Address Or Dismiss!

First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale implodes over challenge to pastor’s iron rule

How does any baptist church that purports to operate under congregational rule (or not!) unilaterally dismiss members without . . . .

√  a properly called congregational meeting of the church membership

√  a congregational vote on each and every member

√  the majority vote of the membership present and voting

√  a genuine opportunity for those “dissident” members to address the congregation before any such vote

“On Friday night First Baptist trustees, seemingly under the control of Lead Pastor James Welch, released an email that expelled from membership —  much like Catholic excommunication —  an entire dissident faction, an estimated 200 churchgoers.

The group has been pressing for dialog about finances, the future of the property-rich institution and Welch’s controversial, top-down management style. He took control of the church in early 2019.

There could be no more dramatic example of that style than the trustees’ Friday night purge.”

The leadership explains their decision and actions in an email.  Their email (and the pastor’s in-person explanations concerning his actions) [1] argues that they have been biblical in their decision and actions.

The leadership uses such words as  . . .

  • patient
  • peacemaking
  • mediation
  • repentance
  • discipline
  • unfruitful
  • hope and pray
  • restoration
  • harmony
  • leadership
  • persevering for Christ
  • passion
  • biblical standards
  • etc

All good biblical words . . . . employed to explain and/or defend what was called a “Friday night purge” of 200 members!

Not sure that what was done by leadership is as biblical as they would like to publicly maintain and purport!

I often wonder how many people [2] have to express their discontent and/or leave (and in this case — be summarily removed from membership by the sole action of the very leadership being charged with wrong-doing) before the assessment is that there is really a problem — a leadership problem!

Are there really 200 members who don’t have legitimate concerns about the direction of the church?

Does the pastor, leadership, or ministry believe that there are not still others who also have misgivings the decisions and actions of those in charge?

Does the pastor, leadership, or ministry . . . .

√  believe that there are not those who are repulsed by the brusque dismissal of those members?

√  believe that they have effectively addressed the problem by the dismissal of those 200 members?  There are far more than those dismissed members who see and feel the same way.

√  believe that there are still those who have left in their hearts and minds; it is just time and circumstance that will lead to their leaving?

√  not believe that pastoral influence has been severely marred by a lost respect and sense of integrity?

√  not grasp that most realize that “congregational rule” has been set aside on the altar of expediency?

Too often, relationships control, loyalty to people over personal integrity is the pattern, power and authority go to the head, local churches take yet another step backward — for years if not decades.

Apparently, for some . . . 
It is easier to dismiss the people
than address legitimate problems!

. . . . . .

. . . . . . 

First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale implodes over challenge to pastor’s iron rule

Church’s statement of faith — “Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation, each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord.”

Click to access Notice-to-Membership-Rev-11_6.pdf

1. Pastor Welch speaking on the church by-laws

Pastor Welch addressing the church conflict

Pastor Welch explaining “Best Practices.”

2. Or who has to leave before someone takes note that there is a clear problem with a church or ministry.

Six Ways To Correct A Mistake: Tongue In Cheek – “TIC”

. . . . . .

Ministry leaders and pastors make mistakes — of course, they do.  That is why you hear the words, “Only Jesus is perfect.”  It is not that administrators, missionaries, church officials, Christian school teachers, and yes, pastors do not make mistakes, but what do they do when and after?  That is the most telling question!

#1) Ignore it and hope that it goes away.  Say nothing and hope no one else says anything.  If someone does, quickly dismiss it and then pray that the comment-question is not felt or shared by many others.

#2) Double down and say it again.  This time, say it with even great conviction vocal energy.  Make the argument for doing or saying what was done and said!  The strategy: Anyone who would be so bold as to say or do something again must be convinced that it is the right thing to do.  Say it louder, stronger, and repeatedly!

#3) Hold Up The Balancing Scale:  Balance out what was said or done with the many things done right.  Bring up the many good and appropriate [1] aspects of your life and ministry . . . .

  • one’s years of faithfulness in marriage
  • one’s children, and their effectiveness in parenting
  • one’s extensive years in the ministry
  • the breadth of one’s ministry
  • the difficulties and demands that come with ministry
  • any successes in the past – lean on the past!
  • how hard you work — every day — and with little appreciation
  • et al.

Obviously, all these and other factors erase the need to address what was inappropriately, mistakenly, or wrongfully said or done.  Such appeals support the fact that there is no need to feel any remorse over what was said or done, no less any apology!  (TIC)

#4) Manipulate the record. That can be accomplished in several ways. One can rewrite what was said or done, or indicate that what you meant was “. . . . . . .”.  Sometimes you can “nuance” certain words and twist the obvious meaning of this-or-that word in a way that it is contended that you really did not say what you said.  A helpful sentence to tuck away is . . . . “Well, I did say/do that, but what I meant to say or do was . . . . .”  Nothing else need be done.  You did not intend it!  Thus, it is obvious to all that nothing else needs to be said or done!

#5) Remove the evidence: The last approach can be combined with the above or used severally.  If you said or did anything foolish, self-serving, inappropriate, embarrassing, bizarre, or reflected negatively on you personally — get rid of the evidence.

  • delete that email / text message / voice message
  • hide or destroy any document which calls into question your integrity
  • marginalize the worth of those who callup that what was said or done
  • (if you must) excommunicate those who direct attention to your words or actions
  • alter or delete any sermonic audio-video which paints that unflattering picture

If you need to destroy any evidence, make sure that any who questions it understands that it is not at all because you are dishonest or embarrassed.

#6) Claim Victimhood:  You are the victim, and you didn’t do anything wrong — at least not to a level as to where you would have to apologize or address it publicly.  Stir up public sympathy for how hard it is to be in ministry (Convince God’s people that your job is far more demanding than the many who work in the secular world and then also give of their time, talent, and treasure to serve in the church).

Remind God’s people of your sacrifice.  Tell them again about how you have been mistreated in ministry.  Dredge up past situations — again — for another run at simpatico.  These repeated situations which bubble up are examples of your victimization, not wrong-headedness, inappropriate words or actions, or your self-serving actions!

. . . . . . . 

If you decide to turn onto any of these roads, remember to . . . . .

  • repeat and maintain that you are a man/woman of integrity, honesty, and transparency
    The last thing you want to do is have these areas questioned.  That was the whole purpose of originally engaging in any one of these options.  Make sure people understand that you would never take any of these options for dishonest reasons or motives.  You are a person who stands and says what should and ought to be said and let the chips fall where they may! — End of Sentence, Period! Full Stop!
  • pre-think through any arguments that you can make if you are called on any of the above options.
    Some helpful choices:
    “We all could have been better at saying what we say.”
    “We need to be frank and honest and call a spade a spade.”
    “What I said was really for the members of the church to hear.”
  • continue to cultivate the support of others.  You will need others who will support and maintain that what you did or said was wise, honest, or justified — those who will work with you in doing any of the above five options.  Find and further encourage other people who will back your actions or words by various relational means.

. . . . . . . 

This is all said with “Tongue In Cheek,”
because no one would propose these approaches
with a straight face!

. . . . . .

1. “appropriate” in that it is expected of someone in the ministry.  Of course, you were a faithful spouse!  Did we expect otherwise?. . . . . . . 

P.S.  There is an appalling lack of self-awareness when it comes to ministry leaders!  At times, you want to say . . . .

“How can you say that — publicly — with a straight face!?”

November Update | My Crunchy Life

. . . . The answer is — a total lack of self-awareness!

While talking about integrity, honesty, transparency, and loving others, ministry leaders can violate those very principles by word and deed.  At times, it is that woeful lack of self-awareness that shocks God’s people as they listen to their leaders talk about integrity.

Self-awareness is a prerequisite to any genuine and honest sermonizing on the wrong-doing of others!
Claiming victim status reveals publicly shouts out a message of a woeful lack of personal self-awareness!

Before any of us get too self-righteous, we can all recall saying or doing something which should not have been said or done.  Most all of us have personally embarrassed ourselves with the words of our mouth or actions that speak just as loud.  Many of us have probably failed at the “when and after.”  Most all of us, who have lived any length of time, have walked on these roads, rather than just facing the truth ourselves, and/or admitting to others that we should never have said or done this-or-that.  That fact does not negate the TIC commentary. Rather, it highlights the continual need for us to be more self-aware, as well as direct and personal (sometimes public) in humbly addressing our inappropriate, self-serving, and/or wrongful words and actions.

You Would Think This Was Advice For Pastors — or — “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.”

Original Link

Fralic’s 7 Rules for Making Memorable Connections

‘Add value in conversations’ is typical advice. This means making sure people walk away with a new idea, referral, intro, etc. But Fralic has found imparting energy to be even more important than sharing new information. To do this, follow these seven rules:

1. Convey genuine appreciation. Actively project warmth and high energy. It’s been observed people like you when they feel liked by you. So, do you greet them in a way that sounds like you’re genuinely happy to see them? To make it clear you’re interested in the other person, think about what they know that you don’t. What do you actually want to learn in the interaction? Focus on that so that they can walk away knowing they added value too.

2. Listen with intent. The focus you bring to asking specific questions about what’s being said in real time makes others feel heard. This is a big one. Being a good listener is about two things: 1) Demonstrating that you’ve heard exactly what was said by the other person, and 2) encouraging them to continue. This breaks down into what’s called “backchanneling” — offering short, enthusiastic responses as the other person talks (i.e. “yeah” “mm-hmm” “totally” “I can see that”), and asking follow up questions that reference the information you were just given.

You’d be surprised how often people flub on listening, says Fralic. People’s minds wander, they’ll be nodding but thinking about what’s for dinner, they might look past the person speaking to see who else is in the room. All of this projects disinterest, a lack of value or prioritization for the person, and that can only hurt the relationship. If you’re talking on the phone, asking specific follow-ups becomes even more important with no body language or eye contact to read.

3. Use humility markers. What you say and how you say it can put others at ease and replace nerves with positive energy — even in tough situations. “I have relationships that have lasted over a decade that started with me meeting a founding team and not investing,” says Fralic. “I’ll often start that conversation saying, ‘I’m wrong all the time and I very well may be here.’” Acknowledging your own fallibility and human imperfection can go a long way toward making yourself relatable. Especially if there’s a power dynamic where someone is asking for your advice, attention or help, you want to put the other person at ease.

There’s an unspoken distinction in the networking world between the Hunters and the Hunted.

When Fralic reached out to Kevin Compton all those years ago. He was approaching one of the ‘hunted’ — someone who had 1,000 other things to be thinking about. But he still took the time to engage and it was never forgotten.

You don’t need to build yourself up any more or explain why you’re important or going to be helpful. Your focus should be on building bridges between your experience and theirs so there are points of recognition, especially if you can organically work in shared struggles or challenges.

Taking the time to call or meet in person also expresses humility — which is paramount if you’re about to reject someone. You want to emphasize that your time is no more important than theirs. “I like to call to explain opportunities I’ve passed on versus emailing. A rejection stands out among people’s interactions. When you take the time to be conscientious and human, people are often appreciative and will respect you more.”

4. Offer unvarnished honesty. There are a lot of reasons why people don’t share what they truly think in professional situations. They don’t want to tarnish relationships or endure an uncomfortable exchange or risk being disliked. Even if you’re one of the ‘Hunted,’ it’s human nature to avoid these experiences. You can differentiate yourself by being as honest as you can. Just remember to root your honesty in what will actually have utility for the other party. This will set a good tone for all future conversations.

5. Blue-sky brainstorm. Maybe you can’t provide what someone is looking for. But, if you can change the angle or way they’re thinking about something by openly brainstorming with them, you make them feel like they got something special and unexpected. It’s key that you’re brainstorming with them, not for them. So, in the example of passing on an investment, Fralic makes a point of listing others who might invest, or he spends time thinking through how they might pitch or message their business differently.

It’s best when the conversation builds on itself. He’ll suggest a few names or changes, and then provide a sounding board for any concerns or questions the founders might have. This way, he can help them find a new, albeit slightly different path forward, and that’s what they’ll remember — not just the no.

Give before thinking about what you get. Always offer something of value before expecting or asking for something in return. Key to this is not focusing on reciprocity.

“If you find yourself keeping score in your professional relationships, you’re on the wrong track.”

Instead make a list of everything you feel comfortable offering others (even if you get nothing back). Perhaps you provide connections or advice or office space or a next step in a process. That way, if you have to say no to one thing, there’s still energy you can contribute.

6. End every meeting or conversation with the feeling and optimism you’d like to have at the start of your next conversation with the person. “Assume you’re going to run into everyone again — it usually happens either by plan or happenstance,” says Fralic. “There are no closed connections. The world is too small.” When you do meet again, you want the person to think, ‘Oh great, it’s so-and-so!’ not ‘I guess I’ll get through this somehow.’ If you envision running into this person again and how you want that to go, it’ll undoubtedly influence how you navigate a present conversation — usually for the better.

For example, Fralic is always impressed by founders who — when turned down — send some variation of, “Thanks for looking even if it’s not a fit. If you have other ideas for us or if anything changes, please let me know,” or, “Chris, when we met, you had a question/issue about X. I just wanted to show you what we’ve done about it — no need to respond.” “A person who says that shows she’s savvy enough to not take bad news personally, or create obligation or awkwardness, or continue to argue their point after you’ve said no. I’ll remember her for it,” he says

There’s time beyond this fundraise and even this company. Relationships take years to build. Start now.

7. Don’t fake it till you make it. It may be common wisdom for finding confidence, but it has some negative byproducts. Namely, Fralic has seen it used to justify winging it in important meetings. Faking it in this context doesn’t mean bluffing your way through interactions that make you feel insecure or intimidated. That leads to bad decision making.

“I’ve seen people overstate their credentials because they were put on the spot, or blindly target every executive in a room because they figured they should,” he says. “This rarely leads to long-lasting relationships.” If you want to connect with someone professionally to move your goals forward, you need to know exactly why you care about that person or their company. And you need to know how to articulate it succinctly. Everyone seems to have a story about a cold call miraculously turning into a career-making breakthrough. This doesn’t happen by magic. It happens because your sincerity is clearly powered by diligent preparation.

The #1 Way For A Ministry To Avoid A Ministry Migraine

Recently, a friend of mine, who applied for a particular Christian ministry position, was asked what he would do in a situation involving wrong-doing within that institution.  Before he could respond, this comment was made . . . . “You do realize that we have to protect our ministry; its reputation is always on the line in these kinds of situations.”

Upon hearing that from her, I indicated that my response would have been . . . .

“The best way to protect your ministry and its reputation is to be open and transparent.  When you try to cover up what actually took place, the ministry and those in leadership find themselves in a mess!  Ask RZIM about how covering-up works out!”

Study the past year’s ministry and church scandals, and you will see a series of actions that appear over and over when real institutional wrong-doing is misaddressed.   Those in positions of leadership and power seek to divert attention away from what was actually done.

Midst wrong-doing, the temptation is to . . . . .

  • cover-up the wrong-doing
  • silence the “critics”
  • limit exposure to the facts of the situation
  • pull in others to vouch for your story
  • reposition people, who are or have been supportive, into roles of greater power/control
  • call-up the years of past ministry as a plausible argument against the possibility of misconduct today 
  • repeatedly claim victimhood
  • seek sympathy from those who know little-to-nothing as to what has actually happened [1] 
  • publicly create personal sympathy as one who has been unfairly “attacked” – from “Victimology 101”

The best way to protect a ministry from damage,
and to guard one’s personal reputation and integrity,
is to be transparent from the beginning. 

Various ministries and churches, that have faced serious problems, would tell you exactly that — NOW — after all the damage was done.

Various ministries and churches, that have faced serious problems, would tell you that because that was their greatest mistake as they sought to control the situation they created for themselves!

Most all ministries and churches would give you that advice long before they themselves were facing such a problem because this is not “hidden wisdom” that can only be learned after failing the transparency test.  Most all ministries and churches understand that UNTIL they themselves are clearly engaged in wrong-doing, made some terrible and even indefensible decisions, or were embarrassed about their words and/or actions. 

Then — ministries and leaders often begin using the word “transparency” . . . .

  • as a newly found badge, proving that they have integrity
  • to now bolster their claim that they are committed to honesty and oversight
  • after they have failed at being anything but transparent
  • after people have jumped-ship because serious questions have again remained unanswered

The best way to protect a ministry, a church, a pastor, deacons, an elder, or administrators, is to be transparent from the beginning, allow those who have a meaningful stake in the organization, ministry, or church to hear what actually happened.  Provide a sincere, genuine, and “as long as it rightfully takes” opportunity for God’s people to hear from those of different vantage and to ask any and all questions.

Fail at that, expect questions to linger, stories to be continually told-retold (accurate, inaccurate, most partially true), and the next problem to be worse than the previous one because of an eroding trust that will follow you issue after issue.

The best way to protect a ministry from damage,
and guard one’s personal reputation and integrity,
is to be transparent from the beginning & throughout

All understand that if you have nothing to hide, then you will be open, above-board, and straightforward; that you will be transparent as to what took place as well as to how it all transpired from the beginning.


1. They don’t know, primarily because they have been denied the opportunity to rightfully know.
The RZIM fiasco illustrates the results of that approach as men and women vouched for RaviZ’s integrity, only to be embarrassed, but not ashamed enough to resign from their positions of trust.

Note:  If you want to see how twisted it all gets . . . . 

There was little-to-no transparency while it was all taking place, but “now that this trust has been fundamentally compromised, [and] the situation demands transparency. . . . . “We believe that the most God-honoring approach is to pursue transparency.”

There was little love shown to those who were publicly manhandled by those in positions of power, but now let’s talk about “being loving.”  It’s hypocrisy or a dismal lack & level of self-awareness. 

There was little willingness to show grace, but now . . . . “We pray for God’s grace and mercy for all, and for restoration that brings peace, hope, forgiveness, and change where most needed.”

There was little willingness to get at the truth as to what was said and done, but now . . . . . “our prayer has been that the truth would be known.”

Church Ministry: How To Make The Problem Worse! — The Top 3 Ways!

Someone has suggested asking this question in a problem-solving situation . . . .

If you were going to make this problem worse, how would you do it? [1]

What a great brainstorming question to ask when facing any and all problems! As stated, it requires that we invert our thinking processes which then provides a valuable and totally different vantage on the problem.

There are ministries and local churches that would do well to ask that question when dealing with a difficult situation and problem! –” What could we do to make this worse?”

The answer to that question might highlight what you do not want to do — though easily tempted and maybe even contemplating!  During my years in teaching and pastoring, I have often thought and said that some pastors create their own problems and trials in ministry.  Then they call for a pity party and claim victimhood.

Let me list out some ways to make things worse, to heighten a self-created ministry or church problem . . . .

#1 — Make Decisions Without Seeking Desiring The Sincere & Genuine Input Of Others.

They are convinced that they know what is best, and that is what will happen at the end — Every man is right in his own eyes.  The problems come because “his own eyes” and not the way others see it.  There are other ways!  There are good, better, and best ways.  There are terrible ideas that are clothed with enough euphemistic and justifying garb that such terrible ideas survive in that ministry leader’s mind.

Some take final concession as agreement. Others may go along with what the ministry leader wants — in the end — but that does not mean that they are convinced. They have merely grown tired of pushing back when the end seems certain.  The end seems certain because there is little-to-no movement or adjustment.

Make decisions without the sincere and genuine input . . . .

    • sincere and genuine input that changes and revamps an idea
    • sincere and genuine input which moves from good to better or best
    • sincere and genuine, which seeks the input of those affected, or who might well be in opposition
    • sincere and genuine input which changes an idea or decision to where it may no longer even be desired by the ministry leader
    • sincere and genuine input that even leads to its abandonment because of all of its flaws and implications
    • sincere and genuine input, which reveals that it is not best for the ministry, but self-serving.

. . . . and then send out invitations to your pity party after criticism regarding some very bad decisions.

. . . . . . 

#2 — Make Ministry About You —  about your comfort, advantage, and privilege.

If a pastor does not believe that God’s people cannot recognize a self-serving spirit, they are woefully naive, or worse yet, indifferently ignorant.

    • make decisions that do not strengthen the ministry, but make your ministry easier
    • reflect an unawareness about the health of others, but highlight your health situations
    • focus on your financial income and benefits, with little honest, practical, or authentic concern about those making far less in that ministry
    • hire, position, or highlight family members in the work of that ministry
    • keep passing off ministry to others — visitation / preaching / special day events
    • promote nepotism in that ministry
    • stay away from any “hands-on” work — alongside others
    • make “salary /benefits” and “giving” a repeated ministry topic
    • talk about how hard you have had or have it in ministry

When several of these markers show up, God’s people see them!  They understand what is taking place.  They know who is the most important person in that ministry — and it isn’t them.

Make ministry about you, and then send out invitations to your pity party and claim victimhood when people catch on!

. . . . . . 

#3 — Mishandle & Manhandle God’s People — disregard, disrespect, and even abuse your power and position in ministry.

A quick way to lose ministry leadership is to make some damaging mistakes and follow through on some terrible “people-decisions.”  I have seen youth pastors who “have to leave” because of a damaging mistake that they will never be able to outlive in that ministry.  A child or teen was injured — while a mistake and not malicious in any way — but unrecoverable!

Likewise, some terrible “people-decisions” can cause so much damage when it comes to a youth pastor, a staff member, a missionary, a ministry volunteer, a church officer, or even a well-like and long-term drifter.

Those in ministry clearly know and understand that reality.  It is supported by the fact that those in ministry will seriously consider the implications of people-decisions.  Replacing a staff member, moving someone to another position, not hiring this-or-that person, asking someone to head up a ministry, not asking someone, or even firing for a good reason all have serious ministry implications.  Ministry leaders and pastors know that!

Church life is about relationships.  That is why some people stay in churches which are doctrinally askew — “Yea, I know that they believe and teach this-or-that, but . . . . . ” That is why some people join churches that are “not their cup of tea,” but they have some good friends there!

Instead of recognizing that the ministry is filled with good and great people, see any who honestly and/or legitimately disagree as the enemy; it is you against them!  If you want to make the problem worse, be true to form and categorize those who have honest and legitimate disagreements, as trouble-makers.

After repeating the go-to argument of “sowing discord,” send out invitations to your pity party and claim victimhood.

. . . . . . 

1. If you were going to make this problem worse, how would you do it?

“Here is a wonderful gotcha! question. It comes from Sunni Brown, author of Doodle Revolution. This question is delightfully mischievous. It requires us to invert our thinking and look at a situation from a completely new angle. The insights from this question reveal to us what we should do.”

2. An example of that is Dr. John MacArthur.  At times, it is not that what he often says is not technically correct, but he chooses to make statements that create controversy — i.e. Lordship salvation / the blood of Jesus / et al.  At other times, he opens up himself to warranted or unwarranted criticism — you decide.

3. In fact, some ministry leaders live with what they deem to be “difficult people situations” for that very reason — they cannot do what they would like to do without an “uproar.”  What they would like to do has meaningful ministry implications.  To make that move may be the last straw for some of God’s people, and they suspect that — and some do it anyway — go back to points #1 & #2.

Church Attendance: This May Be As Good As It Gets

. . . . . . .

Tone Deaf” — Those were my thoughts on Easter Sunday morning, as I attended church this past Easter Sunday.  Those words speak of. . . .

“. . . . having or showing
an obtuse insensitivity
or lack of perception
particularly in matters of
public sentiment, opinion, or taste.”

. . . . . . .

  • After a year of a pandemic lockdown . . . .
  • After the decision by many to make this Easter Sunday the first in-person church service they attend . . . .
  • Because Easter/Resurrection Sunday is one of the holiest days of the religious calendar. . . . .
  • Because of the increased likelihood that many of the less-regular and/or new people will be attending . . . .

. . . what would you plan as the first hymn sung by the congregation-choir-singer?

If you are tone-deaf . . . . the answer is  . . . . a hymn or song which addresses anything other than the resurrection of Christ!

If you are tone-deaf, you will begin (and continue through much of the service) with music that fails to connect with the anticipatory thinking and sentiments of God’s people on Easter 2021.

Instead of beginning with possible hymns such as . . . . .

  • Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
  • Christ Arose
  • The Old Rugged Cross
  • He Lives
  • He Is Lord
  • I Know that My Redeemer Liveth
  • My Hope Is In The Lord
  • Rise Again
  • Crown Him With Many Crows
  • In The Garden
  • Were You There
  • et al.

. . . some will have begun the service with music that celebrates their obtuse insensitivity and/or lack of perception.

. . . . . 

If you are tone-deaf, Easter Sunday will start with and/or use contemporary songs that have nothing to do with the resurrection.

If you are tone-deaf, Easter Sunday will start with and/or use contemporary songs that few even know.

If you are tone-deaf, you will begin with and/or use music and songs that you might enjoy, but fail to effectively minister. [1]

If you are tone-deaf, you employ well-known hymns, but you put them to an upbeat musical score that changes the traditional tempo, wording, or pace, and appreciation by that audience.

If you are tone-deaf, you add roving and flashing lighting effects regardless of any reasonable musical,  practical, or theological justification.

If you are tone-deaf, you will begin with and/or use well-known hymns to a different musical score that fails to carry the emotions and feelings in could and would.

If you are tone-deaf, you will throw the musical balance in the direction of what does not connect with your audience, in favor of your musical preferences. [2]

If you are tone-deaf, Easter Sunday will focus more on the death than on the resurrection.

. . . . . 

Easter Sunday 2021 — after one of the most “affective years” that has deeply impacted church ministries, when many made Easter Sunday the day when they would return to a congregational in-person meeting, after the loss of loved ones and friends, after . . . after . . . .

Easter Sunday 2021 should have been one of the most sermonicly and musically inspiring days for God’s people who decided to be there again, in-person!

Easter Sunday 2021 should have been the beginning of a growing in-person attendance and return to local church worship, ministry, and fellowship.

Easter Sunday 2021 should have been a time when God’s people said — “This is what the church is about.  This is the worship experience I have been missed due to this tragic pandemic.”

But for too many — it may well have failed to accomplish that!
Why?  — Because of Tin Ears.

The Results:  Sunday’s attendance may be the highpoint, as good as it is going to get for the next year(s) in this-or-that local church ministry!  The conclusion may be — “Listening online (to you and/or others) works!”

P.S. “The Easter Sunday Sermon” — That is another discussion — unfortunately, a sad discussion of a missed-failed opportunity to congregationally rejoice in the defeat of our last enemy — death, the grave, and hell!

. . . . . 

1. An effective music ministry can be is jettisoned by using music that is . . .

  • unfamiliar or totally new
  • unsuited or difficult for congregational singing
  • misfocused and ignores the appreciation of those worshiping
  • traditional or contemporary, but unrelatable musically
  • well-known, but employing a different musical score
  • an arrangement that moves so far away from the original composition
  • new/unknown (contemporary or classical in form) and poorly worded and/or written
  • et al.

2. It is not that music that is new, different, unfamiliar, an arrangement of, classical or contemporary, known or unknown cannot be used or introduced in a local church setting.  Nevertheless, if the balance is driven by the musical leader’s “taste-opinions-position-convictions-theology-education-appreciation” — whether that results in a “contemporary” or “classical”  outcome — it is self-serving!

With too many, the music ministry is about them.  The selection of songs has little-to-nothing to do with the service, the message, the day, or the audience assembled.  It is about their musical appreciation — “Just stand up and be quiet and sing!.  Start loving the music I love, listen to, and appreciate!  No criticism will be permitted!  I am the paid music director.”  Some who criticize the CC music movement, are as musically self-serving as those they criticize!  They operate with the same selfish mentality.

Four Ways To Address Church Attendance “Midst Covid.”

hand it over 3…………

A good way to damage your credibility along with church attendance re-attendance is to turn off people, and even God’s people, regarding their attendance, as the tragic Covid pandemic dissipates. [1]   Some have already done significant damage from the beginning of this crisis, and the cost of that approach is already being paid.

Instead of some “self-righteous and arrogant” approach of — “If can make it to Home Depot, you can make it back to church on Sunday morning!” [2] —  how about these four statements . . . .

. . . . . . 

#1 – There are some who should NOT be returning yet because they are still at the highest risk until they are immunized.  In fact, they may want to wait for several more weeks to determine that the national immunization has been effective.  My mom and/or dad, who are in the seventies, are in that category.

#2 — There are those who can be and should be back in church.  Their age — and perhaps even now having been immunized —  their health history — and with reasonable cautions — can be and should be back in church.   We do not know, nor are we going to speculate as to who those people are!

#3 – There are those who are still conflicted and uncertain and should NOT be back until they are convinced that it is safe for them.  Whether it is safe or not, a decision we are about to make for others during these difficult and tragic days for many.  It is not our decision but is rightfully their decision, and they must settle on the timing before they are comfortable.  And we fully understand that for each person, that time is different.  We support those who are rightfully concerned and uncertain about the best time for their family — or the various family members.

#4 – There are those who are very comfortable being back in an in-person — brick and mortar — church service.  Their age, life situation, personal health history, and/or even their personality may allow them to feel more comfortable.  They are not seeking to make any statement by their attendance. They are willing to take whatever precautions are helpful to those who are more cautious and concerned because they love the people who have also chosen to be here regularly or sporadically at this time, midst this pandemic.



1. Some ministries fully demonstrate their pastoral ignorance biblical ineptitude when it comes to dealing with this tragic pandemic.  The words “tragic Covid pandemic” even irritate some because they cannot even recognize the pain of so many others over the loss of loved family members and friends — at least until it happens to them or those they love/loved — and then some even forget that experience so quickly!

Some speak about medical issues as if they are actually qualified.  Not even the medical profession has found a unified voice, but some seminary graduates have the chutzpah to speak with authority.  Some pastors have again demonstrated that they lack genuine concern, empathy, and compassion for those who are “not quite as spiritual as they are.”

At times, you want to say to some pastors (humorously). . . .

“Okay — turn over your Bible — hand it over — you don’t know how to rightfully use what it teaches.  When you learn how to read and understand the Scriptures, we will give back the Book.  But for now, you reveal that you will use verses and passages to argue your own personal viewpoints.  So hand it over till such a time as you are willing to use it as a good under-shepherd, for the good of God’s sheep!”

2. Taking short trips shopping for food and/or purchasing needed items to work on projects that can be accomplished during these weeks and months of quarantine, is far from attending an “hour” service, with singing, and any possible expectations and temptations of fellowship.  But if you want members to breeze in and out ( or “pick up” a copy of the sermon notes at the door) in a quick 15-minute appearance, I am sure some might be willing to accommodate such a ludicrous comparison!


P.S. With some, it is really about them and their security.  They need the pews filled because for some it is about their perceived influence, their ego.  They need to know that they are important and that is hard to do virtually.  The return of people is about their level of importance.  They need to believe that — “I’m making a difference.” 

Over the months of being virtual, that was and is missing — “Get yourself back to church services!  This is your pastor speaking!” — You know, the pastor who said he had a heart for God’s people, but never even personally called you.  You know, the pastor’s heart who had others do that work! 

Now, that far fewer have trickled back, it is speaking a message to them, accurately or inaccurately — but nonetheless cogently!  Maybe they as a pastor are not that well regarded as they would like to believe–  and their attempts at creating guilt has had little effect.

  • Some need to hear “That was a great sermon pastor!”
  • Some need to hear someone to say “Thanks Pastor — I appreciate you!”
  • Some miss the affirmations of support.
  • I need to hear you “AMEN” / clap / nod in agreement
  • Some pastors feel that such affirmation is more importantly received by them, than they think others, who are not in ministry, need hear it.
    (Odd, isn’t it?  The shepherd seeks the needs that he is supposedly there to provide for the sheep.  Odd!)

If it was about God’s people, they would have stayed connected with the sheep from the most uncertain days in the beginning, to the months which have passed since.  I still hear God’s people say — “Have never got one call from my pastor since last March.” SHAMEFUL!  

Forget the excuses — It is about them!  Don’t be confused about what has happened across the spectrum of ministries, the self-serving nature of many a ministry has been exposed by the words and actions (or lack) of those in ministry and church leadership.

The pandemic has proven who some are; they do not have the heart of a shepherd. This has been an opportunity to implement what they have always wanted to put into place — less work, less contact and “counseling” with God’s people, and less preaching to the smaller audiences in “Sunday Schools,” on Sunday evenings, and/or mid-week services.

Far too many — no, not all — have been on a “covidcation” and AWOL from the earliest days when it comes to pastoral ministry!  There was little attempt by far too many to come up with new and different ways to address the crisis — unlike many of the pastors scattered throughout the world who figure it out midst persecution — midst real-life shepherding!  They are the ones who have the heart of a shepherd, unseen in the lives of anemic American pastors who are tired — tired out after a few weeks!  

I am almost ready to start a new church!  It is not the lack of resources, the potential and anticipated response, or even the energy, but the thought. . . 

“Tampa does not need another church.  There are too many already!”

However, I remember new graduated youth pastor, who was looking for his first youth ministry, saying to me . . . 

“There are so many youth pastors out there already!”

My response . . . .

“But not a lot of good ones. 
Play a children’s game, and you will attract children.
Play a man’s game, and yoiu will attract men — like David did! — 600 of them who were fighters!
You be good, and you will attract those who want to really want to minister to families and teens!”

That advice still speaks to my own heart! 



duct taped tire  As we too well know,  “Duct Tape” has become a metaphor for patching up a problem — at least temporarily! [1] Perhaps, “Flexy Seal” will become its generational replacement — “Just Flexy Seal It!  — Doesn’t sound as catchy!

In ministry, there are ways to “duct-tape” problems.

#1) Tape over “weak-poor-little-terrible-no” church growth.  If the truth be told, too many pastors have lost the vision for effectively reaching a lost world.  The church ministry is really about them!  There are a number of “duct tape” approaches to taping over the lack of vision and growth . . . .

  • Discount It:  “The Lord is not interested in numbers.  It is faithfulness that we as pastors are called to in ministry.”  You will have to argue with all the references to numbers in the book of Acts, and throughout the Scriptures.  It is not an either-or issue — faithfulness or numbers.  It is both-and!
  • Nuance It: “We have had a good number of people join the church ministry over the last year.”  While that may be technically true, there have been two or three new individuals or families, it misleads some to think that there must be more than the two or three of which I am aware.  Legitimate businesses could never get away with hyping the numbers; only the church can do that and get away with it over time.
  • Hype-It: “There have been a good number of spiritual decisions made over the past year within our church — both personally, in families, in baptisms, in membership, in attendance.” Go evangelistic and speak in broad terms.  Stay away from being specific.  Never allow the actual numbers to be known or visualized / graphed out.
  • Count Everything:  While new babies added to the church attendance, and the baptism of children are of great importance, those additions do not reflect the kind of genuine church growth that ought to be taking place!
  • Excuse-Explain It:  “Midst all that has taken place over the past year, we are doing good as a ministry.  There are other ministries which have experienced loss.”  Talk about growth, but never become effectively focused on reaching the world!  Keep doing what has not made a difference in the name of “holding on to the faith.”

Given enough time, some will excuse themselves into a level of decline that only a new pastor can and must address.

#2) Tape over “weak-poor-little-terrible” preaching.  The church is composed of two “wings” — preaching and fellowship.  If you lack either wing of ministry, you are either not a church, or not an effective church ministry.  Tape it over with complaints about today’s world, the lack of spirituality of God’s people in the church, the lack of attendance.  By the way, whatever you are seeing in your church, is the result of your ministry!  The sermons are going nowhere because effective preaching takes more than knowing what the Scriptures teach!

3) Tape over legitimate criticism:  When God’s people begin to realize that their church is in decline and/or poor preaching is being duct-taped and covered up, plan on criticism.   The criticism is legitimate and deserved!   Pastors have been given the privilege of being freed from the work-a-day world of the secular.  They are primarily responsible for the condition of the church!  Learning how to fairly listen to and hear the truth in criticism, and not retaliating or growing angry is what you ought to be at as the pastor!  Rather than invoke Matthew 18, calling up the defensive shield of “they are sowing discord,” engaging in procedures and processes to protectively contain the criticism, or seeking “loyalty oaths”  — how about get honest!  Don’t patch it over. Fix it by applying some genuine and honest humility!! [2]

I am certain that there are more than
“Three Flexy Seal Approaches”
to church problems, but these may be the most prevalent!


2. P.S. — A lack of honesty and humility can be patched over and covered up as well!

Now That’s An Offer!

As you know, when your birthday rolls around, you receive all kinds of “celebration offers” from all kinds of businesses and websites.  This one came from Best Buy [1] . . . . . You don’t have to read it — if you can read it.  The offer EXCLUDES everything that you may be interested in purchasing!

I read it, and said — “What a joke!”  Someone ought to reach out to Best Buy’s promotional department and express how disingenuous and trivial such an offer comes across.  It makes me not want to buy anything from them!

My next thought was . . .

— I’m thankful that this is not the offer given regarding my spiritual birthday! —

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings 
in heavenly places in Christ

Now & Forever!
Now, That’s An Offer!

Heaven's Rules V32

Flourish png centered

It is this
which is part of what the Lord uses to strengthen us,
as well as to guide and direct our thinking and decisions!

This poster is available as a free PDF. or JPG.
You can print it out in any size you find useful.

  1. Best Buy’s Birthday Offer!  What a Joke!

Screen Shot 2021-03-24 at 6.41.16 AM

The #1 Way To Damage Your Credibility.

Dave Ramsey’s ministry is the next domino to fall — not because of the 15 million dollar sale of his home or their stated standards of conduct, leading to the dismissal of an employee for immoral behavior, but because of the loss of his personal credibility!

That loss of credibility comes from inconsistency!  At times, there are difficult calls in ministry or business, and even in family and living out the Christian life.  However, there are also known and/or willful inconsistencies between what one says and what one does.

Leadership inconsistencies have been accentuated even more in 2020 by the “for thee, not me” approach of national leaders and ministries and local churches have not been exempt from the same charge of inconsistency — “It’s unaddressed when it is Mr. or Mrs. X, but when it comes to Mr. or Mrs. Y, then action is taken!”  It depends on who you are, not on principle!

One of the reasons that “reputation” is so vital to ministry and the local church is that “listening” leans on believing that a person is a principle.  Why preach and teach Gospel truths if those listening are saying to themselves — “Sure, tell me about that pastor, while you allow . . . . .”

Claiming to be a person of principle is quickly undermined when people are treated in clear and known disparate ways. Merely because there are people arrayed in the pews does not mean that they put significant stock in what “a man of the cloth” claims to be what the Scriptures teach.  I often use the words “effective” and “ineffective” because it speaks to the very reason a person even assumes a position of leadership.  Those two words speak to the very purpose of preaching and teaching — to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the hearers — or not!

  • When it takes a civil suit, which is about to uncover the wilful inconsistency . . . [1]
  • When it takes subpoenas to shed light on Ramsey’s allowance for the immoral behavior of radio host Chris Hogan . . .
  • When Ramsey finally breaks with Hogan, who promoted his ministry, midst known immoral behavior  . . . .
  • When Ramsey was apparently more interested in the coffers than morality — for one, but not another . . . .

. . . . his effectiveness has ended.

Dave Ramsey is becoming more and more “ineffective” — though the “pews” and the coffers may still look full, he and “Financial Peace University” will become just another ministry that will fade away into insignificance.  Like the memory of Bill Gothard and many other ministries and local churches, “Financial Peace University” will become a distant memory because of willful inconsistent leadership!

Most only need to think about the many local churches which are no longer an effective or meaningful influence in and around where we live or minister.  They have become memories of past impact and effectiveness.  Since those days, that ministry has been on a continual slide into insignificance!  Why?  In many, if not most cases, the ministry or church leadership has lost credibility and therefore influence.

Kirk Franklin is next in line!

1. “On Monday, O’Connor’s lawyer asked for several documents, including any information involving Hogan’s violation of Ramsey core values, according to court documents.”

“On Wednesday, Hogan released his apology and left the company [Ramsey Solutions].”

2. The effective ministries and local church pastors, who are a memorial and testimony to long-term credibility, are made up of people such as . . . .

  • Elizabeth Elliot
  • Joni Eareckson Tada,
  • Larry Crabb
  • Chuck Colson
  • Dr. Billy Graham
  • Luis Palau
  • John Von Casper i.e. “Jack” Wyrtzen
  • Dr. John Whitcomb
  • Dr. Lee Roberson
  • Add to that list many small ministries and local church leaders who are warmly remembered because they were effective; they were “without guile” and finished well.

And some of the many others In my sphere of life — “Thank You” for being an example of an effective ministry!  Pastor Dan Gelatte, Pastor Paul Williams, Herman Meister, Pastor Don Shirk, Matthew Kimak, Ron Dunston, et al.