Friday, March 28, 2014

The Basics - 2

Over the years I've become alarmed at the lack of professionalism that exists among our ministers.  This doesn't just apply to the new young guys.  There seems to be slippage at all levels.  Let me explain.

Our culture has made it acceptable for pastors to dress more casually.  This is great!  We no longer have to wear suits and ties every day.  I enjoy the more casual style.  When I pastored in southern California, my Sunday morning "work" clothes were business suits (we were in a very professional area) but otherwise I had a lot of flexibility.  In my current ministry setting, I might wear a suit, a sweater, or when the weather is nice, polo shirts and even my fun Hawaiian shirts (much to my wife's and daughter's dismay!).

But I'm seeing a disturbing trend.  Some pastors no longer consider the setting they are walking in to.  What I mean is this.  If you are going to meet with a city or town mayor or a group of community leaders, I don't think you should be wearing camo pants, hiking boots, and your favorite Duck Dynasty t-shirt!  Trust me, this happens!  Guys, go business casual at the very least!  Look like a professional!  I've walked into meetings to see a pastor who looked like he crawled out of bed, found the most wrinkled and ripped thing he could find, unshaven and looking like death warmed over.

I know.  I'm old school in some ways.  But I will go to my grave believing that I am a professional and I need to dress appropriately for the situation I'm in.  I am glad I don't have to wear a tie all the time!  But at the same time, I think I've learned that dressing right keeps you in the game rather than turning off the very people you are trying to influence.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Basics

As a pastor of 32 years, I must say that I don't really feel like an authority on a lot of things.  I make no claim to being an expert!  I am still learning every day, and I am deeply indebted to the people I am continually learning from:  Tim, my spiritual growth partner; Matthew, my friend and young leader who thinks outside the box; Rob, an innovative church leader who I appreciate more as the years go by; and, Aron, my good friend who is my superior in ministry.  Thanks to these people, I am constantly being challenged to raise the bar and strive for more.

There are many things that I've learned about life and ministry over the years, and I am thinking that sharing them might be of some benefit.  One adage is, "You can't take people to a level where you haven't been."  By that we mean that leaders need to stay one step ahead of their people.  To raise people up you don't get behind them and push, but rather, you bend down and offer a hand to lift them up.

In order to be that kind of leader, you have to keep learning.  Read books.  Listen to cd's and other online resources.  Attend an occasional conference.  Spend time with other growing leaders.  Expose yourself to the wisdom of others - even (especially) if they are younger than you!

Let me encourage you to take it to the next level no matter what level you find yourself on.  And keep serving others.  There is no better way to lead than to serve.  But more about that next time.