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Three Differences Between Moving Slowly and Being Patient

Be patient. Move fast. Leaders have likely encouraged others and been encouraged to do both. The two are often set up as being contradictory to one another, as if being patient means moving slowly. But being patient is not the same thing as moving slowly. Some leaders claim they are being patient when they are really just moving slowly. In the same way, some leaders claim they are moving fast when they are really just moving haphazardly. Moving fast and being deliberate don’t have to conflict with one another. Here are three differences between moving slowly and being patient:

1. Slow is passive; patience is active.

It takes active patience to form a strategy with a community of leaders. It takes active patience and grit to stick with a strategy and not continually shift directions. Slow, on the other hand, is paralyzing. When moving slowly, endless analysis is used to justify never actually making a decision. 

2. Slow is reactive; patience is proactive.

When leaders move slowly, they live in a reactionary posture. Instead of proactively leading, their days are filled with merely reacting. Thus, the teams they lead move slowly even though the days can be filled with reactively and chaotically putting out fires.

3. Slow is dragging your feet; patience is walking deliberately.

Sometimes leaders move slowly because they don’t know where they are going. A leader can move fast and still move with intentionality. For years, hanging on the walls at Facebook was one of their cultural values: Move fast and break things. The value emphasized speed to the point that bugs and necessary fixes were tolerated. In recent years, the value has been changed to Move fast with stable infra. Speed is still valued, but as the company has grown and matured, so is having a stable infrastructure. The new value essentially says, “Let’s still be fast, but let’s also be very deliberate.” There are, of course, times to slow down as leaders. Times to be still and evaluate. Times to prayerfully and deliberately plan. But being patient doesn’t always mean moving slowly. Read the full article Three Differences Between Moving Slowly and Being Patient that appeared first on EricGeiger.com. Used by permission.

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Seven Personality Traits Guests Like in a Pastor

Initially, when you ask church guests what they like about a pastor, they will respond with a comment about the pastor’s preaching. But if you go just one more level in the conversation, these church guests will also talk about the favorable personality traits of the pastor. Most of these traits fall under the category of “relational skills.” Here are some of the most common personality traits noted in exit interviews with church guests. Each of the traits is followed with a representative guest comment:
  1. Down-to-earth. “I hadn’t been in church in over seven years. When I visited this church, I was shocked how the pastor seemed to be a regular guy. When I used to go to church, pastors presented themselves as high and mighty. Not this pastor.”
  2. Other-centered. “The pastor is always asking about how others are doing. He really seems to care about other people.”
  3. Sense of humor. “There is no doubt the pastor takes his ministry seriously; he just doesn’t take himself too seriously. He seems to have a lot of fun.”
  4. Humble. “The pastor at the church I’m visiting is one of the most humble people I know. He never talks about himself unless it is self-deprecation.”
  5. Relational. “The pastor says he is an introvert, but he sure has good relational skills. The two times I spoke with him were very enjoyable conversations.”
  6. God-centered. “Pastor Frank is a man of prayer. You can just tell he walks with God.”
  7. Not defensive. “I heard someone criticize the pastor after worship services. I was amazed how he responded kindly and gently. I would have hit the person!”
Of course, the guests who provided these exit interviews do not know the pastors of the churches well. Some had visited only once or a few times. But these first impressions were lasting. Indeed, the personality traits of a pastor, for better or worse, played a major role in the guests’ decisions to return to these churches. I would love to hear your thoughts on this rather different perspective of guest friendliness.
Read the full article Seven Personality Traits Guests Like in a Pastor that appeared first on ThomRainer.com. Used by permission.

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Seven Concerning Findings about Benefits for Pastors and Other Church Staff

