Attention friends of Bryon’s blog,
Follow Bryon on his brand new site, BryonHarvey.com!
Attention friends of Bryon’s blog,
In the past 13 years, I’ve had the privilege of serving in both volunteer and staff leadership positions in churches and parachurch organizations. It’s interesting to me how haphazard many churches are with regards to identifying which jobs are volunteer positions and which jobs are staff positions.
The problem seems to be that the decisions are driven by pragmatism rather than vision. Pragmatism works well for short-term decisions. The decision to fill a position with staff or volunteers is a strategic decision that has far reaching consequences. Leadership teams, therefore, need to have a firm vision of the difference between staff roles and volunteer roles in the structure of the church.
It is important to remember that it is not the staff’s responsibility to do the ministry of the church. It is the whole church’s responsibility to do the ministry of the church. The staff is responsible to equip the church for ministry.
When making staffing decisions the questions that are often asked are:
(1) Can we afford to hire this position? (Do we have the money?)
(2) Can we afford no to hire this position? (Do we trust a volunteer to do it?)
These are pragmatic questions. They do not focus on vision. Better questions to ask are:
(1) Does this position require special skills that it is unreasonable to expect a volunteer to have?
(2) Are the expectations of this position unreasonable to expect from a volunteer?
I’ll unpack these questions in future posts and explain why I think they fit the vision/strategy category rather than being merely pragmatic. I’d love to hear from you though. What questions do you think should be asked in determining whether a position is a staff or volunteer position?
I disappointed myself in Small Group the other night. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that I’m probably not the only one that does this.
If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I was laid off in early November. The lay off came up in conversation in Small Group. I shared some of my feelings and frustrations regarding being laid off. We had a great conversation.
After our group had left for the evening and my daughter was in bed, my wife and I were sitting on the couch talking. It occurred to me that I had shared more about my thoughts and feelings in Small group than I had one-on-one with my wife. It wasn’t because my wife isn’t a safe person to talk to. She is the safest person in my life. It wasn’t because she isn’t supportive. She’s amazingly supportive. It was because I presumed she already knew.
My wife is the closest person in the world to me. I just presumed that she knew what I was going through but I never communicated it to her. By not communicating my thoughts and feelings to her, I deprived us of emotional intimacy, because she didn’t know how I was feeling.
Now, let me say this clearly, there is nothing wrong with being open and vulnerable in you Small Group. You should be and you will never experience the community for which the group was designed if you don’t. But, the first place to look for love and support should be your husband or wife. Don’t deny them the opportunity to be the husband or wife that God designed them to be. Don’t deny them the opportunity to love and care for you. Don’t deny yourself and your spouse the opportunity to experience emotional intimacy.
What do you do to maintain emotional intimacy in your marriage?
New Year’s Eve has never been a big deal to me. But I’ve got to tell you; I think I’m missing out. Celebrating New Year’s Eve is actually a biblical concept. In the Old Testament God included three national holidays in the official calendar of Israel.
Passover celebrated how God had freed them from slavery in Egypt. Pentecost took place at the beginning of the harvest and celebrated God’s provision of food for another year. Tabernacles was celebrated at the end of the harvest and celebrated both God’s provision of a good crop and His provision for the people when they were wandering in the desert for 40 years. They celebrated what God had done for His people and looked forward in hope to what God would provide in the future.
I’ve been missing out on that, a chance to celebrate how God has provided for us over the past year and look forward in hope to what He will provide in the upcoming year.
Today, I’m celebrating some amazing things as I think about how God has provided for my family and me and looking forward in great hope. I want to let you know about two things and would love your prayers regarding them. First, BryonHarvey.com launches this week. This is part of a speaking ministry that I’m launching where people can book me to speak at their church, conference, or retreat. I look forward to seeing how God will use this ministry to knock down the walls that keep people from experiencing all that God has for them. Second, we’re in the process of launching Jericho Ministry Solutions. The mission of Jericho Ministry Solutions is to help churches knock down the walls that keep us from being the church that God intends. You’ll see more about this in the next couple of months.
New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to celebrate what God has done and to look forward in hope to what He’s going to do.
As you watch the ball drop tonight, what will you be celebrating and what will you be looking forward to?
A while back @Acts29 tweeted a quote from Pastor Mark Driscoll, “The church can get another pastor, but your wife only has one husband.” That seems like such a simple and obvious statement. Yet, I believe it is incredibly profound.
I have served in church ministry for nine years. The thing that I have seen trip up more pastors than anything else is not understanding this simple truth. The church can get another pastor, but your wife only one husband.
Often what happens for pastors is they take their wives for granted. She loves me. She supports me. She’ll be there when I get back. But, the church needs me now.
Guess what pastor, the church needs you but your wife needs you more. Moreover, your duty to be a husband supersedes your duty to be a pastor. If you fail as a husband you are disqualified from being a pastor. Don’t believe me? Read the Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus). Look at the qualifications for elders. Tell me how you can fulfill God’s call on your life to lead his church yet fail at God’s call to lead the family he’s given you. Moreover, how can you pastor a church full of people who’s marriages are struggling when you don’t make yours a priority?
The church can get another pastor, but your wife only has one husband.
So pastors let’s help each out. What do you do to prioritize your wife over the church?
Only three of the four gospels tell the Christmas story. We’ve looked at two of them so far in this series, Matthew and Luke. In this final post in the Christmas Characters series we’re going to look the Christmas story as presented in the Gospel of John. Matthew told the story from Joseph’s perspective. Luke from Mary’s. John tells the story from Jesus’ perspective. The story is in John 1:1-18.
John focuses on the story from Jesus’ perspective. Jesus, the Word, as the second person of the Trinity who is God and through whom all creation was made left heaven and made is home, built his tent among people. He came on Christmas morning as a child to provide a way for the people he created to become “the children of God.”
On Christmas, God revealed himself and opened his arms wide to receive his people back into his family. It costs us nothing. It cost Jesus his life. This Christmas as you are thanking your friends and family for the wonderful gifts, don’t forget to thank Jesus for giving us Christmas and don’t forget to share his story with those around you that need to hear it again.
In the last post we looked at Christmas from Joseph’s perspective. Today, we will look at Christmas through the eyes of Mary, Jesus’ mother. Her story is found in Luke 1:26-56
This is a pretty crazy story. A teenaged girl about to be married encounters a messenger from God. This messenger tells her that she’s favored by God and going to have a kid. Like any bright young woman in her position her immediate answer is, “huh?” This is a young girl of a conquered disenfranchised people. How in the world can this messenger say God favors her? On top of that, he tells her she’s going to get pregnant! This doesn’t sound like favor at all. How is she going to explain this to her husband-to-be?
“No, I haven’t cheated this is God’s baby. I’m favored by God and the son I’m carrying is going to be a great king.”
Today we have very comfortable padded rooms for people who make such claims.
Yet, Mary trusted the messenger and submitted to God. Submitting to God doesn’t always seem to make sense. On the outside, it can often look foolish or ridiculous. But then, the Christmas story looks foolish and ridiculous until you read the sequel, Easter.
God doesn’t always make sense to me. But he always comes through. As you get ready for Christmas next week, think about what God’s asking you to do. Does it sound ridiculous? Maybe, but remember there once was a girl who had this ridiculous encounter with someone who said they he was from God and told her that though she was a virgin she was going to have a son. And through her, God brought his Son to earth and changed the world. On this side of the story it doesn’t sound so ridiculous. What will your story look like on the other side?