Friday, June 16, 2006

"Seven Questions with Wade Burleson"

1. In a day where there seems to be little vision and leadership in the local church, what has been the key to your success as a leader?

A pastor can only cast vision and ultimately implement vision when the people know the heart of the pastor. Jesus said “I know my sheep by name” and every under shepherd must take the time to get to know his sheep in order to lead them. But of course, the pastor himself must have a vision for the church. Our pastoral staff constantly works on vision statements for our church as a whole.

2. Current statistics show that pastors have a hard time of managing their time and therefore their devotional time suffers. Please share your method or habit of daily devotional time.

My actual devotional time varies. Sometimes it will be in the morning, but most of the time it is late in the evening. I read and memorize Scripture, pray using Scripture (a method taught by the great George Mueller) and personally worship through CD’s I play for that purpose. I am reminded of what Spurgeon said about pastors, "You cannot give of the Water to others until you have gone deep into the well of life many times personally.”

3. In your opinion, what is the key to developing relationships with your membership?

Honesty, transparency and openness. When the congregation hears of your struggles, when you are not afraid to let them know who you really are and that your identity is not found in what you do, but who you are, and when you are just yourself around THEM, the people can truly be friends.

4. Southern Baptists are involved in the “Everyone Can, I’m It” campaign. What does your church do to emphasis outreach and baptism?

Personal witness and lifestyle evangelism are our tools. We have no program. We encourage relationships, and we encourage people to be vocal of their faith.

5. What is your greatest passion?

I love to try to help people think about life in Biblical terms. Sometimes it is challenging when people have biases and opinions based upon culture and not necessarily Biblical.

6. If you could tell a person beginning a new pastorate one key to a successful ministry, what would that be?

Don’t try to climb a ladder. Grow and bear fruit where God has planted you.

7. Many churches struggle because there is unresolved conflict in the church. What has been your method of maintaining peace or dealing with conflict?

Three principles that we as a staff live by and the church understands.

A Loyal Spirit --- “I will never give or receive a negative word about you until that person who wishes to tell me has told you, or myself have talked to you personally.”

A Servant’s Heart --- “I will do everything I can to help you and make you shine.”

A Positive Attitude -- “No matter what happens, whether good or bad, I will not take undue credit or despair because God is in charge and all things happen by His will.”



Wade Burleson is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma and a trustee for the International Mission Board.

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