How to Overcome Fear Through Fear Itself

How to Overcome Fear Through Fear Itself

Church Growth, the Right Way I'm Scott Ball, a strategy and leadership consultant for churches like yours. I work with The Malphurs Group to equip churches to break through barriers,and maximize your impact for Christ. Download my free guide and learn 10 simple secrets that will help keep guestsfrom leaving through the back door (and even help attract higher numbers of first-timers). Yes! Send It Now Guest Post by Tim Abraham Tim is a Church Strategy and Leadership Consultant for TMG, and Co-Founder of Beyond Leading. He’s served as a member of the executive leadership team for a large church in West Virginia, in addition to serving within high levels of state government. Tim earned an MBA and multiple bachelor’s degrees from West Virginia University and he and his wife, Kelly, currently enjoy God’s beautiful creation residing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He is also the author of Spiritual Fear Factor. In our world today we value fearlessness. We idolize the ones who claim to have never been touched by this feeling of vulnerability.  Christian leaders stand before challenges that will test us not only physically and mentally, but also emotionally and spiritually.  Fear is one of the most misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misapplied concepts in the Christian faith.  Unlike the many doctrinal disagreements that don’t ultimately impact our everyday lives and decisions, how we cope with fear can seep into our feelings and reactions to the world around us. This is why a biblical understanding of how to overcome fear transforms our relationship with God, the world, and ourselves. Defining Fear When we think of “fear,” our mind goes toward an unpleasant emotion caused by the...
Election 2016: Where Is God and Where Are You

Election 2016: Where Is God and Where Are You

Editor’s note: When I asked my colleague Tim Abraham to write what God put on his heart, I never expected a piece on politics. And this isn’t a site about politics. It’s a site about leadership. That said, journey through this wonderfully written piece by Tim and you’ll see why this isn’t just relevant to Christians in general but leaders in particular. Those of us who want to lead well in our churches must understand what it means to navigate politics in 2016: all eyes in your church are on you. We would all be wise to learn from Tim’s thoughts here. Enjoy. Politics and religion—the two topics that either extinguish or ignite conversations. With the continued rise of social media and the devolution to the one-minute news cycle, ignited conversations continuously combust into uncontrollable wildfires.  The fires’ wake leaves scorched remains of divineness, destruction, and decay on our social and individual levels. The toll of the 2016 presidential election process—in only its middle stages—looks more like the dark, scorched earth after General Sherman’s march compared to the bright, shining light Lady Liberty represents.  Prominent voices from all spectrums of politics and religion attempt to resonate louder with words of critical analysis, calls to action, criticism and admonishment, and a cupboard of anything else. Christians are not above these actions, immune to their implications, or free from their fallout.  So, we must ask:  In this tumultuous political and spiritual time, how are we to follow Jesus and share His gospel, all for God’s glory?  Said differently:  How will God work in us and through us so we may mature in our relationship with...
Big Announcement: Joining a New Team

Big Announcement: Joining a New Team

Healthy Leaders + Healthy Churches = Gospel Impact.   That’s the formula at the core of what I do as a writer, consultant, and coach. I firmly believe that when churches have a crystal clear picture of their mission, vision, values, strategies, and measures–they’re only half-way to reaching their maximum impact. The other half is developing a leadership team with healthy systems and structures. All of this only works, too, if the leadership has an abiding connection to the work of the Holy Spirit. It takes a healthy organization, and it takes healthy leaders for churches to reach their fullest potential.   In July 2015, I launched ScottBall.net with this clear statement: leadership matters. Since that time, I’ve dedicated this website to providing free resources and content that helps you and your church become healthy so you can make an impact. Thousands of you have read the articles on this site, and benefited from (what I hope is) encouraging, honest, and actionable content.   In October 2015, I took things to the next level by beginning to work hands-on with churches and leaders to help them in their unique context through consulting, coaching, and workshops. I’ve been leveraging my efforts at this singular effort: to help leaders like you and churches like yours to be healthier. In just these short months, I’ve been encouraged by your stories of God’s healing, and inspired by the work you pour into making your churches better for the Kingdom. I’m glad to say that this new phase of ministry for me in working with leaders and churches is just beginning.   As of February 2016, I’m excited...
Why Churches Die a Slow Death

Why Churches Die a Slow Death

Left to itself, the universe tends towards chaos. This is the fundamental truth behind the Second Law of Thermodynamics. “The state of entropy of the entire universe, as an isolated system, will always increase over time.” Even when a productive reaction occurs in chemistry, there is always a byproduct of randomness and chaos. The arc of the universe is towards a slow death—the very life and energy being sapped away. A rolling ball will lose its energy until it stops. A rubber band will break or snap back rather than be infinitely stretched. And a church that exists within a closed system will tend towards a slow death: void of energy but filled with chaos. In physics, chemistry, and the church, the only thing that stems the affect of entropy is intentional, outside energy that works to accomplish a specific outcome. In Robert Quinn’s book Building the Bridge as You Walk on It, he states, “Given the choice between deep change or slow death, we tend to choose slow death.” Deep change requires outside energy, intentionality, and genuine leadership. The concept of change threatens the status quo, a sense of normalcy, and the perception of equilibrium. However, what most churches refuse to accept is that change is always happening. In a closed system, a church will always be changing towards entropy. While the externals can be managed to look like things are going well, the internal reality is that the organization is unraveling. Let’s be clear: if your church remains a closed system, resistant to the outside energy required for fundamental and deep change, your church will inevitably die. Quinn further states in his...
Say No to Bad Coffee – A Theology of Hospitality

Say No to Bad Coffee – A Theology of Hospitality

Good coffee matters, and so does your theology of hospitality. This past summer, the church I was working at tried a different approach to small groups during the summer. Rather than encouraging groups to meet throughout the summer months in homes and compete with vacations, travel, ball games, and pool parties, we decided to house our groups on our campus. Groups could meet, mingle with other groups, and not have the stress of hosting at their own home. It was a great idea on paper, and in some ways it worked and didn’t work in other ways. That’s an article for another day. Here’s one thing that definitely didn’t work: my coffee. I’m the master of making coffee in my own home with my own coffee pot. I’ve got the measurements down, and let’s be honest, I mostly use a Keurig. But making coffee in the large, commercial coffee maker at the church? Foreign territory. I had been trained by people who knew how to do it, and yet more than half the time, I still got it wrong somehow. The coffee I was brewing looked and tasted like motor oil. A coffee stirrer would stand straight up. It was thick. It was disgusting. Truth be told, I had a good relationship with most of the people who were coming on those Wednesday nights so the worst I risked was good-nature ribbing. I had tried, and that’s what counts, right? Maybe in that case yes, but when it comes to the hospitality ministry of your church… no. The hospitality ministry of your church makes a significant impact on guest retention...
Safety Vs Compassion – Biblical Perspective on the Refugee Crisis

Safety Vs Compassion – Biblical Perspective on the Refugee Crisis

If your Facebook and Twitter feeds look anything like mine, there is a civil war between Americans on the appropriate response to the refugee crisis. The boundary lines aren’t necessarily what you would expect. Some conservatives are appealing to the Biblical mandate to love and care for the sojourners, and some who tend to be liberal are expressing concerns about the inherent risk in bringing potentially dangerous extremists into our country. The dispute isn’t between political ideologies as much as it is internal motivations: a desire for safety versus a commitment to compassion. Unfortunately, both sides resort to every tool at their disposal to prove their point–such as contorting Scripture. More than likely, if you’re a pastor, you have people in your church on both sides of the issue. There’s a tendency to want to sit this debate out and not comment on it. After all, someone will certainly be offended–and is this issue worth it? The truth is that pastors and church leaders have a spiritual obligation to lead their congregations to a Biblical perspective of the refugee crisis. The Lord has called those of us in leadership to be faithful to the text— to teach what it says (not what we want it to say) and let it inform our understanding and reactions to the world around us. In light of this, here are four conclusions from a faithful, Biblical perspective on the refugee crisis: The Bible teaches us to show hospitality to sojourners. “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as...