Blog
Posted on February 15, 2018 9:00 AM by Josh Carter
Categories: Leadership
 
As Pastors, how we engage culture matters. If we are honest, one of the critical ways we engage culture today is through the use of social media. Yet in a culture where anyone can say anything at anytime, when political polarization is an understatement and passions burn like wildfires, weighing the pros and cons of our social media presence can be a really difficult task. Let me ask you this question, have you ever written a post or comment only to delete what you wrote before you hit “send”? Why? 

For me, knowing what to post or when to comment can sometimes be a difficult challenge. I’ll give you a few examples. As I scrolled through Facebook recently (it could have just as easily been Twitter or another platform), here are some of the articles I came across:

•    Baker can refuse to make same-sex wedding cakes, judge rules
•    Kim Jong Un's sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics
•    What Does It Mean to Be ‘Pro-Life’?
•    5 things husbands should do to become romantic

Honestly, there were probably several others that caught my eye too. Let’s be honest though, as pastors, we don’t have the bandwidth to like, share, repost, retweet, comment, or respond to comments on everything that catches our eye. I need some guidelines, some filters, in my life to help me think about when to post and comment.  Below are a few filters that I try to think through when deciding what I should share and when I need to just keep scrolling.
 
1) Is what I’m sharing a gospel issue? Don’t get me wrong, I post about my family, friends, and fun activities. I share jokes, commentary on sports events, vacations, and conferences. However, when it comes to sharing posts where I question “Will this stir controversy or get a lot of comments that I may ‘need’ to respond to,” the following filters are helpful. The first filter is always, is this a gospel issue. If the answer is yes, then I can proceed to the next filter.
 
2) Does this post (or article) help the people of my church and community better understand the gospel for themselves? Not every post or article, even if it is a gospel issue, helps to advance the gospel in the lives of the people I pastor or in the community I serve. Sometimes it’s because I’ve beaten a dead horse, meaning I’ve said and shared the issue so much that those who paid attention already get it and those who disagree are ignoring me altogether. Other times it’s as simple as the post or article is muddled in communicating the gospel. Finally, other times, the article is just so long that no one is going to read it all the way through. If I am struggling to read the whole article myself, it’s probably not one I want to pass along to burden others with too. Note, you actually have to read the article yourself to know these answers!
 
3) Am I passionate about what is being addressed? There is rarely sense in sharing a post or article that I myself don’t feel a certain level of passion about what is being addressed. My passion will lead to compassionate responses. If I am dispassionate about the topic, I’m usually quick to look for a way out, a shut-down comment to end the discussion. That leads to my last filter.
 
4) Do I have the time for follow-up comments and conversation? Honestly, this is a big one for me personally. Sharing the gospel and addressing gospel issues always takes time. As much as I would love to think that my wit and intellect are so amazing that people are just going to see how simple I have made an issue and agree with me, this is rarely the case. One-liners don’t shut down arguments, they shut down conversations, meaning I have lost the right or ability to speak truth into someone’s life. If I don’t have time to thoughtfully engage in a meaningful way, I often don’t share in the first place.
 
So this is just some of my process when discussing and sharing “hot-topics” on social media. Do you use these? What would you add to the list?
 
Posted on February 1, 2018 10:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership, Missions
When I was in my 20s, I nearly died and was healed only by the Lord. During that rough time, a thought hit me: Is what I'm doing making a difference? Does it matter?

While I was attending a Purpose Driven Church workshop in 2005, I heard Rick Warren tell attendees to place greeters at their church doors that represented the kind of person that they wanted their church to attract. If that’s 90 year-old men, then that’s okay.

Who does your church attract? To whom does you ministry matter to the glory of God?

Two studies released in 2011 really got my attention. As a leader in the Orality Movement, I couldn't help but notice. One study was by the University of Nebraska and the other was by the American Sociological Association. They showed that whites in America with high school educations declined in their frequency of church attendance, while those with college degrees were the most frequent attenders today.

Churches have increasingly developed a literate culture. After all, we're "people of the Bible." Look at your own church. Does it have a literate worldview preference? is it attracting literates? Almost everything that most church leaders typically are taught to do supports a literate worldview. Projected scripture, reading verses from all over the Bible, using fill-in-the-blank handouts, summarizing biblical narratives, conducting word studies, and exegeting texts. Unfortunately, these things create a non-reproducible environment by church members. There is a disconnect from the general population by literate worldview believers who rarely attract people other than those who are like themselves.

Roughly half of everyone in America struggles with literacy at the level used in the Bible. That statistic is from the U.S. Dept. of Education who conducted adult literacy studies in 1993 and again in 2003.

Training that relies on the literate approach produces believers that cannot easily pass along what they have learned. They often become irrelevant; they don’t matter. Meanwhile, I have heard complaints from the most highly educated pastors as I have traveled the globe that church members are just not witnessing as they should. If making disciples is important, shouldn't we be reproducible among all people, even oral learners? If we just keep doing the same thing, then rank and file church members will just continue to put in a good word for Jesus or invite people to church to hear the pastor, experience the music, or have a Bible study explained to them. No wonder so many churches have turned worship services into what some are calling a show!

So the ways of learning, thinking, and communicating that are second nature to most homiletics professors are dependent on high levels of literacy. We have had literacy skills so long that we forget what it was like before we acquired them. So we seldom recognize the literateness of our homiletical methods. We expect our students to use these skills in preparing and presenting sermons, perhaps unwittingly to the detriment of their listeners. – Grant Lovejoy, “‘But I Did Such Good Exposition’: Literate Preachers Confront Orality.” Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society 1 (December 2001): 22-32.

A pastor’s ability to explain the Bible to others is highly valued in training schools. However, is telling every detail of a passage the equivalent of a lawn sprinkler hoping some drops wet the random blade of grass? Are people staying with you or tuning you out? If you go deep, do they go with you?

Small groups that don’t lecture, but ask powerful open-ended questions do a great job at getting people to think. They interact with the text and can reproduce it orally in the workplace. Exegesis is not wrong, but it depends on who says it. If believers do the exegesis as the Holy Spirit leads them, then the church leader can do a better job of making disciples like Jesus did. And that matters.

Our association of churches is immersed in a community with one million unchurched and hundreds of thousands who are not born again. May we matter to them as we seek to be increasingly relevant. You may not be near death, but it never hurts to ask, "Is what I'm doing making a difference? Does it matter?"
Posted on January 30, 2018 5:50 PM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
If the devil can’t make us bad, he makes us busy.  It seems that in our culture today, the devil is quite successful.  We use the justification of busyness to excuse ourselves from many things of spiritual significance.  That’s true on a personal level and on a corporate church level as well.  As a church family, we can become so busy with meaningful activities that we can let the mission of the church become secondary.  So how do we keep the main thing, the main thing?
First, the leaders of the church must set the example in evangelism.  It begins with the pastor, the staff, the deacons, ministry directors and the Sunday School teachers.  The church looks to her leaders for evangelistic vision.  The leaders see it as their job to create an evangelistic climate in the church, and their love for the lost influences the culture of the church.  In a Sunday School class, the teacher’s burden for the lost permeates each lesson.  The outreach leader of the class works the prospect file so new people can be reached.  Even the class’s prayer time can have an evangelistic focus.  I know some teachers even offer an invitation in their classroom, at least once a quarter.  In an evangelistic church, the burden for the lost is evident in the hearts and lives of the church leaders.
Second, in evangelistic churches, the people gather with a motivation to reach people.  It is said that visitors decide whether they are coming back to a church within the first seven or eight minutes!  That’s long before the preacher preaches, or the worship service gets started.  Guests come into a new church needing to be warmly greeted by friendly members who can help them find the nursery, children’s department, etc.  Members who are mindful of lost people will seek out ways to help guests feel at home in the worship gathering.  Evangelistic church members realize that Sunday morning is for more than just worship.  Each year has 52 special evangelistic opportunities as the gospel is presented in the music, the message and the meaningful touches of a congregation that has a desire to see people saved.  Sunday School leaders with an evangelistic drive will be on the lookout for new prospects who can be led to Christ through the ministry of their small group.
Third, evangelistic churches live on mission after the worship gathering is over.  The congregation doesn’t just attend church, it is the church outside the building, touching lives in Jesus’ name.  In the workplace, evangelistic members see themselves as missionaries to a lost culture.  They look for opportunities to serve others and meet needs that they see.  As the opportunity arises, they know how to share their faith and lead others to make a decision for Christ.  Such a congregation of evangelistically-minded people will see themselves as missionaries to their neighborhoods and schools.  They recognize that the Great Commission is done primarily outside the church building.  A Sunday School class can engage lost people using various class projects.  I know of one Sunday School class that set up a day to give out cookies at the local supermarket, with a gospel tract included.  Another class went door to door in a retirement community, giving out chocolate bars with a homemade, evangelistic valentine’s day card included.  A class with a little creative effort can come up with many ways to serve and minister to people who desperately need the Lord.
The church is a family of friends on mission with God.  We must be cautious not to be so busy being a family of friends that we miss the fact that we are also on mission with God.  That’s the mindset of an evangelistic church.  Evangelism must never be sacrificed on the altar of busyness.
Posted on January 22, 2018 4:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
It has come to my attention lately that I have more years of life behind me than I do in front of me—at least physically speaking.  I have raised my children and now enjoy spoiling my grandchildren.  I’m so grateful that each of our six children are actively involved in good churches and they are helping their children to know and follow Jesus.  Nothing could make me happier. 
 
