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Attributes of a Church Planter

How do you know if you are a church planter? Well, if you like to wear button-down plaid shirts, then there’s a good chance you were born to plant a church. Just kidding! But it is an odd recurring phenomenon I have noticed…

There are lots of personality tests out there, and spiritual gift assessments you can take that can help you determine if you are a good fit for church planting. Ultimately, if God has called you to it, then He will equip you for it. It doesn’t matter if you fit in any particular mold or not.

If you are wondering though, here are some characteristics I have noticed effective church planters possess.

5 Attributes of a Church Planter

Evangelistic
The heart of the Great Commission to make new disciples of Jesus. Is soul winning a burning passion of yours?

Authentic
Are you comfortable being yourself? There is a difference in learning from others and wanting to be like them at the expense of being your authentic self. It is important to know the difference. If you aren’t comfortable being yourself, then others will have a hard time being comfortable around you as well.

Engaging
You cannot rely on marketing tools or other people to build your team. You must be able to attract people to the vision God has given you. This happens through being authentic and speaking the everyday language of people outside of the church. Are you someone who can engage in modern culture, or do you speak in preachy religious terms?

Honoring
You must honor where you came from, and the churches in the area where you are going. You may know “honor-speak,” but do your actions and attitudes match your words? If you are not ready to honor, even when it hurts, then you are not prepared to be a church planter.

Life-giving
You must believe the best in others. You cannot claim to have great faith, without having great faith in people. The people God sends to help you launch your church are your greatest assets.

ARC has an assessment process that does a great job giving feedback on people’s readiness to plant a church. We don’t determine your call, because we know that is between you and God. We do our best though to help you find the right timing and circumstances to launch strong. Visit arcchurches.com to find out more about our process and to apply.

What attributes do you think make a great church planter? I know there are more than just what I mentioned. I’d love to hear from you!

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You Might Be A Pharisee If…

Six Signs of Imitation Christianity

No Soup For You

This morning I was reading about Saul. The story reminded me of how even with the best intentions we can slip into legalism. During a battle, he made a rash vow. The soldiers were pursuing victory. Honey was dripping all around to refresh them along the way. The only problem was Saul refused to let anyone eat until their enemies were defeated.

It may sound radical and inspirational at first. Maybe Saul thought this would rally the troops’ commitment. Instead, it left a mess. People were confused and discouraged. This is often the case with immitation Christianity.

So how do we know when this type of thinking creeps into our spiritual life? Here are six signs you might be a Pharisee and don’t even know it.

You do not think you are a Pharisee

Did you hear about the latest Pharisee convention? Me neither. That’s because no one went. No one put it on. Because no one thinks they are a Pharisee. Pharisees are too busy pointing out other people’s fault to take the time to deal with their own.

You subscribe to radical Christianity

I used to be a radical Christian. I took pride in that. Now I realize “radical”  was just a code word for legalism. Radical Christians go to the extreme and believe everyone else is not “really” serving God with all of their heart until they are making the same sacrifices as they are.

You believe you are an elite Christian

If you think there are classes of Christians, then you may subscribe to the false brand of Christianity called legalism. Do you look down on others who do not share your same convictions? Then you misunderstand that convictions are for you and the gospel is for everyone.

You misunderstand holiness

If your priority is outside appearance, then you misunderstand holiness and may be stuck in a Christina performance trap. Jesus called people like this whitewashed tombs. They look good on the outside but are dead on the inside. True holiness begins with grace, is maintained by grace, and works its way from the inside out.

You question other people’s salvation

Do you take snapshots of where people are in the exact moment you see them or do you view yourself and others in a process? Have you ever wondered out loud, “How can they love Jesus and do _________.” Or “If they loved God they would do ________ more.” A Pharisee always questions those who sin differently then they do instead of patiently helping them address the root of the problem.

You serve under a Saul

The thing that made David “David” was he saw Saul as someone worthy of grace and honor.  Instead of focusing on Saul’s faults, he saw himself as the one who needed to become more godly. A Saul sees a Saul in everyone else, while a David is continually looking for the “David” in others, and is aware of the “Saul” in himself.

Only One Good News

In the Book of Galatians Paul warns sternly that anyone twisting the good news would be in danger of judgment. It is one of the harshest warnings in the New Testament. He says, “It pretends to be good news, but is not good news at all.”   

Still, High-Performance Christianity has a way of slipping into the lives of the most well-meaning people. We must keep our eyes, hopes, and security in a love relationship with Jesus and continue to humbly extend the same grace that was given to us to others if we are to avoid this trap.

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3 Leadership Tests

Questions Every Leader Should Be Able To Answer

How did you feel before or after a test in school? Whether I passed or not, I was always happy to have it over. I either breathed a sigh of relief after lots of hard work and preparation, or at least the pressure was off until the next one.

Leadership Tests

Leadership tests seem to come even more often than those in school. The stakes are often higher as well. In the real world passing or failing impacts more than just ourselves.

In an interview with the CEO of Charles Schwab, I came across some very intriguing interview tactics to discover the quality of a job candidate. Instead of looking at just their resume, Walt Bettinger devised a peculiar strategy that also provides insight into their character.

When I looked closer at his plan I found three leadership tests I believe every leader should be able to pass.

How do we treat those who can do nothing for us?

During the interview process, Bettinger takes the person out to eat. Once they get there, he has the waiter intentionally mess up the candidate’s order. This is something pre-arranged so that he can see how the person responds.

How do you respond when your order is not correct?

As Christian leaders, when we treat those who can do nothing for us with gentleness and respect, we show how we much we have become like Jesus. Getting bent out of shape at a restaurant when something isn’t right can be a thermometer for our souls. We may say we love and honor people but how we treat them when something doesn’t go our way shows the truth of those statements.

Do we blame others for our failures?

Another surprising thing this CEO does is ask about people’s greatest failures instead of just their most significant accomplishment. Whom they blame for their failures reveals what is in their heart.

As leaders, we need to be able to take responsibility for our own role in the problems we face. Even if our part is only 1% of the problem, when we take responsibility we learn and grow. When we blame others we stunt our growth, not there’s.

Some leaders act as if an apology would indict them or disqualify them from leadership. The reality is owning mistakes grants you credibility. I am always more afraid of what a perfect leader is hiding than what an authentic leader reveals.

Is our success limited to only what benefits ourselves?

Another story Bettinger shares was from when he was in college, and he failed a test that ruined his perfect 4.0. The test only had one question on it, “What is the name of the person who cleans this building?” It turns out her name was, “Dottie.”

Do you know the Dotties in your life?

Lasting success is not based on what benefits only ourselves. Real success is helping people find theirs. We do not gain loyalty from those we lead through our great achievements (although it may appear that way at first), but by helping them accomplish great things with our help.

What score would you get on this leadership test? What are some other tests every leader should pass? I’d love to hear from you!

To read the original interview in the New York Times click here.
To read an abbreviated version that focuses on the interview tactics from The Blaze click here.

Here are a couple of my favorite books along the lines of character and what really matters in leadership:

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#YoungMinister Advice

What is leading your decisions?

In Twitter’s hay day it was popular for people to post the hashtag #youngminister and then give advice. I don’t remember posting advice with that hashtag, but I did enjoy reading the wisdom that came from more experienced leaders than me.

I think if Moses was to use the hashtag #youngminister he would give advice that resembles the actions of the young leader Moses was mentoring in Exodus. We can see what happens here:

Exodus 33:11 – “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

Long before Joshua had the opportunity to lead, he learned the principle of lingering. He positioned himself in the presence of God before taking a position leading the people of God. He was learning to be led by his principles instead of his opportunities.

Are you led by your principles or by your opportunities?

Being led by your opportunities will get you immediate recognition, but it will also get you out of position for long term success. Being led by your principles may cause you to miss out on some immediate praise and attention, but the long term reward will be worth it. Those who are led by opportunity over value how they start the race while those who are led by principle understand it is more important how you finish the race.

It would be decades before Joshua took his place as leader of Israel. During that time he learned the value of positioning himself in the presence of God instead of the presence of man. The result is he became one of the greatest leaders in the Bible. He led the people into their promised inheritance and saw many great victories.

We should be led by our principles instead of our opportunities. Prioritizing principles over opportunities leads to long term success. This doesn’t mean we should avoid great opportunities. Valuing your principles above your opportunities will actually bring much better opportunities. The question is which is more important to you?

Joshua’s #youngminister example shows us that positioning ourselves before men may bring immediate recognition, but positioning ourselves before God brings long term stability, success, and strength.