Thursday, August 27, 2009

why PKs leave the church...

PKs have a reputation. Everybody knows that... and even though we try our best, there are generations of bitter pastors' kids who make all of us tremble when we think about raising our own.

I recently read the results of a study that asked "What influences do ministry parents have that affect whether their kids stay in the church?"

This study asked 111 questions of clergy parents across the Mid-Western states of North America to find answers. I wrote the researcher, Dr. Martin Weber, for permission to share his findings. Here's what he discovered:

* Parental conservatism regarding lifestyle standards is not statistically significant in attrition.
* Legalism regarding gospel doctrine (soteriology) is a moderately significant cause of attrition.
* Legalism regarding practicing the principles of the gospel is a major cause of attrition.
* For clergy parents to hold their own children to a higher behavioral standard is one of the highest causes of attrition.
* Lack of relationality in the pastoral family is the most serious cause of PK (pastors’ kids) attrition. Pastors with the highest retention rate of adult children are those who managed to provide the most positive and “fun” family experience in the parsonage and were close enough to talk about anything in an atmosphere of freedom that allowed children and teens latitude in developing their own faith experience.
* The greatest predictor of future faithfulness as an adult is whether the PK during growing up years takes initiative to approach a clergy parent to discuss spiritual matters.
* Closely associated with family relationality is the freedom and trust expressed in discussing controversial issues. There is no greater cause of attrition than to attempt to shield children from knowledge of, or to resist discussion about, church or denominational conflict.
* Congregational criticism of pastoral family members portends future attrition of adult children.
* There is definite significance between the experience of entering the pastorate during one’s 30s and the future attrition of one’s children.
* Having a clergy grandparent is a stabilizing factor in the spiritual life of a PK.

Dr. Weber also says that the three most significant factors in avoiding attrition are:

1. Being able to discuss church problems at home, while
2. Managing to sustain joy and togetherness in the family circle, and
3. Giving teens freedom to develop their own faith experience without the expectations of being super saints because they are the pastor's kids.

To read more of Dr. Weber's research, articles or books click HERE.

This post was taken from CLUTCH

Monday, August 24, 2009

Faith, Country, & Money

What’s that weird pyramid drawing on the reverse of the bill?The two circular drawings on the reverse of the bill are actually parts of the two-sided Great Seal of the United States. Although we don’t see the entire seal outside of our wallets too often, the notion of having a great seal is actually as old as the country itself. The Continental Congress passed a resolution on July 4, 1776, to create a committee to design a great seal for the fledgling nation, and heavy hitters John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson got the first crack at creating the seal.

Congress wasn’t so keen on the design these big names brought back, though, and it took nearly six years and several drafts to finally find a suitable seal. Congress finally approved of a design on June 20, 1782.

What’s the story behind the Great Seal of the United States?

According to the State Department, which has been the official trustee of the seal since 1789, both the obverse (front) and reverse (back) of the seal are rich with symbolism. The obverse picturing the eagle is a bit easier to explain. The bird holds 13 arrows to show the nation’s strength in war, but it also grasps an olive branch with 13 leaves and 13 olives that symbolize the importance of peace. (The recurring number 13, which also appears in the stripes on the eagle’s shield and the constellation of stars over its head, is a nod to the original 13 states.) The shield floats unsupported over the eagle as a reminder that Americans should rely on their own virtue and strength.

The symbolism of the pyramid on the seal’s reverse is trickier. The pyramid has 13 steps – the designers apparently never got tired of the 13 motif – and the Roman numeral for 1776 is emblazoned across the bottom. The all-seeing Eye of Providence at the top of the pyramid symbolizes the divine help the early Americans needed in establishing the new country. The pyramid itself symbolizes strength and durability.

The divine overtones don’t stop with the unblinking eye, though. The Latin motto Annuit Ceptis appears over the pyramid; it translates into “He [God] has favored our undertaking.” The scroll underneath the pyramid reads Novus Ordo Seclorum, or “A new order of the ages,” which was meant to signify the dawn of the new American era.

How did the seal end up on our dollar bill?
We can thank former Secretary of State Cordell Hull’s busy schedule for that one. Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace had to wait for a meeting with Hull in 1934 and decided to kill time by thumbing through a State Department pamphlet on the Great Seal. The pamphlet contained an illustration of the reverse side of the seal with the pyramid, and Wallace was quite taken with the drawing. He took the seal to President Franklin Roosevelt and suggested the country mint a coin using the two sides of the seal.

FDR liked the seal, too. (Roosevelt and Wallace were both Masons and loved the all-seeing eye part of the reverse design, which echoed the concept of the Great Architect of the Universe.) He thought the seal should be on the reverse of the dollar bill rather than a coin, but he was worried the mystical imagery would offend Catholics. After Postmaster General James Farley assured FDR he didn’t think his fellow Catholics would have any problem with the design, Roosevelt approved a new dollar bill design that first appeared in 1935.
by Ethan Trex

“He [God] has favored our undertaking” brings about an obvious awareness our forefathers had of God. There was no denying the place and supremacy of God in our country or as its chief cornerstone. While the majority of the morals in our country are far from where they should be, it is important to remember the One who brought us. May we return to God!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Traits of a Successful Leader

1. Know (establish) who you are
2. Constantly stay in contact with your people (superior or subordinates)
3. Stick to your mission (focus)
4. View things differently
5. Be bold in the things you say and do
6. Always have a vision (that is what ties people together)
7. Let the success of others be your greatest accomplishment

For me personally, focus is the primary ingredient for success. With so many distractions in any area of life, those who keep the main thing the main thing tend to also be those that God seems to be blessing. Another key thought is to not allow good things to sacrifice the best thing!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thoughts on Preparing a Lesson

The following was produced by my friend Jerry Adams during a recent leadership development meeting at First Baptist Jenks.

