Blog

My goal with this blog is to inspire and equip church leaders to build healthy churches that fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

Vacation Bible School

Why We Stopped Doing Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School (VBS) was born out of an evangelistic passion of Mrs. Walter Aylett Hawes, a doctor's wife. Her ...
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3 Menaces of a Mob Mentality

Everyone seems mad. Everywhere you look people are mad and they’re taking their anger to the streets. With signs waving ...
If You Could Lead the Church of Your DREAMS, What Would It Look Like?

If You Could Lead the Church of Your DREAMS, What Would It Look Like?

In 1999, when I graduated from seminary and prepared to take my first pastorate, there was far more that I ...
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How to Overcome Racism

Recent events have reminded us that racial tension is alive and well in America. Tempers flare and sides are quickly ...
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How To Know When It’s Time to Find a New Church

What I saw from the many comments on my previous post - The Church Isn't Meeting My Needs - Part ...
man praying at church

The Church Isn’t Meeting My Needs – Part 1

Over the years I've watched many people come into the church excited only to be MIA within a few short ...
Man looking out window

Is Anyone Feeling Depressed?

I’ve struggled with depression off and on for many years now. Sometimes it’s been severe but lately it feels like ...
image of a vaccine needle

3 Vaccines We all Need Right Now

It all began in the United States on January 20, 2020. That was the date of the first confirmed case ...
8 Ways To Overcome Fear

8 Ways To Overcome Fear

What’s spreading as fast as the coronavirus? FEAR. Fear is one of our primal emotions. Healthy fear can save your ...
How To Have Church When You Can't Have Church

How To Have Church When You Can’t Have Church

The Coronavirus pandemic is literally changing everything! In our state, Maryland, the restrictions have changed rapidly.  On Thursday, March 12, ...
The Single Greatest Christian Growth Catalyst

The Single Greatest Christian Growth Catalyst

I've been to a few dozen conferences over the last 20 years and I've always walked away with at least ...
Growthbusters!

Growthbusters!

I've been coaching pastors for over a decade now and I've noticed that we (yes, I include myself) often struggle ...
You Guys are a Cult!

You Guys are a Cult!

I recently talked to one of our members out in the parking lot who told me they had a funny ...
Kicking Church to the Curb?

Kicking Church to the Curb?

"Say Wally." "Yeah, Beaver." "Can I borrow your tie for church?" "Sure Beav. Just hurry it up so we aren't ...
3 Enemies of Revitalization

3 Enemies of Revitalization

When I started ministry in 1999 I had passion and vision, but not a lot of strategies and tools. There ...
To Baptize or Not to Baptize...

To Baptize or Not to Baptize…

Susie just gave her life to Christ, but she's living with her boyfriend. John just prayed the prayer, but he's ...
7 Envelopes Could Change Your Life!

7 Envelopes Could Change Your Life!

I usually write on topics of church leadership, but this time I want to get very personal. Like most couples, ...
5 Distinctives of Difference-Making Churches

5 Distinctives of Difference-Making Churches

Although it doesn't take an advanced degree to determine that the church is in trouble, recent research findings confirm the ...
4 Secrets of Effective Evangelistic Churches

4 Secrets of Effective Evangelistic Churches

The numbers are alarming. Southern Baptists, once a leading denomination in evangelistic effectiveness, continue to decline year after year. The ...
Four Things Your Guests are Going to Notice

Four Things Your Guests are Going to Notice

It's the most wonderful time of the year! With the guests all arriving the greeters are thriving; we're so glad ...
Processing the Pain of Senseless Evil

Processing the Pain of Senseless Evil

Processing the Pain of Senseless EvilPosted by Oak Ridge Baptist Church on Monday, November 6, 2017 “Sometimes something useless happens ...
4 Ways to Embrace Every Race

4 Ways to Embrace Every Race

Recent events have reminded us that racial tension is alive and well in America. Tempers flared and sides are quickly ...
Ooohhh, you're one of THOSE people!

Ooohhh, you’re one of THOSE people!

My daughter recently shared this with me and it was too good not to pass on. So today, I'm sharing ...
Out of Africa (West Africa, that is)

Out of Africa (West Africa, that is)

OAK RIDGE INTERNATIONAL PEACE UPDATE The West Africa PEACE team just returned from our second PEACE trip to Benin and ...
3 Essential Elements of Mentorship

3 Essential Elements of Mentorship

It's seems the church world has gone leadership crazy. Everywhere you turn, there's an article on leadership: How to Spot ...
3 Ways We Make It Difficult for People to Be Saved

3 Ways We Make It Difficult for People to Be Saved

I came across an interesting story in my daily Bible reading. In Acts 15 we find possibly the most critical church ...
3 Proven Practices for Reaching the Unchurched

3 Proven Practices for Reaching the Unchurched

Recently a pastor asked me, "What are the top 3 to 5 things your church does to reach the unchurched?" ...
The Top 10 Posts of 2016

The Top 10 Posts of 2016

I had quite a bit of blog traffic this year coming from all over the world. I am thrilled that ...
Why Your Church Should be Doing Bridge Events Instead of Outreach Events

Why Your Church Should be Doing Bridge Events Instead of Outreach Events

Churches that have a desire to use an outreach event aimed at reaching their community for Christ struggle with strategies ...
The Church that Canceled Christmas!?

