[PODCAST] How Executive Pastors Shape the Church’s Future

“Thanks for joining us for the unSeminary podcast. We’re welcoming back Phil Taylor, a seasoned leader with over 20 years of experience in various pastoral roles and a passion for helping pastors turn vision into reality, which he does through his ministry, Backstage Pastors.

Tune in as Phil shares insights on the importance of the Executive Pastor’s role in the church and how they can build their relationship with the staff and Lead Pastor.

  • The Executive Pastor role. // Over the last ten years, there’s been a big shift in churches accepting and understanding the need for the executive pastor (XP) role. Churches recognize that they are more effective when they have strong second-chair leaders that have both the skills and authority to make change happen. Many churches now have multiple executive pastors, often dividing responsibilities between ministry and operations. Sometimes an XP even takes on more of a co-pastor role with the lead teaching pastor.
  • When do you need an XP? // Deciding whether a church needs an executive pastor can be based on the style of the lead pastor. A big vision thinker will often need an executive pastor to work with him sooner. A lead pastor who is more comfortable thinking strategically about details may be able to get by longer without an XP. But when you get to the 1500 range in attendance, Phil recommends that your church explores hiring an executive pastor.
  • Be attentive to the soul. // Phil has found, in his coaching work, that executive pastors aren’t always as attentive to their own souls as they could be, being focused more on getting things done. Given the task-oriented nature of XPs, they must be intentional about attending to their emotional and spiritual well-being. The updated edition of Phil’s book, Defining the Executive Pastor Role, delves into this crucial topic, encouraging leaders to cultivate emotional intelligence and engage in spiritual disciplines, such as observing a sabbath.
  • Be aware of your impact on the staff. // Because executive pastors tend to be more driven and high capacity, it can create feelings of unrest on the church staff when people feel they need to be doing as much as the executive pastor. Don’t make others feel guilty for being gifted differently. Approach your people with a soul-focused attitude, and step back from the focus on the work, turning again to worship.
  • Ease into the role. // Two of the chapters in Phil’s book talk about next steps for the new or aspiring executive pastor and their first year in a new church. One thing new executive pastors often forget is that people can struggle with change. Don’t jump into making a lot of changes in your first year unless they are immediately necessary; rather, take time to earn trust.
  • Build the LP/XP relationship. // The relationship between the executive pastor and the lead pastor is the most important one in the church because it sets the tone for the church and the staff culture. It requires weekly time together, open communication, honesty, and a commitment to avoiding triangulation. It’s essential to honor each other publicly and work collaboratively to steer the church towards its vision.
  • Plain Joe Studios. // Another way that Phil helps pastors turn vision to reality is with his work at Plain Joe Studios. Plain Joe helps churches, Christian schools, and not-for-profits tell their stories more effectively. They have a personality profile that can help churches better understand who they are and how they are different from other churches in their city.”

Listen to the full podcast.

5 Benefits of Homegrown Worship Leaders

In the ever-evolving landscape of church ministries, one role stands out as a beacon of authenticity and deep-rooted connection – the homegrown worship leader. More than just a musical maestro, these locally cultivated talents offer a unique blend of insights and advantages that can propel your congregation’s worship experience to new heights.

Discover the profound benefits of nurturing leaders from within, as they intimately understand the flock’s heartbeat, honor the church’s rich heritage, and deftly navigate the delicate balance between cherished traditions and Spirit-led innovation.

From fostering unwavering commitment and weathering storms with steadfast resilience, to seamlessly bridging the gap between past and future, homegrown worship leaders possess an unparalleled advantage – the gift of being truly planted in the soil of your community.

Unlock the transformative power of this oft-overlooked treasure trove and learn how to identify, cultivate, and empower the homegrown worship leaders among you. Prepare to witness your church’s worship experience bloom into a vibrant expression of unity, authenticity, and Spirit-led excellence.

Read the full article.

21 Popular Young Adult Ministry Ideas & Activities

Keeping young adults engaged and passionate about their faith can be a daunting task. But fear not! We’ve got an electrifying list of 21 red-hot ideas guaranteed to breathe new life into your young adult ministry.

From organizing soul-stirring worship nights and unforgettable mission trips, to hosting game nights that spark contagious laughter and bonds that last a lifetime – this list has it all. Discover creative ways to foster spiritual growth, cultivate authentic community, and unlock the boundless potential within your vibrant group.

Be inspired by out-of-the-box thinking that’ll set your ministry ablaze! Adventure awaits as you explore mind-blowing concepts like creative worship workshops, exhilarating retreats, and service projects that’ll impact your community in profound ways.

Don’t let another moment slip by – delve into these thrilling ideas today and watch your young adult ministry soar to newfound heights of passion, purpose, and sheer awesomeness.

Read the full article.

It Is A Privilege To Lead Worship!

From singing as a child in the congregation to leading worship for over 40 years, Mark Cole shares his profound connection to musical worship. Relating deeply to the biblical figure David, he bares his soul, revealing the profound highs of encountering God’s presence through music and the humbling lows of human weakness. With a heart for mentoring the next generation of passionate worshippers, he offers a candid glimpse into the life of a worship leader – a life marked by both challenge and unspeakable privilege. Get ready to be inspired by this raw, authentic journey of faith expressed through the universal language of music.

Read the full article.

Heidelberg Church Hosts Unconventional Taylor Swift-Themed Service

HEIDELBERG, Germany — The 600-year-old Church of the Holy Spirit in Heidelberg, known for its historical significance in the Protestant Reformation, recently hosted a Taylor Swift-themed worship service that has drawn both praise and criticism. The event, titled “Anti-Hero — Taylor Swift Church Service,” attracted over 1,200 attendees, many of them younger than the church’s typical congregation.

Organizers said the service aimed to engage younger generations by focusing on the religious themes and messages in Swift’s music. Pastor Christof Ellsiepen explained, “The Church of the Holy Spirit has always been a place of encounter and exchange. That’s why a pop-music religious service fits so perfectly. With it, we are giving space to the questions and issues that occupy the younger generation.”

Throughout the service, Parish Pastor Vincenzo Petracca quoted Swift’s lyrics and highlighted the Christian messages in her songs, which often address topics like women’s rights, racism, and gender equality. While acknowledging that Swift has faced criticism from some conservative Christian circles for her stances on these issues, Petracca emphasized the connection between faith and action in her music.

The congregation was treated to live performances of six Swift songs, and emotions ran high during the rendition of “Soon You’ll Get Better,” a song Swift wrote for her mother battling cancer. The service concluded with the entire congregation singing and dancing to “Shake It Off.”

However, not everyone is convinced that featuring pop music in a historic church setting is appropriate. Some critics argue that the event strays too far from traditional worship and may be seen as a gimmick to attract younger attendees. The fact that the service took place in Heidelberg, the birthplace of the influential Heidelberg Catechism, a foundational document for many reformed denominations, has also raised eyebrows.

Former Boyzone star Shane Lynch recently accused Swift of engaging in satanic rituals during her live shows, further fueling the debate. “You’ll see a lot of hoods up and masks on and fire ceremonies. Even down to Taylor Swift — one of the biggest artists in the world — you watch one of her shows and she has two or three different demonic rituals to do with the pentagrams on the ground, to do with all sorts of stuff on her stage,” Lynch said.

As churches grapple with declining attendance and an aging membership, unconventional approaches like the Taylor Swift service may become more common. However, the question remains whether such events will lead to a sustained revival in church participation or merely serve as short-term attractions that ultimately detract from the core message of faith.

Tech Directors: The Unsung Heroes of Worship ⁤

Let’s be real, tech directors are the backbone of our worship ministry. Without them, we’d be drowning in a sea of feedback and awkward silences.

