trustees, or domineering institutional managers, rather than welcome your own teenagers, parents, and immediate loved ones into the community of faith?  The choice may be as profound as 'Christ or Institution,' but for most people it is as simple as 'Controller or my teenager.'  If one must go so the other can belong, what will be your preference?"

Most people in a small church dislike conflict.  Small churches are built on relationships, and these relationships are vital to small churches.  Unfortunately, church controllers depend on this.  They know most people in the church do not want to do anything to upset the relationships that exist within their church which means they will allow the controllers enormous power in the church because the controllers don't mind at all upsetting the relationships in order to get what they want.  As a result, churches develop a poor reputation in the community and prospective new members avoid these churches because of that reputation.  To make a bad problem even worse, our young people abandon these churches as soon as they are old enough to make that decision.

I would love to see congregations reclaim their churches from the controllers.  In the few cases I've seen it happen it always led to the church becoming much healthier and it has always led to growth.   It won't be easy, but it can be done, and people don't have to sink to the level of the controllers to make it happen.  They may have to be firm, but they don't have to be nasty and mean about it.  Such confrontation will not be pleasant but it when it is successful it will lead to a healthy church, and a healthy church will become a growing church having a much greater impact on its community for the Kingdom of God.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Inviting people to church

Why do people decide to visit a church?  While there are many reasons, two have consistently led more people to visit a church than any others.  The first is that someone they knew and trusted invited them.  Many churches still look at reaching new people as the responsibility of the pastor, and that just isn't the case.  When a pastor invites someone to attend church people view that as his or her responsibility.  However, when someone they know and trust invites them  it takes on a whole different meaning..

The second reason is that the church sponsors some kind of nonreligious event such as a sports league, a concert, a community fair, or some other event that appeals to an unchurched audience.  I see many churches now offering Upwards sports programs for children, and most of them have their leagues filled with young people.  I see some churches hosting block parties during the summer and activities such as Trunk or Treat during the fall months.  All of these are designed to introduce people to the church and to provide an opportunit to invite people to return to the church later for a worship experience.

If you're serving in a smaller church that doesn't have a family life center with a full-size gym you may be thinking that such activities are beyond your capabilities.  Not so!  There are other events you can do such as an outdoors block party that you can invite the community to.  I know one church that had a baptism scheduled outdoors.  At the close of the service the congregation walked down to the river at the edge of town, had the baptism, and returned to the church to prepare for a community-wide picnic they were hosting that afternoon.  The baptism attracted a number of unchurched people who followed the congregation to see what was going on, and I'm sure some of them returned a little later for the picnic.  This church was creating good relationships with people in the community.

I would encourage you to be thinking about what kind of event you could host this summer that you could invite your community to attend.  Whatever it is, it should be done with excellence as some people will judge your church based on this event.  Notice...I didn't say it had to be done perfectly, only with excellence.  If you begin planning now you will create some excitement in your church, you will be ready when the date for your event arrives, and you will be giving your congregation something they can invite their family and friends to attend.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Meeting the expectations of the church

Occasionally, my ministry requires me to help a pastor and church that are at odds with one another.  I recently met with such a church.  There had been some conflict between the pastor and some in the church for several months, and it was getting worse, not better.  I was asked to meet with the church leadership, and I asked for the pastor to attend the meeting as well.  Although there was reluctance on the part of the church leaders to have the pastor in our meeting, I reminded them that if the pastor was the problem there was no reason for us to meet without him there to defend himself.  I had already heard their litany of complaints about the pastor; I didn't need to re-hear them without being able to discuss the church's concerns with the pastor.  It was a contentious meeting, and after everyone left the pastor told me he would resign.

There are a number of problems that led up to this, but at the root of all of them is the pastor's lack of meeting the expectations of the church.  Some in the church had some expectations that were rather unrealistic, and I pointed that out to them.  This is a bivocational pastor who is not going to be available to them 24/7.  However, there were some other expectations that were valid, and this pastor was not meeting these.  The church leadership had talked to him before about how important these were to the congregation, but the pastor made little attempt to meet these expectations.  The pastor saw his ministry and strengths being in one direction, and the church wanted something else, and the two could not come together.  The pastor's resignation was probably the best thing that could happen for both him and this church because I don't think the two would ever agree on the pastor's role.

Every pastor has an idea of what his or her ministry will look like.  We understand our strengths and our weaknesses far better than anyone else.  Hopefully, we are aware of our spiritual gifts and passions, and we understand that we will function much better when we work in those areas than in others.  In many congregations, there is often a need to educate the church regarding the biblical role of a pastor, and I often refer to Ephesians 4 when I'm doing that. 

