The Space Between the Gates

Session Three - Inside Elevation

In March, I was able to attend the Inside Elevation conference hosted by Elevation Church. It was a great experience for our entire team, and as always, the main sessions led by Steven Furtick were the highlight for me. Steven Furtick is an incredible leader and has great insights for churches of any size. If you weren’t able to be there this year, no worries, I’ve got you covered. If you missed Session One or Two notes, you can find them here and here.

It was told Joab, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people, for the people heard that day, “The king is grieving for his son.” And the people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “You have today covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who have this day saved your life and the lives of your sons and your daughters and the lives of your wives and your concubines, because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you, for today I know that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now.” Then the king arose and took his seat in the gate. And the people were all told, “Behold, the king is sitting in the gate.” And all the people came before the king. 2 Samuel 19:1-8

The Space Between the Gates

In this session Pastor Steven talked about how many of us have been hurt in ministry and have become passive, letting things go on that we shouldn’t. It’s time for us to get back in our seat at the gate.

  1. Check your Gratitude

Are you still grateful that God called you? We are to enter His gates with thanksgiving. Gratitude is the gateway drug. You can’t be grateful and give a bare minimum effort.

  1. Check your Acceptance

What have you been tolerating in your church that you know you shouldn’t? What tough conversation have you been avoiding? Your leaders take their cue from you, so if you’re letting things slide so are they.

  1. Check your Trust

Have you lost trust in people? Is it easier to just do it yourself? When you lose faith in people, it’s easy to think this way, but you were never supposed to put your trust in people. You put your trust in God.

  1. Check your Empowerment

There’s no way you can do everything God has called you to by yourself. You have to trust the team around you and empower them to do the ministry. That means you have to stop micromanaging, and you may not always know everything that is going on in your church. Secure leaders empower.

I think everyone in ministry has gone through seasons in which they’ve left the gate. The longer you stay away, the harder it will be when you come back, so take a deep breath and get back in there. What would you add to this session? Let us know by leaving a comment, and make sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out on church leadership tips delivered to your inbox each week.

Going Pro

Inside Elevation - Session Two

In March, I was able to attend the Inside Elevation conference hosted by Elevation Church. It was a great experience for our entire team, and as always, the main sessions led by Steven Furtick were the highlight for me. Steven Furtick is an incredible leader and has great insights for churches of any size. If you weren’t able to be there this year, no worries, I’ve got you covered. If you missed Session One notes, you can find them here.

Going Pro

Whether you’re a volunteer or a full time staff member at a church, you can still act like a pro.

In this session Pastor Steven unpacked the differences between pros and amateurs.

  1. Pros give themselves to the process. Amateurs are always looking for the promotion.

If you will plow, God will promote. You have to crucify your need for credit. Pros don’t confuse credit with contribution. I can enjoy the win, even if I don’t get the credit. Do you want to be a part of a winning team, or do you have to be the star? Process reveals potential.

  1. Pros produce. Amateurs project.

Pros get the job done no matter what obstacles are in the way. Amateurs always have excuses. Well, I would’ve had that done, but so and so didn’t show up so it didn’t happen. Amateurs always project the blame onto someone or something else other than themselves.

  1. Pros view correction as an investment. Amateurs make you pay for correcting them.

Pros view correction as a compliment because they want to get better. Amateurs hate correction because nothing is ever their fault. Some of the greatest athletes in the world have trainers and coaches. When someone stops correcting you, that’s when you should be worried because that means they’ve given up on you.

  1. Pros submit their personality to their purpose. Amateurs submit their purpose to their personality.

Stop saying, that’s just the way I am. We don’t give anyone else a pass like that. That may be the way you are, but you should want to get better. I’m an introvert but not on Sunday mornings. You may have a temper, but that doesn’t mean you get to be a jerk to everyone. Get better!

  1. Pros know parameters and work within them. Amateurs are always asking permission.

Pros save you a lot of time because they know how you think and what you like. Amateurs take up your time because they can’t be trusted to think for themselves. You can tell a pro a broad idea and they’ll run with it, but you have to give an amateur step-by-step instruction.

Be on the lookout for my notes from Session Three next week, but in the meantime, what would you add to this session? Let us know by leaving a comment, and make sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out on church leadership tips delivered to your inbox each week.

7 C’s of a Championship Team

Inside Elevation - Session One

In March, I was able to attend the Inside Elevation conference hosted by Elevation Church. It was a great experience for our entire team, and as always, the main sessions led by Steven Furtick were the highlight for me. Steven Furtick is an incredible leader and has great insights for churches of any size. If you weren’t able to be there this year, no worries, I’ve got you covered.

14 Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” 15 And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows. 16 Then he said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow,” and he drew it. And Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. 17 And he said, “Open the window eastward,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot,” and he shot. And he said, “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.” 18 And he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped. 19 Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.” 2 Kings 13:14-19

Victory is a Decision

Seven C’s of a Championship Team

  1. Choose Where You Want to Win

It’s impossible to be great at everything, so you need to narrow your focus. This also means you need to choose where you’re willing to lose. For us, this means we don’t do men’s ministry, women’s ministry, food pantries, and a dozen other things. There’s nothing wrong with any of them, but that’s not our focus.

  1. Create a Win

What’s a win at your church? What’s a win in student ministry? Have you defined it? Take time to define the win in every ministry in your church.

  1. Communicate the Win

Once you’ve defined what a win is, you need to communicate it when it happens. For my church, a person serving is a win, but I haven’t been intentional about highlighting our volunteers. A Sunday shouldn’t go by without me posting to social media bragging on our volunteers. People are willing to work if you show them they’re winning.

  1. Contextualize the Win

One of my biggest struggles, if you’re a church in a small town, stop comparing yourself to the megachurch in a big city. Context matters. Don’t compare the other way either. Don’t think more highly of yourself by comparing yourself to someone who has a lot less to work with than you.

  1. Capitalize on the Win

When a win takes place, talk about it until you get sick of talking about it. Find ways to multiply it. When you start talking about wins, you’ll be surprised by other people coming forward and share wins of their own.

  1. Commit to the Win

The battle is won or loss before you fight it. If you go into anything thinking you’re going to fail, you set yourself up for failure. Use all the arrows you have and commit to victory before the battle even begins.

  1. Celebrate Victory

Be on the lookout for my notes from Session Two and Three in the next few days, but in the meantime what would you add to this session? Let us know by leaving a comment, and make sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out on church leadership tips delivered to your inbox each week.

Are We Trying Too Hard?

This is a post born out of a little bit of frustration with people, and a little bit of concern for the average pastor. As I scroll through Facebook and Twitter, I can’t help but notice the amount of promotion that pastors do for their churches. And I get it, we do the same thing, but does there ever come a time when we say enough is enough?

I mentioned Facebook and Twitter because those are the platforms I’m on, but many pastors are active on several more. It’s become part of the job, along with their other normal duties.

Many of them lead small groups in their homes. Many of them are active in their communities. And many of them run themselves crazy visiting people in various situations.

All in the name of, hopefully, reaching people for Christ and helping them take their next steps.

And I get it. It’s what we do, and I love getting to do it.

But there are some days when I just want to throw my hands up, because it feels like I want more for people than they want for themselves.

Do you get what I’m saying?

Like I shouldn’t have to sell people on wanting a better life.

I shouldn’t have to sell “Christ-followers” on serving or giving or showing up to church more than once a month.

I shouldn’t have to sell parents on taking their kids to student ministry or adults on getting involved in a small group.

If Facebook was around when Jesus was walking the earth, I don’t think He’d be on there begging people to come hang out with Him.

I just don’t get that from Him.

He seemed like a pretty straightforward guy.

Hey, if you want to follow me, take up your cross and deny yourself. If not, no biggie, I let you know what would happen if you didn’t.

Oh, those guys didn’t like what I said about eating my flesh and drinking my blood, too bad.

At what point do we say, look, you’re responsible for your own spiritual growth?

We’ll show you the steps to take and provide the resources you need, but the rest is up to you.

If you fail we’ll help pick you back up, but we can’t do it for you.

Nothing we say or do or post is ever going to take the place of someone just wanting more for their life and a closer relationship with Jesus.

Occasionally, I have these moments of frustration that I just need to share. I’m not sure if it changes anything, but it helps me feel a little better. If you need to do the same, leave a comment below, and while you’re here make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more in your inbox each week.

Five Ways to Ruin Your Sermon

How’s everyone doing today? That’s a terrible way to begin a blog post. It’s also a terrible way to begin a sermon, but many of us are guilty of it or some variation of it. We normally get a weak response, and so we ask everyone the same question again until we’re satisfied.

When you begin your sermon this way, here’s what happens, you let the audience control the energy in the room, which is almost always a terrible idea. Once you lose energy, it’s very hard to regain it.

I learned that tip from the comedian, Roseanne. She didn’t say it to me personally. She was on television giving another comedian advice, but it made so much sense.

So, I started thinking about other things preachers do to kill their presentation.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

  • Weak Openings

We’ve already talked about, “How are you doing?” You also shouldn’t open with, “How about this weather?” If you’re going to open with a question, make sure it creates some tension around what you’re about to talk about. There’s no need for small talk. You have a short period of time to grab their attention, and if you don’t get it on the front end, chances are slim that you will win them back.

  • Weak Closings

Long, drawn-out closings are the worst, especially if you’re already preaching more than 35-40 minutes. People’s attention spans are getting shorter all the time. If you take too long to close, you’ll lose them. A good closing should summarize your talk while also giving an applicable next step. That’s it.

  • Too Much Information

The more focused your sermon, the better. Ten Ways to Become a Better Christ Follower may sound like a great sermon idea, but there’s no way anyone will ever remember them all. The best sermons focus on one single memorable idea or thought. If you have more you want to say than will fit into a single sermon, consider making it a series.

  • Too Boring

This can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it can be the tone and cadence of your voice. Other times it can be that your subject matter doesn’t appeal to people. Pastors are notorious for preaching on topics that the average person cares nothing about. People are struggling with addictions, how to raise kids in the changing culture, and how to love their spouse. They don’t care that you know the difference between the Latin and Greek.

  • Too Distracting

This can also be caused by a variety of reasons. A lot of small town churches love having children be a part of the worship service. While I understand the sentiment, I also know that many people will be distracted because of this. Are you ok with that? Other distractions can be caused by repetitive hand gestures, sloppy dress, profuse sweating, you get the idea.

The good news is all of these issues can be fixed, except maybe the profuse sweating. You just have to be willing to listen to constructive criticism, or even better, film yourself and watch it.

I know it can be painful, but you know what they say, “No pain, no gain”.

What would you add to this list? Let us know by leaving a comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get updates on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

You Can Afford to Give, Here’s How

Every Sunday we take up an offering at our church. If you’re a pastor, you probably do as well. If not, you may not be a pastor for very long. The offering goes to pay for the building expenses, salaries, ministry expenses, and so on. All of these things work together to produce life change through Jesus.

I can’t think of anything better to give to. I think most church people would agree, however there is a large percentage of people within our churches that don’t feel like they can afford to give.

But they can, and I’m going to show you and them how.

Quick clarification, I’m not talking about tithing. I certainly believe in tithing, and I think more people should do it. Current estimates show that only around 5% of Christians in the United States tithe. That’s sad, but I can’t fix that in five easy steps.

But everyone can give…something.

And I’m not talking about your time or talent, although I certainly appreciate those who serve. But serving doesn’t take the place of giving in our lives.

I’m talking about taking some of the finances that God has allowed you to have and giving it back to the church to be used to advance God’s kingdom instead of yours.

You see most people who say that can’t afford to give to church have no problem spending money on themselves.

Nevertheless, even those people can afford to give, if they’re willing to make a few small sacrifices in their life.

Here are five easy ones.

  1. Cut your cable/satellite costs.

Do you really need 200 channels? How much TV are you really watching in your busy life? Consider downgrading your package, negotiating a new rate, or cutting your cable completely. With all the streaming options available to us today, there’s no reason the average American should still be paying over a $100 a month for cable or satellite. (Estimated Savings $15+ a month)

  1. Bring your lunch to work.

I like going out to eat. I think we all do. But I’ve discovered that you spend a lot of money going out to eat as opposed to bringing your lunch. You can easily save 50-60% by eating a frozen meal, or bring leftovers and save 100%. You don’t have to cut out all eating out. Cut back to once a week, and see the difference it makes. (Estimated Savings $40+ a month)

  1. Drink water when eating out.

If you do eat out, instead of ordering a soft drink, order water. Soft drinks can range from 99 cents to up to $4. That really adds up, especially when you eat out as a family. I don’t like water, but I’d rather drink it than pay for an overpriced Coke. (Estimated Savings $10+ a month)

