Category Archives: Ministry

How to Make a Difference in the World Without Being Traumatized, Overwhelmed, and Burned Out

Impact of media

Lots of negative stuff is presented 24 hours a day. Everything is a crisis, everything seems threatening. You can’t deny or hide from these issues, but how does this affect you?

  • vicarious trauma- you experience the trauma of other people’s struggles and losses.
  • compassion fatigue- feel like you have to do something about everything, all the time.
  • you shut down, become numb and don’t do anything because your brain is designed to protect you from trauma.
  • recognizing the needs and injustices of the world can be a catalyst for your calling. But watching and listening to the 24/7/365 barrage will shut you down. Seeing nonstop injustice will make you bitter and jaded.

Daily duties and cares
– can’t make a difference if we are constantly concerned with how you are going to meet basic needs of yourself and your family.
– if you have outstanding obligations, you will leave those things undone as you “do what you have to do” in day-to-day life. You can’t thrive in survival mode.

Avoid the “yes” trap
– you’re the kind of person who takes on too much.
– you will disappoint people, but saying no is very important.

“In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.” (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭11‬:‭27-30‬ KJV)

What should we do then?
– Pick 3- prioritize around the areas of your life that are important to you.
– Build boundaries- designate sacred ground, protect it, limit the distractions and trauma triggers, understand that if you don’t do this you will be of no good to anyone, especially your family.
– Watch for signs- you’ll bump your ceiling ever so often. Usually the result of saying “yes” too often, to too many people. Respect the fact you can’t do it all and revive your priorities and boundaries.
– Measure success and celebrate.
– Make service a lifestyle. Don’t insulate it from the rest of your life. Embrace it, involve others in it, especially your children and spouse.
– Mind your spiritual life. You need to be connected to God’s agenda and His power. Remember you are not the Christ. He doesn’t put more on us than we can bear, but we certainly take more on ourselves than we should.

“In a world that needs your connectedness, you can’t afford to be shut down and out of the fight.”

Four Guaranteed Experiences, and One Thing You’ll Never Experience, When You Step Out in Faith to Do God’s Work

We’ve been meeting bi-weekly for some time now. The closer we get to November 4th, the more sense it made to be in closer, more frequent contact. Yes On 1 has been a massive undertaking. The goal is to mobilize pro-life voters to pass a historic amendment to the Tennessee Constitution and bring life back to our state. A wrongly decided state Supreme Court decision in 2000 made Tennessee an abortion destination by interpreting a “fundamental right” to abortion in our state constitution and undoing the most basic legal protections for women and unborn children.

Around the time of one of our meetings, our regional coordinator sent an email reporting on the ways many of our volunteers have experienced personal trials as our campaign is coming down to its final days. He also gave us scriptural encouragement to continue on in our work.

As our enemy sees us giving our all in service to others, attacks are inevitable. Here are 4 guaranteed experiences that are destined to challenge you as you seek to do God’s work.

I am going to operationalize doing “God’s work” as doing “service,” or serving others- individuals, groups, or even entire communities. In our work with the Yes On 1 campaign, my wife and I have served voters who needed to understand the issue Amendment 1 intends to address. We also have striven to serve volunteers who are passionate about creating positive change in Tennessee. Ultimately, we hope our efforts serve vulnerable women and unborn children. Service to others is God’s work.

Fear. There are going to have bouts with fear when you set out to serve others. I see fear often in the eyes of social work students I am serving at Union University, who have never yet had to sit across from vulnerable people and be competent, compassionate helpers. The fear of being misunderstood, being rejected, or being defeated can be paralyzing. But you can’t be (or stay) paralyzed. You can’t stay stuck wondering, “What do I do now?” In a world that needs your connectedness, you can’t afford to be shut down and out of the fight.