Having said this, I also need to say there is a need for the pastor to clearly understand what the expectations of the church are for their pastor.  These are the things that "pay the rent."  You do these well and you can do many of the other things you want to do.  Zig Ziglar often says, "You help enough other people get what they want, you can have anything in life you want."  In this particular church, as in many smaller churches, the congregation expected their pastor to actively visit the church members, especially in times of difficulty.  This pastor failed to do this consistently.  It didn't really matter what good things the pastor may have done, the fact that he did not visit people in their time of need was a red flag to this church.  Virtually every church will have their own expectations of the pastor that are not really up for debate, and if the pastor fails to meet those expectations there will be problems.

Are some of these expectations unrealistic?  Absolutely, and this needs to be pointed out to them as I did.  You may need to bring in an outside person from your judicatory or a consultant or coach to explain that to the church leaders, but unrealistic expectations do need to be addressed.  At the same time, don't assume all expectations that are different than yours are unrealistic.  Determine as quickly as possible when you begin a new ministry what you need to do to "pay the rent" and make sure you take time to do them, and do them well.  You'll have a much more enjoyable ministry, and you will usually be given the freedom to pursue those ministry objectives you believe are important.  If you find you can't meet those expectations, then you probably need to move on and find a place of ministry better suited to you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nelson Searcy

I am quickly becoming a big fan of Nelson Searcy, the pastor of The Journey Church in New York.  This is a church that he planted in 2002 and which now has over 1,000 members.  What I enjoy about him is the information he makes available to church leaders through his books, podcasts, and website.  I have read two of his books so far, Ignite: How to Spark Immediate Growth in Your Church and Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church.  Both are down-to-earth and full of helpful information for pastors and leaders of any size church.

Many of the resources we find for church leaders provide little assistance to those who lead smaller churches, but Searcy shares ideas that will work in any church.  For instance, in Ignite he discusses developing a church calendar around the days when you want to have a big day.  He suggests Easter, a Sunday in February, and about month after school resumes in the fall.  On that day Searcy recommends that a sermon series begin that would appeal to the people your church is wanting to reach.  It doesn't matter what size church you have, your church can do this.  The same kind of helpful information is found in Fusion as well.  In fact, I led a half-day workshop for one of my associations on the importance of hospitality towards first-time guests and got a lot of material for that workshop from that book.  Every church in that association is led by a bivocational pastor.  In case you are wondering, I did not take credit for much of that workshop.  I frequently shared where the information was coming from and I even think I showed them a copy of my book and recommended they purchase a copy.

Our son bought me my first I-Pod for Christmas, and I have downloaded several podcasts of various speakers I enjoy listening to when I'm at the gym.  I have subscribed to Searcy's podcasts and have listened to several of them already.  They cost nothing to download and contain a lot of good ideas.

Let me quickly say that Nelson Searcy doesn't know me from the man in the moon.  I have attended a workshop he led in Evansville last summer, but we never met.  I'm not puffing up a friend of mine; I'm just letting you know that here are some inexpensive resources that I think would be a benefit to almost any pastor or church leader regardless of the size church you serve

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dealing with personal crisis

Yesterday I preached a funeral for the father of a minister friend.  This wonderful pastor has become a close friend over the past five years, and I was privileged to be able to minister to him during this difficult time in his life.  One of the things he said more than once during this past week is that it's a lot easier on the other side.  In other words, it's easier to minister to others than to allow them to minister to you.  I reminded him a couple of times that he is not a pastor this week; he is a grieving son.  He doesn't have to be strong for anyone, and that he needs to allow others to minister to him.  Hundreds of people came to the funeral home for the viewing, and many of them did minister to him and his family.

Two years ago I was in his place when I lost my father.  In fact, he preached that funeral service for our family.  I know he's right: it is easier to be the minister than to receive ministry.  But there are times when you need to receive ministry and to welcome it as a gift from God.  Fellow ministers came alongside me to minister and to care, and there were times all I could do was hug them and cry, and that was all right.  I had led several workshops in a church an hour away from our home for several weeks and about a dozen of their members came for the viewing.  I was overwhelmed by their ministry to us during our time of need.  When Dad died I made an immediate decision that I wasn't going to try to be strong for anyone, but that I would grieve as any son would.

