In the recent past I gave a copy of the book Present Future by Reggie
McNeal to the elders of FBC, Whitehall. The author suggests that there are two
kinds of churches: maintenance and missiological. The maintenance church is
the church that seeks to preserve its identity and programs. The missiological
church is one that seeks to unleash its people for ministry outside of the church
campus in order to reach the lost.
At the recently Impact Leadership Seminars lead by Marty Geise, I was
reminded of Dan Spader’s research. In his Growing A Healthy Church material
he points out that 80% of churches spend 100% of the resources on
maintaining their church. Absent in that maintenance is money and time spent
on local and regional outreach.
I believe that most, if not all, of our churches that identify themselves
as CB would readily agree that the great commission is a priority. Yet, as I
think about what McNeal and Spader present I am forced to think about the
church I am called to lead. Also, it is an issue I must face as Regional Director.
The question that comes to mind, “Does FBC and the Region have a
maintenance or missiological priority?”
The answer that I come up with makes me realize that FBC on the
upside doesn’t spend 100% of its budget on maintenance programs. On the
downside it is a single digit number. I also realize that in order for there to be
a significant improvement there has to be a major change in what we value.
Marty Giese related this at the Impact Seminar. A staff person from his church
went to Willow Creek. On campus they have a restaurant. A teen was working
there and Marty’s staff person asked him what his job was. Without missing a
beat he said, “I am here helping to create an environment for people to share
That, along with what I have just related has really challenged me. For
I have realized that much of what I do as a pastor is to be focused on making
certain that we maintain for the good of those who are FBC. However, unless
all of FBC has the value of “helping to create an environment for people to
share Jesus” we are simply maintaining.
As a Region we exist to help the local church. As a Region we value
networking as a way we can help one another. So here is something I would
like to suggest. I would like to hear from you about what you are doing in your
church to “help to create an environment for people to share Jesus.” As you
send your stories, I would like to share them with the rest of the Region to
inspire and cultivate a passion to be more intentional in reaching the lost for
Dr. Dan Rotach, Reconciliation Director
I have in my library a book by Stephen Brown called No More Mr. Nice Guy. In
the book he contends that spiritual leaders often demonstrate a kind of
spiritual “niceness” that runs counter to good leadership. Certainly God is not
calling us to run roughshod over people, or be dictatorial in our leadership, but
I do believe that our need to be nice should be examined. When my niceness
flows out of a compassionate heart that truly loves and wants the best for
another, then the niceness is good and godly. However, I’m personally finding
that often my niceness is an extension of my own fear—I want people to like
me. I may be afraid of the consequences of being direct with this person. This
person may hold some informal power in the church and I’m nice to the person
because I don’t want to have that power used against me. Peter Steinke, who
has written extensively about systems and leadership health believes that our
niceness is often a cover for our own anxiety or lack of emotional maturity.
Consequently, we give power to “chronically anxious reactors—the least
mature, least motivated, least self-regulating, but most recalcitrant people.”
Edwin Friedman states that “in system after system, it is the most dependent
who are calling the shots.”
This may not be true in your church system and in your leadership. However,
it is good heart development to periodically evaluate your “niceness.”
• Am I forfeiting authenticity and good leadership for the sake of
someone else liking me?
• Am I being nice just to please others?
• Am I holding off on truth-telling to someone because I know there will
be “not-so-nice” consequences?
Paul reminds us:
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to
please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of
Christ (Galatians 1:10)”
There’s nothing wrong with being nice…if it’s for the right reasons.
Only One Thing…. Duane Keleman, Asst. Pastor of Youth & Ministry Development
First Baptist Church of Lansing, IL
I recently read a book put out by Group Publishing called “The One Thing”. As
a church staff we are going through this book, with the intent of taking our
leadership through it. This book has been a great challenge to our staff as we
think about how we operate as a church!
The book begins with a true story of a Group Publishing staff member who was
rock-climbing and fell 100 feet to the ground – and survived! (His story has
been recorded by Group on a free video and DVD called “After The Fall” that is
an excellent resource for challenging people! I used it with my High School
Youth Group!) The ensuing question is: What does a person do with an hour to
live? What’s the most important thing?
As churches (and as church leaders, especially Youth Pastors), we are always
evaluating what is the most important thing. Most of us feel like we are the
guy at the circus spinning plates. We run from one plate to the next, giving it a
little attention, before we dash off to another plate offering a little spin before
it falls, and then off to another. . . We’re very busy doing good things, but not
always keeping the 1 thing in focus.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where
a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister
called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But
Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She
came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me
to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about
many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is
better and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 NIV)
So what’s the 1 thing? Many churches have confused proper protocol with the
1 thing. Without knowing it, churches adhere to their way of doing things
instead of the 1 thing itself. According to the book, “The 1 thing is a heart-toheart
relationship, a close and growing friendship, with God. That is what God
craves. This is what we crave. God created every person to yearn for this
intimate relationship with Him. Nothing else will do.”
Authors Thom & Joani Schultz record that some of the passengers aboard the
hijacked airplanes of 9/11 when they realized they wouldn’t make it home
again reached for their cell phones and quietly called their loved ones to say, “I
love you”. Reminders could have been given to pay the house payment, let
the dog out, or take out the garbage, but those passengers focused on the 1
thing that really mattered, their personal relationships.
As church leaders, we need to be reminded that the 1 thing in our lives needs
to be that growing relationship with God. But on top of that, our ministries
need to revolve around helping people have a growing relationship with God.
Statistics in the book from George Gallup indicate that:
96% of Americans polled say they believe in God, but only
41% attend church, and just
13% have a deep and transforming faith
Our job is to help people have that growing relationship with God, that deep
transforming faith. Whether we work with teens, adults or children, we need
to consciously help people grow in their relationship with God. Church leaders
sometimes assume that is happening in the lives of those they minister to,
when it may not be! We become bogged down with church politics and lose
sight of the 1 thing. Isn’t that just the 1 thing Satan wants to see?
North Central CBA
P.O. Box 548
Whitehall, WI 54773
(Please call before
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Fellow Pastors and Associates,
The holiday season is approaching and with it an opportunity to do good for
those who serve us in NCCBA. Dr. Don Shaw, our Regional Executive Director,
and Dr. Dan Rotach are the go-to guys when we have needs in our region.
Their leadership and ministry to us has been outstanding.
It’s time to give something back. We want to provide them with a holiday gift
that expresses our love and gratitude to them. What if we gave to our NCCBA
staff a tithe of whatever Christmas bonus we normally receive from the church
we serve? This would be in the nature of an offering to the Lord from what we
receive. It honors God and blesses our staff. Let’s be to them the way we want
our congregations to be to us. Please send your gift to the NCCBA office by
December 10th. Thank you for your generous concern for our staff.