Frustration. The work of serving others is rife with frustration. Service is messy, under-appreciated, and not immediately fulfilling. One of the questions we ask job candidates at Youth Villages is, “How do you gauge your personal effectiveness?” One of the reasons this question is so important is, if you are expecting to rely on “warm fuzzies” to get you through the difficult days, it ain’t gonna happen. The paycheck won’t keep you on the job either, because too often long hours serving others ends with too few tangible results. People don’t always follow through on your good ideas. And when they do, it isn’t often enough that you will get the gratitude you deserve. Nobody who serves others long does it for a paycheck or a pat on the back. It takes a long-term view and an inner-confidence that you are making a difference through service.

How is this tracking with you so far? Well, take some time to ponder over the first two of four guaranteed experiences you will face when you do God’s work of serving others. We will have two more guaranteed experiences, and the one thing you are guaranteed to never experience, in the next post.

The Battle Cry

(original photo from the youth service)

These are the speaking notes for a youth service I preached for TN District North American Missionary Nathan McCrury on this past Friday night, Sept. 19th, in Parker’s Crossroads, TN. The service was in an outdoor amphitheater at the city park. They have their weekly services in a community building in the park. Pray for the Parker’s Crossroads United Pentecostals as they lift a battle cry over the community of their calling!

Click here for an audio recording of the message.

The Battle Cry- not a shout of praise and worship. A shout of aggression, determination, a declaration.

2 functions of a battle cry according to Wikipedia- arouse aggression and induce intimidation.

We’ve come tonight to commit spiritual warfare, to break the back of the devil, to take dominion over spiritual wickedness in high places. Be prepared to be attacked by the enemy. But do not be afraid.

Judges 7:9-15 Gideon saw

And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host. And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. (‭Judges‬ ‭7‬:‭13-15‬ KJV)

The enemy declared its own doom.
There is a spirit out there, slinging its head, flinging its venom. The devil stalks like a lion seeking who he can devour. But it is toothless, clawless, and powerless. Gideon had to see that before he could go into battle.

Judges 7:15-18 Gideon stood

And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. (‭Judges‬ ‭7‬:‭15-18‬ KJV)

Arise, he said. He placed them and he placed himself. There they all remained.

Judges‬ ‭7‬:‭19-2 Gideon shouted the battle cry. The sword of The Lord and of Gideon.

So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. (‭Judges‬ ‭7‬:‭19-21‬ KJV)

The battle cry is passed down through generations. What we accept slowly creeps into our generations. What we preach does too. What we practice is more powerful still. But what we war against with our battle cry says more about us than all the rest of it- what our children will take up war against will be a testament to us or a judgment against us.

Satan is writhing. Shout him down. Bruise his head. That’s our legacy. We get to bruise him.

Jesus delivered the enemy to us. He lead captivity captive. All we have to do is take dominion. 

There are things that grieve my spirit going on in this world. When I see what the devil and the culture is making out of our youth, I get angry. When I hear the lies that the world is deceiving so many with, I get beside myself with anger. The way everything is accepted and nothing is rejected. There’s some things we need to reject. The culture is inoculating our kids against the shock that sin is supposed to cause. They’re used to gay classmates and teachers. They hear the stories of premarital sex. They learn how to be tolerant. There are things we aren’t supposed to tolerate.

We, and our students, don’t do the world any good by being tolerant of sin. We need to see that The Lord is on our side. We need to plant our feet and stand in the right. And we need a blood-curling battle cry!

Click here for an audio recording of the message.

Let The Church Meet Her Goal- Saving Lost Souls

(The Church is a tremendous force for good in the world. But what difference can the church make if it doesn’t first make an eternal difference?)

I heard a part of The Glenn Beck program last week that caught my attention immediately. I can’t remember which day it was but that doesn’t really matter; I hear Glenn say things all the time that are akin to the remark I’m about to tell you about. But this was the most blatant example of Glenn assaulting Christianity that I have ever heard.

The statement that Glenn Beck made was that, if your church is only interested in getting people “down into the waters of baptism, then I don’t want to be a part of your church!” The context of the remark was that he want to be a part of a church that does good things.

As a Christian, I want to do good things. But I don’t want to have anything to do with a church that’s main interest is anything other than taking lost people “down into the waters of baptism.”

I have written recently about our country’s need to return to a common morality that has its roots in Christianity. The key phrase is “has its roots in Christianity.” Good works are the product of people going “down into the waters of baptism.” Common morality and decency are the products of lives that have been at least influenced by the Bible, to the end that they are radically changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭16‬). Everyone likes to focus on the “good works” part of that verse. I want to focus on the “light so shine” part. Where does that light come from, if not from the in-dwelling Spirit of God whose main interest is your eternal salvation?

If the Church ever becomes an institution of good works, God help this world. They will never receive what they truly need. I want a church that is ONLY interested in the eternal salvation of souls.

Glenn Beck’s flaw is a tendency toward universalism. It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as we are being good human beings. His flaw isn’t the only flaw out there, however.

“I’m done with religion [and] stupid rules, that somebody other than Jesus thought up for my own good.”

The words of Pastor Jim Burgen sound progressive and attractive to many people. But I’m afraid it is because so many people misdefine “religion.” The Bible defines the boundaries of the most important relationship we almost never had- our relationship with Jesus Christ, a loving but just Savior. He redeemed us because He wanted to, not because we deserved it. Burgen’s statement in the article, “We’re not anyone’s holy spirit,” is so far removed as to be in recognizable compared to the sentiment of great preachers of old whose goal was the eternal salvation of lost souls:

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.

Doing good works is a byproduct of the Spirit of Christ in the lives of believers. Spirit-filled believers are born into a church with the sole mission of redeeming lost souls through faith in Jesus and obedience to His Word. I don’t want, and the world doesn’t need, a church that is interested in the here-and-now. Guide me, correct me, convict me, and change me in a church that is completely focused on the eternal there-and-then.

Four Ways My Effectiveness Has Been Lifted Lately

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John Maxwell wrote in The 21 Indispensable Laws of Leadership about the Law of the Lid. The law states that your effectiveness will never exceed your ability to lead- leadership is your lid. The great things is that you can raise your effectiveness by raising your level of leadership. And what is even better is that you can bring lid-lifters around you- people who help raise your leadership lid. I was blessed to spend some time with some lid-lifters this past week and I believe the results will be spectacular.

I wrote a resolution for consideration by the Tennessee District United Pentecostal Church at our District Conference in April. The purpose of the resolution is to recognize and support the Yes On 1 campaign in Tennessee, which is a grassroots effort to pass a pro-life constitutional amendment. I met with the resolution committee to discuss my resolution, and here are the ways that this group of lid-lifters raised my effectiveness in just a few minutes of time:

They increased my long-term effectiveness by suggesting I change my focus from recognizing this one-time effort to strengthening our organization’s pro-life stance. To do this, they said it would be better to propose that the organization adopt a district-level position statement regarding abortion. This currently only exists on the national level. By doing so, our district will show support of the national organization’s pro-life stance, as well as support for Tennessee as advocates work to pass the constitutional amendment this year.

They suggested ways I could improve the work I had already done. It only took a few moments to give guidance on how to do a better job, detailing how to use my existing work to meet the purpose they were suggesting.

They acknowledged the importance of my work which helped in two ways: I felt acknowledged personally, and I felt that they had my best interest at heart in the things they were saying to me because they were invested in what I was trying to do.

They opened my eyes to new possibilities. I had never considered crafting my resolution to adopt a new position on such an important subject, but these individuals knew the possibilities I had never considered, and they offered me the chance to fulfill those possibilities.

In the end, I believe we had stronger product. Not only that, but I feel like I have been able to lift the lid for my organization. Just by stepping out to bring attention to an issue in our state, the eyes of our organization will be opened and we will have the chance to fulfill greater ministry as a result. Moral of the story- don’t be afraid to try, and don’t be afraid to listen to the lid-lifters in your life. I you don’t know who they are, start looking for them. You will benefit from them, I promise.

Have you had any lid-lifting experiences lately? Let me know; I’d love to hear about it!

Copyright 2014 Glen Gaugh

Growth, Multiplication , and Small Churches- Dads On Mission Digest

30 Days To Your 1st Home Bible Study
I have been busy working on a new project to promote teaching home Bible studies. It is the “30 Day Home Bible Study Challenge,” and you’re welcome to join in. Sign up and you will get a daily email for the next 30 days, each with a challenge that will move you toward teaching a home Bible study. Whether you are new to this or a veteran, I believe you will get value out of each day you participate. And you will get the chance to use material I have developed and get one-on-one assistance from me if you need it. So join in, the more the merrier!

Measuring Nothing (With Great Accuracy)
Read the post.

With part of the running theme here being numbers, Seth’s post presents quite a challenge- let’s measure the things that matter, especially those not so easily measured.

Why We Sacrifice x For +
“For example, I’d rather have a church of 100 missionary-disciples, than 1,000 attenders” Read the post.

In the spirit of the previous post, ask yourself, “What is our scorecard?” Point number 4 among the rest stood out to me because of this ambivalence we have in the ministry regarding numbers. I can’t think of a number high enough to say, “This is too many, I don’t want this many in church,” yet we tell ourselves it isn’t about numbers. The author says numbers are souls, and that is true, but we can’t completely embrace a scorecard that is all about the number of people in the seats. How many are being converted? How many are reaching out? Recognizing a call to ministry? Exhibiting fruit of the Spirit in daily living? Likewise, we should not view spiritual immaturity or mistakes, even big, glaring ones, to let us think we are failing in the church. And I guess that is the one thing about rural, small churches that truly is different from the big ones- positives and negatives alike are highly magnified in the small church. 5 people coming or going is noticed in a small church, but doesn’t even cause a blip in a large church (at least on an obvious level). Trends are measured week to week in a small church, while in the large church they are measured over longer time frames. If small churches can learn to take the long view regarding numbers and embrace the opportunity to disciple intently while numbers are lower, it would help in moving from addition to multiplication.

8 Reasons Most Churches Never Break The 200 Attendance Mark
Read the post.

I’m focusing in on number 3. There is a real gulf between the titles and the giftings often within the church. Which is to say, leaders often aren’t the ones leading. But I don’t think that just because someone demonstrates great leadership gifts means that person needs a leadership title. We need leaders among the ranks, so to speak. We need those that operate among their peers. Those that lead alongside, not from the front. We do well to encourage people to stand in the purpose that God has given them. I have turned down a lot of opportunities within my local church since God called me to plant a church. The ability to recognize what matters and what doesn’t based on your calling is crucial. I would never turn down a learning experience, and each opportunity has to be weighed out prayerfully as to whether it would please God for you to take it. But the sooner young Christians with potential get turned on to their calling, the less time and effort they will lose in chasing other things.

On growing churches and multiethnic ministry

When A Church’s Shoes Are Too Small
“One of the most detrimental and painful mistakes a growing church can make is not truly understanding it’s size. The new year is a good time to assess what size shoes your church is wearing and whether or not it’s time to buy a new pair.” Read more

I appreciate this post on the need to recognize, monitor, and count the cost of growth in your church. Having a revolving door is the most frustrating trend to recognize in a church. But a healthy body will sustain growth, so it is worth taking the 5 conditions for evaluating church size into account now, before the door starts turning.

Devotion: Two Exposures
“I think too often we get overwhelmed with the idea that we have to convince people of our faith, and become anxious about starting faith conversations. We are worried that we may deemed “Religious Freaks.” And so we allow our worries to stop us short.” Read more

Short, quick, and to the point challenge to share the gospel weekly. Why weekly? In my opinion, if we can start with 2 times weekly, most of us would be exposing others to Jesus more often than we do now. This is right in line with the way I’ve been led to start my year- small steps daily, sustainable steps I can do all year long and certainly can grow as the year goes by. Great reminder and thought-provoker.

Church Planting in the City and in a Multi-ethnic Context: A Recap of CPLF November 2013
“With the increasing urbanization occurring, not only in North America, but also across the globe, and with the increasing ethnic and cultural diversity in North America, there may be no more important topics to address than that of Alpha cities and multi-ethnic church planting.” Read more

Interesting collection of notes from this LifeWay-hosted event. Peruse away!