Some people think that ministers are somehow above the pain that other people feel during times of loss.  Sure, we know our loved ones who knew the Lord are in a much better place.  We've preached that at countless funerals.  That does not lessen the pain when it is one of our loved ones who are gone.   We grieve for them just like anyone else would.  I still drive over to the cemetery occasionally to look at Mom and Dad's stone and remember how much I still miss them.  However, I do not grieve as though without hope because I know one day I will see them again when it becomes my time to go home.

Pastors, when a crisis comes into your life don't be afraid to receive ministry from others.  Don't be afraid to grieve.  Don't be afraid to become angry at the circumstance.  Despite what some people may think about pastors, we are human beings created by God to experience all these emotions, so allow yourself to experience whatever emotions come.  And remember, Jesus promised to never leave us nor abandone us, and He will walk with you through whatever crisis may come.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti earthquake

We've all seen the destruction that has occurred in Haiti this week due to the Category 7 earthquake that hit there earlier.  The reports are not good coming from that country, and each of us needs to pray for the people and for those who are leading the rescue and recovery efforts.

Several years ago I went to Haiti for a week to do some work at a youth center our denomination sponsors in Cap Haitian and to see some of our mission work first-hand.  The poverty was beyond belief.  I had been in some very impoverished areas before, especially during my time in the military, but I had never seen anything to compare to this.  It was a week that changed my life, my ministry, and my appreciation for the work missionaries have been called to do.  When I heard of the earthquake I knew that the damage would be incredible because of the structures that existed there.

I would imagine most denominations are raising money for relief efforts at this time.  I would encourage those of you who are members of a denomination to channel your money through them to be sure that it gets to Haiti.  Unfortunately, there are some groups out there who will use this disaster to line their own pockets.  They will make their appeals, churches will give their money to them in good faith, and little, if any of it, will actually make its way to Haiti.  Giving through your denomination is the safest way to contribute to the relief effort there.  If you are not part of a denomination, I would suggest you give your money through an organization that you know you can trust such as the Billy Graham organization, the Red Cross, or another trusted ministry.

With our financial assistance, let's be sure to keep these people in our prayers.  As I told my wife when the news broke, they didn't have much before this earthquake, and now even that has been taken from them.  The suffering will be great and will last for months to come.  This is the time for the church to rise up and minister "to the least of these."

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I had a call today from a church that is seeking a new pastor.  The call was about whether or not I thought they should sell their parsonage.  Some have advised them that it will be difficult for them to find a pastor without being able to offer a parsonage while others have given them several reasons why selling their parsonage would be best for the church and any prospective pastor they might call.  I should mention this is a fully-funded church that actually owns two parsonages: one for the pastor and one for the associate pastor.  Due to deed restrictions they cannot sell the one lived in by the associate so they are just considering the one their former pastors have lived in.  I should also mention that this is a nice home that has had regular upkeep.

My advice was to sell the parsonage for several reasons.  Increasing the cash salary for their next pastor would allow him or her to purchase a home which helps the pastor put roots down in their community.  There is a sense of permanence when one owns their home.  It will allow the pastor to build equity as the value of the home increases.  By setting aside part of the salary as a housing allowance it will save the pastor money on taxes which makes home ownership easier.  When the pastor does leave and sells the house he or she will have money for a down payment for another home.  I once talked to a 41 year old pastor who had lived in a parsonage all his adult life.  He now needed to buy his first home and had very little money down and no idea how to go about buying a house.  It would also get the church out of property management.

Quite often a minister's family never really feels comfortable living in a church parsonage.  In some churches the members view the parsonage as the church's property and feel they have the right to go in any time they wish.  Sometimes they want to hold meetings or even Sunday school classes in the parsonage.  There are churches that restrict what the pastor can do with the parsonage and forbid pets and even changing the colors of paint on the walls.  None of these are fair to the minister or to the family.

What are your views on this?  Would you prefer to go to a church that offered a parsonage or would you rather receive a housing allowance so you could purchase your own home?  Why?  I also wonder how many readers who are bivocational pastors live in a parsonage.  I would like to hear from you and hear your feedback.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Loving your people

The senior pastor had recently resigned, and the associate pastor preached the next Sunday.  A member of the church told me that the associate isn't the best preacher the church has ever had, but everyone there knows that he loves them.  She said they didn't always know that about the senior pastor.

"Pastor, do you love us?" is a question that many church members have.  Now, I'll admit that some who ask that question aren't the most lovable people in the world, but they still want to know whether or not you love the people in the church.  Do you see great value in them, and are you willing to sacrifice for them?

When I was pastor at Hebron I would occasionally say from the pulpit, "Sometimes you folks drive me crazy, but I love each and every one of you.  You are my family, and I care more for you than many of you could ever realize."  The fact is, they did know how I cared for them, and they loved my family and me in return.  That doesn't mean that we never had differences, but it did mean that we related to one another in a spirit of respect and genuine concern and love for one another.

