Eleven Reasons Why It’s Easier Being a Pastor Today


Pastodawsonring has it’s challenges. Without a doubt, it can be overwhelming at times, but also filled with joy and fulfillment, most times. While I agree with Thom S. Rainer’s recent post, “Ten Reasons It is more Difficult to be a Pastor Today”  (Click here to read it), I offer another perspective. Although these ten reasons are true and many a reality, some, not so much in healthy situations. Leaving it on that note (a little negative and discouraging), does not do the wonderful work of pastoring justice.  I have given my own thoughts on why it rocks to be a pastor today.

Eleven Reasons Why it’s Easier Being a Pastor Today

  1. The Advent of Social media. It has become an arm of communication never matched by the old church’s monthly newsletter. Used with wisdom, we can encourage and influence more people toward Christ. Harness and use it and train your people to use it as an arsenal of communication and Christ-like encouragement.
  2. The Culture. While there are more “nones,” or people with no affiliation to any religion, this creates an amazing opportunity for evangelism.
  3. Podcast Pastors. I used to relish the thought of going to conferences and hearing my favorite authors. Now I can listen to podcasts.  I can learn at a breath-taking pace from some of the best teachers and leaders in the world.
  4. We have more business savvy.  Being forced to have an understanding of business, budgets, and banks is a good thing to a point, but this helps us surround ourselves with people and leaders that we can delegate these things to.
  5. Print is amazing. No longer do we have to depend on the local printer for marketing or any graphics. Most churches and pastors with a laptop can produce professional looking graphics to enhance ministry.
  6. Generational Blending.  Any leader knows that generational blending in the church is so healthy and positive. If leaders see the generational diversity as a gift and as the Bible teaches, then conflict among generations will be non-existent or minimal.
  7. More paid pastors. There are more pastors being paid now, even part-time, than ever before in the American context. That is a plus and does makes things easier. I recognize the tension of bi-vocational ministry. When planting here in Temperance, MI, I was bi-vocational for 3 years, I then became full-time. Although not really full-time salary, I knew that for the Kingdom, sacrifice would be made, and if the church grew, my leaders would increase my salary.
  8. Pastors are staying longer.  Because communities and churches are diverse, when a pastor has a good “match,” they stay longer.  I never remember pastors being places 20-25 years. Now that is still not the norm, but more common than it used to be.
  9. Churches are more pastor-driven.  The old model of churches being board-driven is becoming more rare. If you are at a pastor-driven church with a board’s trust and respect, there is great liberty for so many things God can do. A board is a gift and will love and support their pastor, and govern with effectiveness. We can really do things that God has called us to, set our schedule, be flexible, and run with the calling the Lord has given us.
  10. Support.  We have more support.  There is no long-distance calls anymore. We all have unlimited talking and text and can connect with our colleagues for encouragement and resourcing like never before.  No pastor should live in loneliness. We have the tools, and we can sculpt our schedules to reach out to others for prayer, meeting, encouragement and resource sharing.
  11. We don’t have to wear suits!

What are your thoughts?

Nate Elarton

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Calling Men to Fight


Sometimes we might get the idea through the church-culture world or the imbalanced view of Jesus that he is just a loving dude. We might view our savior as passive, detached and unengaged.  Sometimes we can also feel this way about our faith. That it should all just fall into our lap. All the victory, the faith and blessings just, “plop” into our laps and we have little to do with them. We don’t have to put any effort in at all.  I am here to tell you:  the things of God, the presence of Jesus, the power of the Spirit, it takes a little fight.

Men of God it is not time to be passive about our faith or unengaged about the devil. It is not time to be detached to pursuing the power of God.  Many men walk in a mediocre relationship with God. They don’t decide to fight. They don’t decide to engage and pursue their God. Their decisions do not result in a closer and deeper walk of victory and godly masculinity. We need men of God. These men are gentle enough to worship on their knees. They pray through tears in their eyes and act humble and gentle even when it does not go with the culture we are living in. Yet these God-chasing men are not afraid to war with the Enemy. They face their flesh and the pressure of the world around them. They understand that being a sissy for God is not a dent in their manly exterior, but seeds they are sewing into their eternal reward. 

                Let’s be like David; full of faith and courageous enough to face Goliath. Trusting in God and bringing the giant down, then to cut off his head so he would never have a chance to breath again. We need humble warriors.

