Successful servanthood

We love that our authors are always doing what they do best… writing! Here is a fantastic example by Bruce Lengeman, author and marriage counselor. His recent blog post 10 Principles of Successful Servanthood offers some wonderful counsel for those under authority. We think this would be an excellent list to share with a teenager who is learning to work diligently. But the truth is that we can all improve in this area!

The following points are to help you become responsible, efficient, diligent, and trustworthy, thus helping you to be successful in every arena of life. Learn this and you will bless your children with the same.

1. DO NOT DELAY your work assignment. When given an assignment, the servant is responsible for following through on that assignment either at the time designated, or the first available opportunity.

When you delay, you may find yourself being distracted later and then say, “I couldn’t perform the command, for it rained.” I will answer you, “You were not diligent when the job could have been done, before the rain.” Remember, “Slow obedience is no obedience.” A task is to be completed ON TIME. If you are told to be home in an hour, do not come home in an hour and one minute. If you are told to do this by Thursday, don’t do it on Friday. Every morning does not mean every afternoon.

2. NEVER SAY, I forgot, rather say, your command was not important enough to remember.

In life, forgetting duties is always irresponsible. Should you have a problem remembering, write yourself a note.

3. PERFORM the assignment as instructed. Listen closely to each instruction and detail as it is given. Ask questions if in doubt, for the job is not to be done according to your way, but according to the way of the one who assigned the job.

Do each assignment according to the heart of your authority, and not according to the technicality of the words. Again, if in doubt, ask questions.

4. DO YOUR BEST to overcome all obstacles that hinder completion of the job you are assigned.

If a tool breaks, fix it if you can. If another need beckons, return as soon as possible to finish the job. If the paint runs out, find, borrow, or buy more. Try diligently to resolve problems—not weak, half-hearted attempts. You will learn the most when you apply wisdom and determination to overcome a difficulty.

5. A CHORE is not completed until every last detail of the job is done.

If cleaning dishes, clean out the sink before you quit. If fixing something, put away all the tools where and how they belong. Never do a chore 99%, but 100%.

6. CERTAIN RESPONSIBILITIES are permanent and need not to be re-assigned.

When I say, keep your room clean, I will also say, this is for all times, forever, never to change. Or I will say, Do not EVER let your possessions lay around the house after you are finished using them, for it is never your mother’s or father’s duty to pick up after you. Do not think that because a regular responsibility is not checked upon or inspected that you have been freed from that responsibility, such as, Keep your dresser drawers neat–at all times.

7. A TASK IS NOT acceptably completed unless it is performed well.

Synonyms for well are neat, clean, good, best, thorough, exact, wholehearted, excellent, proper. Silly excuses for poor work will be disregarded.

8. DON’T QUIT a task before you complete it because of an “acceptable obstacle” without telling your authority for permission.

Perhaps your authority may be able to help you find more time to assist you in finishing the task.

9. BE BRISK with your work; do not be sluggish.

The diligent man does in one hour what a sloth does in four. Overview your work at the beginning and organize it to be executed in the most efficient way possible. Do not take unnecessary breaks or be distracted foolishly.

10. BE A WORTHY servant. A worthy servant is twofold, doing more than what was instructed, and going the extra mile to do what you were not asked to do.

Do not expect extra privileges for obedience but earn privileges by being a worthy servant. Develop a lifestyle of going the extra mile to serve, help, and labor.

Bruce Lengeman has been in Christian ministry since 1976. He and his wife Ruthie have been actively teaching a variety of life-building seminars and classes, including marriage conferences, inner healing conferences, leadership courses, and more.Bruce’s recent emphasis is challenging men to be all they can be and to walk in sexual wholeness. He was a professional counselor for several years and pastored in a variety of ways in several churches. 

Bruce has authored several books, including Come Alive to her Her Heart. This book is practical, filled with the author’s personal testimonials of how he learned, through failure and experience, to nurture a happy, healthy partner for life. Written for husbands but wives will benefit, too!

A fresh look at church metrics

Certa author Kevin Baird was recently published in the Iowa Standard and we think you will find his thoughts on the subject of church metrics both insightful and challenging. Here is the text of his article PASTOR BAIRD: It’s time we changed the metrics of the church from numbers to substance:

If anything good can be said of the pandemic, perhaps it will precipitate a strategic reset which the Church at large has been needing for some time. It is no secret that over the last 40 years churches have gotten larger and larger as the metrics of church success were directly tied to the size of congregation. That is not necessarily a bad thing. The presupposition was that if you could get a person inside the doors of the church, then the likelihood of creating a new Christian would increase. As pastors and Christian leaders embraced that thought, Church growth conferences abounded as these leaders flocked to such events eager to learn the “secret sauce” of growing a mega-church. Church planting efforts exponentially skyrocketed as young couples learned the pragmatic templates for creating the next super ministry. Bigger is better we were told, because every nose and number was a soul for which Christ died.

It was hard to argue initially with much of that logic. The Bible and Church history certainly have examples of large gatherings and churches. The Church was birthed in the book of Acts in a few short weeks, by some estimates, with over 12,000 people. God is not predisposed to be against numbers and size apparently.

That said, after a generation of using such metrics for success, the answers have arrived concerning what we have been producing in the 21st century American Church. I was reading a recent article citing the Barna Group who does worldview research in the Church on a yearly basis. Barna calls this research the “most sophisticated nationwide survey of worldview conducted in the United States.” The assessment is based on 51 worldview questions, examining both beliefs and behavior, which were provided to a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults.

The results include the following:

* Although 7 out of 10 Americans consider themselves to be Christian, just 6% actually possess a biblical worldview.

* Just one-fifth of those attending evangelical Protestant churches (21%) have a biblical worldview, as compared to one-sixth of those attending charismatic or Pentecostal churches (16%). The study finds even smaller proportions in mainline Protestant (8%) or Catholic (1%) churches.

* The number of American adults holding a biblical worldview has declined by 50% over the past 25 years.

* Regarding the youngest adult generation, the numbers are even more startling. A mere 2% of those 18 to 29 years old possess a biblical worldview.

We may be growing some of the largest churches in modern history, but the question has to be asked, “What kind of churches are they?”

Apparently, not orthodox, evangelical churches anchored to the historic Christian faith. We may be creating growing organizations that are using the label, “church’, but is our label an accurate depiction of what actually exists? The statistics seem to say, no.

The issue we face today is not the value or benefit of the size of a church, but rather the fidelity of the church. It’s time we changed the metrics from numbers to substance. Let me suggest something potentially even more radical. Perhaps we should have a moratorium on evangelism and outreach and consider the concept of preservation.

What are we doing to preserve the historic, orthodox, evangelical Christian Faith both corporately in our churches as well as in our families? I know that twenty years ago I would be ridiculed and dismissed for suggesting such an inward focus. The problem is, if we don’t focus on what is going on inwardly, there will be nothing outwardly of any true or lasting value.

Is there a plan or strategy to actually produce Christians that will maintain their faith in the coming years of adversity? Or will we, as Rod Dreher suggests in his book, The Benedict Option, “content ourselves to be chaplains to a consumerist culture that has fast lost its sense of what it means to be a Christian”.

It is inarguable that Christianity is no longer the prevailing ideology in America. We can no longer assume that any church attendee is grounded with a faith that will sustain them, much less their family tree, with the changes that are headed our way. We simply cannot wait for the day when our omnipotent government tells us that we can lose our masks and open our buildings only to return to business as usual.

If you believe in the numerical metrics that Barna reports, then you realize that a return to business as usual will be the death rattle of the church in the West.

The good news is that there are pastors who are “getting” the season that has been thrust upon them. Their number needs to increase swiftly and exponentially, not in the next years, but the next months. If you are a pastor reading this article, or a concerned Christian layperson, then begin today to formulate your plan to begin building a resilient Christian church and family, not only for your own sake, but for the sake of a nation that needs real deal Christians and not slick substitutes. It is time to reclaim the true faith in America.

And who knows, perhaps these will be the ones that history records as the foundation of true renewal.

I would say, that’s a definition of real success.

Have you ever felt STUCK? Stuck in a dead-end job? Stuck in an unfair situation? Stuck in your spiritual journey? or 100 other immobilizing circumstances?

How did you get STUCK? And how do you get OUT?

In I’M STUCK AND I CAN’T GET OUT, Dr. Kevin Baird digs deep into these questions and identifies some specific reasons why you may find yourself in a paralyzing quagmire. He will then share practical steps you can take to dig your way out and move forward.

152 pages | $14.99 | Buy here

Kevin Baird is the Director of Pastoral Ministries, a division of the Florida Family Policy Council, and a veteran minister for over 40 years. His ministry experience has been extensive through the years as a lead pastor, church planter, national conference speaker, college professor, talk radio host, biblical worldview advocate in public policy, and media analyst on politics and culture.