The Church that Canceled Christmas!?

"WHAT!?  You're not having services on Christmas Sunday? Pastor, are you out of your mind?  What kind of church doesn't ...
How the North Pole Became a Cultural Bridge

How the North Pole Became a Cultural Bridge

For over a decade our church invested a huge amount of time, money and volunteers to pull off an annual ...
WHY SHOULD I RETAKE THE CLASSES?

WHY SHOULD I RETAKE THE CLASSES?

THREE REASONS I NEED TO RETAKE THE CLASSES Someone may have thought (not you, but some other person), "I love the ...
How to Make America Great (or any country for that matter)

How to Make America Great (or any country for that matter)

I have lived through twelve presidential election cycles. In each one the candidates work hard to point out what's currently ...
Why You Should NOT Give Money to that Homeless Person

Why You Should NOT Give Money to that Homeless Person

There he is again. The guy at the corner holding his sign, hoping that sympathetic travelers will donate some money ...
The ABCs of Empowerment

The ABCs of Empowerment

In my last article I looked at the 3 Principles of Effective Leadership. Delegation and empowerment are easier to write ...
3 Principles of Effective Leadership

3 Principles of Effective Leadership

When it comes to leadership, perhaps the most often used passage in the Bible is Exodus 18. This is the story ...
WHY YOU SHOULD BE DOING PARTNERSHIP MISSIONS

WHY YOU SHOULD BE DOING PARTNERSHIP MISSIONS

I just returned from my third trip to our partner church in China. We are now reaping the tenfold fruit ...
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Technology Berlin Fair 2016 Opening Ceremony

How did they balance being so funny and being such respected artists?” This question was recently posed by a visitor ...
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Zen Pictures Raises Money for Its Movie

How did they balance being so funny and being such respected artists?” This question was recently posed by a visitor ...
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Chat App Line Begins to Offer Services

How did they balance being so funny and being such respected artists?” This question was recently posed by a visitor ...
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Amazon Will Reportedly Sell Its Own Groceries

How did they balance being so funny and being such respected artists?” This question was recently posed by a visitor ...
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This Photo Demo Is Like Pokemon Snap

How did they balance being so funny and being such respected artists?” This question was recently posed by a visitor ...
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Why Haven’t There Been More Unicorn Mergers

How did they balance being so funny and being such respected artists?” This question was recently posed by a visitor ...
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3 Ways Startups Are Fighting for Security

How did they balance being so funny and being such respected artists?” This question was recently posed by a visitor ...
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What Startups Are Saying about Raising Cash

How did they balance being so funny and being such respected artists?” This question was recently posed by a visitor ...
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NYC Presents More Opportunities for Firms

How did they balance being so funny and being such respected artists?” This question was recently posed by a visitor ...
8 Principles of Great Preaching

8 Principles of Great Preaching

I've been listening to sermons for over 35 years now and preaching them for about 17. There are so many master ...
What Rwanda Teaches the Church

What Rwanda Teaches the Church

When the genocide occurred in Rwanda, I was a young father with two small children working 60-80 hours a week ...
6 Things Your Spiritual Gifts Won't Do

6 Things Your Spiritual Gifts Won’t Do

I've been a Christian for over 35 years now. I remember the excitement I felt when I first learned about ...
The Top 10 Characteristics of the Average Unchurched Family

The Top 10 Characteristics of the Average Unchurched Family

Many years ago when our church began revitalization, we prayed and asked God who He was calling us to reach ...
7 Reasons People May Not Sing in Church

7 Reasons People May Not Sing in Church

I've heard people say, "I don't like the new music because it's all about performance. I like the hymns because ...
How Santa Got into Our Church

How Santa Got into Our Church

In my last blog I shared why we stopped doing an annual Fall Festival. If you have not read that ...
Solid Answers for Troubling Times

Solid Answers for Troubling Times

It's happened again. Unbelievable atrocities as terrorists erupt violence on hundreds of innocent bystanders. The images filling our screens and ...
Why We Stopped Doing Fall Fest

Why We Stopped Doing Fall Fest

Our church had been hosting an annual Fall Festival for decades when we decided to switch to a Christmas community ...
The Power of Catharsis

The Power of Catharsis

The date was May 21, 2008. I was meeting with a local pastor talking shop when an urgent phone call ...
How to Get Through What You're Going Through

How to Get Through What You’re Going Through

Ever felt like the odds are stacked against you? Like whatever you try goes bad? Yeah, well then you're in ...
What Should be Our Response to the Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage?