  1. Adjust your thermostat.

The United States is one of the few countries where heating and air exist. So if you live in the U.S., you should be thankful, but you should also realize that it’s not necessary for your home to be 65 in the summer and 78 in the winter. Estimates show that you can save around 3% on your electric bill for every degree that you move up in the summer or down in the winter. That means adjusting just 3 degrees can net almost a 10% savings. (Estimated Savings $15+ a month)

  1. Dinner or a Movie.

I admit there are certain things that just go together, bacon & eggs, peanut butter & jelly, dinner & a movie. But what if you chose to do just one or the other? Instead of doing both, eat dinner at home then go to a movie, or go out to eat then come home and watch a movie. It would be a significant savings. (Estimated Savings $25+ a month)

If you add these all up, a person could potentially save over $100 a month, which means they could afford to give $20-$25 a week to their church. That may see like a small amount, but if those not giving in my church would just do this, it would result in over $100,000 more each year.

What would it mean for your church? What would it mean for your community? And why won’t more people choose to give? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment, and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

4 Ways to Identify Leaders

How much would ten new volunteers benefit your church this year? The kind of volunteers who show up on time. The kind that jump in and help even when it’s not their day to serve. The kind that do everything you ask them to and more. Now imagine that they also have leadership abilities, so they’re a positive influence on those around them. They have a make it better mindset, and they have great character. Would that not transform your church?

But do these people even exist, and if so, how do you find them?

You might get lucky, and they may come to you. Although, as a general rule I’m a bit leery of people who come to me looking for a leadership position, but occasionally this will work out.

But more often that not, you’re going to need to go looking for them.

So, how do you identify leaders?

Here are four areas I look at.

  1. Potential

I’m learning that potential can be deceiving, but it’s still a good place to start. Anyone who you’re looking at as a leader should show signs of potential. Just don’t forget that potential is something inside someone that has yet to be realized. And as I’ve learned too many times now, it may never be realized. So, I make sure it’s combined with some other P’s.

  1. Passion

There are a lot of people who have great potential, but no passion for ministry. It can be one of the most frustrating parts of church leadership. A potential leader must have a passion for ministry. Otherwise you’re just wasting your time. Still potential and passion alone, aren’t enough.

  1. Patterns

You really start to learn who a person is when you start looking at the patterns in their life. Do they have a habit of being lazy? Are they always showing up late? Do they spend hours playing video games but can’t find the time to read their Bible? You get the idea. Don’t get me wrong people can break patterns. You just don’t want to bet your ministry on it.

  1. Perseverance

This is an added bonus, but I’m really starting to see the value in people who stick. This is people who have been serving in ministry for a long time and continue to sign up year after year. Right now in ministry it seems as though people are much more likely to burn out rather than stick it out. And I don’t want to make light of burnout because I know it’s a real thing, but you shouldn’t be burning out when you’re serving once or twice a month. That’s a copout, not a burnout.

So, if you’re looking for leaders, look for the four P’s: Potential, Passion, Patterns, and Perseverance.

What would you add to this list? Am I asking for too much? Let me know by leaving a comment and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

Never Assume Anything

Have you ever heard the saying, “Ministry would be easy if it didn’t involve people?” It’s so true, yet people are the best part of ministry. We couldn’t do ministry without them, but people can be so frustrating, especially when it comes to leadership.

Let me ask you a question, have you ever had to have a conversation with a leader about something that you thought should’ve been obvious? Let me give you an example.

I used to oversee every ministry leader in our church. I was the direct report for every leader in worship, children, and first impressions. I loved the job because honestly I’m a bit of a control freak, but eventually our church got too large for me to continue to do that.

During that time, social media was really starting to blow up. So I made it a priority to friend all of our leaders, volunteers, and anyone else who I knew came to our church. I still do it today.

What amazed me was the conversations I had to have with leaders based on what they posted on social media, things that seemed real obvious to me that you shouldn’t post if you’re leading a kid’s environment. That sort of thing. I’m sure you’ve had to do the same.

But I’m beginning to learn more and more throughout the years that I should never assume anything because assuming tends to make a you-know-what out of you and me.

So, these are four things I never assume anymore.

  1. People Know What I Know

Most of the time, this one is my fault because I haven’t done a good enough job communicating something. Sometimes this happens because I forget, but most of the time this happens because I just thought it was obvious that you shouldn’t play football in the sanctuary. My bad.

