Looking for LESS of This to Be News!

April 6, 2014

In case you haven’t heard already, Bob Coy, pastor of one of the US’s largest megachurches, resigned this weekend due to a moral failure. We don’t know the details, and honestly don’t need to. However, It’s another day to say that we at Pastor For Life are STILL believing for the day when LESS of this will be news!

If you’re a Pastor in a difficult place. let us know, and let us get you to a place where you can get help!

Transition Plan

October 2, 2010

You don’t have to look too far into the Pastor For Life blog archive to find that a piece of what we are interested in highlighting, documenting, or noting for Pastors has to do with pastoral transitions. While we don’t catch them all, we try to highlight some of the notable transitions and let you know about them. That way, you can track them too in order to learn from them.

One of the ways that ministry life tends to happen haphazardly is in leadership transitions. I know I’ve seen my fair share of them over 25 years or so of ministry. I wouldn’t be surprised if your observation is similar to mine. MOST of them happen in an ugly and unhealthy manner. Rarely do we see a church transition from one Pastor to another in a gracious and well-led way. For that matter, there are a few transitions I’ve handled in staff leadership positions where I could’ve done a much better job.

Along comes Bob Russell to help us out with his new book, Transition Plan: 7 Secrets Every Leader Needs To Know. I was recently asked by Bob to review the book, and they graciously sent me a complimentary copy to read.

For those who may not have heard of Bob Russell, he led Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky for 40 years. In that time, the church grew to 26,000 in attendance! After transitioning leadership to Dave Stone four years ago, the church is still growing (another rarity in church transitions!).

The thing I liked most about Transition Plan is that Bob comes across so real. This easy to read book (took me just short of 2 hours to get all the way through in one sitting) is filled with personal stories of not just the successes of the transition, but the failures too. Russell not only extrapolates on his thinking for many years before transitioning the church, and how healthy that was, but he goes into some details about where his thinking WASN’T so healthy and things DIDN’T go so well.

The subtitle is a little is a little misleading , 7 Secrets Every Leader Needs To Know. You have to watch for the “list” because he doesn’t break it into 7 chapters (Hint: they are all in one of the chapters). But, be prepared. The list is NOT a “do this, then do that, then do this,…” sort of list. It’s really a list of reflections.

One of the highlights of the book, in my opinion, is that Russell focuses on encouraging leaders to form a transition plan more than he focuses on giving you a specific plan. He acknowledges that every leader (outgoing AND incoming) is different and each church family culture is going to be different, so you have to form the plan taking those factors into account.

I highly recommend this book for anyone in church leadership, or even in business leadership for that matter. Practical, real, honest, and all those things make for good leadership.

Have you read it? What do you think?

Francis Chan Next Steps

September 3, 2010

Over on the Mars Hill Church blog, an interview with Francis Chan by Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris was posted. It’s one of the most candid interviews I think I’ve seen.

Many people have wondered, “What’s Francis doing now that he’s not at Cornerstone?”

This video interview answers some of that and more of “Why did he leave there anyway?”

Watch it and leave your thoughts here when you get a chance.

Looking For Your Next Place Of Ministry?

April 20, 2010

DJ Chuang has an awesome list of ministries that re helping pastors match churches they can serve and churches find their right pastor as well. While I copy the entire post here for convenience, I encourage you to check out DJ’s blog for other awesome material!

Churches are searching for pastors. Pastors are looking for churches. Making the connection can be quite challenging for many on both sides of the equation. Sure there’s a spiritual dimension to all of this– being a pastor is a “calling,” (whatever that might mean in a particular faith tradition) layered with much prayer for discernment and provision. Yet in the real-world concrete and tangible reality, there is that job component, when a church pastor is a paid religious professional.

There are a bunch of search engines / directories/ listings working to make this connection, for pastors looking for a ministry opportunity, and for churches looking for a pastor to fill a staff position, along with other church staff jobs. I’ll update this list as I find ‘em — (note: listing does not connote endorsement) ::

And, there are professional services that help make the connection for churches and staff. HelpStaff.me is run by Justin Lathrop (one of my pastor friends), who can put together a professional nationwide search for church staff positions. Another one is MinisterSearch.com, a full-service consulting firm for church staffing.

Aside: this ehow.com article, How to Work for a MegaChurch, gives sobering advice about working in a church setting. Set your idealism aside — “If you think working for a church will be peaceful and idyllic, you’re deluding yourself. Pastors and church staff members are as inherently flawed as the rest of the world. If your desire to work for a MegaChurch stems from the belief that you’ll be in a conflict free office environment, think again.

Francis Chan Resigns Cornerstone

April 19, 2010

Popular pastor, conference speaker, and author, Francis Chan, has resigned the pastorate of the church he started 16 years ago, Cornerstone Community Church. Francis pastors in the same city I do (Simi Valley, CA), and Cornerstone is located just a mile down the street from where I pastor at NewHeart.

I’ve watched Francis grow from being a local Youth Pastor in our city to a Lead Pastor of a very large and influential church. Cornerstone is our city’s only mega-church, technically speaking.

While Francis and I have not been close, we’ve know each other, have collaborated on a couple of city-wide projects and I will always appreciate his forthright manner, laid-back style and the way he fights for what he believes is right and scriptural.

Our city has been one of those unfortunately fraught with negative pastoral transitions in our history (I pastor one of them, that has had multiple pastoral failures over the years), especially from churches that have been popular and grown to significant sizes. I am excited to see a transition take place that is NOT filled with negativity, division, pain and decline.

I applaud Francis for stepping out in faith into an unknown future for himself and his family. If you listen to the video interview at CatalystSpace.com and the message he delivered to his church on Sunday, you’ll hear a good part of his heart and the plan ahead.

Interestingly, he is going to be offering some forums in May and June for Cornerstone folks to be able to ask questions about how and why things are panning out the way they are. He foresees speaking there through the end of May to re-iterate what he believes God has laid on his heart, then fulfilling a pretty heavy speaking schedule through the Summer and Fall before he takes his family on some third world missions adventures later in the year.

What are your thoughts about such a big step of faith?

UPDATE: the below is the letter sent from Francis to Cornerstone:

Dear Friends,

For those who have not heard, this past Sunday I announced to Cornerstone Church that I will be transitioning out of my ministry in Simi Valley. It was a rough Sunday as there were many different emotions floating around the room. In short, Lisa and I believe God is calling us to take a step of faith. We believe we are supposed to move into a major city such as LA, San Francisco, or New York. Every time I fly into a large city, I am struck by the sheer numbers and feel pulled to try ministering in that environment. I encourage you to listen to the podcast from this past weekend to hear more details. If for no other reason, my wife spoke some very powerful words that every believer needs to hear.

It has been an amazing 16 years as pastor of Cornerstone Church. When we started gathering, I doubt that any of us dared to dream that God would use this church to have such an impact on Simi Valley and the rest of the world. I think most of us were just hoping it would survive. God had bigger plans than we did. The Lord has truly shown us His grace, that we could be used as His instruments to bring glory to the name of Jesus.

The plan is that I would teach at Cornerstone through the end of May. During this time, I will be sharing the lessons most important to me. I have taught thousands of times over these years, and now I hope to re-emphasize what I see as most important. I will also be at our prayer meetings to beg our God to do even greater things in Simi after I leave. For those who have questions or just want to talk, you can catch me at the prayer meetings.

I’ll continue to write and give you more information as the Lord continues to guide the elders and me. Like I said at our services, I’m still not completely sure of everything, but it feels great to be living by faith.

Once again, here is my family’s rough plan for our future

April/May = speaking at Cornerstone
June/July = speaking around the U.S.
August/Sept = Praying and walking large cities to seek God’s leading.
Oct-Dec = Serving in a third world country
Jan 2011 = launch a new ministry as an extension of Cornerstone

Thanks to everyone who was a part of this amazing journey in Simi. Thanks for all the love and encouragement my family and I have received over the years.


Help When You Hurt

Who ministers to the Minister when you're hurting? Many do, and they can be found on this listing. Please find a friend in your area and seek the help you need today.
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A Place For You

Many Pastors are not aware that all over the country are a number of places you can retreat to for a number of given reasons or purposes. Find some of them here, get there, and find your pace!
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