At this stage in life, I think it would be easy for me to kind of coast the rest of the way to the finish line and enjoy living in the joy of past success, but what a terrible waste that would be.  I attended a pastor’s conference last year and heard a speaker say that the most fruitful years for a pastor’s ministry are in his 60’s!  It seems appalling to me that I would even consider slowing down in one of the most productive times of life.  It would be like a football team that makes it to the red zone, 20 yards away from a touchdown, but always manages to fail in scoring.
 
All through the Bible we find passages that challenge us to invest in those who will come behind us—even if we are not related to those who will benefit from our investment!  This is a real legacy of love.  King David demonstrated his desire to invest in the next generation in 1 Chronicles 22.  He knew he would not be building a temple in Jerusalem.  That would be the task of his son, Solomon.  But David wanted to invest in the lives of those who would come behind him, so he began to set aside materials in his treasury that would later be used to construct one of the seven wonders of the ancient world—Solomon’s Temple.  In a sense, David was building a bridge that he would never cross.  He was planting a shade tree that he would never sit under.
 
Raising up champions for Christ requires that we have a great dream for the next generation to succeed.  As we envision their potential in the work of the kingdom, we are motivated to give of ourselves.  Self-centered living seems small and unworthy of our time, talents and treasures.  Such a dream, we know, honors the Lord God.  We never want to stop dreaming great things for God for we know His work will outlive us.  Our greatest epitaphs will be written upon the hearts of those who will carry on the work when we go on to heaven. 
 
Raising up spiritual champions requires a spirit of humility.  The Apostle Paul had such a spirit when he said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”  A true servant is most blessed when the work flourishes after he is gone.  Such humility knows the need to partner with others with the same heart.  It is amazing what can be done if we don’t care who gets the credit.
 
Raising up future champions for Christ requires a new sense of priority.  It is always wise to stop from time to time to re-evaluate what or to whom we give ourselves.  Sure, we could focus on “seeing the world” or “retiring in comfort,” but how is that any different than the man who built more silos to house his bumper crop, so he could be at ease.  That’s not success.  The wonderful reality is that after we breathe our last, our influence really can live on in the lives of others.
 
On a personal level, as I consider how I want to invest my 60’s, I realize that there is no better way to devote my ministerial time than in raising up young champions for Christ.  I am so thankful for those who have invested in me.  I would not be where I am today without those faithful teachers, deacons and pastors who loved me and saw potential in me.  By their example and their ministry, they helped me to learn what it means to be a committed follower of Christ.  I find that I want to be that kind of pastor and I want to be a part of that kind of church.
Posted on January 19, 2018 10:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Missions
If this association was a Winter Olympic event, it would be bobsledding. The runners count to get in sync, run flat out, and jump in together. They cross a point in which an electronic eye starts a timer. Most of the other Olympic events start from a standstill. Like bobsledding athletes, our pastors enter the New Year on the move!

Two years ago, even in the interview process, I heard how this association needed to work through pastors to help them become sending and fully missional churches. And we are now beginning a new day of associational missions to fulfill that challenge.

The 2018 Winter Olympics are scheduled February 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. During January and February, world-class athletes will gather to practice and compete. And during January and February here in the Cincinnati Area, CABA is launching new ways to help pastors address lostness. In the last edition of Focus, we listed nearly 30 people that are active in serving CABA churches. What a joy to see the fruit of their godly labor begin to grow!

CABA’s bobsled is on the rails and we’re moving. Full-time, bivo, church planters alike. We’re not starting from a standstill, but entering the race against lostness at a good clip. The clock is ticking! Jesus promised to return and we don’t know the hour. The Lord has used the past to ready us for this day. This time.

And we’re off – helping our pastors address lostness through coaching, networking, and planting churches. Together.
 
Mark Snowden is the CABA Missions Catalyst and serves as Director of Missional Leadership (DOM).
Posted on January 11, 2018 10:00 AM by Josh Carter
Categories: Leadership
This past week was my first week officially working for our association (though I’ve served as the Leadership Catalyst in a volunteer capacity for the past year and a half). I’m incredibly excited to begin this new role because it allows me to spend more time with pastors in Cincinnati with the goal of encouraging them personally and helping them discover resources to lead their congregations to reach & disciple more people, that then kingdom of God would increase! I consider this a huge privilege and so I want to share with you a couple of goals I have as the year begins:

First, we want to see pastor networks flourish in every region of Cincinnati. This is a tall task but we know that creating localized networks for continued encouragement, prayer, personal accountability, and  spurring one another on (Hebrews 10:24) to better lead our churches is incredibly valuable! In the coming days you might be contacted by one of our leaders to get plugged into a group near you. I’d greatly encourage you to do so. As pastors we often tell our congregations that everyone needs to be a part of a small group but then fail to take our own advice! Pastors, we really are better together! CABA Pastor Network Groups will each look different, taking on the personality and dealing with the needs of those involved, but most will meet once a month at a time convenient for the majority of local pastors. We have several leaders in place but are still looking for leaders in several areas of our city. Feel free to contact me at JCarter@CloughPike.com if you would like to help lead a group in your area. You can also view the map of the Cincinnati Area to see what region your church is in.
My second goal is to help pastors in our association get to know one another through creating multiple opportunities to have fun together. Have you forgotten ministry is supposed to be fun!?! We get the privilege of serving at the pleasure of the King of kings! How exciting is that? Still, sometimes we are so busy tending to the needs, planning and coordinating events of our own churches that we don’t take time to have a little fun ourselves. These fellowships create stress-free environments to bless you and often your families too. The next fellowship is a Pastor’s “Guys Night” with the Cincinnati Cyclones on March 22nd. This event if for pastors only but look forward to a late Spring event to bring your whole family. Tickets to the game are free but you need to contact Patti at CABAoffice@gmail.com to reserve your spot.

The third goal is to simply spend time this year connecting to pastors throughout our association. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have it all together but I’m happy to be a resource for you guys in any way that I can. James told the early churches that sometimes you have not because you ask not (James 4:2-3). I know this is contextually about praying to the Father, but it’s can also be true in everyday life and ministry. If you need something, feel free to shoot me an email and I will do my very best to connect you with resources that can make a difference in your ministry. Some resources that are available are coaching for you and your church, evangelism or discipleship trainings for your church, help planning your preaching for the year, among many others.

Thank you pastors for letting me serve you through our association. I’m looking forward to getting to know many of you better and to being a part of what Jesus is doing and is going to do in our city!
 
Josh Carter is CABA's Leadership Catalyst and pastors Clough Pike Baptist Church in Cincinnati.
Posted on January 4, 2018 8:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
All of us know that Sunday School attendance can go down a little in the cold-weather months.  Steve Parr is a Sunday School expert from the state of Georgia.  Brother Parr offers some great advice from his book, Sunday School that Really Responds.  Here are five suggestions for responding to those seasons of slump in attendance:

1. Take the seasons into consideration.  Do not think it unusual to occasionally go through seasonal slumps. You may be doing many things correctly and still be affected by the various seasons. Sunday school attendance tends to go through a cycle each year.  A holiday weekend in November followed by two holiday weekends in December will ordinarily bring a seasonal slump.  Although you have a couple of great Sundays, the holiday weekends can pull the average attendance for the month down significantly.  Once the children have their spring breaks and your members begin their summer vacations, the attendance may tend to slump again. What do you do when you encounter these seasonal slumps?

