Nick Jones

God, Life, Religion

Category: Church (page 1 of 2)

10 Things I’ve Learned From Being a Pastor

Every pastor has a list of things they’ve learned. Here are 10 that I’ve learned in the last nine years I’ve been a pastor in no specific order. It’s geared for other young pastors.

1. If you look young, you’re going to get the “young” comment. Everyone tells me it’s not a curse, but being a pastor in his early thirties that can still pass as a college student has some major drawbacks. Every church I have served in I have gotten this comment in one form or another, “You look so young.”

The problem with this comment is many times the attitude that comes with it is a belief that because you look so young it’s difficult to take you seriously and believe that you really know what you’re talking about.

2. Not everyone has the same goals as you. Not everyone is going to have the same goals for the church as you do. Don’t go in guns a blazing with your goals expecting everyone else to fall in line. Ministry doesn’t work that way. Ministry is servant leadership.

3. Learn to say “No.” If you can’t say “No” you’re going to be in trouble. Church members will expect certain things from you and if you’re always saying “Yes,” it means you’re saying “No” to your family. Your family should come before your job. Also, by always saying “Yes” you are enabling church members to avoid realizing the Spiritual Gifts and the ministry that God has given them.

4. Check your ego at the door. You’re not the most important person at church. Your ego may say otherwise, but remember Christ is the head of the church, not you.

5. Listen, listen, listen. So often we think we know the answers to everything. Listening is a difficult skill to learn. Listening is not taught at University or Seminary. Church members will thank you if you can make sure that you really and truly listen to their concerns when they share with you. Don’t be looking around for the next person to talk with, listen.

6. Read regularly. This is a tough one. With everything that a pastor does, how in the world do you spend time reading? Reading is where you will get your sermon ideas, illustrations, continue your education, and help you better your skills as a pastor. Aim to read between 15-20 non-fiction books a year.

7. Mentor someone. Andy Stanley says it best, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone!” The church needs its members to be involved in ministry. You shouldn’t do it all. Your family will suffer, your personal life will suffer, your health will suffer. This goes along with number 3.

8. Exercise regularly. Without exercise our bodies become out of shape. Just like we must exercise our mind (see number 6) we also must exercise our bodies. Christ saved us so that He could use us. Let’s give Him the best we can give Him.

9. Make sure your available times are clearly stated. Be clear about when you’ll be in the office. Set up some office time so that if people want to meet you at the office you can tell them the times you are available.

10. Don’t neglect prayer and personal worship. And this doesn’t mean spend time reading the Bible in the section that you’ll be preaching on this week. Spend time abiding in Christ, spend time in prayer, spend time for your soul, not for your job.

I hope you enjoyed these 10 things I’ve learned. If you have anything you’ve learned or think that I have missed, go ahead and leave a comment letting me know what you have learned.

Periscope Experiment

I started a Galatians series at the Sandy Seventh-day Adventist Church. With this series I decided to try out Periscope and add information that I couldn’t include in the sermon. This is the first one.

I’m Thankful

As I was doing some last minute reading over my sermon this morning, I took a short break to read a few articles at RELEVANT Magazine. Their headline article hit me hard: “11 Stats That Will Change the Way You Think About Consumerism.” As I was preaching a sermon on being thankful I found the article very appropriate for the topic.

Have you noticed how Thanksgiving has turned from a holiday spent with family and reminiscing on the things we are grateful for to a holiday all about stuff? You may think, “Come on Nick, getting presents for Christmas for people during a sale is good budgeting.” That may be true, but the question that I bring up is whether or not it’s a good idea to allow consumerism to sneak into a time which in the past has been dedicated to family and friends.

If you don’t have a problem with consumerism (which can be defined as ‘the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods’) then maybe some of these statistics from the article might change your mind (link to the original article):

The amount Americans spend in a single weekend is more than half of the total they give to churches in an entire year.

Last year, Americans spent $57.4 billon on Black Friday Weekend alone. They gave $103 billion to churches over the course of the whole year.

Enough K-Cups were thrown out in 2014 to encircle the earth 12 times.

According to their creator, K-Cups are almost impossible to recycle.

Nearly 40% of Food in America goes to waste.

Americans allow $165 billion of food to be wasted every year. Globally, stunting due to malnutrition and lack of food affects 161 million children around the world every year.

In America, more money is spent on fashion accessories than college tuition.

The amount spent on shoes, watches and jewelry alone totals $100 billion

Wealthy nations waste almost as much food is produced in all of sub-Saharan Africa.

