REACHING OUT TO CHURCHES WITH PROBLEMS
We are deeply concerned with churches undergoing problems. When a church is strife-torn, that body can think of very little beyond the current problems. Evangelism and missions become secondary. Many times church finances also take a dive. The church cannot function in a healthy way, with the shadow of strife looming.
For this reason, each day we attempt to be near our phones in the office, fielding those “spiritual” 911 calls. Some calls come in from distressed pastors, seeking encouragement and advice. Others are from board members seeking direction. Some calls are from individuals seeking prayer for themselves or their churches. All calls are important to us.
When one of our callers asks us for help in a church situation, we carefully instruct them to have the church board and pastor fill out and sign one of our consent forms. On the first page of this form we have listed rules of arbitration governing how we will conduct ourselves in all meetings with the church board and/or congregation. We will not come into a church until this form is filled out and returned to us. It is important for the church to feel that they have invited us in, that we are there as their guests, and they have agreed to conduct themselves within the guidelines of our agreement with them.
After meetings with the church are concluded, we will follow up with a brief summary of our conclusions, along with recommendations to the church for dealing with the problem in a biblical manner. We will make every attempt to minimize the loss to the church, of people as well as monetary, reflected in our conduct in the meetings as well as our recommendations. These recommendations are not binding, and the church then has the option of implementing them or not using them.
Our founder, Rev. Charles Svoboda was instrumental in helping a number of churches get organized out of Bible studies during the 1950s and 1960s. Many of these churches begun back then are still in operation today, to the glory of God! Much of our literature reflects this type of organization, with good common sense biblical guidelines geared toward efficient operation within the local church.
Rev. Svoboda has fifty-five years of experience in church planting and guiding churches through difficult procedures. Rev. David Bauer, the current Director was raised as a child in a pastor’s family, and has thirty-two years experience in ministry working with church boards and pastors. Rev. Bauer’s education and life’s experience are in the area of pastoral ministry and church polity.
Our associates are directly involved in fruitful pastoral and teaching ministries currently. At BRM, we as a team stand ready to assist churches in the development of constitutions, by-laws, and church polity, which would best aid in the efficient operation of the local church. We believe, teach and practice doing all things “decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40).
TRAINING MEN FOR PROBLEM SOLVING
Associated with our BRM office are men we have been able to send out in times past, to assist churches in the reconciliation of interpersonal and church related strife. This is not an occupation just anyone can do. We believe that to be able to hear a matter and to discern, confronting when necessary, takes a certain combination of spiritual gifts. Many pastors tell us that their weak area is that of confrontation. Eight of the most dangerous words we know are: “Leave it alone, maybe it will go away.” And of course, it usually doesn’t.
We retain the services of six Associates, located strategically within the Midwest (see Associates’ page) at the ready at any given time to go where they are sent. In addition, there are several other pastors we have used in times past to assist and encourage where they are needed. This keeps the Director from having to travel constantly, or be in two places at the same time.
Our Associates are seasoned veterans of pastoral ministry, trusted, steady men we can send with confidence. As they are accountable to the Director and Board of BRM, a full report with recommendations is expected from them at the conclusion of a meeting with the church they have gone to service. Also expected is a letter of acknowledgement from the church when their services are concluded. Each Associate and the Director must sign a reaffirmation of BRM policy each year, agreeing to serve within the parameters of the BRM Constitution and doctrinal statement.
Associates are further called upon at regular intervals to undergo intensive training sessions with the Director, sometimes involving other board members. These sessions many times last several days and are held in a remote setting, where bonding and sharing between men can take place without the interruption of daily ministry life. Prayer, solid Scriptural teaching, as well as field reports and problem-solving sharing are involved. These are enjoyable and profitable times for our men, and are necessary for the furtherance of our ministry. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Prov. 27:17)
PASTORAL PLACEMENT SERVICE
We are happy to hear when another Church is seriously considering a pastoral candidate. We get actively involved with churches in this process that can take over a year many times. We will help with pulpit supply and advise the Elder Board during their time of pastoral search. We forward resumes to the pulpit search committee. We also advise them as to the proper procedure in presenting the candidate to the congregation. We have helpful literature with “do’s and don’ts” for both candidates seeking churches as well as churches seeking a pastor. And we pray with the churches for the leading of God’s man to their ministry.
