Tuesday, November 06, 2007


by Keith Giles

These are the 7 habits of the most highly ineffective pastors in America today.

1- Preach and go home. Let someone else do the pastoring. That's what "Associates" are for.

2- Follow what the bigger churches are doing. Why go to the trouble of listening to God's voice? Just copy what the big-guys are doing. It's bound to work, or at least put more butts in the seats.

3- Start a building fund. Nothing says, "Ineffective" like a pastor who pussy-foots over controversial sermon topics in order to keep those pledges rolling in. Don't forget the basketball courts!

4- Act as if your church is the best in town. Ignore those other churches as much as possible, unless you need to refer to them in the negative (see #6).

5- Use people to your own ends. Find gifted, passionate people and get them working as soon as possible. Don't be afraid to overload them, they'll tell you when they've had enough, but then you can probably still give them a few other things to do by teaching them to "delegate". There's a reason 10% of the people in church do 90% of the work...it's pastors like you!

6- Lift your Church status by putting other Churches down. If you must address the fact that there are other churches in your area, make sure to make yourself look good by pointing out the ways you're not "like them". Works like a charm and keeps their butts in your seats doing nothing rather than in some other pew across town doing nothing. Think about it. (see #3).

7- Encourage "Pulpit Evangelism". You're the expert. You've got that seminary degree and those lay people are not equipped to preach the Gospel to their friends. They're likely to screw it up. Rather than waste time teaching them, let them bring the lost to church so you can put that degree to good use. The last thing you want is to make your people believe they can do this without your expertise.

In today's American church what matters is being successful and being successful means putting butts in the seats. Pastoring, caring for people, and being a servant to all takes valuable time away from attracting large crowds and making your services more entertaining for the masses.

To be an effective pastor, learn these 7 habits and do the exact opposite. Care for people, listen to God's voice, don't get distracted by building issues, bless other local ministries, empower your people (don't exploit them), teach more of your people to be disciples and then to make disciples. Multiply yourself and duplicate your ability to teach, train, encourage, disciple and serve others.

What would the "7 Habits of Highly Effective Pastors" look like?

1-Spend time with people. Learn to love them. Devote your time to listening to them. Find out where they are and what they are struggling with before you put together your sermon series. Make sure you're teaching them something they need most and take the time to get to know them. Being a pastor means being a shepherd who cares for the flock. Jesus asked us to feed His sheep and that means making sure they're healthy and that they can put into practice what they believe. It also means you have to practice what you preach as an example to them. Live it out more than you talk it out.

2-Spend time on your knees with God. Develop a habit of listening to God's voice in matters of leading your church. Don't be distracted by the "next big thing" at the mega-church down the street or the newest best-seller on the Christian charts. Remember that making disciples and teaching people to do everything that Jesus commanded is all you're called to do (see the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20). Focus on that, it's hard enough all by itself with adding the flavor of the month idea to the mix.

3-Forget the building, remember the people. The New Testament speaks a lot about the Church building. In context, however, the building is revealed to be the people of God, not a structure or a facility where believers gather to meet, and the process of building this Church is the work of God Himself.

Paul the Apostle refers to the Church as the "Body of Christ" which is made up of many parts. Each part of this Body of Christ is identified as an individual follower of Jesus with a diverse set of gifts and talents bestowed upon each by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of building up and encouraging the entire Body. (see 1 Cor 12:12)

Peter the Apostle also refers to the Church as being made up of living stones as he says in 1 Peter 2:5 "You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." The Church, then, as Paul and Peter describe it in their epistles, is made up only of people, not some structure built by human hands.

4-Partner with other pastors and churches. If there's one thing that I believe God longs to see happen it's local congregations laying aside their petty differences, and their fears of losing members, in order to join hands and advance the Gospel of the Kingdom. I have never been as blessed as when our house church partnered with two other churches (one a mega-church, the other a small college congregation) to pass out free groceries and pray for residents at a poverty motel here in Santa Ana, California. When we stop seeing the other churches in town as our competition and start treating them as our brothers and sisters, even our partners in ministry, then I believe we can really change our world for Christ.

5-Empower your people, don't exploit them. Teach your people to become teachers. If you are in the habit of training others to become trainers of others (this is a very basic principle of discipleship), you will eventually end up with a church full of teachers and trainers who are training others to also be teachers and trainers. Over time your church will become so full of mature ("Graduated") leaders and disciple-makers that your small staff will act mostly as facilitators and not the one's who must always be "hands-on" for every single event/class/lesson/bible study, etc.

I have personally been shocked to see a lack of basic trust among most lead pastors to "give away the ministry" in this way. Many pastors are too afraid to actually empower and release others to do their job. Why? Well, it's pretty obvious that this threatens their authority and job security. But, it doesn't have to. I believe any pastor who actually put this into practice would quickly become the envy of other pastors in their community. They'd get phone calls from other pastors asking, "How do you do it?" and "Can you show me how to do this?"

Start empowering your people. Give them something to do, believe in them, love them, invest in them, give them what you have and provide freedom for them to step out and use their gifts and talents for the Gospel. Encourage their ideas. Make their dreams come true.

6-Bless other churches and ministries in your city. One church I know has a regular habit of tithing out of their General Fund to help other local churches and ministries succeed. They always make sure that they bless others in such a way that the gift does not residually benefit them for the donation. In other words, they give without any concern for how it will help them, only how it will help the sister church in need. That's a great way to practice what Jesus teaches us about loving one another and being known for our love. Bless other churches in your area and make it count.

7- Help your people understand what the Gospel really is and show them how they can live out their faith in practical ways. The important thing to remember is that you are not selling anything. The Gospel is not for sale. You don't need to be a salesman. Your people don’t need to memorize a pitch. You will not track their success on a chart. They will not have to pretend to be someone they are not.

As a free resource I've made my book, "The Gospel: For Here or To Go?" available as a free PDF download over at my main website (http://www.keithgiles.com/).

Start empowering your people to "BE the church" and not just attend one. Mulitply your efforts and start deputizing your Church to live out their faith in practical ways every single day.

That's what it will take to make a difference in today's American Church.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! - In celebration of my birthday month (November) I will be giving the first 5 people who purchase one of my books online a free "Goodie Bag". To qualify you must purchase at least one of my books online and email me your order confirmation # at the end of the order, along with your mailing address. I will send out a free goodie bag to say "Thank You" to those first five people.

What's in the bag?
1) A copy of "The Noise" Magazine. Now out of print, this magazine includes my interview with Jim Wallis as well as articles by David Ruis and Alex Field, plus my articles "De La Soul" and "Lupita's Surprise".
2) Sermon Cd of "The Gospel: For Here or To Go?" - Recorded three years before I sat down to write the book, this is one of the best sermon's I've given on the subject of missional life and it makes a great companion to the book.
3) Jeremy Riddle Cd- Great worship. No charge.
4) "The Da Vinci Code:A Response" (booklet) - A great response to the controversy by Nicky Gumbel, founder of Alpha Ministries.
5) More surprises to be discovered upon opening up your box.

The first five people to email me with their valid order confirmation number will receive the "Goodies" box.

Email me at "elysiansky" (at) "hotmail" (dot) "com"Oh..you can purchase either book at http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=1073843

NOTE: Only good for customers residing in the continental United States. Offer good only for purchases made in November of 2007.

*My articles "NOT A CHRISTIAN" and "CONSUMPTION, EXPRESSION, IDENTITY" are both up now at http://www.theooze.com/ for your enjoyment.
*"WHAT ARE WE AFRAID OF?" is also online at http://www.keithgiles.com/
*"ANOTHER CHRISTIAN VERSION OF.." is also at http://www.keithgiles.com/

My friend Greg Russinger is one of the co-founders of this new non-profit dedicated to fighting poverty, exposing human trafficking and assisting orphans around the globe.Don't just sit there. Get involved now.You CAN make a difference!

My friend Bob Sears has a great resource website for people wanting to know how to start their own Simple Church/House Church.It's chock-full of wisdom and practical application. Go. See. Learn.

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