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  • Richard Mansel 7:33 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , congregation, , , ,   

    Six Things Young Preachers Need to Know 


    When young men go into the ministry, they are ambitious and hopeful. They dream of saving countless souls and inspiring brethren immediately to become passionate and obedient.

    However, reality soon sets in, and they learn that working with humans is more complicated than they realized. These aspiring preachers learn some harsh lessons in the meantime and struggle until they gain some experience.

    When we embark into a new career, we need copious amounts of guidance, patience and grace until we know what we are doing. With that in mind, here are six lessons that young preachers may not be told in school or when they are in training.

    (More …)

    • Ron Thomas 7:49 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply

      I am assuming, Richard, you have in mind “lessons learned and that should be known as a form of guidance” during hard times, and not really anything else concerning the work?

    • Ron Thomas 7:56 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply

      With that in mind, I will offer a couple of thoughts. First, don’t contribute to the solution unless invited. Second, you don’t always know what needs to be done. When that is understood, then one is able to move slower and easier. These are two things I have learned through the years – among others.

    • Rick 8:01 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply

      Great, practical article. I heard, just last week, one brother discouraging his son from attending a brotherhood “preaching school.” Said that the brethren from years gone by didn’t need it, and they don’t need it now (I did kindly point out the untruthfulness of that argument, btw). As a graduate of one of them, If preaching schools were good for only one thing (and they ubiquitously have positives and negatives), the experience and influence of seasoned preachers would be it. Congregations and preachers (especially young ones) have expectations, and it takes a while to figure out what those are, and if each party will be willing and/or able to meet them. It takes a tremendous amount of patience, forgiveness and humility to endure the relationship, which I view to be as near to marriage as any other relationship. Again, good thoughts, Richard; and Ron Thomas, nice meeting you a week ago 🙂

  • Eugene Adkins 7:15 am on 2012-05-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , congregation,   

    What makes a congregation successful? 

    What if every member of the congregation were a preacher? Would that make the congregation successful? NO

    What if every member of the congregation could sing like a song leader? Would that make the congregation successful? NO

    Sometimes we may think that if we could get everyone to do something “big” for the congregation then the congregation would be successful! But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

    In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul basically asked, “What if every member of the congregation were an apostle? What if every member of the congregation were a prophet? What if every member of the congregation were a teacher? What if every member of the congregation could work miracles? What if every member of the congregation could heal? What if every member of the congregation  could speak in tongues? What if every member of the congregation could interpret?  Would that make the congregation successful? NO.”

    Some in the congregation thought they were “big time” because they could do “big things” but Paul reminded them that every “little thing” mattered to the congregation’s success. Working together is what makes a congregation successful. Working together as a body is what gets the job done.

    Everyone can’t be a foot, or an eye, or a nose – but everybody can be somebody in the body of Christ! And we must not forget that without love we’re no body no matter what somebody thinks; just read the next chapter in its context.

  • Mike Riley 11:39 am on 2010-12-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: auditorium, balcony, , congregation, decline, , priority, room, small, , standing   

    The smallest congregation I’ve been to is the one I’m presently a member of – the Montana St. congregation. We run between 15-20 members each Lord’s Day. In the 1960’s the congregation had over 600 members – standing room only – filled both the auditorium and balcony. We can plainly see the decline in spiritual priorities over the past 50 years. A sad commentary indeed.

  • Mike Riley 9:05 am on 2010-10-26 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , congregation, , , , , , retire, ,   

    The Last True Evangelist 

    The last true evangelist that I’ve known who lived what he preached, was Brother Dan Gibson, who preached for our Montana Street congregation for approximately seven years. He has since retired, he and his wife moving to Conroe, Texas to be close to their children.

    He and his wife Joy, are now members of the Longmire congregation http://www.longmirechurchofchrist.com/longmirecc/welcome, where he now preaches part time. He also oversees the congregation’s educational program, making sure that the materials used in their Bible classes, coincides with clear Bible teaching.

    Brother Dan is truly a man of the Book. I love and miss he and his wife dearly. I call him every weekend to see how he and his wife are getting along healthwise (they are in their late 70’s). Such faithful preachers in the brotherhood, are few and far between (and getting fewer by the day).

  • Ron Thomas 5:11 am on 2010-09-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: congregation, preacher leaving, quitting, too comfortable   

    When to Quit? 

    When is it time to quit, that is when is it time to quit preaching for the local congregation of which you (I) currently are (am) a member? Boy! If I only knew an objective answer to that! I am constantly evaluating how things are where I preach; many things are included in the evaluation process. Some of those items that I include are: 1) Does the congregation want me to continue? 2) How well does my family enjoy living and working here? 3) Am I being effective in the work (as I judge it)? 4) Does (should) my extended family play a role in me having to consider further options? 5) Are there problems within the local congregation that continue, and I am having no success at getting them resolved? 6) Do the brethren need “new-blood”? That is, do they need a new preacher to help stimulate new enthusiasm. Related to this is whether or not the congregation is too comfortable with how things currently are? If they are, is this a bad thing?

