The biggest mistake preachers make concerning huge churches

This sounds like a given, but pastors would do well to tell themselves repeatedly, “I will never go anywhere without a strong indication the Lord is sending me there.”  To do otherwise is to invite major trouble.

You can hardly believe it.

You’re a pastor and the search committee from Megaville has arrived at your church.  It’s about time you were getting the notice you deserve, you cautiously (and humbly) think.  After all, you logged the requisite years in seminary and struggled through several pastorates, all of them challenging to one degree or other.  And now, something good seems to be happening.

The committee attends several Sundays in a row, and then you get a phone call.  They want to  take you and your wife to dinner next time they visit.

You’re both excited.  You line up a baby sitter, wear your newest clothes and use your best manners.  All goes well and you both begin to dream.  How would it be to live there, to adjust to that huge place, to deal with such successful people, to administer such a large staff, to manage a budget in the millions?  What do you suppose your salary will be? and what will you do with all that money?  And could the Lord really be giving you such an opportunity?

Also, you begin to think how nice it would be to leave behind this present church with its problems: difficulty in meeting the budget, a staff member who is a constant headache, and a few high-maintenance lay leaders.  Poof! Gone in one fell swoop.

We move to Megaville and start afresh.

A few days later, the committee calls again.

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My August (2009) Preaching Schedule

JACKSON, MS — Wednesday, August 5 — speaking to the adult choir of First Baptist Jackson at the kickoff of their fall schedule, then spending the rest of the evening sketching them.(Lavon Gray, min/music; Stan Buckley, pastor)

PINEVILLE, LA — Tuesday, August 18 — quarterly meeting of the Directors of Missions from Louisiana. I’m speaking on leadership.

COLUMBUS, MS — Saturday, August 22 — Deacons retreat for First Baptist Columbus. (Shawn Parker is pastor.)

WAGGAMAN, LA — Sunday, August 23 — morning worship service at First Baptist Waggaman. (Bobby Malbrough, pastor)

ALEXANDRIA, LA — Tueday, August 25 — “Conflict Training Conference” at the Baptist Building. Bill Robertson, director.

(A quiet August before the schedule heats up in the fall. Our three New Hampshire granddaughters are flying down to visit for a week early in August. This will be the first time the two younger ones have met their three New Orleans cousins. I’m as excited as they are. Then I have jury duty one day. That’ll be fun.)

As always, I’m open to whatever the Lord leads–whether pulpit supply, revivals, deacon training, prayer conferences, leadership banquets, whatever. My phone is 504-615-2190.

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My Calendar for July 2009

(We print my schedule of preaching and other activities for two reasons: –we’d appreciate your prayers that God would use me –pastors/leaders interested in inviting us for some event in your church can see if the date is open)

July 2-3 (Thursday/Friday) Wedding: Laci Roth & Stephen Jones, in Slidell, LA

July 10 (Friday night) Drawing children for Lakeside Baptist Church, Metairie’s Vacation Bible School parents’ night.

July 11 (Saturday) Dedication of Delacroix-Hope Baptist Church in St. Bernard Parish (James “Boogie” Melerine, pastor)

July 13-14 (Monday/Tuesday) On campus of NOBTS with local leaders, working with Lifeway’s people on Sunday School lessons.

July 19 (Sunday) Preaching at Central Baptist Church-Bearden in Knoxville, Tennessee both morning services. Filling in for Pastor Larry Fields.

July 27 (Monday night) Preaching for Temple Baptist Church, Ruston, LA. “Marvelous Mondays Emphasis.” Pastor Rick Byargeon.

(In between, I’m working out of the “new” office at First Baptist Church of Kenner, LA, trying to put together various articles into a book on prayer. Sure will appreciate your prayers that God will lead me to produce something of genuine help to His people.)

My phone is 504/615-2190.

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My Preaching Schedule (as it stands on June 4, 2009)

I’ll appreciate your prayers for the Lord’s leadership in preparing messages and for His preparation in the hearts and minds of the people who will receive this ministry. Thank you!!

June 7, 2009 — First Baptist, Marrero, LA — installation of Pastor Ronnie McLellan

(June 13-20 Vacation with son Neil. After we drop his twins off at summer camp in Asheville NC, we’re spending the week in Gettysburg PA. Some terrific father/son time while we get our history fix!)

June 21-24 — Southern Baptist Convention, Louisville, KY (I’ll be sketching people at the Baptist Press booth. Come by and bring the kids!)

June 26-28 Children’s Camp for FBC Double Springs, AL at Camp Lee, Anniston, AL Nikki Shipman is the camp director.

July 11 (Saturday) — dedication of Delacroix Hope Baptist Church, St. Bernard, LA. James “Boogie” Melerine, pastor.

July 13-14 — Lifeway “Sunday School Lesson” Conference at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

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My (Mostly) Preaching Schedule

April 17-19, 2009 — Revival at First Baptist Church of Belle Chasse below New Orleans. Sam Gentry is pastor. 7 pm at night and 10:30 am Sunday.

April 22-25 — Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina — Leading conferences (and drawing people!) at the bi-ennial National Assn of Southern Baptist Secretaries Wednesday thru Saturday morning.