I recently spoke with a pastor who was tearfully concerned about his health insurance. He had just received notice of a large premium increase that he could not afford. With a diabetic child, he did not know what to do. The only good news in this story is that he had health insurance. Many pastors do not. Even more church staff do not. Once again, I turned to the data trove, 2016-2017 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, by Richard R. Hammar. Church Law and Tax, a ministry of Christianity Today, publishes the volume. The material includes data from 8,250 ministry positions in 2,500 churches. In my previous post, I looked primarily at compensation issues. In this post, I examine benefits of church staff. I am concerned about some of the findings.
  1. Fewer than half of solo pastors receive any health insurance benefits. A solo pastor is fulltime without other pastors on staff. The news is better among lead or senior pastors, but it still is disconcerting. Fewer than two-thirds of lead pastors receive health insurance benefits.
  2. Almost three-fourths of fulltime worship/music leaders receive health insurance benefits. The worship leader is the most likely ministry staff to receive these benefits, but there are still over one-fourth of them who do not.
  3. Many fulltime church staff receive no retirement benefits. Those who do receive these benefits range from solo pastors (44%) to lead or senior pastors (64%). I am particularly concerned about the pastors of small churches who labor faithfully for 30 or 40 years and have no retirement plans made.
  4. Almost all fulltime staff get paid vacations. This information was one piece of good news in an overall concerning report.
  5. Only six in ten fulltime pastors and staff get any type of automobile reimbursement. Only five in ten children’s ministers do so. This item is actually a reimbursable expense rather than a benefit. Those who do not get automobile reimbursements must pay the expenses out of pocket, so it becomes a de facto pay cut.
  6. Very few fulltime ministry staff receive either life insurance or disability insurance. At the very least, ministers should be made aware of the potential need of such insurances, even if they have to purchase small policies themselves.
  7. The parsonage as a benefit has all but disappeared. Only about one in eight pastors have this benefit. The numbers will likely continue to get smaller.
It is a tragedy that many church members have misperceptions about pay and compensation of ministry staff. Many of our ministers are underpaid by community standards. Even more don’t have benefits common in the secular world. Would you church members make certain you are taking care of your pastor and church staff in terms of compensation and benefits? Also keep in mind that many of them have not received a raise in years. Our pastors and church staff do an incredible job caring for us, the church members. Let’s be sure we are taking care of them as well. Let me hear from you.
The post Seven Concerning Findings about Benefits for Pastors and Other Church Staff appeared first on ThomRainer.com. The post Seven Concerning Findings about Benefits for Pastors and Other Church Staff appeared first on ThomRainer.com. Used by permission.

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Ten Fascinating Facts about Pastor and Church Staff Compensation

By almost any metric, pastors and church staff are not overpaid. While some ministry leaders provide sensational exceptions to this rule, we need to dispel the myth of highly-compensated pastors and church staff. I have in my hands one of the best statistical resources for ministry in the world. I am deeply grateful for the years of work of Richard Hammer, especially his latest statistical tome: 2016-2017 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff. I am likewise grateful to the publisher, Church Law and Tax, a ministry of Christianity Today. This incredible volume belongs in every church. I have been trying to distill some of the facts from the nearly 400-page book. You might find the following factoids fascinating:
  1. Church income is the number one indicator for compensation levels for all church staff. The larger the financial receipts, the greater the likelihood of higher compensation for all staff.
  2. The highest paying positions in order are pastor, executive pastor, and worship/music leader. The growth of the executive pastor position is a major church trend of the past decade. It deserves greater study.
  3. Church staff compensation varies by type of community. The rank of compensation level is: large city suburb; city/urban; small town; and farming/rural.
  4. Education is still a factor in compensation. For lead pastors, pay increases about 9 percent from bachelors to masters, and 10 percent from masters to doctorate.
  5. Fewer than two-thirds of lead pastors receive health insurance as a benefit. Lead pastors are full-time with at least one other minister on staff.
  6. One half of all pastors did not receive a raise in the past year. This discovery was another surprise.
  7. Compensation varies little with length of tenure for all staff positions. More experience does not necessarily mean higher compensation.
  8. Churches in mainline denominations tend to offer higher compensation to their pastors and staff. The Assemblies of God offered the lowest compensation of the denominations studied.
  9. Youth pastor compensation does not change significantly from smaller to larger churches. In fact, the average compensation does not change at all past 750 in average worship attendance.
  10. Female fulltime children/preschool ministers make 14% more than their male counterparts. This factoid surprised me. I really want to dig into it more.
Next week I will look at the benefits church staff receive. In the meantime, let me hear from you.
The post Ten Fascinating Facts about Pastor and Church Staff Compensation appeared first on ThomRainer.com. The post Ten Fascinating Facts about Pastor and Church Staff Compensation appeared first on ThomRainer.com. Used by permission.

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Five Reasons Millennial Pastors Are Not Moving to Larger Churches

They are the largest generation in America’s history. At 78 million persons, they surpassed the Boomer generation by two million. Born between 1980 and 2000, they are shaping our businesses, our government, and our culture. And they are shaping our churches. As a Boomer, I remember well how pastors were viewed just a few decades ago. In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the “successful” pastors were those who made it to large county seat churches. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the measure of success was leading larger churches. The times they are a’changin’ (Bob Dylan for the uninformed). To be sure, there are still Millennial pastors moving to larger churches. And these young adult leaders are not averse to megachurches. But more Millennial pastors sense God’s call to the smaller and mid-size churches. Why has their attitude been so different from their predecessors? I asked a number of these young leaders, and here are five of the responses they gave me.
  1. They want to invest their lives in a community. The Millennial pastors as a whole are highly community focused. And they realize that they and their churches will not be fully embraced in a short period of time.
  2. They want more stability for their families. To be fair, these young leaders will not deny a call to another community or even another country if they sense God’s call in that direction. But any move has to be convincing, convicting, and compelling. I know. I moved my family four times in ministry. I am not sure I followed God as much as my own selfish ambitions.
  3. They don’t measure ministry success and fulfillment by numbers and size. Another caveat is in order. These Millennial pastors do desire to reach more people. They truly want to make more disciples. But their worth and esteem is not measured by “what they are running.”
  4. They are starting new churches. This generation is a church planting generation. Many of them desire to stay with those churches for the long haul.
  5. They are leading church revitalization. They are sufficiently wise to understand that the turnaround of a declining established church is a long-term endeavor. They are willing to make such commitments to win trust and lead revitalization.
As with any generation, we must be careful with generalizations. There are always exceptions and differences. But, as a rule, Millennial pastors have a much longer-term perspective on church tenure. And they see their ministries fulfilled by lives being changed and communities impacted. If the result is a larger church, they are fine with it. But numbers and size are not their measures of success, contentment, or obedience. Let me hear from you.
The post Five Reasons Millennial Pastors Are Not Moving to Larger Churches appeared first on ThomRainer.com. Used by permission.

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12 Benefits Your Church Might Provide Your Pastors

By Chuck Lawless My seminary students occasionally ask me about whether a “pay package” a church offers them is adequate. I can’t always answer that question easily because I don’t know the church’s financial state. What I do know is what I believe a church ought to provide for its pastors. Your church may not be in a position to offer all these benefits, but perhaps you could work toward providing them:
  1. Housing allowance. In my judgment, the pastor’s salary and housing allowance should be considered the pastor’s “base package.” The salary, of course, is assumed, and a housing allowance is a designated portion of the pastor’s salary that allows for tax benefits. Make sure your pastor is aware of this opportunity.
  2. Self-employment tax offset. If your pastor pays self-employment taxes, your church should consider providing additional funds that cover the portion they would have to pay if the pastor were classified as an employee. Tax rules still require your pastor to count the dollars as income, but the additional funds toward those costs will be helpful.
  3. Health, disability, and life insurance coverage. I encourage churches to provide full family coverage for health insurance, but do cover at least the pastor’s premiums. Likewise, the pastor may want more disability and life insurance coverage than the church offers, but do offer at least some level of insurance.
  4. Mileage reimbursement. Many pastors travel a lot by car. They should not be forced to pay out of their own pockets for business-related travel.
  5. Retirement funds. Even if your pastors are young, help them think about the future by contributing to a retirement fund for them. Even a few dollars per month can pay off in the long run.
  6. Book and resource allowance. If you want your pastors to continue to study and grow, provide resources for them to do so. They might exceed whatever allowance you provide, but help cover some of these costs.
  7. Travel allowance. Your pastors may want to attend training conferences or denominational meetings that take place out of town. Make that possible by providing a travel budget.
  8. Continuing education funds. I trust you want your pastors to be the best-equipped leaders. If so, offering funds toward further training (whether via attending conferences or working toward an accredited degree) will encourage them to get that training.
  9. Entertainment and fellowship funds. If pastors take only one family per month to dinner, the costs still add up if they are paying out of their own funds. The church should cover the cost of entertainment and fellowship that intentionally promote the church’s ministry.
  10. Phone coverage. Many pastors use their cell phones recurrently during the week to do church “business.” Consider providing at least a portion of these costs.
  11. Time off. Give your pastors a weekly day off and significant time for vacation (e.g., 3-4 weeks per year). Hold them accountable to get the rest and relaxation they deserve and need.
  12. Sabbatical time. At least every 6-7 years, give your pastor a one-month paid sabbatical. I’ve written elsewhere about the benefits of a pastoral sabbatical, but I re-state my summary here: hard-working pastors can use the sabbatical to prepare for many more years of effective ministry.
What would you add or omit from this list?
Be sure to check out Dr. Lawless’ daily blog posts at www.chucklawless.com. Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.
The post 12 Benefits Your Church Might Provide Your Pastors appeared first on ThomRainer.com. The post 12 Benefits Your Church Might Provide Your Pastors appeared first on ThomRainer.com. Used by permission.

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