  1. People Think Like I Think

People don’t think the same as I do. They haven’t read the same books, they haven’t experienced the same teachings, and they didn’t grow up the same as me. So, if I want them to think like me, I need to expose them to what I’ve been exposed to. This is why reading books together is such a powerful leadership tool.

  1. People Work Like I Work

Hand me a shovel and I’m ready to quit immediately. Hand me a computer and I can work for days on end. People work at different paces and different rhythms. Just because someone doesn’t do something as fast as me doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lazy, they just have different strengths than I do.

  1. People Act Like I Act

I’m always early and never late. If I see something that needs to be done, I want to jump in and help. These things come naturally to me but not to everyone. Sometimes someone seeing you do it will inspire them to do it, but sometimes you need to take a leader aside and tell them what’s expected of them.

I’m learning in life and ministry, my assumptions often get me in trouble. So, instead of blaming someone else, I’m realizing that often the problem starts with me.

What’s your experience with assumptions in ministry? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

Marriage, Ministry, & Valentine’s Day

Guest Post: Tim & Heather Key

We, as ministry professionals, spend our lives serving the needs of others.  This person is lost and needs Jesus, that family is having a crisis and needs counsel, and yet another brother or sister in Christ has gone to be with the Lord.  Who has time for romance when serving the almighty God?

With Valentine’s Day upon us, perhaps it’s time to reflect for a moment on our relationship with our spouse.  This may be the one day of the year that your spouse looks forward to more than any other to gain your undivided attention.  That special card, their favorite flower, or perhaps their favorite box of chocolates.  Those things are wonderful.  But what if Valentine’s Day could come more than once a year?  What if these special memories could become part of your daily walk?  Is that even possible?  Here are two things that we have learned in our 26 years of marriage:

1) You don’t need a holiday to celebrate your love

We have decided that our entire year can be a celebration of our love for each other.  Gifts come and go at random intervals.  We seek to engage each other through date nights and other activities on a regular basis.

This is perhaps something that everyone can do, even with small children.  It does require some planning because you will need a babysitter a few evenings per month.  One of the best ideas that we’ve seen is to find another couple with children and trade babysitting for date nights.  This can be the most economical method.  Even if you must hire a sitter for a few hours, the time away from the kids can be just enough breathing room to recharge your love tank for each other.

You don’t even have to go out to a restaurant.  The goal is to ensure that you are spending quality alone time with your spouse and without interruption.  There were a lot of times that we just weren’t able to afford eating out or doing anything that cost additional money.  We would work out something for the kids to do with a sitter, friend, or family member for a few hours and just stay home, watch a movie, and whatever else might happen.  Sometimes we just took a nap together because we were exhausted.

One of Heather’s favorite things to do was going to the lake, sitting on the levy, and talking.  In order for me to get her undivided attention, I had to remove her from the home.  All she sees at home are things that she needs to be doing around the house.  It can be difficult for some people to just unplug from the mommy role and switch to the loving wife role.  It helps to understand how your spouse operates and plan accordingly.

2) Take a vacation together without the children

We also plan to have at least one quality vacation together without the distractions of life and children.  We just recently had our first 2-week vacation ever.  We spent a few days in Florida acting like youths riding all the roller coasters at Universal Studios Orlando and SeaWorld.  We then ventured off on a 7-night cruise to the Western Caribbean.  The memories that we made and the time that we spend together cannot be measured.  There is nothing in the world like having this kind of dedicated time to spend and share with the one that you love most.

We realize that a 2-week vacation without the children can be quite impossible when you have children at home.  Our youngest daughter moved out on her own in 2016 leaving us empty-nesters.  The way we managed to take vacations alone looked very different over the years.  Here are some suggestions from what worked for us:

  • One Night with You – this works well if you have children under 5 years old.  Just focus on taking one night away to keep your fires burning. Try and do it more often, at least once per quarter.
  • Weekend Getaway – We did simple weekend escapes as the kids began to age a little more.  Nothing fancy at all.  Reasonable hotel in a city not too far from home for connection, focus, and rest.  We tended to walk around shops and have reasonable meals or catch a movie.
  • Extended Getaway – We only took a single week long vacation alone before our kids were old enough to take care of themselves.  In 1999, we took a trip to Niagra Falls.  The girls were 8 and 6 at the time and it was way too stressful for them and us.  As our oldest reached her mid-teen years and matured, we were able to take these longer vacations to the mountains or other places.  It was much more enjoyable when you didn’t have to worry about them so much and could really relax together.  The kids will not be happy with you for not taking them along but the time away from them to focus on your relationship will make you both better parents.

We have not always had this level of balance in our marriage.  We wrote about the tragic marriage that we had in the early years of our ministry work on our blog.  The good news is that we found a balance in our lives to have a rich marriage, stable children, and remain consistent servants to our calling in the ministry.

So many of our brothers and sisters who serve the cross struggle in their marriage and family relationships.  We are living proof that it doesn’t have to be that way.  This doesn’t mean that we always agree on everything or that we like to do the same things.  In fact, the opposite is true.  We don’t usually enjoy the same types of entertainment and our ideas of quality and relaxation time can be quite polar sometimes.  But what we have gotten correct in our relationship is that we enjoy spending time with each other.

We recognize that our differences in life are okay.  God made us different as a compliment to each other.  Areas that I am weak, Heather is usually stronger and vice-versa.  If we were both just alike, one of us wouldn’t be needed…  Think about that.  Embrace the difference and enjoy each other’s strengths.

My wife and I committed our lives together and God blessed our union with two wonderful daughters.  They came from our passion and love.  He didn’t call us to be unstable, miserable, and destructive in our behavior in a way that destroys our family.  No, He established us as a reflection of Christ’s relationship with His Church.  To raise our daughters to know who He is and how to establish their own godly marriages and families.

So, give your relationship with your spouse a priority in your life.

  • God never intended for us to sacrifice our marriages and families on the altar of the church.  Though the work we do for our church and community is important, our responsibility to our spouse and families are greater.  Don’t allow your work, even in ministry, to rob your family.
  • Be a father or mother who is deeply engaged in the home and raising of the children.
  • Establish good boundaries so that you give to your spouse due benevolence.  Don’t just give your life mate the leftovers and scraps.  Serve your best every day and make your relationship a reflection of the true love that God intended it to be.

Your children, your friends, and your ministry followers will then see a true servant of God who has the peace of God displayed before them.

It is our prayer that your marriage is blessed beyond measure.

Tim and Heather Key are the founders of LifeTravelers.us Marriage Blog. They have been married for over 26 years, have two daughters and are expecting their first grandson. Their passion is for helping couples overcome the struggles of marriage.

I’m Saved, Now What?

Do you recall the moment you surrendered your life to Christ? Maybe you can’t remember the exact moment, but I’m sure you can recall the feeling of immense relief knowing Christ had forgave you of all your sins. Then shortly thereafter, maybe you had the same thought I did, what do I do now?

It’s a question many people ask, especially those who are just starting on their faith journey.

But it’s not always limited to new Christians. You will find many people who have been coming to church for years who are still wondering, where do I start?

I would suggest this simple framework for anyone asking the question, now what?

  1. Study It.

I mean the Bible, of course. Early followers of Jesus were just that, followers who literally followed Him around, experienced His teaching, and tried to apply it to their lives. We, unfortunately, don’t have a “physical” Jesus to follow around, so God gave us the next best thing, a narrative of His life and teachings. We would be wise to study it on a daily basis.

  1. Pray It.

I haven’t always been the best at this discipline. I used to always fall asleep in the middle of my nightly prayers. Now, I pray out loud with my girls each night, harder to fall asleep that way, and I pray each morning on my drive in to work. We may not have a “physical” Jesus we can speak to, but I take great comfort in knowing that Jesus hears my prayers.

  1. Live It.

I believe it was James who said, “Faith without works is dead.” You should be living out your faith. What Would Jesus Do? wasn’t just a clever Christian catchphrase, it’s really something we should be asking ourselves. If you’re not finding ways to love and serve your neighbor, you’re not following the example Jesus set for us. Volunteering at your church would be a great place to get started.

  1. Share It

Faith is like a hug, it’s better shared with someone else. Oh sure, you can hug yourself, but it’s a bit awkward. Start by finding a friend or family member to share your story with. Then look for ways you can share what God has done in your life with others.

This is certainly not meant to be an exhaustive list, but it is a great place to start.

Does your church offer a class for new believers? What does it look like? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and if you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to the blog for tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.