Preparing the Teacher

Understand your Responsibility: James 3:1 & 2 Timothy 2:15
Understand the Need to Pray
Be Taught before Teaching: Be willing to do whatever God asks you to do
Be a Servant Leader: Actions speak louder than words

Preparing the Lesson
1. Historical Background: Understand the big picture of the book your teaching
2. Observe: Who, what, when, where, why, & how of the passage
3. Interpretation: Summarize the main point into one sentence
4. Application: How did it apply and how does it apply today

Helpful Hint: Try to ask questions that drive people to look for answers in God’s Word.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Methods of Learning for Better Teaching

Not everyone learns the same way, thus it is important to vary teaching styles while. Here is a list of different learning methods:

Visual: Videos, Charts, Art, Diagrams, etc.

Verbal: Lecture, Talking, Discourse

Relational: Case Study, Debate, Q & A, Small Group

Reflective: Discussion, Listening Guide, Test

Natural: Nature Walks, Display, Observe, Classify

Musical: CD’s, Performance, Group Singing

Logical: Word Study, Statistics, Inductive Questions, Study Guide

Physical: Movement, Games, Skits, Role Play

Thursday, August 13, 2009

5 Steps to Dynamic Teaching

1. Study, Study, Study
If you do not prepare, your lesson will stink!

2. Understand the Context of the Passage
If you don’t understand the context of a passage, you miss the main point and most likely fall prey to erroneous teaching.

3. Stay Focused
With the amount of time you have on a given lesson, stay focused on the main idea and point… don’t chase rabbits, shoot them!

4. Connect Content with Life
Point out how the message is relevant to daily life.

5. Apply Content to Individual’s Lives
Point out specific applications.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

8 Ways to Show Hurting People You Care

1. Listen, Listen, Listen
Listen not only to the words, but the feelings behind the words.

2. Be Cautious About Giving Advice
Wait for them to ask, “What do you think I should do?”

3. Refrain From Judging or Condemning
People who have problems don’t need you to add to it!

4. Avoid Saying, “I Know How You Feel.”
Share how you hurt with them, see their pain… acknowledge their situation.

5. Be Alert to Warning Signals
Pay attention to frowns, sadness, etc.

6. Realize the Power of Your Presence
Physical presence often speaks louder than any words could!

7. Never Divulge Confidences
Keep your John Brown mouth shut when others share with you.

8. Let God Guide You
“Make Your ways known to me, Lord; teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me.” (Ps 25:4-5)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Shoulder Surgery: 3 Month Update

It has been an interesting month. I’ve seen stalled progress for two weeks followed by unbelievable improvements in range of motion… the strength is still lacking unfortunately. Chloe probably has more strength in her shoulder and this point that I do mine, which is more pathetic than it sounds!

At my last appointment July 23, the doctor told me to begin external rotation/movement. This is a huge deal because this was not supposed to happen until the 3rd month after surgery as opposed to the 2nd! For those of you mathematically challenged, that means I am a full month ahead of schedule!!!

Anyway, he also released me from physical therapy which lasted less than 24 hours as I was unable to do any of the strengthening exercises he prescribed. For whatever reason, he released me before I was able to gain any range of motion. That being said, within a week I have been able to move my left arm over my head and touch my right shoulder after just 2 appointments.

While the pain level has gone from minimal to extreme… WAY EXTREME… the pain has been worth the gain in movement. Hopefully, this time next month I will be able to really start strengthening my shoulder. It has been a long journey thus far with much distance to go, but if the left shoulder gets back to normal it will be well worth it!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Blessings to Mark Powell and Family

From July 4, 2005 to August 2, 2009 I had the privilege of serving with Mark Powell at First Baptist Jenks. On his final day he was ordained, which was really cool for him and the entire church family. One thing I know about Mark, is the longer he is gone the more we will miss him. Many blessing to the Powell’s as they embark on their journey at Bethel Baptist Church in Norman, OK. Here are some pictures from the event:

Mark loved my kids and was always ready to drop whatever to show them they were important to him. This is what I appreciate most about him. As a result, my kids loved him too!

Chloe was not happy at all that Mark was leaving.

Christy & Coleman look far less upset than Chloe!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Kids' First Ranger Game

My kids first MLB Game at The Ballpark In Arlington July 31, 2009. It was even better, because my father & Grandfather were also able to attend. The kicker, the Ranger’s beat Seattle 5-4!

Dallas Mission Trip 09

Our church took a mission trip to Dallas in order to work with our partner church, Abundant Grace Community Church. It was an awesome trip where we saw over a dozen kids accepted Christ through a VBS. We were also able to update a great deal of their facilities, which was more fun than it sounds. During one of the nights, we also got to go a Ranger game. The best part of the mission trip however, was that kids were able to serve others in Jesus’ name. Those children, young and old, will always have the ability to remember how their parents not only talked about missions and loving God, they demonstrated it for them! Here are some pictures of the experience: