TAGUM UNITED METHODIST CHURCH CELEBRATES THEIR 60TH FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY

Tagum United Methodist church will conclude their one month celebration of their 60th Founding Anniversary this coming July 27, 2014.
I am posting a brief history of this church which was publish during their 54th Anniversary. So this history is not updated.

Brief History of Methodism in Tagum City
The beginning of Methodism in Tagum started with the coming of several Methodist members from Luzon who became land settlers and or to assume a job in Mindanao. Because of the Comity agreement of the Mission Boards they were directed to join an evangelical church in Tagum. To name a few of those Methodist who settled in Tagum are the Estabillos, Ravaras, Mangaoangs, Guiangs, and Castrence.

The official start of the Methodist work in Magugpo (now Tagum) began when the Rev. Calixto Garibay was sent by Bishop Jose L. Valencia to start the Methodist work in the Davao Provinces. He left Manila on July 24, 1951 and arrived in Davao on July 31. He was received by the Castrence family. His first pastoral appointment in Mindanao was to start Methodist work in Magugpo and Nabunturan in 1952, while serving as a traveling elder. During the early days of his work in Magugpo he met the following who were former Methodists in Luzon but were now attending other evangelical churches in the area:
Castrence Manuel Eusebio Balcitas Tioaquen Tugades
Ibanez Casas Galiano Feredos Ravara<br
Caranza Sumajit Caras Nitchas Estabillo<br
Cortado

Some of those mentioned remained in their adopted churches but others decided to return to the Methodist church thus starting a core group that became a Methodist congregation.
The Rev. Calixto Garibay reported as traveling elder the following churches that were organized in Magugpo:
Libertad Methodist Church (Magugpo East)
Organized on Sept. 14, 1952 by the Rev. Calixto Garibay.
First Pastor: Pastor. Limerio Garibay

Mankilam Methodist Church (Magugpo West)
Organized on Sept. 26, 1952 by Rev. Calixto Garibay
First Pastor: Pastor Cordero Garibay

Magugpo Methodist Church (Magugpo Central, now Tagum)
Organized July 4, 1954 by Rev. Calixto Garibay
First Pastor Rev. Calixto Garibay
First Woman worker: Rufinena Garibay

Cuambugan Methodist Church (Magugpo)
Organized on Feb. 6,1955, by Pastor Aurelio Tioaquen
First Pastor: Pastor Aurelio Tioaquen

A small church building was built in 1954, followed by two storey building which served as a parsonage. In 1955 the present church lot was bought from the Tugades where a permanent church building was constructed in 1959. In 1971 a hollow block fenced was constructed around the church. By October of 1972 a semi-bungalow type parsonage was built and was dedicated on December. 1972 by the Rev. Limerio Garibay. This was followed by the construction of a two room toilet on the backside of the parsonage.

In 1976 Pastor. Luviminda Domingo started a kindergarten work. By the end of the conference year 1978 the District reported that Tagum Church has a well established kindergarten program.

An extension work in Misaoy began in October 24, 1982 and a temporary chapel was built for worship meeting place in Dec. 23, 1983. For unknown reason the worshipping congregation was discontinued around 1985.. The work however was continued again in 1989 only to be stop in 1991.

Our present altar table was acquired in 1988. The church building had major renovation and was rededicated on March 28,1992. In 1995 a concrete fence with interlinked wire was constructed in front of the church. The altar of the church was also renovated during the early part of 2002.

At the start of the conference year 2002 the church started envisioning a Mission Resource Complex. Using a multipurpose kindergarten room built in 2001 as a base, a two storey building will be constructed to accommodate the mission program of the church in the years to come. Today another room was added in this Mission Resource Complex. The construction will continue as the Lord provides until it will be completed.

While putting priority on the physical features of the church for its mission work, Tagum UMC also continued a dynamic mission of planting a daughter church. We gave birth to a daughter church, the New Corrella United Methodist Church last March 2002.. We are praying and seeking for God’s guidance for another mission field near or within Tagum that is open for great possibilities.

The following are the list of Church workers that served our church.

Year Pastor Deaconess/Woman worker
1954- 1963 Calixto Garibay / Rufinena Garibay
1963- 1964 Camilo Tabiendo / Epenita Tomas
1964-1965 Benjamin Macadenden / Epenita Tomas
1965-1966 Rufinena G. Sanchez / Luviminda Guzman
1966-1967 Rufinena Sanchez / Alice Tabiendo
1967-1968 Anacleto Castillo<br
1968-1969 Amado Pidut<br
1969-1970 To be Supplied / Lydia Duroon<br
1970-1971 To be Supplied / Marina Rufino<br
1971-1972 Federico Sanchez
1972-2974 Bienvenido Hayag
1974-1975 Bonifacio Buduan/ Alfeo Ancheta
1975-1979 Luviminda G. Domingo
1979-1980 To be Supplied / Illuminada Napoles<br
1980-1982 To be Supplied
1982-1984 Rogelio Porquillo / Corazon Melgar<br
1984-1985 Luviminda Domingo / Corazon Melgar
1985-1986 Manuel Zambrano** / Corazon M. Deloso
1986-1987 To be Supplied / Corazon M. Deloso
1987-1988 Delfin Andres / Corazon M. Deloso
1988-1989 Leonardo Pama / Noemi Galvadores
1989-1990 James Perocillo / Corazon Cesario<
1990-1991 James Perocillo / Marjorie Ulanday
1991-1992 Renato Miguel / To be Supplied
1992-1993- Jimmy Bigaran / Marjorie Ulanday
1993-1994 Jimmy Bigaran / Marlita Maregmen
1995-1996 Jimmy Bigaran / Marlita Maregmen
1996-1997 Hector Guzman / Marlita Maregmen
1997-1999 Hector Guzman
1999-2000 Jonathan Ulanday / Marjorie P. Ulanday*
2000-2001 Jonathan Ulanday / Marjorie P. Ulanday*
2001-2002 James Perocillo / Marjorie P. Ulanday*
2002-2003 Francisco Bilog / Marjorie P. Ulanday*
2003-2004 Francisco Bilog / Fidela L. Bilog
* Woman Worker by Local Arrangement
. ** Appointed pastor but did not assume his appointment.

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4 REASONS WHY SOME PREACHER’S GET BETTER AND OTHER’S DON’T

4 Reasons Why Some Preachers Get Better and Others Don’t
Hershael York
Date Published: 7/18/2014

I often have to answer the strangest question anyone could ask a preaching professor: “Do you think preaching can be taught?” I always want to respond, “No, I’m just going through the motions for the money.” Of course I never do, not only because it’s best not to say the smart aleck things I sometimes think, but because I know what they mean when they ask. It’s not really an unfair question.

No one denies that a preaching class and some coaching can help anyone become better. What we question is the possibility that someone with no natural giftedness and ability can be taught well enough that he can become really good.

For the last 16 years I’ve sat in a seminary classroom, listening to student sermons on an almost daily basis, and I’ve heard every kind of sermon and every level of preacher.

I’ve seen guys so nervous that they had to stop and vomit during the sermon, and I’ve been so moved by a student’s sermon that I felt I had been ushered into the presence of the risen Christ. I’ve seen guys who were no better the fifth time they preached for me than they were the first time, but I’ve seen guys whose initial sermon was depressingly awful turn it around so radically by the end of the semester that I almost couldn’t recognize them as the same preacher.

On the first day of the semester, or the first time I hear a student preach, I have no way of knowing if he has what it takes or is willing to do what he must to be the preacher he needs to be, but I can usually tell by the second sermon if he does, because that is when he has to act on what I told him after his first sermon.

What makes the difference?

1. Calling
The most frustrated preacher is the one who has a sense of duty, but not a burning calling.

Preaching is not just another helping profession, a Christian version of politics or the Peace Corps. The call to preach is a definite demand issued by the Holy Spirit that ignites a fire in one’s bones that cannot be extinguished by the hard-hearted, stiff-necked or dull of hearing.

preacher who has been called must preach what God has spoken simply because God has spoken it. The success of one’s ministry will depend on the strength of his calling. His willingness to work at his preaching will be proportional to his conviction that God has called him to preach and to be as fit a vessel for God’s use as he can be.

The Holy Spirit must undergird everything else from preparation to delivery, and that will not happen apart from that calling.

2. Teachability
Being a preaching professor is like getting paid to tell a mother that her baby is ugly. It might be the truth, but it’s not a truth anyone wants to hear.

Most guys I have taught dread my comments and cringe when I tell them they missed the point of the text or seemed unprepared. They tire of hearing me tell them they lacked energy or failed to establish a connection with the audience.

Every now and then, however, someone smiles gratefully as I offer corrections and suggestions.

Someone may even say, “I want you to be really tough on me. Tell me everything I’m doing wrong, because I really want to do this well.” That guy is going to be fine, because his spirit is teachable and he’s willing to pay the cost of personal discomfort in order to be effective. He understands that he is a vessel in service of the text, and his feelings are not the point.

3. Passion

Almost all my students are passionate about Christ, about reaching the lost and about the Word of God. The problem is not that they don’t feel passionate, but rather that they do not show passion. What I feel is never the point, whether good or bad, but rather how I act.

If my delivery of the Word does not convey that passion, then my audience will not be moved to be passionate about it either. The prophets were all passionate. The apostles were passionate. Jesus was passionate. Why else would farmers, fishermen and housewives come and stand in the Galilean sun for hours just to hear Him?

I once heard a missionary preach at the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference. He was dynamite, preaching a great expository sermon with incredible energy and moving the entire audience by his treatment of the Word and his testimony of baptizing tens of thousands of Africans. Astonished by his great preaching, I approached him and held out my hand to introduce myself.
“Hershael,” he said, shocking me that he knew my name, “we went to seminary together.” Embarrassed, I admitted that I did not remember him. “You had no reason to,” he explained. “I was very quiet, never spoke in class and never went out of my way to meet anyone.” I asked him to explain what happened.

When I got on the mission field, no one would listen to my preaching of the gospel. I was putting them to sleep. When I came stateside and preached in churches, they were bored to tears. Finally, I realized that the only way to be effective was to preach the Word in the way it deserved to be preached, so I became willing to go beyond my natural personality and comfort zone and allow God to make me effective. I prayed for the Word to so grip me in the pulpit that I would never be boring again.”

Teachability led him to show a passion that was not natural to his introverted personality. It was supernatural.

4. Reckless Abandon<
The generation of students I now teach have grown up with the written word—on screens, smart phones, blogs, Kindles and now iPads. Through video games they have raced cars, built civilizations, won wars, destroyed zombies and killed hundreds.

They communicate orally far less than any previous generation, and when they do so, they typically do it with less passion. Yet God still uses the preaching of His Word—an oral event—to edify the church, encourage the saints and engage the lost.

So to preach the Word, a young man has to be willing to get completely out of the comfortable cocoon he’s built in his personality and habits, and recklessly abandon himself to risk being a fool for Christ.

I tell my students, “That little voice inside your head saying ‘That’s just not who I am’ is not your friend. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit overcomes ‘who I am’ and shapes me into who He wants me to be. So if I need to preach with a reckless abandon that is foreign to my natural way, I will beg the Holy Spirit to help me do it for Christ.

Pay the Price<

Frankly, very few students I teach fail to get the meaning of the text. They often demonstrate an exegetical and hermeneutical sophistication that astounds me. They are serious about the Word.

But they make the mistake of thinking that if they just feel that way, and if they just say the words, the preaching will take care of itself. And if they keep thinking that, if they insist on “data dump” sermons that just concentrate on the content and not also on the delivery, there’s not much I can do for them. They will be the kind of preachers they want to be.

But if someone has a burning calling, a teachable spirit, a passionate heart and a reckless abandon to pay the price to preach well, then not even the limitation of their own background, personality or natural talents will keep them from preaching the Word of God with power.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Hershael W. York is the Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Preaching and Associate Dean in the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He also serves as Senior Pastor of the Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, KY, and co-wrote Preaching with Bold Assurance (Broadman and Holman, 2003) with communications expert Bert Decker, chairman and founder of Decker Communications. In addition to his writing, teaching, and pastoring ministries, he usually ventures deep in the Amazon at least once a year to fish for men and the elusive peacock bass.

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8 THINGS THE CHURCH NEEDS TO SAY

8 Things the Church Needs to Say
July 15, 2014 By Religion News Service 68 Comments

8thingsthechurchneedstosay(RNS) If Christians stopped bickering about church, presenting sex as a first-order concern, telling other people how to lead their lives and lending our name to minor-league politicians, what would we have to say?

We need to figure that out, because we are wearing out our welcome as tax-avoiding, sex-obsessed moral scolds and amateur politicians.

In fact, I think we are getting tired of ourselves. Who wants to devote life and loyalty to a religion that debates trifles and bullies the outsider?

So what would we say and do? No one thing, of course, because we are an extraordinarily diverse assembly of believers. But I think there are a few common words we would say.

We would say the name “Jesus.” We might mean different things by that name, but he is the center, the reason we exist.
Allowing ample room for our diversity, we would say what we mean by faith in God. Not how right we are and how wrong others are, but an I-message: Here’s why I believe in God.
We would tell stories about God’s impact on our lives. Not grand doctrines, not airtight theories, not definitions of who’s inside the circle and who’s outside, but stories of personal encounter.
We would listen to other stories, respectfully, not defensively, eager to hear what our fellow Christian has to say.
We would each tell as honestly as we can how we are trying to lead our lives in the light of our encounters and stories. We would sketch the bridge between faith and action.

We would tell what we see in the world — not in the woe-is-me, sky-is-falling, Satan-is-winning manner people expect from us, but just what we see and how we think God cares about it.
We would speak of hope, a durable, solid-rock hope that God is God, and God can use us to make a difference.
We would talk of joy. Not giddiness, not even happiness, as the world understands happiness, but that deeper response to God that feels whole and peaceful.

Personally, I think these eight things are what we ache to say. They are why we walked in the door of a church in the first place. They are why we stay, despite abundant reasons for leaving.

Everyone has a theory about “why people are leaving the church,” “why millennials don’t come to church,” “why churches are dying” and “what’s wrong with society.
Personally, I think we should stop worrying about institutional outcomes — especially outcomes that we hope will prove we were right all along — and try instead just to be hopeful, joyful, active people of faith.

I think we should take our parts in the great political debates — power and wealth, after all, were Jesus’ primary concern — but then agree that, whether I
gets elected, God will still grieve our cruelties and sufferings, and we will all have much work to do as believers.
Whatever the label — progressive or conservative, contemporary or traditional, denominational or nondenominational — we will each have something unique and necessary to contribute.
There is more binding us than dividing us. For division comes from our small and selfish places. Binding comes from God.

Tom Ehrich is a writer, church consultant and Episcopal priest based in New York. He is the president of Morning Walk Media and publisher of Fresh Day online magazine. His website is http://www.morningwalkmedia.com.)

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Church of England to vote on allowing women bishops

Church of England to vote on allowing women bishops

BREAKING. The Church of England (the mother church of the Wesleyan movement) has now voted to allow women bishops. http://news.yahoo.com/church-england-vote-allowing-women-bishops-030528188.html

UPDATED: The British Methodist Church welcome the news.
The Rev. Ken Howcroft, president of the Methodist Conference, said: “We rejoice in the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopacy. We recognise that this has been a long and difficult process and that, for some, it is a painful decision. We will continue to keep everyone in the Church of England in our prayers. The Methodist Church has long benefitted from the equality of ministry between men and women. We are confident that our Church of England brothers and sisters will be similarly blessed as a result of today’s courageous decision.”

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YOUNG ADULTS MISSIONARY TRAINING IN THEPHILIPPINES

Young adults head to the Philippines for missionary training and commissioning
July 11, 2014 By UMReporter Leave a Comment

GBGM Logo

NEW YORK, Ny: This week, 42 young adults from 11 countries have gathered in the Philippines to get ready for service as Generation Transformation Global Mission Fellows.

On July 19, 2014, they will respond to God’s call on their life when they are commissioned by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. They will be sent to serve for two years with organizations in 15 countries, sharing God’s love through acts of mercy and piety.

In preparation, they are spending three weeks being trained by mission staff — engaging in prophetic, vocational exploration while living together in a faith community. This year, the training will coincide with The United Methodist Church’s Global Young People Convocation. The fellows will participate in the convocation as non-voting delegates and will be commissioned in Tagaytay, Philippines, as part of the Convocation.

Commissioning

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the North Carolina Annual Conference, who is the president of Global Ministries, will preach at the service on July 19 at 8 a.m. local time (July 18 at 8 p.m. ET). United Methodists and friends are invited to watch the commissioning live at http://www.umcmission.org/live and share messages of encouragement. Follow @umcmissionGT on Twitter for training and commissioning updates.

Please keep these young adults in prayer along with the communities they will serve. Financial support can be made through their individual bio pages or through The Advance #13105z.

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Young adults head to the Philippines for missionary training and commissioning
July 11, 2014 By UMReporter Leave a Comment

GBGM Logo

NEW YORK, Ny: This week, 42 young adults from 11 countries have gathered in the Philippines to get ready for service as Generation Transformation Global Mission Fellows.

On July 19, 2014, they will respond to God’s call on their life when they are commissioned by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. They will be sent to serve for two years with organizations in 15 countries, sharing God’s love through acts of mercy and piety.

In preparation, they are spending three weeks being trained by mission staff — engaging in prophetic, vocational exploration while living together in a faith community. This year, the training will coincide with The United Methodist Church’s Global Young People Convocation. The fellows will participate in the convocation as non-voting delegates and will be commissioned in Tagaytay, Philippines, as part of the Convocation.

Commissioning

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the North Carolina Annual Conference, who is the president of Global Ministries, will preach at the service on July 19 at 8 a.m. local time (July 18 at 8 p.m. ET). United Methodists and friends are invited to watch the commissioning live at http://www.umcmission.org/live and share messages of encouragement. Follow @umcmissionGT on Twitter for training and commissioning updates.

Please keep these young adults in prayer along with the communities they will serve. Financial support can be made through their individual bio pages or through The Advance #13105z.

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Nine Secrets Your Pastor’s Wife Wishes You Knew
From SHATTERED By Christina Stolaas on June 4, 2014

She’s always there. Sometimes in the background, sometimes with a welcoming smile up front, sometimes noticed and appreciated, sometimes being silently judged. Your pastor’s wife; the powerful force behind most church leaders often perceived as a mystery by the rest of the church. It doesn’t have to be that way.

What if we just asked our pastor’s wife to candidly, honestly, even anonymously share some of their secrets? What if we invited them to share their hearts and tell us what they wished the church knew?

I posed a simple, open ended question to a panel of pastors’ wives in different states, from different denominations, with various years of service, “If you could tell the church a few things about your role as a pastor’s wife, what would you say?”

The women selected are the wives of music ministers, children’s leaders, senior pastors and youth pastors. Some of them serve in churches with large staff and even larger budgets, others in newer church plants, and even some from old and barely surviving congregations. Despite such different backgrounds, their responses were strangely similar and in several cases, almost identical.

I’ve sat for coffee, exchanged emails and had lengthy conversations with many who freely shared their secrets with me in exchange for the promise of anonymity. What follows is a condensed collection of their words.

1) “I wish people knew that we struggle to have family time.”
There was one common response that I received from every single pastor’s wife. Every. Single. One. Over and over again, many pastors’ wives shared numerous occasions where planned vacations had been cut short (wouldn’t that be hard?). They told me tales of family evenings being rearranged for crises of church members, middle of the night emergencies and regular interruptions. A true day off is rare; even on scheduled days off their husbands are essentially on call 24/7.

2) “Almost every day I’m afraid of screwing it all up.”
They don’t have it all together. They battle many of the same issues every other woman battles: marriage issues, extended family difficulties, sickness, finances, children who make poor decisions, fear and insecurities. Some seasons of life are obviously harder than others; but remember, ministry wives are not Wonder Woman with special powers. Please have a little mercy and extend grace.

3) “Being a pastor’s wife is THE loneliest thing I’ve ever done and for so many reasons.”
Personally, I think this is surprising to many (it was to me). Several ladies shared the difficulties of finding friendships that are safe, being looked at (or treated) differently and even the desire to be invited for an occasional ladies night out. One woman shared, “Invite us to something just to get to know us. We like being known.” People in the church often assume that the pastor’s wife is always invited and popular. In reality, for whatever reason, many ladies fear befriending them. On Sunday mornings pastors’ wives are often sitting solo and those with children are essentially single parenting.

4) “It is okay and welcomed to have conversations with me about things that do not pertain to church, or even Jesus. There I said it!”
They have a variety of interests. Believe it or not, many pastor’s wives went to college and had full time careers before becoming “Mrs. Pastor’s wife.” They have hobbies, likes and dislikes, and though they often serve beside their husband, they are individuals with their own unique gifts. Do not make the mistake of assuming your pastor’s wife has the same personality as their husband. One wife shared that as newly weds when they announced their engagement people regularly commented on how good of a singer she must be (because her husband to be was a music minister). When she shared that she sounded more like a dying cat than an elegant song bird the shock on their faces was evident.

5) “Sundays are sometimes my least favorite day. Wait– am I allowed to say that?”
Sundays are hard. And long. And there is no rest. To a pastor’s wife, Sunday means an early morning of rushing around to have the family ready in their “Sunday Best.” Although you may not see your pastor’s wife on the platform, rest assured, Sunday is equally tiring for most (all) of them.

6) “It’s hard to not harbor resentment or to allow your flesh to lash out at members who openly criticize his ministry.”
They hate church criticism more then anything. It’s hurtful. Offensive, and yes, it’s very hard not to take it personally. It is one of the most damaging things they witness regularly inside the church whether it be through emails, social media or gossip. They wish people understood how serious God’s word speaks on the danger and power of our words. And how much it injures the pastor’s family.

7) “Please don’t look down on me or assume I don’t support my husband just because you don’t see me every time the churches doors are open.”
Most wives are not paid staff. They are wives, mothers, and some are employed outside the home and need to be allowed the freedom to pray and choose ministries they feel called to.

8) “I wish people knew that we taught our children to make good choices, but sometimes, they don’t.”
Jokes about pastor’s kids should be avoided at all costs. The risk of rebellion in a “preacher’s kid” is no secret. They aren’t perfect, and never will be (are yours?). They have to learn to walk in their faith just like other children and need encouragement and love to do so. Again, extend grace.

9) “What I can tell you is I have been blessed beyond measure, I have been given gifts, money, love and prayer, so much prayer… by so many.”
They love their church and understand the role comes with special challenges and special blessings; it is fulfilling and brings them great joy.

One Extra Thought
Though it was not a common response, there was one that stood out. The top of the list of one seasoned pastor’s wife simply read, “I deleted my number 1.” Some secrets are so difficult to share, even the promise of complete confidence is not enough to bring them out.
These Godly women have something they want us to know and as a body of believers working together towards the same goal I think we might gain a better understanding of how to appreciate our leaders by listening. All of these responses point to a singular truth. Your pastor’s wife is a human being that desires to be known, just as you do.

 

[Image via Eflon on Flickr]

Christina is an energetic mom to four adorable young kids, wife, a lover of the outdoors and people. In her free time she enjoys writing, training for road races, drinking too much coffee, belly laughs with friends and pursuing a deeper walk with Jesus. She is forever thankful that God’s script for her life needs no editing. (Romans 8:28)

 

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Why the Pastor’s Wife is the MOST Vulnerable Person in Your Church
by Joe McKeever Posted at Church Leaders

We’re all vulnerable.

Everyone who walks in the church door can be helped or hurt in what happens during the next hour. Whether saint or sinner, preacher or pew-sitter, oldtimer or newcomer, child or geezer, everyone is vulnerable, and should be treated respectfully, faithfully, carefully.

No one in the church family is more vulnerable than the pastor’s wife.

She is the key figure in the life of the pastor and plays the biggest role in his success or failure. (Note: I am fully aware that in some churches the pastor is a woman. In such cases, what follows would hardly pertain to her household.)

And yet, many churches treat her as an unpaid employee, an uncalled assistant pastor, an always-available office volunteer, a biblical expert and a psychological whiz.

She is almost always a reliable helper as well as an under-appreciated servant.

You might not think so, but she is the most vulnerable person in the building. That is to say, she is the single most likely person to become the victim of malicious gossip, sneaky innuendo, impossible expectations and pastoral frustrations.

The pastor’s wife can be hurt in a hundred ways—through attacks on her husband, her children, herself. Her pain is magnified by one great reality: She cannot fight back.

She cannot give a certain member a piece of her mind for criticizing the pastor’s children, cannot straighten out the deacon who is making life miserable for her husband, cannot stand up to the finance committee who, once again, failed to approve a needed raise, or the building and grounds committee that postponed repair work on the pastorium.

She has to take it in silence, most of the time.

It takes the best Christian in the church to be a pastor’s wife and pull it off. And that’s the problem: In most cases, she’s pretty much the same kind of Christian as everyone else. When the enemy attacks, she bleeds.
The pastor’s wife has no say-so in how the church is run and receives no pay, yet she has a lot to do with whether her husband gets called to that church and succeeds once he arrives.

That’s why I counsel pastors to include with their resume a photo of their family. The search committee will want to see the entire family, particularly the pastor’s wife, and will try to envision whether they would “fit” in “our” church.

The pastor’s wife occupies no official position, was not the object of a church vote, and gives no regular reports to the congregation on anything. And yet, no one person in the church is more influential in making the pastor a success—or a resounding failure—than she.

She is the object of a world of expectations …

She is expected to dress modestly and attractively, well enough but not overly ornate.

She is expected to be the perfect mother, raising disciplined children who are models of well-behaved offspring for the other families, to be her husband’s biggest supporter and prayer warrior, and to attend all the church functions faithfully and, of course, bring a great casserole.

Since her husband is subject to being called away from home at all hours, she is expected to understand this and have worked it out with the Lord from the time of her marriage—if not from the moment of her salvation—and to have no problem with it. If she complains about his being called out, she can expect no sympathy from the members. If she does voice her frustrations, what she hears is, “This is why we pay him the big salary,” and “Well, you married a preacher; what did you expect?”

She is expected to run her household well on the limited funds the church can pay and keep her family looking like a million bucks.

And those are just for starters!

The pastor’s children likewise suffer in silence as they share their daddy with hundreds of church members, each of whom feel they own a piece of him, and can do little about it. (But, that’s another article.)

What we owe to the pastor’s wife …

1. We owe her the right to be herself.

She is our sister in Christ and accountable to Him.

My wife was blessed to have followed pastors’ wives who cut their own path. So, in some churches, Margaret taught Sunday School and came to the woman’s missionary meetings. In other churches, she directed the drama team and ran television cameras. A few times, she held weekday jobs while raising three pretty terrific kids.

And, as far as I know, the churches were always supportive and understanding. We were blessed.
Allow the pastor’s wife to serve in whatever areas she’s gifted in. Allow her to try different things, and to grow. But do not put your expectations on her, if at all possible.

Do not try to tell her how to raise her children. Do not try to get to her husband through her with your messages or (ahem) helpful suggestions.

2. We owe her our love and gratitude.

She has a one-of-a-kind role in the congregation which makes her essential to the church’s well-being.
Recently, as I was finishing a weekend of ministry at a church in central Alabama, and about to drive the 300 miles back home, a member said, “Please thank your wife for sharing you with us this weekend. I know your leaving is hard on her.”

How sensitive—and how true, I thought. That person had no idea that my wife underwent surgery two weeks earlier and I had been her nurse ever since, and that in my absence, my son and his family were taking care of her, and that I was now about to rush home to relieve them.

Church members have no clue—and no way of knowing—regarding the pressures inside the pastor’s family, and should not investigate to find out.

What they should do is love the wife and children and show them appreciation at every opportunity.
3. We owe her our love and prayers.

While the Father alone knows her heart, the pastor may be the only human who knows her burdens.
Pray for her by name on a regular basis. Then, leave it to the Lord to answer those prayers however He chooses.

If we believe that the Living God is our Lord and Savior and that He hears our prayers, we should be lifting to Him these whose lives are given in service for Him.

Ask the Father for His protection upon the pastor’s wife and children—for their health, for their safety from all harm, and for Him to shield them from evil people.

Pray for His provisions for all their needs, and for the church to do well in providing for them.
Pray for the pastor’s relationship with his wife. If their private life is healthy, the congregation’s shepherd is far better prepared for everything he will be asked to do.

\4. We owe her our responsible care.

What does she need?

Do they need a babysitter for a date night? Do they need some finances for an upcoming trip? If they are attending the state assembly or the annual meeting of the denomination, are the funds provided by the church budget adequate or do they need more? Is the wife going with the pastor? (She should be encouraged to do so, if possible.)

Ask the Holy Spirit what the pastor’s wife (and/or the pastor’s entire family) needs, and if it’s something you can do, do it. If it’s too huge, rally the troops.

5. We owe it to the pastor and his wife to speak up.

Sometimes, they need a friend to take their side.

If your pastor’s wife has a ministry in the church, look for people to criticize her for a) dominating others, b) neglecting her home, or c) running the whole show. To some, she cannot do anything right.

You be the one to voice appreciation for her talents and abilities, her love for the Lord and her particular skills that make this ministry work.

Imagine yourself standing in a church business meeting to mention something the pastor’s wife did that blessed someone, that made a difference, that glorified the Lord.

Imagine yourself planning in advance what you will say, asking the moderator (who is frequently the pastor) for a moment for “a personal privilege,” without telling him in advance.
And, imagine yourself informing a couple of your best friends what you are planning to do, so they can be prepared to stand up “spontaneously” and begin the ovation. (Hey, sometimes our people have to be taught to do these things!)

The typical reaction most church members give when someone is criticizing the pastor’s wife is silence. But you speak up. Take up for her.

Praise God for her willingness to get involved, to not sit at home in silence, but to support her husband and bless the church.

6. We owe them protection for the pastor’s off-days and vacations.

After my third pastorate, I joined the staff of the great First Baptist Church of Jackson, Mississippi, and quickly made an outstanding discovery. The personnel policies stipulated that the church office would be closed on Saturdays and the ministers were expected to enjoy the day with their families.

Furthermore, when the church gave a minister several weeks of vacation, it was understood at least two full weeks of it would be spent with the family in rest and recreation and not in ministry somewhere. As one who took off-days reluctantly and would not allow myself to relax and rest during vacations, I needed this to be spelled out in official policy.

When a pastor is being interviewed for the position and when he is new, he should make plain that his off-days are sacred. The ministerial and office staffs can see that he is protected.

The lay leadership can make sure the congregation knows this time is just as holy to the Lord as the time he spends in the office, the hospitals or even the pulpit.

7. We owe them the same thing we owe the Lord: faithful obedience to Christ.

Pastors will tell you in a heartbeat that the best gift anyone can give them is just to live the Christian life faithfully.

When our members do that—when they live like Jesus and strive to know Him better, to love one another, to pray and give and serve—ten thousand problems in relationships disappear.

Finally, a word to the pastor’s wife …

It’s my observation that most wives of ministers feel inadequate. They want to do the right thing, to manage their households well and support their husbands, keep a clean house, sometimes accompany him on his ministries, and such, but there are only so many hours in a day and so much strength in this young woman. She feels guilty for being tired, and worries that she is inadequate.

The Apostle Paul may have had pastors’ wives in mind when he said, “Not that we are adequate to think anything of ourselves, but our adequacy is of God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).

We are inadequate. None of us is worthy or capable of this incredible calling from God.
We must abide in Him or nothing about our lives will go right.

One thing more, pastor’s wife: Find other wives of ministers and encourage them. The young ones in particular have a hard time of it, with the children, the young husband, the demanding congregation and sometimes, Lord help us, even an outside job.

Invite a couple of these women for tea or coffee. Have no agenda other than getting to know one another.
See what happens.

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7 Helpful Skills for Pastors Leading Growing Churches
• By Ron Edmondson Posted on May 28th, 2014 at Ministry Matters

• I came close to titling these “essential” skills, but I knew that was unfair. God can and does work through all different types of people. But, he has appointed some to be leaders, some teachers, etc. And, I know this from my experience working with and hearing from dozens of pastors each month. There are some great pastors who admit they aren’t skilled at leading the church.
• I hear it at least weekly — “I know how to teach and cafe for the people, but I’m simply not always sure how to lead.” And, yet they recognize the value in and the need for leadership. They aren’t afraid of church leadership, as I’ve written about previously.
• I believe there are some helpful skills for those who want to lead a church to not only care for and disciple the people in the church now, but actually grow and be healthy at the same time — where there is momentum and unity and excitement around the vision of the Great Commission.

Here are seven helpful skills I’ve observed:
• Networking – For definition purposes, this is “the cultivation of productive relationships”. It is the ability to bring the right people to the table to accomplish the mission and it is invaluable for any position of leadership. This is true inside and outside the church. One place where good relationships are proving helpful in the community, for example, is within school systems. With the right people, churches can make significant missional differences in their community with school relationships. Those relationships are formed through networking. And, the possibilities here are endless.

• Connecting – If the church is large or small, the best leaders bring people together. When a new person comes into the church, it’s important that they be able to connect quickly to others. First, the pastor needs to meet them, but that isn’t enough to really make people feel connected to a church. Good leaders connect them to people within the church, or help create systems of connection. They value connectivity — creating healthy, life-changing relationships in the church — and see that it is a natural, but intentional part of the church’s overall mission.

• Visioneering – Good leaders are able to cast a picture beyond today worthy of taking a risk to seek. They may not always have all the ideas of what’s next — they should have some — but they can rally people behind the vision.

• Pioneering – To lead a church by faith, a leader has to be willing to lead into an unknown, and take the first step in that direction. People won’t follow until they know the leader is willing to go first. Momentum and change almost always starts with new — doing things differently — creating new groups, new opportunities — trying things you’ve not tried before. Pioneering leaders watch to see where God may be stirring hearts and are willing to boldly lead into the unknown.

• Delegating – No one person can or should attempt to do it all. It’s not healthy, nor is it biblical. This may, however, be the number one reason I see for pastoral burnout, frustration and lack of church growth. Good leaders learn to raise up armies of people who believe in the mission and are willing to take ownership and provide leadership to completing a specific aspect of attaining that vision.

• Confronting – If you lead anything, you will face opposition. Period. Leadership involves change and change in church involves change in people. And, most people have some opposition to change. After a pastor is certain of God’s leadership, has sought input from others, cast a vision, and organized people around a plan, there will be opposition. Perhaps even organized opposition. Good leaders learn to confront in love.

• Following – Ultimately, it’s all about Christ. I can’t lead people closer to Him — certainly not be more like him — unless I’m personally growing closer to Christ. But, following also involves allowing others to speak into my life. It means I have mentors, people who hold me accountable and healthy family relationships. Good leaders have systems in place that personally keep them on track. Self leadership — and following others who are healthy — keeps a leader in it for the duration.
• That’s my list. Or, at least seven on my list.
• What would you add?
• ________________________________________
• Ron Edmondson blogs at RonEdmondson.com.

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16 DRIVERS OF VITAL CONGREGATION

The United Methodist Church continues to be a spiritual influence in the world for the Gospel. Essential to its ministry are healthy, vital congregations. But what makes a congregation vital and what do vital congregations do?
A study was made on 33,000 churches and found that nearly 5,000 over five year period were growing and engaging a greater percentage of their membership in worship and ministry. The study further examined these churches and found they shared at least 16 ministries/strategies in common. The study called them “drivers of vitality,” and indicated that if churches worked on all 16, they would move toward vitality or become more vital. The 16 ministries/strategies can be grouped into four areas:

Engagement of disciples in small groups and the number of ministries for children and youth
1. Vital churches have more small groups for all ages.
2. Vital churches have more programs for children.
3. Vital churches have more programs for youth.

Lay leadership
4. Vital churches focus on increasing the effectiveness of lay leaders (understand their role and carrying these roles out effectively).
5. Vital churches have lay leaders who demonstrate a vital personal faith (regular worship, intentional spiritual growth, personal devotional life, and giving of financial resources).
6. Vital churches place an emphasis on rotating lay leadership in order to involve more people over time.
7. Vital churches call, equip, use and support more lay leaders than non-vital churches. (Twenty percent or more of their worship attendees describe themselves as current or past leaders in their church).

Pastor
8. Vital pastors give attention to developing, coaching, and mentoring lay leadership to enable laity to increase their ability to carry out ministry.
9. Vital pastors use their influence to increase the participation of others in order to accomplish changes in the church.
10. Vital pastors motivate the congregation to set and achieve significant goals through effective leadership.
11. Vital pastors inspire the congregation through preaching.
12. Vital pastors, when they are serving effectively, stay for a longer period of time. (Short-term appointments of effective pastors decrease the vitality of a congregation).

Worship
13. Vital churches offer a mix of contemporary (newer forms of worship style) and traditional services.
14. Vital churches have preachers who tend to use more topical sermon series in traditional services.
15. Vital churches use more contemporary music (less blended music that includes traditional tunes) in contemporary services.
16. Vital churches use more multi-media in contemporary services (Some congregations in other parts of the world may have limited access or do not use multi-media to the same extent and therefore it may not be as important as it is in some cultures.)

While the study noted that vital churches give more to mission, some have noticed that other types of mission engagement and outreach are not listed as proven “drivers.” This is because, during the past, we have not collected this data consistently across the UMC and therefore the research could not quantitatively substantiate mission engagement. But, in conversations with vital congregations, they tell us that this is an important aspect of their ministry. Directly related to the giving to mission is in all matters fostering a spirit of generosity both giving and serving in individuals and in congregations. It also should be noted that while the study alludes to spiritual vitality in the faith of the laity and the inspirational leadership of clergy, one should not see these ministries/strategies as mechanical operations. Rather, they are undergirded or enlivened by a deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ.

 

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