Monday, April 27 — Spring meeting of our association — my official retirement — meeting at First Baptist Church of New Orleans on Canal Blvd at 7 pm. You’re invited.

May 3-6 — Revival at North Greenwood Baptist Church in Greenwood, Mississippi. Noon services each weekday and 7 pm nightly. Jim Phillips is the pastor.

Tuesday, May 12 — First Baptist Church, Brandon, MS speaking to senior adults, 10:30 am and 6 pm.

Wednesday/Thursday, May 13-14 — NOAH Transition meeting at BAGNO.

Wednesday from 5 to 8 pm, drawing for Lakeview Baptist Church for the outdoor market fling on Harrison Avenue

Friday/Saturday, May 15-16, annual retreat for Directors of Missions in Louisiana. Springfield, LA.

Sunday, May 17, preaching at FBC Springfield in the morning service.

Monday, May 25 until Saturday morning, May 30, drawing missionaries and their families in Richmond.

Sunday, May 31 — morning services of Lake Ridge Baptist Church, Woodbridge, Virginia

Week of June 21 — Southern Baptist Convention, Louisville, KY. I’ll be drawing for Baptist Press.

Friday/Saturday, June 26-27 — children’s retreat for FBC Double Springs, AL at Camp Lee, Anniston, AL

September 12, Saturday, Ridgecrest on the River, NOBTS — conferences all day

September 26-27 (Sat/Sun) drawing and preaching for FBC Inman, SC. Paul Moore, pastor.

October 4-7, (Sun-Wed) revival at FBC Leakesville, MS. Philip Price is pastor.

November 6-7 (Fri/Sat) senior adult retreat for Annistown Road Baptist Church, Atlanta, held at Toccoa GA conference Center. My buddy Joel Davis is their senior adult leader.

November 29 (Sunday night) FBC Brandon MS

On the surface, this may appear to be a full schedule. But look more closely and you’ll see there’s lots of white space left on the calendar. So, there’s plenty of time to be working on the three books I’m trying to write (subjects: prayer, leadership, and fellowship). In the meantime, if your pastor needs a revival preacher, Bible teacher, prayer conference leader, deacon retreat speaker, banquet speaker/entertainer/motivator, or a janitor — one who mixes cartoons throughout all these — encourage him to call me!

I’ll appreciate your prayers that the Lord will use me to strengthen these churches, encourage these pastors, and reach people for Jesus.

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My Preaching Schedule (2009 so far)

Sunday, March 8, at FBC Grosse Tete, LA — 10 am

Billy Sutton, Pastor

(The best I recall my college French, “grosse tete” translates to “big head.” I can’t wait to get there and see who the town was named after! I’ll be speaking on missions.)

Saturday, March 14, deacon training at New Testament Church, Harvey, LA 8 — 10:30 am

Jerry Davis, Pastor

(Jerry lined me up for this, then said, “We don’t actually have any deacons.” When I expressed surprise, he said, “But we have some great people who ought to be deacons, so this is a good time to prepare them.” Smart man.)

Sunday, March 22, dedication of restored sanctuary of Free Mission BC, New Orleans, 2 pm

Johnny Jones, Pastor

(This wonderful little church, smack in the middle of the Lower Ninth Ward of this city, was flooded by Katrina, but has been rebuilt. For the last three years, they’ve had Sunday services in our associational building. Even though the church has been restored, that entire neighborhood is mostly vacant lots. Johnny Jones is a retired school principal and easily one of my favorite people.)

Friday, March 27, I’m the emcee at Kathy Frady’s “Gigglefest” at FBC Slidell, LA 7 pm

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My Preaching Schedule — Autumn, 2008

Wednesday morning, October 15

FBC Zachary, LA Senior Adult Revival

Monday-Tuesday, October 20-21

FBC Newport News, VA

(Associational meeting, speak 3 times)

Sunday morning, October 26

FBC Columbus, MS

100th anniversary of the Sanctuary

Monday night, October 27

Suburban Baptist Church, New Orleans

Fall associational meeting

Sunday morning, November 2

FBC, Andalusia, Alabama “Homecoming”

Sunday morning, November 9

Seminary Baptist Church,

Seminary, Mississippi

(Senior Adult emphasis)

Monday, November 17

Montgomery, Alabama

Speak to statewide Directors of Missions

Tuesday, November 18

FBC Montgomery – Speak twice to

Alabama Baptist Convention

Monday night, November 24

Muskogee, Oklahoma “M Night”

Tuesday night, December 9

“Pastor & Wives Christmas Banquet”

Crowley, Louisiana

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My Fall Preaching Schedule

I’d appreciate your prayers that I’ll be effective, used of God to exalt Christ and to stand people on their feet. Thank you.


2 Tuesday – Gulf Coast Baptist Association pastors in Gulfport, MS that morning

7-10 Sunday thru Wednesday – Revival at FBC Fulton, MS. Andy Vaughn is pastor.

13 Saturday – “Ridgecrest on the River” at NOBTS – I’m leading two conferences for church leaders

14 Sunday – (evening service) FBC Lafayette, LA

21-23 Sunday thru Tuesday — meeting at FBC Long Beach, MS

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