What Should be Our Response to the Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage?

Unless you've been in a coma for the last few days, you've heard that on Friday, June 26, 2015, the ...
What Church Shoppers are Looking For

What Church Shoppers are Looking For

Ah, summer.  That time of the year when disgruntled church members, under the cloud of vacation season, do a little ...
The Erosion of the Family in America

The Erosion of the Family in America

Erosion occurs when the forces of the environment eat away the foundation on which we are relying. The American family ...
The Undeniable Test of Character

The Undeniable Test of Character

A preacher asked the audience, "If you squeeze an orange, what comes out?" "Orange juice!" someone yelled out. "Wrong!" he ...
5 Principles of a Powerful Family Ministry

5 Principles of a Powerful Family Ministry

When I first came to Oak Ridge there was only one other family with young children. As the leadership worked ...
How a Ministry Disappointment Turned into a Powerful Development!

How a Ministry Disappointment Turned into a Powerful Development!

(Live or Memorex? This is a picture of our video feed from our Unplugged Service in our Theater Venue) In ...
10 Questions First Time Guests are Asking

10 Questions First Time Guests are Asking

Every church I know of holds weekend worship services. Most of them hold at least 52 a year. Nearly all ...
4 Reasons Our Church Does an Annual Recommit Covenant

4 Reasons Our Church Does an Annual Recommit Covenant

One of my favorite movies of all time is Braveheart. This movie is chock full of life and leadership lessons ...
The 3 Most Deadly Mistakes Nearly Everyone Makes

The 3 Most Deadly Mistakes Nearly Everyone Makes

One of my favorite parables from Jesus is found in Luke 12:16-20: “Then he told them a story: “A rich ...
Do NOT Set Goals for Yourself This Year!

Do NOT Set Goals for Yourself This Year!

I know, I know. This doesn't sound like me at all, but hear me out. I just finished reading a ...
Lessons from Mars Hill

Lessons from Mars Hill

Over the past several months my heart has broken as I watched the demise of one of America's largest multi-site ...
The Kind of Members Every Pastor Dreams Of

The Kind of Members Every Pastor Dreams Of

This past Sunday night we celebrated the retirement of our Family Pastor, Janice Bailey. Her and her husband, Bob, are ...
Four Lessons from International Missions

Four Lessons from International Missions

I just returned from a trip to Japan where  I assisted Saddleback Pastor Dave Holden. We trained Japanese pastors on ...
cold heart

You Could be Infected Right Now!

Nearly every Christian is familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15.  However, many do not ...

How to Change the World with ORBC!

This weekend I shared one of the the BIGGEST OPPORTUNITIES God has ever opened up to ORBC. If you missed ...
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Dealing with Disappointment

Disappointment is an unavoidable reality in life. Disappointment is when my expectations do not match life's realizations. Whether it is ...
Great_Teamwork

4 Positions Every Team Must Have

It takes a TEAM to fulfill a DREAM. It takes TEAMWORK to make the DREAM work. Most people have heard ...

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of 40 Days in the Word!

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of 40 Days in the Word from Oak Ridge on Vimeo. 1. Attend ...
9-to-5 (2)

Take this Job and Shove it!

As Americans enjoy this Labor Day holiday away from work, it occurs to me that work is one of the ...
40 DAYS in the WORD FB ad

The Secret to Spiritual Growth

I have never met a long term Christian who has not experienced the ebb and flow of spiritual growth. Most ...
SMALL THINGS ARE AWESOME

Why You Need a Small Group

Choosing the right fit for the right reason is a big deal. That's why God created different environments for different ...
Social-Evangelism

10 Ways You Can Go Missional Using Social Media

The beauty of using social media as a church is that every member of our community is already empowered to ...
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The Idol of Expository Preaching

When I was at seminary one of my preaching professors became quite zealous while lecturing our class one day. Waving ...
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Is America a Christian Nation?

I just watched a sermon on TV from the pastor of one of America's largest evangelical churches. He stated emphatically ...
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Managing Messy Members…

At ORBC we like to say come as you are but please, don't stay that way. Our church is an ...
summerbeach

3 Ways Leaders Maximize Their Summer

It's summertime! Summer means so many different things to different people. For a leader, any TIME is a loan from ...
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Four Things Dad Taught Me

Yup, that's me with my dad in 1969. As I reflect on this Father's day six years after his passing, ...
Mother Daughter Conflict

Parenting the Prodigal

By far the most difficult season of life for my wife and I were the years of dealing with wayward ...
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Ingredients for Growing a Church

"How'd you grow your church?" I get asked that by church leaders a lot. I'm always stumped because there's not ...
memorial-day-wallpapers

I Don’t Like America!