                Let’s be like Paul; boldly proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus before Felix and Caesar without worry of his reputation. Never caring what these other men thought of him or his life. We need fearless proclaimers.

                Let’s be like Peter; who failed Christ and then denied him, but instead of living in his failure took the second chance of God. He boldly proclaimed Jesus, being filled with the Spirit, resulting in thousands of new followers. We need forgiven sinners.

                Let’s be like Thomas, who was not afraid to go and die with Christ. We need faithful givers.

                Let’s be like Stephen, who told the authorities the truth, and died because of it. Jesus stood in honor in the heavens to Stephen. We need fearless martyrs.

                Don’t be like Demas, who did not have the guts to stay strong. He loved the things of the world more than his faith, and walked away. Men, let’s walk to Christ, not away.  Our family will follow us to him, if we lead.  Don’t be a chicken about it.  Man up and lead for God.  Like a gutless, wimp, he walked away.  Don’t be like him. 

                 Feed your Spirit men. Read the Bible and pray.  Pray with your family. Get them to worship.  Master your flesh through the Spirit and make a great difference in this world.  Let’s engage in the things of God, and let’s not be passive about the Devil who wants to Kill, steal, and destroy. Let’s defeat Him in our lives, our families, and our church. Walk in Jesus’ power and His victory.  I encourage us to fight.

                 Fight against being spiritually passive.

                Fight against contentment with mediocrity.

                Fight the enemy that is always lurking in our midst.

                Fight against your flesh that is prone to wander.

                Fight the urge to live without self-control.

                Fight spiritual laziness that results into spiritual weakness.

  If you think Jesus called men to be passive little wimpy disciples then read this verse from Matthew 11:12:

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”  (NASB)

Men Let’s take it by force, let’s fight!

Six things really bothering me today


Praying through a few things and as I read the news, experience life, live out my calling, and lead a church.  I must admit things rub my spirit wrong.  I know many say worry is sin, and sometimes it is, but God-given burdens and responsibilities that grab our attention for action and prayer, are not that kind of worry.

1) I am bothered at the deaths of thousands of Christians by ISIS and the news/media stays silent, and our President, at a prayer breakfast compares that with the Crusades. The spread of Islam deeply bothers me. May the power of the Spirit arise, and Truth prevail.

2) I am burdened at the number of people that need great Christian friends to encourage them, and teach them the ways of Christ. We need more disciplers. We need a revival of believers that want the Spirit victory in others as much as in themselves.  May Father raise them up and give the church a deeper desire to share their lives and care for the weaker and newer in faith.

3) I am troubled that pornography will hit the big screen, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and it seems that there is no outrage but acceptance in the abuse, and demoralization and dehumanization of women, or the sin it will graphically portray. The attack on human, marriages, and the minds and hearts of men is blatant and obnoxious. May God help us have some decency and discernment, and may this movie not make a dime of profit.

4) I am always sadly amazed when people walk away from Jesus and dive into the sin of the world, forsaking everything they know is right, true, and pure.  May they return and God’s people pursue them (Galatians 6.1,2).

5) I am burdened for our young adults. Seems many are drifting. I want to see them fulfill God’s purposes in their lives.

6) I am worried for discouraged pastors and friends that have so many challenges, trials, and struggles in the ministry. May God lift them and encourage them today. May they not quit. May the Lord give them great leaders, board members, staff members and volunteers that will encourage them, and so continue the fruitful work of the Kingdom.

This is the list of things that are agitating my heart.  This is my prayer list today.      ……..Nate

10 Lessons I have learned about choices and decisions.


I have made some great choices in my life.  I have also made some horrible choices that have caused many pain, and regret in my own soul.  Everyday they say (I don’t know who “they” are!  LOL) we make 30,000 decisions.  Wow!  A lot of opportunities to make some awful mistakes, but also, some opportunities to make some great ones.  So here are some things I have and am learning about decisions and choices.