Food wasted in developed countries every year: 222 million tons; Annual net food production in sub-Saharan Africa: 230 million tons.

Nearly half the world’s toys are in America.

Despite making up just over 3 percent of the global population of children, American kids consume 40 percent of the world’s toys.

The average American household has more than $7,500 in consumer debt.

The medium annual household income for the global population is just of $9,700.

America creates more electronic waste than any other nation on earth.

Despite being less than a quarter the size of China, Americans throughout more than 1 million tons more electronic devices than the country. Relatively little of it is recycled.

Homes in the U.S. contain more TVs than they do people.

On average, houses in the U.S. have three working television sets.

12% of the population does more than half of the spending.

Despite being just 12 percent of the global population, the U.S. and Western Europe account for 60 percent of private consumption spending.

Plastic kills 1 million seabirds every single year.

Americans use 100 billion plastic bags annually.

When I read that this morning I realized that I live in amazing luxury. I have more than most of the world. I have a lot to be thankful for. I don’t need the latest and greatest. I have enough.

So, how do you feel after reading that? Let’s dialogue. Go ahead and leave a comment.

A New Move

Change

The winds, they are changing, at least that’s what it feels like. After five years of ministry in Southern Oregon I have accepted a call to pastor the Sandy Seventh-day Adventist church in Sandy, Oregon. I have learned a lot during my five years here. Just over two of them spent as the youth pastor of the Medford Seventh-day Adventist Church and Lead Pastor of Sonrise Christian Fellowship. And it’s been almost three years that I’ve been the lead pastor of Gateway Seventh-day Adventist Church and Sonrise Christian Fellowship.

Pastoring two churches is one of the hardest things I’ve done. There are some very unique challenges that one is presented with when pastoring two churches. At this point in time I am definitely looking forward to focusing all my attention and energy with one church family. Pastoring two churches has been a good learning experience as I have been able to solidify what I believe and stand for, and I am excited to see what God does as I join with the Sandy Church in doing ministry in Northern Oregon.

This move takes my family out of Southern Oregon and back up to the Portland area. Sandy is a smallish town on Hwy 26 heading out towards Mt. Hood. Their motto is “Gateway to Mount Hood.” As someone who loves mountains I’m excited. I have driven through Sandy several times and have always mentioned that it would be a neat town to live in. Here I actually get the chance!

So what will my focus be on the blog now that I am moving to a new area and my cancer ordeal is somewhat in the rear view mirror? That is a good question. There are a few things that I have been studying and reading about lately and I am thinking about using those as opportunities to begin discussion here. Two of the major things I’ve been looking into are apologetics and righteousness by faith. I’m sure that these two topics alone will create some very interesting commenting.

In the meantime, packing is taking priority as we must pack up an entire house (which now has much more stuff due to having a one-year-old). But I’m hoping to have a more regular posting schedule (I think I’ve said that before) once the move is done.

Banner of Love

banquet“He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.”
-Bride, Song of Solomon 2:4

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 Whenever I read this, I’m reminded of a song I grew up singing:

He brought me to His banqueting table, his banner over me is love.
He brought me to His banqueting table, his banner over me is love.
He brought me to His banqueting table, his banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

Maybe you’ve sung the song as well and as you read the words of the song find yourself humming along.

When I read this, I found myself questioning God, “When did I stop remembering You are Love?” It’s easy to go through life forgetting that God actually loves me. When I’m faced with adversity, I end up questioning God’s love. When I’m faced with pain, I question God’s love. When I’m faced with conflict, I question God’s love.

The love of God is one of those things we take for granted. I would say it’s because we don’t see God, face to face,  on a regular basis. However, we even take the love of people we see face to face for granted. So that can’t be the reason.

I think the reason we forget the love of God is because we lack that same love. When we have a conflict with someone, it’s very difficult to love them. When we find ourselves in pain because of something someone else did, we struggle to love them. Our inability to love others in hard times inhibits our ability to recognize God’s love in hard times.

So the question then becomes, how do we remember the love of God in those times? In a simple word, obedience. I know, tough word to swallow. Who really likes obedience? But here’s the thing; obedience to God reminds us of His love. Think about it, if we are in a conflict with another person and Matthew 5:23-24 comes to mind:

Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

Then do it. In the process of working out the conflict we realize that God loves and cares for us because He cares about our earthly relationships. When I forget God’s love, that’s the time I need to obey.

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