Posts tagged ‘congregation’

March 30, 2012

Mega Dream 448 0834

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/doncav/3308653398/sizes/l/in/photostream/

It can happen to you! Winning the Mega million lottery is the dream that everyone is talking about today. 500 million dollars and growing. I have not been into a store yet today that sold lottery tickets and there has not been a line of people buying their tickets. I heard one guy saying that if he won, he would be sure to find a church to give some money to so that God would be happy. I gave him my card. I did not tell him that God could not be bought off.
All of us have fantasized at one time or another about what we would do with millions of dollars being given to us. New cars, new houses, dream vacations, and God all top the list. Many Christians make deals with God in order to increase their odds of winning. They say stuff like, I would pay off the church debt, or I would help missionaries around the world, or, and this is my favorite, I would make sure my pastor gets a million or two. I tell my congregation all the time that if they win, tithe. Giving 10% of $500 million would be $50 million for those who are wondering. With that, we could accomplish all the for mentioned prayers.
If I won, I am sure that I would give a lot to the church and to missionaries, and of course, I am the pastor, so I would make sure I have a couple of million. I write this just in case God reads my blog and it helps increase my odds of winning. But in reality I am not counting on becoming a multimillionaire any time soon.
So many times we think that money is the key to happiness. Sure it can help, but I know of lots of rich people who died miserable. I have never been rich but I have been very happy for most of my adult life. One thing I have found is that rarely money has had much to do with my true happiness. That has come from family and friends and my faith in God. Rarely has there ever been a bad situation that depended on money to restore my happiness. Don’t misunderstand, I like money and it can be a tool to reach happiness, but in no way is it the source of happiness.
Matthew 16:26 What will it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? When Jesus spoke these words, he was challenging us to think past what this world has to offer. In 18 years as a pastor I have never been by someone on their death-bed who wished that they had worked more or made more money. Most say they wished they had done more to make a difference in others lives. Most say that they are anxious about what they might face after they die and hope that God is merciful because in contrast to what they know the Bible teaches, they have fallen a bit short.
No one can say for sure what happens after we die. But here is a fact that no one can deny. Money will mean nothing after we are gone. So while we are here, perhaps we should look into what we can do to gain happiness in things that money can’t but rather the things that relationships offer, and yes, I will try to find our happiness in something eternal, Jesus Christ.
So if you win the lottery, take care of others, especially us poor pastors. But don’t rely totally on it to give you joy and beware of the friends and family that you will meet that you never knew you had.
Sincerely, your friend and brother… if you win.
If you don’t win…Sincerely, just some dude writing a blog.

September 23, 2011

Looking For A Church

by pastortimfowler

I know that looking for a church to attend can be frustration no matter if you are looking for the first time as a new Christian or you are looking again as a more seasoned believer. I hear of people who look and stop because of one bad experience or that don’t look enough because they are easily frustrate. So I thought about giving some tips to help if you ever find yourself looking for a new church. Here are a few things that will help if you are looking for a good church to attend.
1. If you are a new Christian, I always encourage people to stay in the same church for at least a year. This gives you time to develop the basics of your new faith and therefore be able to decide whether or not you even need to find a new church. If you are in a church that preaches Jesus and His word and even if you don’t feel like it is where you need to be, hold off looking until you understand better what God’s desire in you life is. It may be that you are right where you need to be for any number of reasons. Get yourself rooted and grounded in your faith first.
2. Pray. This is the obvious answer, I know. But too many times our search begins with emotions not prayer. God may want you stay right where you and we not have allowed Him to convey that to us. Be specific about your motives, your needs, and your family’s needs, but also be sensitive about the fact that God knows our needs and He will never confuse them with our wants. You want to be sure that God is not keeping you where you can be the solution if there is a problem or might be using a situation to teach you patience. The church should be your family and family doesn’t run away just because you are not happy.
3. Do your homework. Too many times people just drive to the next nearest church or go to the latest big thing in churches. Not that either is wrong, but this is not how to find anything else you are looking for and should not be the way you find a church. Decide what you need and are looking for in a church. If you want a large church with lots of stuff, you don’t need to go to a small country church. Visit websites of churches that you think you might want to visit. Be sure that their doctrine and beliefs are close to yours. Look at style of worship, children’s activity, and small group classes.
4. Pick 2 or 3 to visit. Too many times we bounce from church to church to church and after the third or fourth one we are confused and frustrated. But if you have done your homework you should have a better feel of the ones in your area that meets your needs and can narrow it down to 2 or 3. Visit the first one at least 3 times. Attend a small group and go to the evening and or mid-week service. Get a good feel for who they really are and don’t be afraid to let that church know of your intentions. You want to see if they treat people different if they are just visiting than they do people who have been there a while. Make notes of what you like and don’t like. And then visit the next one and do the same. Do not make these visits on major holidays like Easter and Christmas, because most churches ramp up everything during these times and you are looking for what is normal activity.
5. Try to meet with the pastor privately. This will let you see how interactive he is with his congregation. If you are looking for a very personable pastor and one is hard to reach it might not be for you. This doesn’t mean that the pastor is not caring, it may just be that he is busy, so use common sense there. When you get with him, ask questions about his vision, leadership style, and core beliefs. Most congregations are a reflection of the pastor, so see if they match up. Ask him what his policies are for people getting involved in the type ministry that you are interested in serving in. See if he is someone you can follow because he is the shepherd of that flock.
6. Take a day to talk. If you are married, this would mean you and your spouse, involve the kids if they are old enough but they should not be the deciding factor. If you are single, find a good Christian friend to talk to. Pray for wisdom and seek God’s will for this. I would suggest that this time be a Sunday morning. Yep, don’t go to church that day, but rather seek God’s will for this major decision that you are about to make. I believe if God is leading you that there will be an agreement that happens rather easily. Don’t let a minor thing become a stumbling block, because Satan wants you confused and discouraged. Once you have decided which church that you want to make your home, share that decision with they whole family and or friend.
7. Began to attend regularly. Don’t join immediately, although some churches won’t allow membership until you attend a class for new members, some will let you join right away. Hold off for a month or so just to be sure of your decision. Give, serve, and participate as much as they will allow until you join, but let God confirm this in your heart. Once you decide to join, ask for another meeting with the pastor to let him know your decision and ask the best way to make it public. This does vary from church to church and he will give you the best way to make it public. Tell him that you are ready to serve in the capacity as a member and will follow his leader as he sees fit.
This can be a tough time in a Christians life, but can be very rewarding. You can learn how to hear from God more clearly and strengthen your faith. The local church is important to God and you are an important part of that local church. So follow these things and I believe that you will know God’s place for you and be ready to take part in growing the Body of Christ in your new church family.