    These questions I am continually filtering through my mind. Since I am the final judge of all of them (for this local decision), I only wish that some of them were much more easily determined than they are.

  • Mike Riley 1:46 pm on 2010-07-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: congregation, , summer series,   

    No Summer Series 

    The Montana Street congregation does not have a summer series where preachers from area congregations come and preach on different topics, but we used to have such about ten years ago.

    Like everything else, the world is too much with us!

  • Mike Riley 12:28 pm on 2010-07-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , congregation, , luncheon, , , ,   

    Announcement Procedure 

    At the Montana Street congregation, one of our elders presents the announcements right before the last song of the service is sung.

    The announcements consists of the following:

    1) A prayer list of those members who are ill, in the hospital, or homebound.
    2) An announcement regarding our monthly luncheon on the first Sunday of every month.
    3) The Bible Question Of The Week.
    4) A list of the members who have birthdays or anniversaries during the month.
    5) Any area-wide congregational singing.
    6) Any area-wide gospel meeting.
    7) Needed grocery items for the food pantry.

  • Mike Riley 8:44 am on 2010-07-11 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , congregation, , , , , , , , strait,   

    The “little ones” in my life is my congregation of loving and caring people who help me when I’m in financial straits. Conversely, I help them in preaching and teaching the sound gospel of Christ (or whatever else needs to be done). We help one another, and in so doing, both of us are richly blessed by the Lord.

  • Mike Riley 9:24 am on 2010-07-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: adult, , , congregation, impressed, , , penetrate, subject, ,   

    The last congregation that I visited was the Northside congregation here in El Paso. I was impressed with the young man (30+ years) who conducted the adult Bible class on Proverbs chapter 1. He was very knowledgeable of his subject matter and asked the class some penetrating questions that caused us to actually think. It was a refreshing class to say the least.

  • Richard Mansel 4:42 pm on 2010-06-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: autonomy, congregation, , ,   

    Question About Support 

    In our physical families, how we spend our money affects the rest of the family. For example, if the Father blows his paychecks on gambling and his wife can’t afford groceries, then she and the children go hungry. On the other hand, if he is wise with his money, his family can prosper.

    An idea comes to mind along this line that might make a good discussion. Each congregation is autonomous and each congregation’s leadership is accountable for how they spend the Lord’s money. We are all children of God and we are all given the task to glorify Christ (Ephesians 3:20-21), through service, worship, evangelism, helping the poor, etc.

    Now, consider a question. Since we are all in the same family, despite being in autonomous congregations, how accountable are we to each other, in how we spend our money? We have so many mission works and missionaries that are closing down for lack of funds. Good programs that could bless the world, never get off of the ground, for the same reason.

    Therefore, I ask, how accountable are we, as members of the Lord’s body, to each other?If not in deed, what about in spirit?

    There is more than enough to do the Lord’s will. But most of it goes to non-spiritual activities, which damages the progress of the entire body. God has to be completely heart-broken about this sad fact.

    Any thoughts?

    • Mike Riley 6:20 pm on 2010-06-08 Permalink | Reply

      Richard, as long as members of the church prioritize worldly activities before spiritual ones (Colossians 3:1-2), nothing will change. Mission work and the missionaries to carry out that work, will remain low on the totem pole, but if we put the kingdom “first” (Matthew 6:33) in our lives before anything else, the great commission can and will be carried out.

      Sad to say, but for the past 40 years (or longer), creature comforts have taken priority over carrying out the Great Commission our Lord left us to achieve. I wrote an article several months back that illustrated the fact that if just one Christian converted just one person in one year, it would only take 33 years to convert the world. It’s not an impossible task.

  • Richard Mansel 2:05 pm on 2010-06-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: congregation, , , , ,   

    The Preacher and Divorce 

    When a preacher gets a divorce, can he continue as the preacher? I am discussing this on my blog. Join me.

  • Mike Riley 1:01 pm on 2010-05-27 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , congregation, , , theme   

    Spiritual Summer Plans 

    I would like to be able to attend the 5th Annual Preacher’s Files Lectureship coming up on July 9-11, at the Rush Springs congregation in Rush Springs, Oklahoma. The lectureship will be spiritually beneficial for anyone who chooses to attend. This year’s lectureship theme is “Seeking First The Kingdom.”


    For any additional information, contact Brother David Hersey, a member of the Granby, Missouri congregation – http://www.granbychurchofchrist.org/:


  • Mike Riley 11:25 am on 2010-04-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: congregation, , , , ,   

    What’s on my heart? Since I’m the designated preacher today, I pray that the message I deliver from God’s word will spiritually benefit and encourage the congregation to greater service in the Lord’s kingdom.

  • Richard Mansel 3:42 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: congregation,   


    Someday, we will be able to alert all of the members of our congregations by email/text/internet pages. This will come, in time, as more people succumb to new technologies. This will be very useful. Many people have email, but they rarely check them and many older people don’t get online at all.

    When we reach this point, how do you foresee this will benefit the church family? Or, will it get lost in the blizzard of information that hits us each day? Like anything, it can be used well or abused.

    What comments do you have?

    • Mike Riley 4:06 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply

      Richard, as one individual stated regarding the mass of information on the Internet: “Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don’t know what to ignore and what’s worth reading.”

      In reading a newspaper, watching television, or looking at any other data-related medium, we must learn to filter out the evil and useless data, and retain the good and important data. It will be a matter of prioritizing the data as to its importance to us in our everyday living.

      • Richard Mansel 4:18 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your good input, All true.

        What my post is concerned with is how we can stay in touch. We have a member who had a heart attack this week. Phone trees are a lot of work and are very cumbersome. When we are all using advanced technologies, contacting everyone becomes easier.

        I am wondering if these technologies will enhance the work of the church, in this respect.

        • Mike Riley 6:05 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply

          Laura’s system will definitely work if members are technology oriented (and there is getting to be more of them as time goes by). However, for the rest of us (elderly folks, that is), Alexander Bell is still the best way to go. 🙂

    • Laura 4:51 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply

      We have already implemented some level of this in our congregation. First, we have a mailing list. All members are added to the list, if they have email accounts (note that some don’t, so this cannot be used as a replacement). Notifications are sent via email reminding people of gospel meetings, etc. Prayer requests are also sent to the list.

      Second, I wrote some software that runs automatically every week and sends email reminders to the men serving in various capacities at our next service. Men who are on the rotating schedule for Wed. night devotionals get two alerts: one the Friday morning before so they have plenty of time to prepare, and one the Tuesday morning before as a last minute reminder. I only have to touch the system when a new schedule is produced, when I simply convert the schedule to the input format used by the software. Doing this has worked well and has cut down on the last minute scramble to find people to do things because the person assigned forgot and never told anyone they wouldn’t be there. Also, since email (SMS) may be used to send text messages to cell phones, sending cell phone alerts rather than or in addition to email would be simple to implement.

      • Richard Mansel 4:53 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply

        Wow. Impressive, Laura. Need to give this some thought.

        • Laura 5:05 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply

          Forgot to mention that the mailing list is locked down so that only subscribers can send to it. That keeps us from getting SPAM on the list. The last thing I wanted was more SPAM.

          One other thing we do is we have a central calendar that is tied to our web site. We can add events to the calendar and set up an automated reminder that will be sent to the mailing list any amount of time in advance (1 week, 1 day, 1 hour, etc). We can do this, for example, to remind people of the time change when we go on daylight savings time.

      • Mike Riley 6:01 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply

        Laura, you are one smart lady, that’s for certain!

        • Laura 6:17 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply


          Seriously, I have a degree in computer science, so I know how to do this kind of stuff. It’s not rocket science. Trust me on that. Now try asking me to write a legal document or diagnose an illness and see if you still have the same opinion… 🙁 We should all use the talents that God gave us in whatever way we can to help His cause.

          That said, we are looking at possibly writing a computer based training course to teach people about God. Realizing that is a long way off. But the talks have begun, and I would be honored to be able to use my talents to make that happen.

        • Mike Riley 6:27 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply

          Laura, I pray that the computer based training course will come to fruition, and that many folks will benefit from it.

        • Laura 6:53 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply

          I think it would be good to reach a certain type of person (we seem to be breeding more insular people these days) and those who are in areas where there are no Christians to study with them. I don’t see it as a replacement for sending people to do direct one-on-one studies with people.

    • Laura 6:51 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply

      A word of warning about using electronic forms of communications: it is very useful for alerts and to rapidly disseminate information, as Richard has suggested. However, I would highly discourage the use of such as a replacement for any form of discussion (e.g., about problems in the church). Studies have shown that mis-communications occur more often than not in electronic communications, often due to the lack of body language and voice intonations, and result in flame wars. That’s a fast way to get folks angry at one another for no cause — not what we want or need in the church. I think there is a good middle ground for use of technology. IMHO, we need to find that ground and stand therein.

      • sbradd 2:12 am on 2010-03-04 Permalink | Reply

        Laura, you are so right about this warning. I have been burned before by allowing email conversations to go too deep and long. Much better to stop and request a face-to-face if you sense any “weirdness” developing.

    • Richard Mansel 8:20 pm on 2010-03-03 Permalink | Reply

      Using these technologies as a substitute for one-on-one contact wasn’t even under consideration in my post. Thanks for all of the input.

  • Glenda Williams 5:13 pm on 2010-02-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: congregation,   

    People who are soul-winners stand out in our congregation 

    Ten people in our congregation are actively teaching people every week. That number does not include those who are doing other things to promote the church and create good will so more doors will be opened. Four have been baptized this month.

    • Mike Riley 8:19 pm on 2010-02-28 Permalink | Reply

      Glenda, this is indeed great! If all congregations of the Lord’s people had just ten people doing what the ten people are doing in the congregation that you are a member of, just think how many souls could be brought to Christ.

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