Pastor, perhaps the most important thing you could do is to find ways to let your congregation know you do love them.  The cliche is true: People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.  People will not follow a leader until they know that he or she has their best interest at heart.  John Maxwell teaches that we need to touch a heart before we ask for a hand.  Obviously, a leader could fake love in order to manipulate people into following him or her, but that would only work for a very short time.  People would soon see through that.

How can you demonstrate your love for your people?  There certainly isn't space in this blog to answer that in great detail, but here are some quick answers. 

Commit to them.  Believe me, churches whose pastors leave them every couple of years do not feel loved by their pastors. 

Invest in them.  Spend the time to get to know them and their families.  Learn their hopes and dreams and passions.  Discover their spiritual gifts and give them opportunities to minister accordingly.

Weep with them.  Every family in a church will go through hurting times, and you need to be there with them during those times.  You don't have to say great profound things in order to minister.  Practice the ministry of presence.

Laugh with them.  Be part of their celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries.  Attend the Little League games and other activities the children in which the children of your church are involved.

Tell them publicly.  Often.  And don't forget to smile a lot.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I am preparing for an interview that I will soon be doing for an article on bivocational ministry that will appear in the Baptists Today magazine.  I'll let you know when that issue comes out.

Recently, I did a radio interview with Marty Guise of Lay Renewal Ministries on the subject of healthy small churches.  You can hear that interview here.  While at that site you can also read a discussion of my book on that subject that has been going on for several weeks.  There are some really good comments there from pastors of smaller churches.  You may find some helpful hints that you can use in your own church.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's resolutions

How many of your New Year's resolutions have you kept into day two of the new year?  In the past, if I kept my resolutions into the second week I felt I was doing good.  I was so bad at keeping New Year's resolutions that I quit even making them several years ago.  I found it was much better to set goals for the new year and to develop a plan that would enable those goals to be achieved.  I keep these goals in front of me throughout the year, and they really do influence how I spend my time.  After all, if they are not important enough to demand your time and energy they probably shouldn't be goals anyway.  I set goals for my ministry, my family life, and my own personal life.  Let me briefly share with you four of my 2009 goals and how I did with them.

Goal #1 was to lose weight.  I know...I know...almost everybody sets that as a goal at the start of the year.  (That was one of my New Year's resolutions for several years, and I never got to week two with this one.)  I not only wanted to lose weight; I wanted to lose quite a bit of weight.  45 pounds to be exact.  Even though I was faithfully going to the gym 3-4 days a week I wasn't losing the weight I wanted.  This was due primarily to the amount of ministry-related travel I do.  Mid-year I took another step and joined Weight Watchers.  Following their program and continuing to go to the gym I managed to lose 41 pounds by the end of the year, and I will lose the other four pounds before January is out.

Goal #2 was to increase our enrollment in our Church Leadership Institute (CLI) by 20 percent.  CLI is a leadership development program we offer pastors and lay leaders in our region, and it is one of my responsibilities.  Enrollment had been falling over the past couple of years, and I wanted to see it turn around.  We were able to increase our enrollment of new students by 17 percent and put some new policies in place that should help our enrollment continue to climb.

Goal #3 was to complete my DMin work by the end of 2009.  I was able to complete my coursework in 2009 and write my thesis.  The thesis has been submitted to my mentor and reader, and I look forward to hearing from them regarding any changes I need to make.  I should be able to graduate this May,and that was the purpose for this goal.  I wanted to complete my work by the end of the year so I could graduate in the spring of 2010.

Goal #4 was to continue to develop resources for small church leaders, and this also was achieved.  I had a new book come out in the spring of 2009 and signed a contract for another book that will be released this spring.  I also conducted several workshops for various denominational groups in the US and Canada.

I have new goals for 2010 that I am excited about, and I pray you do as well.  If you haven't already, set some goals for your family, some for your ministry, and some for your own personal benefit.  Some of your goals should be short-term and others long-term.  Make sure some of them are fun-related.  If you can keep your New Year's resolutions, great.  For me, it is much more effective to set goals so I have some specific targets to aim at throughout the year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New e-bay store

Here are some of the items that I have for sale in my new e-bay store. The store's name is Ellie's Grace. You will find an assortment of books, Boyd's Bears, and miscellaneous items. I have also combined sets of books from my personal library that I thought might be helpful to bivocational and small church leaders and made them available for purchase.