Professional Christian SyndromeWhile on vacation this summer, I grabbed my Bible in an attempt to read it devotionally. Just one sentence in, I reached for a pen and paper — not to make a note for myself, but in order to outline a sermon. Rather than being in the presence of my Father to listen […]Read More How Can a Pastor Have a Genuine Devotional Life When Being a Christian is His Job?
Adrenal FatigueAfter the death of my third child, my family physician told me that clinical depression was the result of accumulated stress that had been allowed to exist and grow over a period of years. My onset had been triggered by the trauma of death and the hormonal symptoms inflicted upon my wife that created […]Read More 6 Warning Signs of Pastoral Burnout
A Pastoral Leadership ChallengeOne of the primary challenges that leaders in the church is staffing ministries with volunteers.When each believer exercises his or her unique gifts, the church works like a body , with hands, feet, eyes, ears functioning together as one unit to accomplish a goal.When those with gifts decline to use them, the church becomes […]Read More Rethinking Volunteerism in the Church
Every vocation provides a degree of challenge for a marriage. Coaching has really funky hours and seasonal rhythms. Politics feels like it must be a 24/7 job. Doctors who work at hospitals have a pretty crazy schedule. And shift work at a manufacturing plant or on a police force. Yikes. Pastoral ministry presents challenges, too. […]Read More Eight Challenges Every Ministry Marriage Will Face
Quick Navigation A Challenging SeriesMy Shallow Understanding of GraceStop Preaching Good SermonsThe Scandal of the GospelThe Continental Divide A Challenging SeriesI am preaching a sermon series on Sundays that is inspired by one of my living heros, Jerram Barrs. His book, Learning Evangelism from Jesus, is such a helpful portrait of how Jesus engaged sin-ravaged men […]Read More Pastors, Let’s Stop Preaching Good Sermons
THE DISEASEIf you are a pastor, you’ve suffered from a debilitating disease. You may not even know that you’ve been infected. But this illness has crippled your soul and is adversely affecting every aspect of your life, especially your personal spiritual health.In this post, I want to help diagnose this problem and help you start […]Read More The Cause of and Cure for Pastor’s Guilt
Just like overused tires may get worn and lose their gripping power, words may become so overused that they no longer retain the tread with which they were originally created. Consider, for example, the word awesome. In view of the truly awesome (awe inducing and worthy of reverent wonder unto potential terror), the way I tend […]Read More What is a Distinctively Gospel-Centered Sermon?
I served a church back in the 1990s where many folks in the congregation were members of the Country Club. As a pastor in my twenties, there was no way that I could afford to pay the membership fee, which I suspected was in the six-figure range. Nevertheless, I was invited to the club as […]Read More Pastor, You (Too) are Complete in Christ
In a recent post, I proposed 4 ways to be a great Assistant Pastor. It is only appropriate to follow that up (and I probably should have led) with a post about being a great lead pastor for an AP.Here are some thoughts on ten ways to be a great lead pastor for an AP, derived […]Read More 10 Ways to be a Great Lead Pastor for an Assistant Pastor
While I have been a lead pastor for almost fifteen years (a church planter for the past ten), my first ten years out of seminary were spent serving as an assistant pastor in churches ranging from under 200 to over 2,000 members. While I loved my seminary experience and learned a great deal about the Bible, […]Read More 4 Ways to Be a Great Assistant Pastor
Quick Navigation Vacation as HolidayThe Sabbath PricipleExtended Time for RecoveryMental Energy and Physical LaborThree Rings of Rest and RenewalRing #1: A Weekly 24-Hour SabbathRing #2: An Annual 2-4 Week SabbathRing #3: A True SabbaticalConclusion Vacation as HolidayEuropeans call their vacations being on “holiday.” I love that. Holiday is a compressed version of holy day. Like Halloween […]Read More Pastor, Are You Taking Enough Vacation Time?
Contents and Quick Navigation Introduction: The Pastoral Pose1. The Pressure We Face2. The Danger of Success3. The Two Options4. The Source of Spiritual PassionConclusion: A Resume of Failures Introduction: The PoseIn 2001, Georgia Tech head coach, George O’Leary, left the Yellow Jackets to take over as head coach for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. […]Read More How to Overcome Being a Pastoral Poser
Quick Navigation The QuestionBenefitsTime StewardshipHere is How to Do ItNext Steps The QuestionIs it really possible to have your Sunday sermon ready by Wednesday? Yes. But why would I want to have my sermon ready by Wednesday? Well, there are some huge pastoral benefits.Benefits1. The message has more time to “simmer” during the second half of the […]Read More How to Have Your Sunday Sermon Ready by Wednesday
Contents Avoiding Unbiblical ExpectationsBaseline IndicatorsAn Effective ModelPutting It Together Avoiding Unbiblical ExpectationsIn a previous post we discovered that pastors do not have to fit into a predesigned pastoral mold. In other words, we do not have to wear Saul’s armor.Every pastor brings a unique “gift mix” to his ministry, including a distinctive personality wiring that […]Read More What is the Essence of Faithful Pastoral Ministry?
Contents One Size Fits All?Asking Honest QuestionsMy Divine DesignThe RubThe Voice of GraceAccepting My Limitations One Size Fits All?The promotion that “one size fits all” is rarely true. It doesn’t work with gloves, shoes, shirts or pants. Even caps, wristwatches, belts, and other accessories usually need some kind of adjustment for a proper fit. The same is […]Read More Pastors, You Don’t Have to Wear Saul’s Armor
Contents A Cursed RobePastor as Vicar? ImplicationsA Five-Word Pastoral Manifesto From Now On A Cursed RobeIn April 1995, upon my ordination into gospel ministry as a pastor, I received a “Geneva gown” that was endued with a curse.Now, there was anything inherently sinful with the robe. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to wear clerical […]Read More A 5-Word Pastoral Manifesto
Every rose has thorns. So does every vocation.While thorns (i.e., hardship, brokenness, sin, etc.) are a result of the fall, work itself isn’t.And like a rose, the presence of thorns doesn’t mean that work can’t be beautiful, even if it is frustrating and at times, painfully so.Since work is a reflection of God’s image in […]Read More 3 Reasons Why Preachers Shouldn’t Complain
When you find yourself in a tough spot, the natural reaction is to find a way out.For pastors, that often means looking for a “new call.” Sadly, many new calls are not to something better but merely from something hard.It is a way to escape. For some, a way to run for their lives. I totally get […]Read More Should You Leave that Hard Ministry… or Stay?
Quick Navigation Introduction – Our MoveA Partnership Saying GoodbyeA Dandelion of Grace1. THE PROBLEMS WITH SENDING Fear of the UnknownFeelings of Loss and Heartache2. THE PURPOSE OF SENDINGSending = ExtendingA Lesson from Biology3. THE PLACES FOR SENDINGA New PerspectiveWe All Have Been SentGospel conclusion – William Borden Three Famous PhrasesSending Requires Receiving Introduction – Our MoveWhen […]Read More Dandelions of Grace: 3 Perspectives on “Sending”
Table of Contents 4 Questions1. What happened? 2. How are you feeling? 3. What is the next step? 4. May I pray with you? Follow Up I stack most of my annual vacation into June, taking off 4 Sundays in a row every summer. During those weeks, I am pretty much off the grid.It is a break I look […]Read More [For Pastors] How to Prepare for an Effective Hospital Visit: the 4 Questions to Ask