Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Shepastor: "A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words - WTIM "Empowering and Encouraging Women in Ministry 2012"

What a time, what a time, what a time the LORD blessed us to share as women from across the United States came together to praise God, and to empower and encourage one another! Next week, we will review the awesome sermons, workshops, plenary, panel, praise and worship. This week, I just want to share a glimpse of our joyous, victorious and blessed time we had together...
Post a comment or send me an email at Until Next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shepastor: “Let Us Praise God Together and Congratulate Our Beautiful Sister, The Reverend Dr. Debora Jackson, Newly Elected Executive Director of the American Baptist Churches National Ministers Council”

The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Psalm 126:3, KJV
The American Baptist National Ministers Council is an organization designed to promote health, wellness, encouragement and enrichment for pastors. On Monday, August 20th, 2012, The ABC/USA National Ministers Council announced the election of the Reverend Dr. Debora Jackson of Auburndale Massachusetts as the new Executive Director. Poised, articulate, tremendously gifted and beautiful, Dr. Jackson brings a wealth of skill and knowledge to the position. She has earned a Bachelor of Science in Business from Indiana University; Master of Science, Management and a Master of Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, both from Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and if that were not enough, she answered God’s call to the ministry and pursued the Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry both from Andover Newton!
Dr. Jackson served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Needham, MA for a number of years before accepting her new position as Ministers Council Director. The Ministers Executive Committee said of her,
She has demonstrated her ability to empower organizations to discern their vision and bring that vision to fruition. Finally, she is a powerful communicator, graduating from Andover Newton having been awarded the distinguished, ‘”Outstanding Preaching Award.”
How proud we are to call her our sister and newly appointed leader! Another stained glass ceiling has been broken! We praise God for the wisdom, broadmindedness and vision of the committee that selected Dr. Jackson. We are also thankful for the excellent work and ministry of outgoing interim director, the Rev. Dr. Joe Kutter, who served all ministers in general and women in particular with great respect, compassion and an open hand to provide opportunities.
To read about Dr. Jackson’s vision for leading the Ministers Council, visit,
Keep her in your prayers as she prayerfully leads the Council to higher heights of support, service and blessing of pastors and ministry leaders throughout the ABC Family and beyond.
Also, tomorrow is the start of the “Empowering and Encouraging Women in Ministry Pre-Conference and Conference.” Please pray with Women Together in Ministry of Greater Cleveland (WTIM) as we welcome women in ministry from across the United States. May each one be encouraged, empowered, uplifted, challenged and inspired to continue to do the work entrusted to them by God. Stay tuned for conference highlights next week!
Post a comment or send me an email at
Until Next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Shepastor: “Missed Opportunities”

The master was full of praise. 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!' Matthew 25:21
Some years ago, actor Harrison Ford starred in the movie, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” The movie had a particularly profound message. The character Indiana and his father were in search of the “holy grail,” the legendary cup from which Christ drank wine at the Last Super. After navigating through a variety of deadly tricks and traps designed to prevent explorers from finding the prized artifact, Indiana finally enters the cavern where the cup resides. There’s only one problem – the cup is not singularly placed – it is amidst an array of other cups – crystal, gold, silver, bronze, those adorned with precious jewels etc. If the wrong cup was selected, the one drinking from it would instantly die a horrible death – he had to choose wisely.
The scoundrel that was before him chose what appeared to be the most elaborate, lavish, sparkling and expensive cup. As he drank water from that cup, he immediately began to age, shrivel and explode! It was then Indiana’s turn. After thinking hard about the life of Jesus, he determined that he would not have had such a cup for his last meal. Therefore, Indiana chose the most simple, unpolished, dull looking clay cup from among the others. His selection was correct!
So often we are drawn to the glitz and glam in today’s society – even in the church. It never ceases to amaze me how many ministers miss wonderful opportunities to serve – to teach, to do missions, to give and to share their gifts in smaller, not so glamorous venues. In pursuit of “greatness,” they miss the clay cup. They fail to realize that every assignment is an opportunity for faithfulness – no matter how small.
I once was told, “when you do a job well, there’s always another job to do.” Realize that you are being observed – not only by humans, but by God. If you are given an assignment, do you give it your all no matter how trivial it may seem? Do you keep your word when you promise to do something? Can people count on you to finish what you start? Do you take your responsibilities seriously? Do you constantly have to be reminded to carry out your given tasks? Do you quit easily? Are you offended if you are not given a “major thing” to do?
I challenge you today to remember, that promotion does not come from the east or from the west or from the south, but God is the judge who puts one down and sets another up (Psalm 75: 6-7). Your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men (Proverbs 18:16). Be faithful in the small things, be faithful even when it looks and feels like no one cares or appreciates your efforts. Let the Lord guide your goal setting process. Your greatness is wrapped up in your faithfulness. Understand the meaning of “the cup.”
Post a comment or send me an email at
Next Thursday, August 23 is the Pre-Conference for the “Empowering and Encouraging Women in Ministry” Conference. Rev. Barbara J. Essex, author of Bad Girls of the Bible will be there for a book signing! KeyBank Financial Education and Empowerment workshop for women in ministry will be offered. Sister Joyce Lake from American Baptist Women in Ministry will provide awesome praise and worship! Pastor Tonya Fields from New Freedom Ministries will preach! What an awesome time we will have in the Lord! Don’t you want to join us? Visit and click on “donate n register” to pay the $15.00 pre-conference registration fee today! You will also see highlights of the Conference, August 24-25th as well. We hope to see you there!
Until next Wednesday In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shepastor: "Your Living Is Not In Vain"

