Dan Reiland The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders

She was 22, and I was 26. We were both clueless but head-over-heels in love. We got married on June 27, 1981!

Patti and I celebrated our 38th anniversary this year over a quiet and simple dinner together in Atlanta. Two years ago we celebrated big with a dream trip of a lifetime to Italy.

When it comes to your marriage, it doesn’t matter if you celebrate big or small, it’s all about the experiences and memories you create together.

We’ve been in full-time ministry our entire marriage which has included:

Two kids, one Son-In-Law, three dogs, three states, three churches, four mortgages, and several sets of braces later, we are still in love. Candidly, it’s not always easy. But the joys and blessings are so worth it. Oh, did I mention, our first grandchild is on the way?!

What a great adventure it has been, and with much more to go!

No marriage is easy, but ministry brings with it a set of unique pressures that if not navigated well, you can lose your way.

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Note From Dan: I’d like to introduce you to my long-time friend Jim Tomberlin. He’s one of the sharpest leaders I know and has written a guest post for us today on church mergers.

Jim pastored a church in Germany, grew a megachurch in Colorado and pioneered the multisite strategy for Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago (2000-2005).

He then founded MultiSite Solutions and has served hundreds of churches grow stronger through intensive multisite and church merger consultation.
In 2019 Jim merged MultiSite Solutions with Tony Morgan and The Unstuck Group to expand its capacity to assist more churches.

Home base is Colorado Springs, but Jim spends half his time serving as the Chief of Staff at Christ Fellowship in Miami, Florida. Jim and his wife Deryl love traveling, hiking, and spending time with their three grown children and eleven grandchildren. And of course, Jim is a Denver Bronco fan!

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After the service what do you hear about the sermon? What do you read on social media?

  • “It wasn’t deep enough.”
  • “I loved the message, God spoke to me!”
  • “Pastor Bob’s sermon from 1st Church was better, he connects better.”
  • “That teaching was challenging and convicted me, thank you!”
  • “It was boring and I didn’t get anything out of it.”
  • “Pastor brought the heat, can’t wait for next Sunday!”
  • “I really couldn’t listen, I’m not happy with the Pastor right now.”

If you have been part of a church for some time you’ve heard all these and more. It’s not a slam on the local church, it’s part of our humanity, but that doesn’t mean it’s all good.

There’s nothing wrong with some constructive criticism, in fact helpful critique is good. But there is a big difference between helpful critique and hurtful criticism about the Sunday sermon.

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Church membership should not consist of rules to keep people out, but ramps to help people grow.

Membership in a local church may seem outdated or unnecessary, but if led well, it adds great strength to your church.

Candidly, nearly all churches have some form of “membership.” 

  • Some formal, calling it church membership.
  • Others informal, using words like belonging, discipleship, culture, team, or community, etc.

Both are referring to the same idea, but with different words, in a different style, and with differing amounts of emphasis.

I’ve served in two churches that are part of The Wesleyan Church, a great denomination. In both churches, I’ve taught all or part of the membership class for many years.

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