We’re halfway through the summer. For most people that means summer break and a much needed vacation.

But for a pastor, summer means something completely different. It’s a time that is synonymous with DECLINE–in both attendance and giving.

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Summer is a tough season for a church.

But there is one thing you should do in the next 3-4 weeks that will create tremendous momentum, build stronger relationships, and grow generosity in your church.

Continue Reading…

About 3 weeks ago my church passed the offering plate on Sunday morning and took up about $500.

That was the combined total for two Sunday morning worship services.

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Doesn’t seem very impressive, huh?

Most multi-site churches with multiple paid staff members would have hit the panic button, but my church didn’t.

Why?

Because that same Sunday, Northpark Church received over $10,000 online.

Continue Reading…

When is the last time your church took a long, hard look at its ministry motives?

I have no doubt that your church has a heart to reach the unsaved. But if someone took a look at your budget, would it reflect that?

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Jesus never commanded anyone to be comfortable and maintain the status quo. He commanded us to reach the lost–despite the cost.

I consult with couples and individuals often about personal finances. When the issue of giving comes up, I hear this often:

You just don’t understand. I can’t afford to give.

My response is similar each time:

You’ll never be able to afford to give until you simply start giving. When you are faithful and generous with the first of your income, God is bound by His Holy Word to protect and bless the rest.”

If you’re a pastor who just read the above statement, you probably agree 100%.

Then why is it so hard to grasp this concept when it comes to the finances of your church? Continue Reading…

If you want your church to be more effective in reaching people for Jesus, it’s important to constantly improve.

Learn what works. Learn what doesn’t. Make changes.

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Here are 16 smart questions that all pastors & church leaders must ask.

  1. Is the church as hungry as it used to be?

    Reaching the lost is tough business. It’s easy to become comfortable and let your foot off the gas.

    But complacency is the enemy of growth.

    Make sure you’re always moving forward.

  2. What small changes can I make today that will help me become a more effective leader?

    This could be as simple as waking up 1 hour earlier to pray and study, making it a habit to exercise daily, or spending more time with you spouse.

  3. Does the church have an engaging online presence?

    Let’s be honest, many people will find your church via Google and then decide whether or not to visit based solely on the “vibe” of your website.

    Is your website easy-to-navigate and appealing to guests? If not, it’s time to step-up and make that investment.

    Here are 3 churches in Raleigh, NC that get it right!

  4. Continue Reading…

I can’t even fathom the impact the church could have on the world if every Christian discovered the joy of generosity.

Seriously, take a minute to think about it.

Joy of Generosityphoto credit: Scott Johns

Imagine what Christian outreach might look like if the church wasn’t constrained by a lack of financial resources.

Here’s a fact:

But those dollars are useless unless you discover the joy of generosity.

Culture gives you a thousand and one reasons not to give.

Well here are ten powerful reasons why I think Christians should love to give.

  1. Giving shows God that He is first in your life.

    God is a jealous God. He wants to be first, even before our love of money.

  2. Giving allows you to have an eternal impact regardless of your talents or income level.

    You may not be able to preach a sermon, play an instrument, or lead a choir in worship, but it takes nothing more than a commitment to give. Continue Reading…

This past weekend I attended the iVow Marriage Conference.

Without a doubt it is was one of the best investments I’ve ever made in my marriage.

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The conference was led by Dave & Ashley Willis. Dave is the founder of the Facebook Marriage Page (with over 700k members) and author of iVow and Soul Caffeine.

Here were some my key take-aways from the conference…

On Having a Healthier Marriage

  • There’s never an appropriate time to criticize your spouse in public.

    Instead, be quick to offer praise and words of affirmation.

  • Husbands want to feel respected. Wives want to feel loved and protected.

  • Don’t treat your spouse like the cable company treats its new customers?

    Don’t offer the deluxe package (at the cheapest price) only at the beginning. Constantly strive to provide your spouse with the best possible value.

  • Never stop going on dates.

    Pick a date night and protect it. Dates don’t have to be expensive. Spend time together, face-to-face, talking.

  • Always protect your spouse’s reputation.

  • Surround yourself with friends who support and champion your marriage.

  • When it comes to money, separate bank accounts are typically not a good idea.

    Everything in marriage should be viewed as “ours.”

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On Conflict in Marriage

  • James 1:19 is the perfect template for conflict resolution in marriage:

    “…be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

Most people simply don’t understand tithing.

To many Christians it seems like some sort of country club due. Another bill in the long list of monthly expenses.

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Giving is supposed to be an act of worship that draws you closer to the heart of God.

Then why is it that the concept of tithing, giving the first 10% of one’s income, has become so divisive in the church?

Christians debate questions like:

Is tithing still even required? Wasn’t it an Old Testament law? Didn’t Christ abolish the law with His death and resurrection?

Should I tithe off the gross or net of my income?

Does God really expect me to tithe if I’m struggling in my personal finances?

I “tithe” my time to the church. Isn’t that enough?

These questions all have the same recurring theme–what’s the least I can give and still receive God’s blessings.

When you debate these questions, you totally miss the point.
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NEVER be afraid to encourage people to give.

Jesus taught constantly on money and possessions. Don’t believe me? Consider this:

  • Jesus talked about money more than He did Heaven and Hell combined.
  • Jesus talked about money more than anything except the Kingdom of God.
  • 11 of the 39 Biblical parables deal with money.
  • 1 out of every 7 verses in the gospel of Luke discusses money.

Open Bible

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If it was important to Jesus, it should be important to you too.

Here are 6 actionable steps to increase the offering this Sunday:

  1. Practice the 1-to-5 Principle.

    For every one minute of service time that is dedicated to the offering, spend 5 minutes in preparation. Don’t make the mistake of simply “winging it.” Approach the offering with the same level of focused preparation that you do for your sermon.

    It’s EXTREMELY important. The offering funds all the ministries of your church.
    Continue Reading…

Death is the ultimate statistic: 1 out of 1 people will die. I want to leave a legacy when I die. I know you do too.

Muhammed Ali once said, “Don’t count your days. Make your days count.”

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Here’s a non-comprehensive list of 10 things you will never say on your deathbed:

  1. I was too generous.”

    Your legacy won’t be defined by what you accumulate. Your legacy will be defined by what you give away. Be generous with your time, talents, and treasure. Invest in people. Meet needs. Be the hands and feet of Christ.

  2. I should have kissed my spouse less.” 

    Successful long-term relationships are characterized by physical affection. Kiss your spouse. Everyday. Every chance you get. No exceptions.
    Continue Reading…

Only a few years ago, money was my number one lust. Giving it away definitely wasn’t on my radar.

But lucky for me, generosity is an acquired skill. A skill that can be learned by anyone.

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Here are the four stages you must travel through as you grow in generosity…

The 4 Stages of Giving:

  1. Giving is a chore.

    I’d just given my life to Christ. I now felt the compulsion to give to my church. It was uncomfortable and I didn’t like it.

    For me, this stage was filled with 2 emotions–regret and greed. Regret said, “But Larry, you haven’t even paid off your credit cards yet.” Greed said, “Do you realize what stuff you could buy with this money?”

    This is the one stage that can’t be skipped. You will experience these emotions on the road to generous. And when you do, know you’re heading in the right direction…
    Continue Reading…

What’s worse than a person being lost in sin and separated from Jesus?

Answer: A person being lost in sin and having no one who cares!

Northpark Church on Vimeo.

This Sunday is the Superbowl of Christian Sundays! This Sunday is Easter!

It’s a GREAT time to invite a friend! Continue Reading…

I never met my grandfather. Everything I know about him I’ve heard second-hand.

He was a man whose large physical stature was matched by his outgoing personality.

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By day he was farmer who raised tobacco and by night he sold homemade moonshine.

He loved his family and he loved to hunt.

From everything I can tell, he was like many other hard-working Americans of his generation, doing his best to provide for his family.

But the most important thing I know about him is that one day he made a critical decision that not only altered his life, but the lives of many generations to come.

At the age of 35, my grandfather gave his heart to the Lord and shortly thereafter surrendered to the call to become a preacher.

His moonshinin’ days were over. He turned them in for something even more potent.

From the rooftop of his barn, he started his very first church. And for the next 20 years prior to his death, he preached the gospel faithfully, leading hundreds of people into relationship with Christ and impacting many more.

At his funeral, hundreds of people showed up to pay their respects to this “giant” of Christian faith.

Here are 3 important lessons about faith that I’ve learned from his life:

  1. You don’t have to be ready, you just have to be available.

    Whenever you operate in a spirit of humbleness and obedience, God will use you.

    Education, income level, talents…none of that matters. God is bigger than your circumstances and He always gets the glory when you are obedient. Continue Reading…

The mission of the church is simple–Make disciples who make more disciples.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:16-20).”

Abundance

Unfortunately, the mission of the church sometimes becomes clouded.  And it’s usually a mentality problem.

The way I see it, churches typically have one of two types of mindsets:

  1. Those with an abundance mentality.

  2. Those with a scarcity mentality.

What type of church is yours?

As I was drinking a cup of coffee this morning, I jotted down some church characteristics to help you answer that question.

8 Characteristics of Churches with an Abundance Mentality:

  1. They champion the success of other churches in their area.

    They realize that a single church can’t pastor an entire city. They believe in the power of partnership. They understand that we are all on the same team.

  2. They readily share their knowledge, contacts, resources, and “secrets” with other churches.

    I once saw my pastor give away 5 years worth of sermon resources (messages, notes, graphics, and video bumpers) to 14 church planters in our area.

    I was blown away.

    It challenged me to be more generous.

    By the way, you can get some of those FREE sermon resources by CLICKING HERE. Continue Reading…