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58, KJV
It’s been said that pastors die a death of a million paper cuts. Statistics regarding longevity of pastorates are grim. Consider the following…
Statistics · 90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week. · 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor's children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents. · 95% of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses. · 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family. · 75% report significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry. · 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands. · 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged as role of pastors. · 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered the ministry. · 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job. · 70% of pastors constantly fight depression. · 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started. · 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend. · 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month. · 33% confess having involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church. · 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living. · 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid. · 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years. · 1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form. · 94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor's ministry. · 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked. · 80% spouses feel left out and underappreciated by church members. · 80% of pastors' spouses wish their spouse would choose a different profession. · 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves. · Moral values of a Christian is no different than those who consider themselves as non-Christians. · The average American will tell 23 lies a day. · The profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”. · 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close. · Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year. · Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month , many without cause. · Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year. · Many denominations report an “empty pulpit crisis”. They cannot find ministers willing to fill positions.
#1 reason pastors leave the ministry — Church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastor's believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change.
Statistics provided by The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care Inc.
Do you see yourself or someone you love reflected in the above statistics? Many of the prophets of old could identify with the aforementioned emotions – Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, John the Baptist, Paul and even Jesus!
You are not alone. If you are wading through the deep waters of depression and discouragement due to the pressures of ministry, remember…
Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Difficulties and challenges are sure to come – but by the grace of God – YOU CAN OVERCOME!
Your life is not your own, you were brought here for God’s plan and God’s purpose… “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” John 15:16 Remembering that God is using us to be a light, an example, a witness, a blessing will help us when the temptation to become self absorbed and entrenched by our personal struggles looms large.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 When we “delight” ourselves in the Lord, we begin to desire the things that the Lord desires for our lives. Daily seeking the Lord’s face, pursuing the Lord’s heart in prayer and submitting/surrendering our desires to the Lord’s will prepares our hearts to receive the blessings He has prepared for us all along.
Jesus reminds us, “I am with you…” Matthew 28:20 Knowing that the Lord is always by our side is important during seasons of loneliness and feelings of abandonment.
Remember to always trust and reverence the Lord, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Psalm 56:3; “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” Psalm 111:10. Trusting the Lord in all situations and circumstances will keep us stable and moving forward. A healthy dose of “reverence” or “fear” of the Lord will keep us walking in a spirit of humility and obedience.
Remember, your “due season,” will come – don’t faint now!
Get to know God, not just be a casual acquaintance, but get to know God – In Philippians 3:10 Paul said, I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
How was Jesus in His death – death on the cross? He was obedient to His Father, He was submitted to the will of His Father. When we submit to the will of the Father, God will exalt us in due season.
Keep on pressing toward your mark. Keep on runnin your race – don’t worry about somebody else’s race, just run your race – looking unto Jesus who is the author and the finisher of our faith – look to Jesus who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you become weary and faint in your mind!
Your living is not in vain!
Post a comment or send me an email at
The “Empowering and Encouraging Women in Ministry” Conference is only two weeks away! There is still time to register. Visit and click on “donate n register” to download the conference registration brochure.
Until next Wednesday, In faith, hope and perseverance, Pastor Chris

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Shepastor: Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors, a resource for Women in Ministry.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6, KJV
Dear Shepastor friends, after several years of prayer, research, interviews, coffee shop, church and living room discussions, the Lord has blessed my book, Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors, to be accepted for publication by Judson Press!
So many of you have supported this effort through kind emails, words of encouragement, interviews, recommendations, thoughts for consideration and opening doors of opportunity – thank you! Your emails and comments on Shepastor have also aided in the process!
Below is a brief summary offered by Judson about the book’s contents…
Judson Press publication, Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors, by Pastor Christine A. Smith...
The reality of a stained glass ceiling is familiar to most women called to the pastorate. Despite being more likely to be seminary educated, female clergy constitute less than 10 percent of Protestant leading pastorates—and those who do hold such pastorates are generally paid less than their male counterparts. In light of such statistics, Pastor Chris Smith explores how to overcome the challenges in breaking through the stained glass ceiling—and she goes a step further. She shares the lessons learned and best practices of the success stories—those women who are currently serving in solo or senior pastorates. Based on a national survey of female clergy, this volume is rich in insights based on data as well as personal anecdotes—insights that will empower not only women called to the pastorate but also their male colleagues and denominational leaders who want to support them.
Visit: to pre-order your copy today!
August 23-25th, 2012 is fast approaching! If you have not already done so, visit and click on “donate n register” to download the registration brochure for the “Empowering and Encouraging Women in Ministry” Conference in Beachwood, Ohio.
Post a comment or send me an email at
Until next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris