Posts filtered by tags: Pastoring[x]


 

How Many Acres Do You Have?

Wild Mountain Thyme isn’t likely to win any Academy Awards, but it’s a fun date movie about an Irish woman named Rosemary who longs to win the heart of her hapless neighbor, Anthony. It’s a fun and scenic movie to watch. I wasn’t expecting to think much about any of the themes of the movie, but one theme did make me think. Anthony’s cousin Adam visits Ireland from America. “How many acres do you have?” he asks Rosemary. “I don’t know,” Rosemary replies. “How do you not know how many…...
Tags: Featured, Life, Church, America, Ireland, North America, Anthony, Rosemary, Adam, Eugene Peterson, Pastoring


The Problem Covering the Problem

I remember the first time I witnessed, from afar, the fall of a Christian leader I respected. One of the painful lessons I learned is that we’re all vulnerable. I appreciate what Ray Ortlund says: “Every one of us is always five minutes away from moral and ministry disaster.” It’s closer than we think. We have a problem. 64% of Christian men admit to watching porn. 57% of pastors admit they have struggled with porn, either now or in the past. This is a problem we clearly must address. Books l...
Tags: Featured, Life, Boston, Jesus, Samuel, Ray Ortlund, Randy Alcorn, Christian Living, Pastoring, Ortlund, Matthew Kruse


For the Long Haul, Go Deep

My early years were characterized by a mad rush to the pastorate. I took a Bachelor of Theology Honors degree, which was a Master of Divinity with a year tacked on for those with no undergraduate degree. I graduated and took my first pastorate at the age of 24. I was ordained less than two years later. I don’t regret any of it. The professors who taught me in seminary were world class. My first pastorate had some hard moments, as all pastorates do, but was a gift from God. But looking back, I...
Tags: Featured, Life, Christian Living, Pastoring, Longman, Tremper Longman III


The Privilege of Pastoring

I pastor a small, relatively new church. We don’t own a building. The church feels fragile, although I suppose every church does. Although we’re small, we have our share of challenges and problems. And yet I can’t believe I have the privilege of pastoring this church. I feel this way lately every time I open Zoom and see the faces of our people. We can’t even meet in person right now. Pastoring a congregation — even a small one that can’t meet in person — is a privilege greater than I d...
Tags: Life, Church, PAUL, Christ Jesus, Francis Schaeffer, Eugene Peterson, Pastoring, Timothy 1:12 Paul


A Message to Weary Pastors

We just entered the second lockdown this year here in Toronto. We can’t have more than 10 people gather for worship. Churches are weighing how to respond, but this move certainly limits our options. It feels a lot like March 15 again. You may not be in lockdown as we are, but I know you’re dealing with the pandemic too. And it’s tiring. Thom Rainer has written, “The vast majority of pastors with whom our team communicates are saying they are considering quitting their churches.” I don’t co...
Tags: Featured, Life, Toronto, Jesus, Spurgeon, Thom Rainer, Pastoring, Lament, Mark Vroegop Vroegop


The Church I Get to Enjoy

One of my pastoral heroes taught me this: celebrate the church you’re privileged to pastor. Stand up on Sunday and communicate, genuinely, that it is the privilege of your life to be their pastor. Tell them that you’ve been waiting all week, and you can’t believe that you get to be with them. A pastor who believes this can’t help but love that congregation. That love will probably be enough to transform that church, at least a little. It’s true, too: every pastor is privileged to be entrus...
Tags: Life, Church, Corinthians, Jesus Christ, Timothy, PAUL, Christ Jesus, Ecclesiastes, Pastoring


Surviving as Pastors

When pundits talk about what it will take to lead the post-COVID church, I usually hear about ministry tweaks we’ll need to make. As much as I appreciate these tweaks, I believe we need to go deeper. We’ll need pastors who have learned to maintain healthy souls in the middle of the chaos in the post-COVID church. At the beginning of this crisis, Andy Couch and others predicted that “we are most likely facing a blizzard today, a winter for the next few months, and a little ice age for years … ...
Tags: Featured, Life, Church, Ash, Murray, Christopher, Pastoring, Christopher Ash, Bob Burns Tasha Chapman, David Murray David Murray, Andy Couch, Donald C Guthrie Resilient Ministry


In Praise of the Average Pastor

Few search committees look for one. Few young men aspire to become one. But it’s what most churches need. I’m grateful for the average pastor. You know the one. He never won a preaching award in seminary. He will never sound like Matt Chandler or John Piper. He knows he could be better at almost every part of pastoring. He often feels inadequate when he compares himself to those who are more gifted, and those who have bigger ministries. Books weary him sometimes, not because he resists learni...
Tags: Featured, Life, Church, Matt Chandler, Pastoring, John Piper He


Churches: Consider Running Your Own Conference

For the past four years, a small group of local churches in London, Ontario has run their own conference, inviting speakers like Andreas Köstenberger, Jared C. Wilson, and Andrew Naselli to speak. Just before the pandemic started, I interviewed Jude St. John, the pastor of West London Alliance Church, and the director for the conference, Nicki Cole, about their vision for running their own conference, and what other churches could learn from their experience. What motivated you to start Co...
Tags: Featured, Interviews, Life, Church, Jesus, Jared, Don, London Ontario, Jude, Nicki, Kernaghan, Jared Wilson, Pastoring, Costi Hinn, Andreas Köstenberger Jared C Wilson, Andrew Naselli


Preach the Word

I’ve enjoyed reflecting on Paul’s charge to Timothy, contained in 2 Timothy 4:1-2: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. So much here to unpack. The Stakes Paul goes out of his way to raise the stakes: It’s a charge, not a suggestion or an idea.It’s before God and...
Tags: Featured, Life, Timothy, PAUL, John Piper, Christ Jesus, John Stott, Preaching, Pastoring


Worth the Obsession

I’m always tempted to try to spread myself thin, to try to accomplish more than I should. The result is that I sometimes do a good enough job rather than giving something the care that it deserves. I was challenged by a principle called “Do less, then obsess,” found in Morten Hansen’s book Great at Work: Top performers did less and more: less volume of activities, more concentrated effort…To work smart means to maximize the value of your work by selecting a few activities and applying inte...
Tags: Featured, Navy, Life, Churchill, Timothy, Andrew Roberts, James Clear, PAUL, Christ Jesus, Morten Hansen, Pastoring


A Thought, a Quote, and a Resource

We all get too many emails. I regularly unsubscribe from as many as possible, but it doesn’t seem to stop the number of emails hitting my inbox. But I look forward to getting a few. In fact, if I don’t spot them, I search for them. A while ago, I started thinking about what makes me look forward to the few email newsletters I enjoy receiving. Here’s what I came up with: They’re short. They don’t take too much time to read and absorb.They’re informative and get me thinking. Their shortness ...
Tags: Featured, Life, Ray, James Clear, Christian Living, Pastoring, Jen Pollock MichelRenewal Ministries


The False Gospel of Visionary Success

“The whole problem is that churches don’t operate like businesses,” the businessman explained. “If they did, we’d all be a lot better off.” I can’t remember what prompted this discussion, but I heard it a few times from this man and others. Pastors should look to business leaders for inspiration. Churches should adopt business practices. Churches should also teach their people how to do this so that they know how to really live well in this world. It’s widespread. It’s the false gospel of ...
Tags: Amazon, Featured, Life, Church, Jesus, Christ Jesus, Ecclesiastes, Christian Living, Pastoring, Better Message Scripture


The Worst Sunday, The Best Sunday

Almost everything that could have gone wrong went wrong last Sunday. The Worst Sunday We hadn’t met in person in 133 days. It was our first Sunday back in person, with most of our people joining us over Zoom. We faced three complications. First: we were meeting in a new location. Second: for the first time in four years, we had to pull up in a vehicle and set up all of our gear. Third, and most significantly, we were doing a hybrid service — not a completely in-person service, not an onl...
Tags: Featured, Life, Church, Karl Vaters, Jared Wilson, Pastoring, Jared C Wilson


Pray for Church Plants

I’ve written about how I worry for pastors during this COVID-19 crisis. The truth is that I’m also worried about a particular kind of pastor: church planters. And I’m concerned for their new churches. Church planting is a fragile thing. You move in to an area as a missionary and try to evangelize a church into existence. It’s hard and risky. Not everyone survives at the best of times. I’ve heard Ed Stetzer say that a third of churches thrive; a third survive; a third fail. But we’re not in...
Tags: Featured, Life, Ed Stetzer, Christian Living, Pastoring, Church Plants


Do We Know Who We Are When COVID-19 Ministry Gets Hard?

Zack Eswine learned that his mentor had committed suicide. Eswine took a sabbatical from the seminary where he taught and spent six months as interim pastor with his departed friend’s family and congregation. He spent his time foraging “together for scraps of grace and truth amid the wreckage.” Eswine knew that his friend could have chosen to step down from ministry and still have mattered to his friends and family. But stepping down would not have been seen as a sign of humanity, but as a si...
Tags: Featured, Life, Jesus, John, Christ, Zack Eswine, Pastoring, Eswine


The Trolls Are Coming. These Books Will Help You Respond.

“This won’t take long,” she said. We sat in the foyer of the church building. She didn’t want to venture any farther. We sat in chairs facing each other while she unloaded on me for my failings as a pastor. “You don’t need to respond,” she said. “There’s nothing you can say. This is the last time you’ll ever see me.” If you’ve pastored for long, you’ve probably faced a similar scenario. Things seem to be getting worse these days with the increasing polarization in our culture and the rise ...
Tags: Books, Featured, Life, Friedman, Ray Ortlund, Pastoring, Marshall Shelley, Edwin Friedman, Steve Cuss


Permission to Ignore the Gurus

Let’s get this out of the way so I’m not misunderstood: if you’re in pastoral ministry, I hope you’re working hard. Really hard. Paul worked hard (Acts 20:35). He was able to speak of his hard work to the Thessalonian church (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8). He could say, “For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). Nobody could accuse Paul of being a loafer. ...
Tags: Featured, Life, Timothy, Don, PAUL, Robert Murray, Pastoring, Matthew Kruse


Second Mountain Pastoring

In his book Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life, David Brooks says that life seems to have a two-mountain shape. The First Mountain On the first mountain, we get out of school, begin a career, perhaps start a family, and establish an identity. “People climbing that first mountain spend a lot of time thinking about reputation management. They are always keeping score. How do I measure up? Where do I rank? … The goals on that first mountain are the normal goals that our cul...
Tags: David Brooks, Featured, Life, Peter, Pastoring, Second Mountain


The Minister’s Wife

You could argue that I’m not the most qualified person to review a book called The Minister’s Wife: A Memoir of Faith, Doubt, Friendship, Loneliness, Forgiveness, and More by Karen Stiller, but I happen to know one minister’s wife very well. So maybe I’ll take a shot. Here are three reasons why I think you should read this book, regardless of whether you’re a pastor’s wife or not. The Honesty If you’re a pastor or a pastor’s wife, you’ll recognize yourself in this story. You’l...
Tags: Amazon, Featured, Life, Church, Book Reviews, Stiller, Pastoring, Karen Stiller


What Church Can Be: An Optimistic Vision (With Blueprints)

It’s important to learn biblical truth, but it’s even more valuable to see biblical truth lived out. We need more than principles; we need examples. I’m grateful for books on church planting and pastoral ministry, and I’ve learned a lot from them. Some books lean toward the truth side; they’re helpful because they’re timeless. Some books lean toward the application side; they’re helpful because they’re practical. What we really need, though, is both. In other words, we need a book ...
Tags: Amazon, Featured, Life, Boston, Church, Book Reviews, America, Jesus, Bernie Sanders, PAUL, Luke, Kruse, Pastoring, Matthew Kruse, Seven Mile Road Church


Give Me More Than Tips

Right about now I’m getting tired of the kind of blog posts I wrote just a short while ago. Sure, it’s good to know how to respond to a crisis, and the practical steps we need to take. These posts have their place, but they aren’t enough to get us through these next weeks. Give me something more substantial. Remind me about Jesus. I thought of this as I purchased Dane Ortlund’s new book Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers. We need books like that right now. If w...
Tags: Featured, Life, Jesus, Christ, Dane Ortlund, Christian Living, Pastoring


Pastoring Through a Pandemic

I’m concerned for pastors in this COVID-19 crisis. Pastors aren’t the only ones I’m concerned about. I’m praying for all kinds of people right now. The list is endless. But I am concerned about pastors. David McLemore captured my concern in a Twitter thread: Today after our online service, our lead pastor shared with our community group about how he’s feeling the effects of decision fatigue (basically his brain is weary from having to decide so many things so quickly.) In a time like th...
Tags: Featured, Life, Ash, Walk, Ministry, Isaiah, Pastoring, Paul David Tripp, Christopher Ash, Justin Whitmel Earley, David McLemore


Shaping Church Culture

My definition of church culture is simple. It’s whatever has been celebrated or tolerated so long within a church that it shapes the behavior and values of everyone within the church, usually without their awareness. Few things scare me more as a pastor. If you’re the pastor of an established church, you’re inheriting an existing culture. Your job is to celebrate what’s good about the existing church culture and to begin to confront the areas of that church’s culture that are unbiblical. B...
Tags: Featured, Life, Church, Don, Pastoring


The Abiding Value of Pastoral Friends

In my first church, a deacon began a meeting by yelling at me. He stood inches from my face before storming out. Nobody in the meeting knew what to do. I called a friend of mine — a pastor — for lunch the next day. He cleared his schedule and took me to a nice lunch. He was older than me, and he’d been there. He offered me little advice but lots of understanding, and I remember that lunch to this day. That’s the last time I had a deacon yell at me. But I’ve experienced all kinds of pastora...
Tags: Featured, Life, Jesus, Wright, PAUL, John Stott, Pastoring


The Hole-in-the-Wall Church

“Guess where I’m eating?” I attached a photo of my dinner, ramen from a restaurant near us, and sent it to my wife. I’d wanted to eat there for a while, and I thought she’d be jealous. She soon replied with a picture of her own dinner, on her way to her destination just outside Phoenix. She’d discovered an authentic Mexican restaurant, a hole-in-the-wall, and the food was delicious. She’d won the contest. Small, Unnoticed, Excellent I love playing that game: finding a restaurant...
Tags: Featured, Life, Church, Phoenix, Pastoring, Wall Church


Feels Like Home

When I leave a hotel — not a budget hotel, but a place where I’ve found some rest and renewal — I feel like I’m being uprooted. “I’ll never be back here again,” I think to myself. “I liked it here.” Crazy. I have a home. I don’t need to feel homesick when I’m leaving a temporary abode to return to where I live. But I get it. In Keeping Place, Jen Pollock Michel writes about our longing for home. Home is our most fundamental longing, she writes. And for many of us, homesickness is a nagging...
Tags: Life, Toronto, Jesus, Strachan, Christ, Christian Living, Pastoring, Jen Pollock Michel, Stephen Witmer, East Liberty Street


On Obstacles and the Weight of Leadership

It’s a passage that’s bothered, even troubled me for years. When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” (Joshua 5:13-14) I would have expected the man — the commander of the LORD’s army — to answer, “Of course I’m on your side!” After...
Tags: Featured, Life, Israel, Jesus, God, Matthew, Peter, Jericho, Joshua, Spurgeon, Pastoring, Robert Alter, Israel Joshua


Superhuman: A Review for Pastors

Email overwhelms me. I’ve tried everything. I tried asking an assistant to process my emails. I’ve used plugins. I’ve tried batching my emails. Up until now, nothing has worked. This bothers me. I don’t want to spend my life reacting to emails, but as one of my friends (a pastor) points out, it’s reasonable for people to expect a response, ordinarily, to their emails within 24 hours. Jen Pollock Michel wrote about answering emails recently: “answering texts, emails, and direct-contact mess...
Tags: Google, Technology, Life, Pastoring, Jen Pollock Michel


It’s Not Up to You

“You’re just the kind of pastor this church needs,” we hear. “With your gifts I can’t see how this church won’t double in the next few years.” As pastors, we love to hear this. Our gifts will make the difference. We have what it takes. Our personality, our leadership abilities will make a difference. The most effective lies contain some truth. God chooses to use people, and God seems to use some pastors in more visible ways than others. But it’s still a lie. It’s not up to you. You don’...
Tags: Featured, Life, Jesus, Isaiah, Pastoring