  1. When I am not closest to the Lord, my choices have the potential to be the worst and the most selfish.
  2. I need to make decisions slowly with patience.
  3. I must pray about decisions and choicest that have the potential to affect others. I must pray about them more.
  4. I must never make impulsive decisions.
  5. The enemy will try to influence my decisions, and he would like to choose sin.
  6. I must have the wisdom of God, and the mind of Christ.
  7. Some decisions need counsel, and to glean the wisdom of others.
  8. I need to look into the future, of the potential effects of my decisions, not just the immediate.
  9. I cannot allow others to try to put me in the position to make their decisions for them.
  10. I am vulnerable to make bad decisions should I not pay attention to these.

James 1.5-8 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed., Jas 1:5–8). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

A big lesson from Welch. Are we blessed because we have more? I say “no”.


As we have participated in another outreach in Welch, W. VA. I have learned a few things.  I walked around yesterday as about 1000 people packed the Welch Armory. People in great need in many ways. In McDowell County, W. VA  the unemployment and poverty is very high.  The suicide rate is higher, and like with any place, drugs are prevalent.

So some of you might hate this post. But please read it closely.

When we see poverty and need, we always say something similar. I have said it and hear others say it.  We say “we are so blessed.”  This is referencing that we are not as poor as those we are seeing. We are doing better. We have money and stuff. We are blessed.  God loves us more? God is really caring for us?  I don’t think so.  A year ago this saying was starting to grate in my spirit.  Are you we really blessed because we have stuff?  So when we say that we are implying, those that don’t have what we have are not blessed?  Maybe they are cursed? Is God’s blessing only manifested in financial and material gain? Maybe the blessing of God has nothing to do with money and stuff. Maybe our definition of blessed is very wrong.

Maybe we are not blessed because of our stuff.  Maybe we are blessed (which means happy) because we know Jesus.  We are forgiven, saved, and delivered.  Are we not all blessed because we are never going to die in Christ. We live eternal?  Regardless of our bank account, if you know Jesus, no matter if you live in Haiti, Temperance, Welch, War, or Toledo, you are blessed.

Jesus cautions us about what we call a blessing. He says you can’t serve God and money (Matthew 6.24).  Paul tells  us that the Love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6.10).  He also says in the last days when people start forsaking God, they will become lovers of money (2 Timothy 3.2). Our Lord says it is  easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19.3,4).  So it seems, God is saying opposite of what we may believe and what the deceived prosperity gospel proclaims.  True blessing from God is God himself. We are happy because we know Him.  So think about and think about this…

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed., Mt 6:19–21). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Nine Trends I See for the Christian and the Church


church 1

1. I believe it is going to cost more,  and is now costing the real believer more to be a complete follower of Jesus, and to have the title “Christian”.   We will see more cynicism toward our faith. We will experience less favor by the world because of our relationship with Christ and our convictions that will more regularly  collide with society’s loss of moral standards and integrity.  The snickering and eye rolling toward followers of Christ will grow (from Ed Stetzer). 

2. People that rarely have attended church are disappearing completely.  Ed Stetzer says “nominal Christians are becoming none.” I agree.  Those that fiddle on the fringes of Christianity, seem to be just disappearing from the spiritual scene. People that used to attend Compelled like maybe once  a month or so attend almost never now.  I see that trend continuing, sadly. 

3. We will be challenged more and more on believing the Bible.  The morality of the Bible, the salvation plan of God will be attacked, challenged, and we will be looked down on by society, friends, and family for embracing God’s Word completely and God’s plan.  We need greater faith than ever. 

4. It is rare, refreshing, and more uncommon for someone to attend church weekly, be in a small group, or be part of a midweek.  I talk with many pastors and we experience more of a challenge to disciple people, as they are just not around to disciple. Interest in growing in Jesus is waning.  It is challenge to build a faith community, and people who know each other and are around their church family to get to know them, and grow in faith together.  The efforts must not stop. Pastor, don’t stop challenging people to grow, being innovative, and challenge key leaders to be examples and faithful to their church. I will not relent, even though Compelled’s midweek and small groups are struggling, I have been mandated to build disciples, so I will not give up or settle for mediocre discipleship.  “I will build My church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Jesus words to Peter. I live by them! They encourage me when discouragement floods me on discipling people.

5. The pressure for our kids to be “professional athletes” at young ages and to be in that sport year-round will grow, and our children’s participation in their local church continues to diminish. Parents will continue to choose many things over getting their family to church. Time and resources will be invested outside of faith in greater  amounts.  I fear what the results will be as a generation gets older. I fear the reaping of these decisions on our children and youth. 