2. Focus on the things that you can control.  Should we cancel the holidays?  Certainly not! Holidays are great for celebration, for family gatherings, and for times of respite between the ordinary routines of life.  No one should be shamed for taking time to be with family or to take time away to refresh and relax.  Remember during those seasons to focus on the things that you have control of.  Consider the following: Do you have control of whether you participate in or provide training?  Do you have control over whether you contact and minister to those on your Sunday school roll?  Do you have control over whether you participate in outreach?  Be faithful to invest in those things that you do have control over which in turn influence the attendance.

3. Don't complain to the faithful about the unfaithful.  Understanding seasonal patterns can serve to minimize frustration when attendance falls off.  Consider these public statements from various Sunday school leaders or pastors: "I wish our members were more committed."  "People would be here if they loved Jesus more!"  "I don't know where everyone is today."  "Our attendance is horrible today."  These statements may or may not be true.  The problem is that you are complaining to the wrong people. It is not the fault of the people who are present that there are people who are absent.  I once saw a bumper sticker that said, "The beatings will continue until morale improves!"  You will find that volunteers (and people who attend church do so voluntarily) respond better to being challenged than being criticized.

4. Extend a challenge to your leaders and members.  Perhaps you are unsure if the slump that you are in is the result of a seasonal affect or perhaps some deeper issue.  In any case you should never be shy about challenging your members.  Challenge them to be faithful to worship, Bible study, and personal growth.  Challenge them to be faithful to service to the body of Christ, to be a faithful witness to those that do not know Christ, and to be faithful to minister to members of the church and community who are hurting.  The body of Christ will be strengthened, and attendance will grow strong if the members are faithful to these tasks.

5. Ramp up the contacts.  What is a contact?  It is an intentional communication on behalf of a Sunday school class or a church that takes place during the week to minister to a member, encourage an absentee, or to invite someone to attend.  Contacts are always important, but they become critical to minimize the effects of seasonal slumps.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors First Baptist, So. Lebanon.
Posted on January 2, 2018 10:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
If this Baptist association of churches was a Winter Olympic event, it would be bobsledding. The runners count to get in sync, run flat out, and jump in together. They cross a point in which an electronic eye starts a timer. Most of the other Olympic events start from a standstill.
 
Like bobsledding athletes, our pastors enter the New Year on the move!
 
Two years ago, even in the interview process, I heard how this association needed to work through pastors to help them become sending and fully missional churches. And we are now beginning a new day of associational missions to fulfill that challenge.

The 2018 Winter Olympics are scheduled February 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. During January and February, world-class athletes will gather to practice and compete. And during January and February here in the Cincinnati Area, CABA is launching new ways to help pastors address lostness. In the last edition of Focus, we listed nearly 30 people that are active in serving CABA churches. What a joy to see the fruit of their godly labor begin to grow!
 
CABA’s bobsled is on the rails and we’re moving. Full-time, bivo, church planters alike. We’re not starting from a standstill, but entering the race against lostness at a good clip. The clock is ticking! Jesus promised to return and we don’t know the hour. The Lord has used the past to ready us for this day. This time.
 
And we’re off – helping our pastors address lostness through coaching, networking, and planting churches. Together.
 
Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership (DOM) for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association (CABA).
Posted on January 2, 2018 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
As we conclude 2017, I’m reminded of a quote I heard, “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in.  A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”  Well, as we conclude 2017, I’m certainly an optimist about Sunday School.
 
I’m optimistic that Sunday School still works!  In our own church we have seen about 8 % attendance growth in our Sunday School.  We have also seen that growth translate into increased giving, increased worship attendance and more and stronger disciples of Jesus Christ.  As the Sunday School goes, so goes the church.  I still believe that and see the evidence to back it up.
 
I’m optimistic that starting new classes is how the Sunday School grows.  We have added classes in our own church in 2017, and the results are encouraging.  We started a new preschool class and a new mixed adult class for young adults.  These classes have not yet reached their potential, but there are people attending them that have never attended before and they are growing in the right direction.  
 
I’m optimistic about the way Sunday School classes assimilate new people into our church culture.  I know that when new people enroll in a class that they will be loved on, ministered to and taught God’s Word.  When they attend Sunday School, they are much more likely to have a quiet time, serve in a ministry, share their faith and tithe their income.  In addition, they are much more likely to stay active in the church for years to come.
 
I’m optimistic about how our current classes are developing new church leaders for the future.  As God’s Word is taught, it has transforming power.  Our thinking and our behavior is changed as we apply what the teacher brings to our hearts each Sunday.  The real-world problems people are facing are being connected to the powerful answers found in holy Scripture.  It’s life changing!  These new disciples can then, in turn, lead other disciples to maturity in Christ, creating a leadership base for our church to continue doing the Great Commission.
 
I’m optimistic that those who attend our Sunday School are going to be more excited about being a part our church.  As people are engaged in a ministering Sunday School class, they see how God can use them to impact others.  They see themselves involved in a greater mission and making a significant contribution.  They understand their value in the greater work of God’s kingdom.

I’m optimistic that our Sunday School is preparing the next generation for the work of God.  As our children and teens are being discipled in Sunday School, they are growing in knowledge and grace.  They will be able to face the challenges of living in a world that is becoming more opposed to Christianity.  They are being equipped to be true defenders of the faith and on how to live out the principles of the Word of God.  In truth, we are building for the church of tomorrow.
 
One man said, “I love when they drop the ball in Times Square. It's a nice reminder of what I did all year.”  I think I can honestly say that our Sunday School leaders have not dropped the ball in 2017.  Because of the steady, diligent effort of our teachers, we have something wonderful to build upon for 2018.  I can hardly wait to see what God will do.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors First Baptist, So. Lebanon, Oh. 
Posted on December 15, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
Jesus taught that the greatest leaders have the mind-set of a servant.  Probably the most difficult part of servant-leadership is when people treat you like a servant.  One football coach bemoaned the way people treated him by saying, “It’s like the fans either put you in the penthouse or the outhouse.”  A servant leader must know how to deal with both treatments.  It’s Jesus’ “new way” of leading in His kingdom and as Sunday School/small group leaders, it goes with the territory.
 
A servant-leader is open to scrutiny and criticism.  I can remember serving in a West Texas church while I was in college.  The youngest active members were a couple in their forties and most of the members were well into their retirement years.  I became a part-time staff member with my wife and two boys of four and two-years-old.  Suffice it to say, they hadn't had preschoolers in their church for many decades.  Our boys were pretty well behaved, but sometimes the two-year-old acted like he was, well, two!  One of the members determined that I needed to be aware of what people were saying about our parenting.  Apparently, it even came up in a Wednesday night business meeting!  It never occurred to any of them that most churches have nurseries for preschoolers that age.  As the lady brought her critique, I thanked her and let her know we would try to do better.  In a different church, I was once soundly rebuked for holding out a note too long while I was leading the song service.  Good times!
 
I have discovered along the way, that thin-skinned leaders don’t last very long in ministry.  That’s true for pastors, but it is also true of volunteers in ministry.  For some reason, people who would never criticize a co-worker in the workplace, don’t hesitate to let a Sunday School worker know that her services are not up to standard.  There are those who know better than to rant on Facebook about the boss at work, yet, they won’t hesitate to blast a leader in the church.  It’s just a “gift” that some folks seem to have!  We know it shouldn't be that way.  We know that we are serving Jesus by serving the people.  But, when it happens to you, it is really easy to want to bail out altogether.  It will certainly test your resolve to be a servant-leader in His kingdom.
 
Surprisingly, praise can also be a snare to a servant-leader.  A servant doesn't want to take credit for what the master provided and enabled him to do.  In ministry, we want all the glory to go to the Lord.  A great church, however, is filled with people who will encourage you.  People need to be built up.  After all, the Bible does tell us to encourage one another daily!  But, how do we handle praise without letting it metastasize into destructive pride?  Servant-leaders learn to express gratitude, but also, to deflect praise to God and others.  
 
Our successes in life can easily be traced to what God and others have done for us.  A smart football coach takes the blame for the failures of the team and gives his players the credit for every win.  Such a servant’s attitude builds the morale of the team and makes way for even more victories.  If our small group grows and reaches new people, it is because God used our efforts and others helped to make it happen.  The same can be seen in ministry.  If the pastor takes credit for growing attendance and increases in baptisms, the congregation will quickly react to his pride and the Holy Spirit will be quenched.  The same happens in other areas of ministry.
The best leaders are great servants.  The world will never understand such a concept, but it is nevertheless true.  Servant-leaders serve without concern over who gets credit as long as God gets the glory.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors First Baptist, So. Lebanon, Oh.