Building Bridges, Not Walls

Want to empower your tech director? Encourage them to build relationships like a pro! They need to connect with their team, volunteers, and anyone who’s ever touched a mic or a spotlight.

But here’s the catch – relationships take time and effort. Your tech director needs to be intentional about connecting with volunteers every week. Learn their stories, passions, and what makes them tick.

Sharing the Load

Being a tech director can be lonely. It’s easy to think you have to do everything yourself. But that’s a one-way ticket to burnout.

Empower your tech director to share the load. Encourage them to get input from their team, delegate tasks, and let others step up and lead. When everyone feels invested, amazing things (and ministry) happen!

Geeking Out and Reaching Out

Contrary to popular belief, tech directors aren’t supposed to be mysterious loners who only emerge for coffee and bathroom breaks.

The best tech directors never stop learning and growing. They geek out at trade shows, pick the brains of other audio engineers, and aren’t afraid to admit when they don’t know something.

Encourage your tech director to network with their peers. Remind them that there are no dumb questions, and even the pros are always looking to improve.

The Care and Feeding of Your Tech Director

Being a tech director can be thankless. The hours are long, the pressure is high, and there’s no room for error. One glitch during a service can cause half the congregation to turn their heads around to scowl at the tech booth.

That’s where you come in! Create a culture of support, appreciation, and fun for your tech team. Let your tech director know you’ve got their back, value their work, and are there to listen when things get tough.

Don’t underestimate the power of encouragement, gratitude, or even a silly inside joke. These small things can keep your tech director motivated and energized.

Bottom Line

Empowering your tech director is about more than just making sure the mics are hot and the lights are on point. It’s about investing in a relationship, supporting their growth, and recognizing their vital role in creating life-changing worship experiences.

So go ahead, worship leaders – give your tech directors some love! Empower them to be the unsung heroes they were always meant to be. Your ministry might just reach new heights in the process!

How to Make Worship More Than a Spectator Sport

Ready for a revelation that will change the way you approach worship planning? Tired of passive, mindless worship experiences? Discover the cure for spectator-style services that leave your congregation uninspired!

Learn the secrets to intentional worship planning that ignites active participation and life-changing encounters with the Holy Spirit. Forget the mundane and embrace a fresh perspective that prioritizes clear objectives, purposeful song selection, and seamless integration of music with the overarching theme.

But that’s not all! You’ll learn how to harness the power of evaluation, gaining invaluable insights from diverse sources to continually refine and elevate your worship experiences. Say goodbye to hollow compliments and hello to transformative truth that propels your services to new heights.

From crafting atmospheres ripe for the Spirit’s movement to strategically choosing songs that speak directly to the hearts of your congregation, this article is a must-read for every worship leader yearning to break free from passive routines.

Read the full article.

A Simple Checklist for Healthy Worship

Embark on a transformative journey that will revitalize the way you approach worship music in your church! This comprehensive guide offers a fresh perspective on curating a spiritually nourishing and personally resonant worship experience.

Like a skilled physician, you’ll learn to conduct an in-depth health check on the songs you bring to your congregation. Discover the art and science behind selecting biblical, accessible, relevant, and beautiful worship anthems that resonate with the diverse needs of your church family.

Learn to craft a well-rounded, soul-stirring worship service with the powerful “C.A.C.T.U.S.” framework. From igniting the flame of adoration to facilitating heartfelt confession and thanksgiving, you’ll gain invaluable insights into fostering an environment where true worship can thrive.

And prepare for a thought-provoking revelation – what if our role as worship leaders is not to be “up front,” but rather to walk alongside our congregations, empowering them to lead the praise? This paradigm shift will challenge your perspective and inspire you to reimagine your approach to worship leadership.

Elevate your worship experience to new heights, captivating hearts and minds with the transformative power of God’s Word woven seamlessly into every aspect of your service. Don’t miss this opportunity to revitalize your church’s worship journey – the path to a deeper, more fulfilling encounter with the Divine awaits!

Read the full article.

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