6. The Spirit of God, and His presence will become more of a reality to those who’s hearts are fully devoted to Jesus.  They will experience a close relationship with our Father that will ground them, and set their feet solid on the rock and nothing will cause them to step off, leave their faith, or compromise. Devoted followers of Christ will grow in devotion, no matter what happens in this world. 

7. The Word is going to become more precious.  As it is diminished in our society, and mocked by more and more of the world. The Spirit will bring greater appreciation, dedication, and desire in the followers of Jesus to know God’s Word and God’s Words.

8. Liberal churches that leave the Word, and follow the world’s philosophies  will continue to decline, and many will close. Those bodies that remain true to the Word, and the Lordship of Jesus Christ will continue to be strengthened by our Father and will remain to do the work of Christ on this earth.  The challenges for health will be greater.  The pressure on pastors and spiritual leaders will increase, but God’s Spirit will uphold the faithful and the work of Christ on this earth will continue (Joel 2.28-32, Acts 2). 

9. There are going to be more radical salvations!  I believe there is coming a season of harvest and those whose hearts and lives seem to be the coldest and farthest from God are going to be saved and will be so radical we pastors are not going to know how to pastor them as they will challenge compromise, business as usual, and mundane faith.  It is going to be a challenging and exciting time. I feel it’s coming.  A great harvest, awakening, and/or revival in the midst of everything else. God’s Spirit is going to awaken people and they are going to turn to Jesus without compromise.

Let’s keep faithful to our faith in Christ.  Don’t believe for a second that believing without growing is enough!  Ask God to give your a heart that will be faithful in the midst of the pressures of this world.  Grow in Jesus! Read and study the Bible. Pray and praise our Savior Jesus.  Embrace the fact that if you follow Jesus with all your heart you will not be like everyone else. You will not blend in.  God is with us. He is building His church. Let’s be part!  Pray believe, keep praying!  Be aware that the enemy of our soul is suttle, tricky, and patient.  May we have great discernment as he tries to lead astray the follower of Jesus.  Give us a greater desire for you Jesus!

The quiet/slow killer of pastors and spiritual leaders


Never Stop growing as a leader.
Never Stop growing as a leader.
What happens to the excited, zealous, leader right out of college after a decade or more of ministry? The new minister is so eager, hungry to learn, wanting to be mentored, coached, and taught. They read everything they can get their hands on in their field of calling. They listen to teaching, go to conferences as much as they can, and just learn. They stretch themselves, take risks, attempt new things, think outside the box, and do everything they can to make a dent in darkness and to see people find Christ as Savior and to grow. Then, we get some experience. Some wins come under our belt. We become “professionals” in our field and…………we get lazy. We stop growing. We “top-out” in our leadership. I have seen this happen to lead pastors, youth pastors, children’s pastors, worship pastors. It is the quiet slow killer of our leadership. It slowly drains out life, our effectiveness, our zeal. We become lazy pastors who don’t grow, don’t read, don’t learn. Here are the results if you “top-out” in your leadership.

— Your passion and zeal slowly slip away.
— Risks are no longer taken. You only do what has worked in the past.
— Nothing seems spiritually urgent anymore.
— You start looking for the easiest way to do things. Meaning, you do less or the same things, with less prep/prayer.
— You stop reading books about your calling. You know it all.
— You begin to see your ministry as a “pain”. You grow cynical. People begin to “bother” you with their needs.
— You are irritated with the demands of ministry.
— You don’t cry for souls anymore. You’re not overly moved if people are not getting saved.
— You are happy with mediocrity or even less than that.
— You no longer learn, so nothing is new and exciting. Same old stuff every month, every year.
— You day-dream of leaving, retiring, getting out.

How do we fight “topping-out” in our leadership?
— Get radical with your own personal life and have a personal revival.
— Seek God with commitment and discipline.
— Read some fresh books. Get hungry to learn again! Make time, schedule time to read. If a pastor is not reading and learning…well….just learn.
— Try something new. Push the envelope. Take a risk.
— Get with people who light your fire. Get with some leadership with some fire, creativity, kingdom heart, and passion for Jesus. Don’t allow yourself to “top-out” and stagnate.
— Investigate growers and learners. youtube and podcast their sermons. Listen, read, learn, seek, write, and let your leadership start growing again in your area of calling.

Don’t give up leaders! Don’t grow stagnate! Press on! Let’s not top-out in our leadership, but grow! Christ is with us!

Integrity, Live it, Guard it, and don’t fall to the world’s love…money


IntegrityProverbs “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than he who is crooked though he be rich.” Proverbs 28.6

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. A follower of Jesus should have this. Integrity is built in years and lost in seconds, in a decision, in a moment of deception. Having integrity gives one a moral voice of authority and spiritual power and influence. Compromising integrity, leaves us lacking, powerless, and voiceless, regardless of position, something is lost. The cutting edge is dull, the plans fall flat, the blessing from Heaven dry up. Followers of Christ must guard their behavior, and their heart from anything that would steal or weaken integrity before our God and this world.
The context of this verse is financial. Solomon was talking about loving money, loving stuff, loving assets, and what the world loves and values so much. Money. Greed, and the desire for material things, can cause us to make decisions that have us wander from the path of integrity. When a leader is moved by money, wanting more, desiring it, for himself and those around him to the point integrity is questioned, than a leader is in a critical position in their leadership. Most times one does not even personally notice that this slow change of heart has occurred at some point. Power and pride can easily blind us from ourselves if we don’t listen to those around us and the Holy Spirit. We must keep our hearts soft to the voice of God in our hearts and through others.
This is why Paul, next to Jesus the greatest spiritual leader, tells Timothy, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” The Bible is true and does not lie, no matter if you are on silly and erroneous, “follow Jesus and you will be filthy rich” bandwagon, or not. If you love money and want more, you are in trouble. Your integrity will be questioned and your decisions will be marred by this driving desire. God never promises that all believers will be wealthy and rich, in money according to the standards of United States living. That is not the Bible. That is false teaching. God’s riches are so much deeper than financial, and at times may include a financial blessing.
I am very thankful and glad that integrity can be regained if lost. This is through repentance and humility of heart and life. I’m thankful for the restoration power of Christ. He is so good. So let’s guard our hearts from the syndrome of wanting more, entitlement, and materialism. If you have to justify financial decisions than you might be making the wrong ones. So many have lost integrity because of financial things, don’t be one of them. Let’s walk above reproach in humility, and trust God as our provider and not our power, our influence, or plans. He will take care of us. We don’t have to do His job. He will meet our needs, so keep your needs modest.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (1 Ti 6:10). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Spiritual Leadership in the Local Church – What a pastor needs.


spiritual leadership_0
I want to write the next week or so on spiritual leadership within the context of the local church. I know a lot of pastors and leaders read this, as well as leaders within Compelled Church. I pray you will revisit here every day and be challenged, encouraged, and your own leadership will grow. As I look back on the 17 years of ministry here at Compelled, and some of the victories we have seen, the storms we have navigated, and the spiritual fruit in lives, I am deeply reminded that God has blessed our church with great spiritual leaders. It has been the key to our growth and unity we have enjoyed and been a part of. God blesses pure and faithful people. I have read a lot of books on leadership, so many that I am going to approach this not from a book or academic perspective, but from a practical perspective from a pastor/spiritual leader, in the ministry for 25 years. I am going to write honestly with my weird humor, so enjoy.
Now we have all heard “everything rises and falls on leadership.” It is really still very true. But I also want to remind us that in the work of the ministry, the Spirit is at work also, and we must not forget the evil ones too. Ministry success is not based on the size of the ministry or church, but on the obedience and faithfulness of the leaders and participants.
Let me also say that in the context of the local church, spiritual leadership is critical for health and growth! I am going to assume the pastor has that, so every pastor needs strong and steady spiritual leaders surrounding him/her. This means from the board, to the ministry leaders, to volunteers. Without solid volunteer leaders, any church in ministry will be severely handicapped. Every pastor needs forward thinking, faithful, committed, responsible, engaged, godly, reliable, available, teachable, visionary, and relationally mature leader and volunteers.
So as I jot down a few things on leadership I have created a pretty long list of attributes and character qualities leaders must have to be effective in the local church. Over the next 2 weeks I am going to daily write on one of these, and I do encourage feedback. So let’s grow as leaders for the Kingdom of God!