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From the Editor:

15 Characteristics of Effective Pastors

Preach Doctrine to Point to Christ

Words Matter

Rick Warren Joins Program for NCP 2008

Ministry, Church Leaders
Exclusivity of Christ

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

“Making up a string of excuses is usually harder than doing the work.”

(Marie T. Freeman)

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    Vol. 7, No. 3 January 16, 2008    

Michael Duduit

Pastoral integrity is one of those vital keys to successful ministry. Churches can rise and fall on this issue.

In their excellent book 15 Characteristics of Effective Pastors (Regal), Kevin Mannoia and Larry Walkemeyer cite integrity as one of those characteristics. They observe:

“There is a helpful analogy found in the book The Integrity Factor that captures the spirit of integrity. The bottom of an iceberg is beneath the waterline where no one can see, while the top is above the waterline, visible to anyone around. The bottom comprises 90 percent of the whole iceberg, while the top is only 10 percent.

“Imagine that the iceberg represents your life. The bottom of the iceberg is your identity (who you are, your character, your inner being) and the top of the iceberg is your activity (what you do, your performance, your tasks for work, home or school). You cannot separate who you are from what you do any more than you can separate the bottom of the iceberg from the top. They are one …

“The bottom of the iceberg deals with the question, ‘Who am I?’ The top of the iceberg deals with, ‘What am I here to do?’ The bottom deals with the fruit of the Spirit and the top deals with the gifts of the Spirit. You cannot separate one from the other: Gifts flow out of a character that is well formed and shaped by the character of Christ, and spiritual fruit is bestowed by God’s grace to find expression in the ministry activities to which you are called.”

15 Characteristics of Effective Pastors is a great gift for any minister – including yourself!

Michael Duduit, Editor

Listen to any of more than 20 podcast interviews (with preachers like Charles Stanley, Max Lucado, John Ortberg, and many more) at Click here to learn more.


In his excellent new book Doctrine That Dances:Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life (B&H), Robert Smith Jr. writes, “A key to an effective pastoral ministry is serving the congregation a regular diet that nourishes both the mind and the heart. As scaffolding helps to form the building under construction, doctrine informs the sermon. The scaffold is retired after the building is completed. Similarly, the real object of doctrine is not the doctrine itself; rather, the doctrine points beyond itself to the person of Christ.

“Doctrine is like a road sign that points to a destination. Consequently, if the doctrine is preached without focusing upon the person of Christ, then it is lifeless and insipid. Martin Luther’s analogy of the swaddling clothes that contained Christ to the Scriptures that enfold Jesus, the self-revelation of God, is picturesquely poignant.” (Click here to learn more about Doctrine that Dances)


As I’ve indicated before, one of my favorite recent books is Words That Work by Frank Luntz. One of the important truths he shares is that “Positioning an idea linguistically so that it affirms and confirms an audience’s context can often mean the difference between that idea’s success and failure.” Or stated more simply, how you phrase an idea makes a difference in whether people accept or reject it.

Luntz says the communicator’s task often is to find “the most appealing and persuasive way to present a preexisting proposition or program in a more accurate light.” One example he offers is the way 51 percent of Americans surveyed said they’d be willing to pay more taxes for “further law enforcement” but 68 percent said they’d pay more “to halt the rising crime rate.” What was the difference? “Law enforcement is the process, and therefore less popular, while reducing crime is the desirable result. The language lesson: Focus on results, not process.” (Click here to learn more about Words that Work.)


We’re excited to announce that Rick Warren is the latest addition to the program for the 19th annual National Conference on Preaching, which will be held April 7-9 in suburban Washington, DC. “Preaching and the Public Square: Where Do Pulpit and Culture Meet?” is the provocative theme of the three-day event. You’ll enjoy insights and inspiration from some of America’s finest preachers and teachers, including:

Chuck Colson

Rick Warren James MacDonald

Barry Black

William Willimon A.R. Bernard

Mark Batterson

James Emery White Robert Smith Jr.

J. Alfred Smith

Timothy Warren Greg Thornbury

and many more. To learn more or to register, visit the NCP website at or call (toll free) 1-800-527-5226.


“The Pastor Search Committee received a letter: ‘I understand your church is looking for a pastor. I should like to submit my application. I am generally considered to be a good preacher. I have been a leader in most of the places I have served. I have also found time to do some writing on the side. I am over fifty years of age, and while my health is not the best, I still manage to get enough work done to please my congregation.

“‘As for a reference, I am somewhat handicapped. I have never served in any place more than three years, and the churches where I have preached generally have been pretty small, even though they were located in rather large cities. Some places I had to leave because my ministry caused riots and disturbances. When I stayed, I did not get along too well with other religious leaders in town, which may influence the kind of references these places will send you. I have also been threatened several times and been physically attacked. Three or four times I have gone to jail for expressing my thoughts. You will need to know there are some men who follow me around undermining my work. Still, I feel sure I can bring vitality to your church. If you can use me, I should be pleased to be considered.’
“The committee was dismayed that anyone would think their church could use such a man. A trouble-making, absent-minded, ex-jailbird could not possibly be an effective pastor, let alone be accepted by the community.

“‘What was his name?’’ they asked. The chairman of the committee said, ‘I do not know. The letter is simply signed, “Paul”‘” ( newsletter).


In his book 3:16 – The Numbers of Hope (Thomas Nelson), Max Lucado writes, “How can all religions lead to God when they are so different? We don’t tolerate such illogic in other matters. We don’t pretend that all roads lead to London or all ships sail to Australia. All flights don’t land in Rome. Imagine your response to a travel agent who claims they do. You tell him you need a flight to Rome, Italy, so he looks on the screen.

“‘Well, there is a flight to Sydney, Australia, departing at 6:00 am.’

“‘Does it go to Rome?’

“‘No, but it offers wonderful in-flight dining and movies.’

“‘But I need to go to Rome.’

“‘Then let me suggest Southwest Airlines.’

“‘Southwest Airlines flies to Rome?’

“‘No, but they have consistently won awards for on-time arrivals.’

“‘You’re growing frustrated. ‘I need one airline to carry me to one place: Rome.’

“The agent appears offended. ‘Sir, all flights go to Rome.’

“You know better. Different flights have different destinations. That’s not a thick-headed conclusion but an honest one. Every flight does not go to Rome. Every path does not lead to God.”  (Click hereto learn more about the book 3:16)

From the January-February issue of Preaching …

In an “In Ministry” article by Elmer Towns, Ed Stetzer, and Warren Bird, they ask, “If our church had made no impact for Christ outside of our membership last year, should we remain content to do the same things this year?

“Most churches need to change because they’re showing lit­tle or no statistical growth (numerical, spiritual, or otherwise) and minimal impact on the surrounding culture. Too many are struggling just to keep their doors open, yet they tend to keep replaying what they did “last year.” Instead of looking for a breakthrough, churches across the country are slowly dying because too many tend to value tradi­tion over expanding God’s reach.

Innovation or death? Too many churches choose death over innovation. The choice we make today will impact the church of our children.”


Every issue of Preaching contains insightful articles on preaching, plus great model sermons and practical resources. If you’re not a current subscriber to Preaching magazine, click here (or call, toll free, 1-800-527-5226) to go begin your subscription!

Also in the January-February issue of Preaching: An exclusive interview with Charles Stanley, articles on “Preaching with Flavor,” “The Expository Method,” the final installment in Michael Quicke’s series on “Preaching and Trinitarian Worship,” sermons by Stuart Briscoe, Marvin McMickle, Michael Milton, and much more. Order your subscription today! is a sister website of ours, and they recently have released a new and improved version of their Bible Study Tools. If you aren’t already using one of the major Bible study software programs (like Logos or WordSearch), you’ll find BST to be a helpful resource in sermon and teaching preparation. Find the site at


“Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” (Charles Spurgeon)


In Dangerous Surrender (Zondervan), Kay Warren talks about the challenges and opportunities of surrendering to God’s direction for your life. She describes how God opened her eyes to the immensity of the tragedy of AIDS in the developing world, and how that vision has grown into a worldwide Christian movement. It is a powerful testimony that deserves the attention of church leaders everywhere.


No Christian leader of the 20th century has made a greater impact on the church around the globe than Billy Graham. In Billy Graham: His Life and Influence (Thomas Nelson), David Aikman offers wonderful insights about Graham’s life and ministry, including fascinating stories about important events in his life. Preachers will enjoy this portrait of the most influential preacher of our era.



Mike Milton is a contributing editor of Preaching magazine, and soon will be leaving the pastorate of First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga to become President of the Charlotte campus of Reformed Theological Seminary. In his new book What God Starts, God Completes (Christian Focus), Mike shares the powerful story of a challenging childhood and how Christ ultimately drew him to faith and then to ministry. Mike’s story is a story of God’s grace, and an encouragement to the rest of us.

(Click on the title to learn more or order from Amazon.)



A man was driving down a country road in the middle of dairy farm country when his car stalled inexplicably. He got out and raised the hood to see if he could find out what had happened.

A brown and white cow slowly lumbered from the field she had been grazing in over to the car and stuck her head under the hood beside the man.

After a moment the cow looked at the man and said, “Looks like a bad carburetor to me.” Then she walked back into the field and began grazing again.

Amazed, the man walked back to the farmhouse he had just passed, where he met a farmer. “Hey, mister, is that your cow in the field?” he asked.

The farmer replied, “The brown and white one? Yep, that’s old Bessie.”

The man then said, “Well my car’s broken down, and she just said, ‘Looks like a bad carburetor to me.'”

The farmer shook his head and said, “Don’t mind old Bessie, son. She don’t know a thing about cars.”


A defendant was on trial for murder. There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse. In the defense’s closing statement the lawyer, knowing his client probably would be convicted, resorted to a trick.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all,” the lawyer said as he looked at his watch. “Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom.” He looked toward the courtroom door. The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked on eagerly. A minute passed and nothing happened.
Finally the lawyer said, “Actually, I made up the previous statement. But you all looked on with anticipation. I therefore put to you that you have a reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed and insist that you return a verdict of not guilty.”
The jury, clearly confused, retired to deliberate. A few minutes later, the jury returned and pronounced a verdict of guilty.
“But how?” inquired the lawyer. “You must have had some doubt; I saw all of you stare at the door.”
The jury foreman replied: “Oh, we did look, but your client didn’t.”  (from Mikey’s Funnies)


January is when most people resolve to do better (and when fitness clubs make most of their annual profit). With the month half-way through, here are some observations on getting fit:

– I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.

– I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

– I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.

– The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier.

– If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

– Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5,000 per month.

– My grandmother started walking 5 miles a day when she was 60. Now she’s 97 years old and we don’t know where on earth she is.

– I joined a health club last year, spent about $400. Haven’t lost a pound. Apparently you have to go there. (from You Make Me Laugh)

Next time, just use the elevator.

According to a Jan. 14 Reuters story, a German man threw himself out of a third-floor window during a late-night attempt to dispose of his Christmas tree.

The man fell 22 feet from his apartment window after he lost his balance throwing the tree onto the street last Saturday, according to police in the city of Moenchengladbach. Unfortunately, the tree did not break the victim’s fall.

“There’s a TV advert showing people having fun throwing their old Christmas trees out the window,” said a police spokesman. “But you’re not supposed to jump with them.”

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