THE TESTS TO EVALUATE AN OPPORTUNITY ;

1. The Murphy’s Law Test — What could possibly go wrong, and am I willing to accept the consequences if it does?
The question is not whether there will be problems; it’s what and how serious will they be? Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity,” so the fact that there will be problems is not a reason to abandon the opportunity. Instead, we need to anticipate problems before they happen. If we examine them first, then we can decide if the consequences will be manageable.

2. The Common Sense Test — Does this opportunity make sense, or am I trying to make sense out of it?
This is important because passion can often overpower common sense. We get excited about an opportunity and don’t look at it objectively. The result: We try to make something happen! Instead, we need to weigh an opportunity based on its own merits.

3. The Preparation Test — Am I prepared to do this?
John Wooden said, “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” He knew that his basketball players needed to be prepared for the game, or they wouldn’t be able to capitalize on the opportunities within it.

Likewise, we need to be prepared with the necessary skills and abilities to meet opportunities. For example, I love to swim, and I try to swim an hour a day. But what if I was given the opportunity to compete in a race, at a distance I’d never swum before? It wouldn’t be smart for me to take on that challenge if I hadn’t prepared for it.
Here’s what preparation is not: Knowing all the answers before you start. The key is to recognize when you know enough to start down a road. Otherwise, you’ll be plagued with the paralysis of analysis.

4. The Options Test — Do I increase or decrease my options by waiting?
How quickly do you need to embrace an opportunity? Sometimes it’s smart to wait while you gather information or talk to advisors. But other times if you wait, the door to the opportunity closes.

Ask yourself what will happen to your options in the meantime. Will some be eliminated as time passes (for example, if someone else’s decision will impact it)? If waiting will eliminate an important option, decide now.

5. The Deadline Test — When is the best time to make the right decision?
I believe that serious decision-making only happens when a deadline is set. People naturally wait to move until they absolutely have to. So with this test, you give yourself a deadline for deciding. This motivates you to take a hard look at all the answers to the previous questions, and make a decision in a timely manner.

Lee Iacocca said, “The right decision is the wrong decision if it’s made too late.” By asking these questions about an opportunity, you increase your odds for success, because you keep yourself from chasing the wrong opportunity, going after one too soon, or missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

5 THINGS PREACHERS SHOULD STOP DOING!

1. STOP PRETENDING

Authenticity is the new currency of leadership.

So stop pretending. Stop using THAT voice.

You know the one – the preacher voice. False vulnerability. False concern. False ups and downs. Just be you.

Talk and proclaim to people as a real person. Use biblical language certainly but not heightened Christianese that nobody understands – or trusts – anymore.

Be a real person. A bruised reed. A leader with a limp. Not the hero of the story.

2. STOP BEING CONTENT-WEAK

Be theologically informed. Call people to think and feel on a deeper level.

There is a huge amount of stuff out there that is saying nothing. Don’t copy that if you are an up-and-comer.

It will scare you into thinking you can’t give people heavy ideas without losing them. It’s not true. You can hold people, but you have to work hard at it.

You know what you do now? The hours you put into writing, reading, and forming that message? You likely have to work even harder than that. And you’ll have to illustrate those heavy concepts in real life for them to land and stick.

3. STOP BEING BORING

The scholars on the blog you read daily may care how many footnotes you have in your sermon or what a good ecclesiological hermeneutic is but most people are trying to pay the bills, hold on to their marriage and understand why God allowed fill in the blank.

Don’t bore them. Inspire them.

Ask why five thousand people followed Jesus out to the middle of nowhere and listened to his vision for their life, and ask whether you could get even a dozen to do the same. If not, why not?

Being theological accurate and yet boring is a kind of sin.

It abandons the reality of the gospel and its effect on our real lives.

4. STOP WASTING PRECIOUS TIME

How many times are you sitting there waiting for the preacher to SAY SOMETHING?

Greeting. Intro. Announcements. The passage. What I’m going to say. What I said. Get on with it.

You only have a few minutes every week and eternity is in the balance.

Hi, I’m so and so, open your bibles, here’s what that means! Jesus. Repent. See you next week. Repeat.

5. STOP NOT TRUSTING THE GOSPEL

I know it sounds like something I should be saying but it’s just true.

The message about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, not just a message about God generically, really is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). The means by which God saves people. More so than your series brand, or marketing ideas.

You want to see people meet Jesus and be saved from sin, death and Hell. How?

He tells us. It isn’t by being forced through some legalistic burden – to read your sermon word for word like you’re giving a paper at a mining conference.

The letter of the law is dead, the spirit of the letter is what brings life.

Nor is it by jumping around, working people’s emotions, trying to control the energy in a room.

Such things create false disciples. Counterfeit conversions.

What’s more tragic than that?

Why bury the gospel under, well, everything else?

The gospel is where the power lies. To change lives. Every week. Without fail. Start doing that. I believe in you!

WHY CONSUMER CHURCH MEMBERS LEAVE YOUR CHURCH Thom S. Rainer

Most of the time “I’m not getting fed” is a lame excuse to say the church is not catering to my desires and preferences. It’s a clear indicator of We have seen the growing trend of church member consumerism, and it has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

 Here are some reasons why:

1. Because they never get satisfied. That is the nature of consumerism. Desires are met only for a season. Then the church member wonders what you have done for them lately. And if the church members feel like he or she has gotten all they can get from the church, they will move on to another church or drop out altogether.


2. Because they have no greater purpose. We all know church members who are the pillars of the church in the best sense of the word. They are giving, serving, and sacrificial. They have a greater purpose than themselves. They seek to serve the Lord by serving others. They never ask, “What have you done for me lately?” because they are too busy doing for others. The consumer Christian has no purpose beyond his or her own preferences. And that’s really no purpose at all.


3. Because they are often divisive. Consumer Christians seek for themselves. And if they don’t get what they want, they can be critical and divisive. They may leave when they sense the support for their negativity is waning. They will complain that other church members did not support them. And they are, thankfully, correct.


4. Because they know better than everyone else. You can usually count on consumer church members to send the pastor an article or podcast link to demonstrate how other churches are doing things so much better. For the consumer church member, the grass is always greener – until they move to the greener grass of the next church. And then they see problems there.


5. Because they don’t understand the meaning of biblical church membership. Check out the characteristic of a church member in 1 Corinthians 12. It’s all about how the members of the body are functioning for the greater good of that body. And look at 1 Corinthians 13. We call it the “love chapter,” but it’s really how church members are to relate to one another and to the world. The consumer church members can’t relate to biblical church membership because it’s sacrificial and driven to serve others.


So, pastor, know that you are not alone when you hear those dreaded words, “I’m not getting fed.” It has been said countless times by countless self-centered church members. Rejoice in your church members who serve, encourage, love, and sacrifice. They are God’s instruments in your church.


The consumer church members are nothing but noisy gongs and clanging cymbals. When they leave, there is a lot more peace and God-given quiet in the church.

EIGHT BIBLICAL STEPS PROCESS FOR LEADING CHANGE

Acts 15 illustrates that effectively leading change in the church involves a process of listening attentively to the movement of the Holy Spirit, to Scripture, religious tradition, respected believers, noted experts and pertinent facts.

Here are the steps to that process and a potential application for leading change in the church:

  1. They listened to the conversion experience of the Gentiles. Application: Listen to those most impacted by the change.
  2. They listened to the Pharisee experts in Mosaic Law. Application: Listen to those most opposed to the change.
  3. They listened to respected believers witnessing these conversions. Application: Listen to respected lay leaders supporting the change.
  4. They listened to Peter’s perspective. Application: Listen to the Pastor and Staff’s perspective.
  5. They listened to Paul and Barnabas’s descriptions of signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles. Application: Listen to experts who have observed and experienced the impact of the change.
  6. They listened to James expounding on Scripture connecting the dots between Peter’s testimony and the words of Amos. Application: Listen to what God’s Word has to say.
  7. They listened to the Holy Spirit – “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” Application: Allow people time to pray and hear from God on the change.
  8. They voted on the change – “Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole church decided.” Application: Allow the church to vote on the change.

“When the people of Antioch read the letter, they rejoiced at the exhortation.”