Pastoral resumes come in to our office. As each one arrives, we call the candidate to determine what kind of ministry he is seeking, how far he is willing to travel to re-locate, special salary and family needs, as well as his general vision for the ministry. We then attempt to prayerfully match up the candidate with a church that would be suitable to his particular personality and spiritual gifts.
By God’s grace BRM has been successful in placing over forty pastors through the years. Most of them are still active in the ministry. Think of how the Lord has used us to rescue many churches simply by the placement of the right man in the pulpit! This is most important, as the pastor in the pulpit can either be the catalyst or the breaking point for any church.
Pray for us as we continue to advise churches in biblical ways of doing all things “decently and in order.”
1 Cor. 14:40
BIBLE CONFERENCE AND EVANGELISTIC PREACHING
Our Associates, Director and Director Emeritus have developed many teaching and preaching series over the years for use in churches, Christian camps, and Bible college meetings. Each Associate is an experienced preacher, with a successful ministry for many years in his own church.
With just a call into our home office, we would be delighted to send one of our preachers to your church for a teaching series, evangelistic preaching or a series of revival meetings. Many times healing in a church can take place by preaching on certain specific subject matter. We stand ready to share with your church, and will rise to the occasion when called upon. It is suggested that your church responsibility would be to cover our travel expenses or give free-will offering to defray these expenses.
PHONE HOTLINE FOR DAILY COUNSEL OR PRAYER WITH PASTORS AND ELDERS
Much of our counsel with pastors and church officers out there takes place over the telephone. We maintain two office lines to provide service to churches daily. Some of the calls coming in are from individuals seeking information about our services. Other calls are for prayer in specific situations. Then there are the “spiritual 911 calls” for help, sometimes from churches undergoing internal strife.
We work most mornings as well as afternoons near the phone lines, prepared to answer calls as they come in. We also call pastors frequently to encourage and to pray for their specific church and personal needs. Both Rev. Svoboda and Rev. Bauer can also be reached most evenings at their respective homes. Messages left on the office phone lines are returned as soon as possible, as the phones are monitored regularly.
PULPIT SUPPLY FOR CHURCHES
When called upon, Rev. Bauer, Rev. Svoboda and our northern Illinois Associate stand ready to fill pulpits within the Midwestern area. Our office also has a list of capable men we can confidently send out when we ourselves are obligated on any specific requested Sunday or weekday meeting.
Many of our Sundays are spent in churches, substituting for the senior pastor, or promoting our ministry by giving a missionary report. Due to our many years of experience in the pastorate, we are prepared to speak on a variety of subjects and Bible passages.
TRAINING YOUNG PASTORS IN MINISTRY
There is a lot of important information not given in our Bible colleges and seminaries, which falls in the category of pastoral duties. For this reason, BRM stands ready to advise young men going into the ministry, as well as seasoned pastors on proper protocol regarding pastoral theology.
Through the years BRM has helped give practical direction to pastors in many areas: preaching schedules, outreach ideas, funeral services, baptismal services, baby dedications, premarital counseling, wedding planning, commissioning services, missionary conferences, and special project fund raising are just a few of the specifics where we can help.
BRM is also committed to helping pastors keep from making many of the mistakes which could either terminate their ministries or jeopardize the growth and stability of their churches. There are certain specific practices which have been known to lead toward a lack of confidence in the pastor, and could even have a final result in a church split. We stand ready to advise pastors as to which of these tendencies to avoid, as well as the proper way to resolve conflict within the board or the larger church family.
COUNSELING AND HELPING PASTORS THROUGH THE ORDINATION PROCESS
So many young pastors look at the ordination exam with anxiety and dread. We at BRM try to take some of the stress out of this process by helping young candidates prepare for this great day.
We start first by meeting with the candidate regularly, working on the separate parts of his doctrinal statement. Preparing a clear concise doctrinal statement is part of the key to a proper ordination exam. We usually work on a couple of the sections of the doctrinal statement each week, offering advice and helpful recommendations toward making the document as clear and thorough as possible.
Then when the statement is complete, we meet with the candidate in order to ask random questions similar to those ones the examining council customarily may ask. Some of the questions we pose to him are based on the candidate’s doctrinal statement, and some are practical ones typically asked in this type of an exam.
