Monday, August 07, 2006

"Seven Questions with Pastor Dave Samples"

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?

I think that there are perhaps many keys to success--the greatest of which would be God's hand of blessing. I happen to be in the right place at the right time. I believe strongly that the most important thing that any of us can do is to passionately pursue our own personal relationship with God. Everything else flows from that relationship. Scripture says that God lifts up and God brings down. The second key to success would be in understanding God's vision for the church. I've found that I don't think as big as God does. We need less “long-range vision” and more “God-sized vision”. We need less committees and more prayer teams. Everything that we do at Cornerstone is filtered through God's vision for the church as revealed in Scripture. We want to be an Acts 2 church that penetrates the lostness of our community and our world. Our challenge is to realize that Acts 2 is the “baby” church. We should be far exceeding their effectiveness today--some 2000 years later. A third key would be our ability to release God's leaders to lead. I read a lot of John Maxwell and conquently, I understand the need to give my ministry away to others. We have a stream-lined organization that allows leaders to be empowered and resourced to do what they are called to do.

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.

I have a couple of processes that guide me every day. First of all, I devote about an hour early every morning to prayer and meditation. I have a plan that has me practicing twelve different aspects of prayer. I began with Dick Eastman's, The Hour That Changes the World and have tweaked his plan for prayer over the years. I use The One Year Bible (New Living Translation) for Scripture reading. I keep a journal in which I dialogue with what I'm reading in the Scripture. I ask these questions: “Does God give me a command? Does God give me a promise? Does God reveal something about Himself?” I force myself to apply the text to my life through the journal. I don't want to know more facts—I want to know God! A second process involves a handful of beads that I carry in my pocket throughut the day. Each bead represents a different aspect of prayer (praise, petition, intercession, etc). As often as I think of it, I will pull a bead out of my pocket and practice that particular manner of prayer. I got the idea when I was reading "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence.

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

This is a tough question for me because I often fail. In smaller churches I worked hard at writing notes and making calls. I always tried to be available and to be personable in all that I did. My church is a little bigger now and I can't quite get it done. I depend more on my Deacons to pastor our existing families and I devote my time to guests and newcomers. I'm outside before and after each of our three services greeting and shaking hands. I tell a lot of personal stories (struggles and successes) in my messages. I am inviting my church to interact with me in my blog. We are considering adding a weekday service that will feature the Sunday sermon in a teaching format with lots of time for questions and discussion.

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

Now here is where I might be just a little bit radical. I believe that evangelism is a supernatural byproduct of a healthy church. If our worship is right—if our fellowship is right—if our discipleship is right—if our service is right—then people will get saved! I emphasize relational evangelism. My challenge to the church is for every attender to personally bring one person to Christ each year. We share the Gospel often in everything that we do—but we don't do FAITH or any of the other programmed approaches to evangelism. In the six years that I've been at Cornerstone, we've seen 92 people baptized—69% of which are adults! For comparison—our current worship attendance is around 300.

5. What is your greatest passion?

I am passionate to see people grow in their walk with Christ. I am passionate to see God accomplish the miraculous. I love to hear the stories of life-change. This past Sunday we baptized a young man who has recently come out of a drug-addiction lifestyle. He came to Christ when one of our members invited him to come stay with him since he had no where else to go. One of my favorite stories is the story of Linda, a Catholic who lives in the subdivision behind our church building. Our worship center has no air-conditioning and we open up all of the windows and doors during the Summer. Linda showed up one warm Summer Sunday and responded to the Gospel invitation when if was offered. She said that she had been sitting out on her porch every Sunday morning for months listening to the church singing. Finally she couldn't stand it any more and had to come over and find out what we were so happy about! She gave her life to Christ, was baptized and has been here ever since. Additionally, there are many others who worship with us because of Linda's personal invitation.

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

First—develop loving relationships. Second—authoritative preaching (demonstrate to the people that you have been in the presence of God throughout the week). Third—Do what you do well—find someone else to do the other things. Be yourself! Fourth—visionary leadership—Hear from God and Dream Big!

7. Your church has been experiencing unsual growth for a SBC church. What do you believe are the key factors for the growth?

I don't think that I can answer this succinctly if I try to reveal methods. Let me just say that Cornerstone is made up of humble, gracious, generous, loving, serving, patient, people who spend time alone with God. God honors that which honors Him!

Pastor Dave Samples serves as Senior Pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Windsor, Colorado. For more information visit their church website or visit his blog.


Blogger Dave Samples said...

Just wanted to say thanks for posting these questions and answers OKPreacher. You've got a great website with awesome content. Keep it up!

Blogger OKpreacher said...

Pastor Dave,

I appreciate the love! My goal is to make this place a source of encouragement and learning for every believer. I appreciate your help in making that possible.



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