The following is a Guest post by my friend and fellow blogger Karen Lembo (karenlembo.com) Before They Fail to Remember ...
5K Run Rotator

ORBC is on the move!

The Daniel Plan Hits ORBC by Storm I can't tell you how overwhelmed I have been by your response to ...
heaven-is-for-real-moviebanner

How I Feel About Heaven’s For Real

Several have asked me my thoughts on this movie. Since I have not read the book nor seen the movie ...
Easter Baptism

10 Steps to Spark a Mass Baptism

This Easter we baptized more people than we have ever done on a single weekend.  It was our most powerful ...
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6 PRINCIPLES OF EXTRAORDINARY LEADERSHIP

Jesus was the most extraordinary leader who ever lived.  His brief life, and even briefer ministry, did more to change ...
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HOW TO SPARK AN INVITATIONAL REVOLUTION

Over the years I've had many frustrated pastors ask me, "How do you get your people to invite?" I've discovered ...
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Three Things Every Lead Pastor Must Do

I read Acts 20:13-38 today as a part of my daily devotion.  This is an emotional passage. Paul gathers the ...
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3 Keys to Aligning Ministries

We're better together! Alignment is a big deal in all organizations, whether it's a family, a business or a church.  ...
Mission-Trips

The Shortest Mission Trip You’ll Ever Take

What if I could offer you a chance to do REAL missions work that could change lives and it won't ...
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I’D RATHER BE CLEAR THAN CLEVER

As I shared in my last blog, our church leadership is working on three disciplines in 2014: Clarify our mission ...
Visit to North Coast

3 Principles of Highly Effective Churches

On a recent trip to visit North Coast Church in southern California to check out their multi-venue model, I had ...
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Could Going to a Four Year College Actually be a Setback?

As a father and a grandfather, I have a radically different view of college than I did growing up.  I ...
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Getting More Out of Two Zero One Four

It's that time of the year again! Now that the initial flurry of New Year's resolution articles have subsided, I ...
Santa's-list

New Names Added to the Life List!

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Santa's list is filled with the names of CHANGED LIVES!!! Thank you for INVITING, ...
Christmas Candlelight Service

Three Reasons You Should Invite Someone to Our Christmas Services

1. Because people who may be resistant to visit church are incredibly receptive to a special Christmas service. Even people ...
Failure

Three Things Failure Can Teach You

I was blown away once again by our church's unbelievable unity. We just held a business meeting where we unanimously ...
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WHY DO I NEED TO CHECK-IN WHEN SERVING?

New Improved Volunteer Check-In System Coming Soon! We will soon be installing customized check-in modules in each of our volunteer's ...
When Santa Came to Church He Brought Friends!

When Santa Came to Church He Brought Friends!

Santa versus Jesus Most Christians are aware that the modern day Santa Claus traces his roots back to Saint Nicholas ...
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Did ORBC’s DREAM Change?

On Monday, November 11, 2013, I met with our Real Estate Broker to discuss the status of the contract on ...
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I Have a Question About Tithing?

What should I do if I want to tithe, but my unbelieving husband doesn't? This is actually a complex question ...
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When Does Ministry Count?

One feedback I've gotten over the years (sometimes second hand) has been, "I serve regularly with an organization outside the ...
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The Recipe for Maturity!

What are the Ingredients of Growth? The goal of Christianity is not heaven.  The goal of Christianity is to become ...
Power-of-Unity

The Power of Unity

WE'RE BETTER TOGETHER One of the coolest verses in the Bible about the power of unity just might surprise you.  ...
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Do I Really Need to Retake The CLASSes?

FOUR REASONS I NEED TO RETAKE THE CLASSES Someone may have thought (not you, but some other person), "I love ...
rain on parade

What To Do When Life Rains On Your Parade

Ok, this is the 4th or 5th time we've had a major event planned that required decent weather and we ...
spiritual growth

Miracle Grow!

Church leaders have asked me, "What is the secret to church growth?"  And the first answer is that there is ...
Shopping Center Contract Signing 09-29-2013

If You Sign it…

EXPAND THE DREAM In the ten years from 1999-2009, God resurrected a dying church and breathed new life into ORBC!  ...
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Volunteer Purpose Rally

The Power of a Purpose Rally I remember in school everyone would meet in the gym for pep rallies.  Bringing ...
Praying for Anna

Living a Life of Layaway

Thursday morning I put my youngest daughter on an airplane to begin her 5 months on mission.  There must have ...
communication

Why I Began to Blog

As a senior pastor of a large church it's hard to grow yourself in your position without feedback.  That's why ...