Finally, we help both the candidate and the church to plan the ordination exam and the formal ordination service. The exam should include the testimony of the candidate, his call to ministry, doctrinal exam, practical questions, affirmation by both his wife and the church, as well as recommendations by the examining council. Along with a proper doctrinal statement, key to an efficient exam is an accurate agenda, an appointed moderator and recording clerk. These participants should be chosen and agreed upon well ahead of time. The candidate will also select ahead of time those pastors, professors and church board members he wants to be a part of his examining ordination council.
DEVELOPING PASTORAL SALARY PACKAGES FOR CHURCHES
A pastoral salary package can be a complicated matter, that even a seasoned board member or church financial committee would have trouble understanding. Further, a new pastor many times has very little knowledge in what is needed, as well as what the government allows and requires concerning ministry persons. There is housing allowance, professional reimbursement, hospitalization, self-employment taxes, educational allowance, as well as retirement allowance to be considered.
We at BRM have had considerable experience in designing pastoral financial packages, according to both the needs of the pastor and his family as well as the particular church obligation. This can be determined by meeting with the pastor and his wife, carefully reviewing their budget needs, as well as those costs he may encounter in pastoral ministry.
Is would be difficult (and sometimes embarrassing) for the typical pastor to reveal these professional needs to the church financial committee or board. BRM is much better equipped to handle this, explaining the entire package to the board in an organized way. By presenting a specific detailed breakdown of expenses we can demonstrate to the church just what is actually needed to support a full time pastor weekly, monthly and annually.
HELPING CHURCHES WITH FINANCIAL PLANNING
Sometimes churches can get stressed out concerning financial matters. Perhaps it may be in not meeting the burden of the current budget. Or there may be a special project or fund that appears out of reach to the church. Lack of finances can appear to be a small problem by comparison to the issues that can be involved in a strife-torn church. But this can be a cause for discouragement in a church having trouble meeting its financial goals.
Not only is BRM equipped to help a church with its over-all budget and financial planning, but also we are willing to help them develop a plan to increase congregational giving to meet the present weekly needs, as well as a special one-time project need.
We are willing to come in by board invitation to speak on the subject of sacrificial giving, as well as to present to the congregation the current needs compared with actual income. Meeting a specific need can be a “defining moment” for any church, a lesson in faith and God’s faithfulness the congregation will remember for years to come!
ASSISTING WITH CHURCH MERGERS
The Urge to Merge!
Sometimes two churches, sharing similar goals and interests decide to come together under one roof, merging both congregations into one body. We at BRM have been instrumental in encouraging and facilitating several merges of churches over the years. It is a joy to see two congregations coming together, rather than to see a single congregation splitting.
• Like a marriage there is a greater reward when two become one (Eccles. 4:9-12).
• There is a greater distribution of spiritual gifts when there are more members (1 Cor. 12:4-7).
• A church struggling without a pastor can merge with a church which has an established pastor (Ephes. 4:11-12).
• Two smaller churches each with pastors can become a multi-staff church when united together (Acts 14:23).
• Boards of both churches can be united to allow for committees of elders, deacons, trustees, etc. (Ephes. 4:3)
• Two churches with constitutions in need of revision can work together with an appointed committee to unite the strengths of both constitutions after the merge (2 Cor. 6:1).
• A congregation without property or a building can unite with one that has a building and work together to fill the building for the glory of God (Acts 2:47).
• If there is an extra piece of property after the merge, it can be sold at a reduced rate or even donated toward another church or para-church organization to be used to the glory of God (Col. 3:17).
The blessings of two churches uniting can be many. However, the two churches must be of similar minds doctrinally, as well as in purpose and goals. The merged church should share equally in ministry also, with the congregations being truly united, with no take over by the larger congregation. Like in a marriage relationship, it should no longer be “them” and “us,” but be referred to as “our congregation” as we unite to serve our Lord. 1 Corinthians 3:9
HELPFUL LITERATURE TO ASSIST IN MANY SITUATIONS
Over the years we have developed a long list of encouraging and helpful literature, aimed at making the ministry of the pastor and board members easier. We have forms and policy manuals, as well as books and booklets. Also available are Bible studies, helpful studies on certain topics, and Gospel tracts.
Literature on any subject is available upon request, and free of charge. Books are available for a donation. Call or email us to place an order: 708-579-3800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.