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Calvin on an Elder Being Blameless

Aug. 31, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio


What does Paul mean that an elder must be "blameless"? John Calvin comments:

 An elder “ought not to be marked by any disgrace that would detract from his authority. There will certainly not be found a man who is free from every fault, but it is one thing to be burdened with ordinary faults that do not hurt a man’s reputation, because the most excellent men share them, but quite another to have a name that is held in infamy and besmirched by some scandalous disgrace. Thus, in order that the bishops may not lack authority, he gives charge that those who are chosen should be of good and honorable reputation, and free of any extraordinary fault. Also, he is not merely directing Timothy as to the sort of men he should choose but he is reminding all who aspire to the office that they should carefully examine their own life” (Commentary on 1 Timothy 3.2).

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13 Attributes of a Foolish Leader

Mar. 12, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

From Crawford Loritts:

  1. Foolish leaders reject wisdom, discernment, and instruction.
  2. Foolish leaders hate knowledge.
  3. Foolish leaders do not make sense.
  4. Foolish leaders are unstable.
  5. Foolish leaders lack self-control.
  6. Foolish leaders will not do the necessary and basic requirements for success.
  7. Foolish leaders frequently practice impulse behavior.
  8. Foolish leaders do not go far in life.  They are restricted by their senselessness.
  9. Foolish leaders cannot handle prosperity.
  10. Foolish leaders live for trouble.
  11. Foolish leaders have damaging speech and a loose tongue.
  12. Foolish leaders are blinded by their own foolishness.
  13. The behavior of foolish leaders eventually becomes their nature.


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Does Your Budget or Your Mission Run Your Organization

Apr. 9, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Planning a budget is always a difficult thing for churches and organizations. It can bring out all sorts of tension, especially between numbers people (typically accountants) and big vision people (typically vision castors of the organization). The accountants often need a little more faith while the big vision people need a leash put around their neck.

Before your next budget cycle, consider Bill Bright as told by Steve Shadrach:

Each director laid out to the others what he or she believed God wanted to do through their particular ministry the next 12 months. No one was allowed to mention how much different programs might cost until after they had prayed, discussed, and agreed on the overall Crusade ministry plan for the upcoming year. Then, and only then, did they start attaching price tags. Afterward, Dr. Bright would draw a line under the total and say something like, “Here is what we believe God wants us to do throughout the world this next year. The total is $246 million. Now let’s trust Him and go out and raise those funds to fulfill this vision.”

Do you see the difference? Budget pulls one train, vision the other. One way is focused on what things cost, the other on how to fulfill the mission. Sometimes a person will ask me how much a certain project or equipment or materials or training costs, and I’ll shoot back, “It doesn’t matter, because we’re going to spend whatever it takes to fulfill God’s calling for our ministry."

 Shadrach, Steve (2011-03-25). ViewPoints: Fresh Perspectives on Personal Support Raising (pp. 17-18). The Bodybuilders Press.

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Trends for 2014

Jan. 7, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Don Sweeting, President of RTS Orlando has listed trends he sees in faith, the nation, world and give us some important dates to note.

His list of faith trends in our culture:

  • Faith makes a hit at the movies: This Spring movies like Noah, Heaven is for Real, Son of God and Mary of Nazareth are released, but, as always, amidst a mountain of cultural slush like Godzilla and Fifty Shades of Grey.
  • Mega church pastor angst: Younger leaders worry about the role of mega church pastors, given all the recent transitions, scandals and crashes. They wonder what the “one great leader” model does to a person/church and how it can be improved.
  • Low pastor esteem: Trust in clergy reaches record lows, according to a recent Gallup Poll. The overall trend for clergy has sloped downward since 2001, a contrast to 30 years ago when community and congregation held pastors in higher esteem. Trust, integrity and honesty are issues.
  • Pope Francis is held up as religious model:   As TIME’s man of the year, Francis’ influence and example are being promoted both within and outside the Roman Catholic Church.
  • America “the hardest mission field”: That’s what some are saying. In our post-Christendom era of material abundance, outreach is a big challenge. There are numerous barriers to deal with before many people will set foot in a church.
  • Growth of multiple venues in one church: More churches are experimenting with multiple venues and campuses.
  • The issue of leadership: The Economist writes, “in 2014, the world will crave leadership!” Demands and expectations of pastors are higher than they were 25 years ago. Churches are looking for pastors that can preach and lead. More smaller churches are hiring executive pastors.




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The Dysfunction of Absence of Trust

Feb. 4, 2013By: Evan Burns

Patrick Lencioni outlines dysfunctions of a team in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and the first dysfunction he outlines is helpful to consider for ministry teams:

Dysfunction 1:  Absence of Trust

Members of teams with absence of trust… (p. 197)

  1.  Conceal their weaknesses and mistakes from one another.
  2.  Hesitate to ask for help or provide constructive feedback.
  3.  Hesitate to offer help outside their own areas of responsibility.
  4.  Jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others without attempting to clarify them.
  5.  Fail to recognize and tap into one another’s skills and experiences.
  6.  Waste time and energy managing their behaviors for effect.
  7.  Hold grudges.
  8.  Dread meetings and find reasons to avoid spending time together.

Members of trusting teams… (p. 197)

  1.  Admit their weaknesses and mistakes
  2.  Ask for help.
  3.  Accept questions and input about their areas of responsibility.
  4.  Give one another the benefit of the doubt before arriving at a negative conclusion.
  5.  Take risks in offering feedback and assistance.
  6.  Appreciate and tap into one another’s skills and experiences.
  7.  Focus time and energy on important issues, not politics.
  8.  Offer and accept apologies without hesitation.
  9.  Look forward to meetings and other opportunities to work as a group.


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