We tell ourselves it's all for the glory of God, but our true motivations are revealed by our disappointments.
The plunge of any pastor represents the potential for every pastor.
He isn’t being lazy—he’s being human. Monday morning depression is a real thing for most pastors.
We ask Nathan Finn, "Why should one consider formal theological education?"
Complementarianism is crucial for Christian discipleship because pastors and churches need to hold up different pictures of Christian maturity for the man and for the woman.
We planted our church over six years ago. There is a church where there used to not be one, yes, but we're still working really hard and sometimes it feels like we're spinning our wheels. When is it going to get easier? When is God going to do something big and miraculous instead of the small and incremental?
Let the thrill of ministry die away, and seek the presence of the thrill-giver through communion, solitude, service, and contentment, and you will find a world of new thrills all the time.
I’ve noticed in my own heart is that my definition of ministry success is often determined by what other people think of me. Strong influence, wide recognition, and powerful spiritual authority can be good things. Those things can be leveraged for tremendous impact in God’s kingdom. But often my heart can gravitate towards those things quicker than they do the ultimate goal: honoring Christ.
What kind of "stuff" does God use for his extraordinary work?
I relished this bit from Charles Spurgeon's revival sermon, "The Story of God's Mighty Acts":
A friend who called to see me yesterday, tells me that the lowest and vilest men, the most depraved females in Belfast, have been visited with this extraordinary epilepsy, as the world calls it; but with this strange…
In the life of the church, discipline as forming and correcting should characterize not just Sunday, but Monday to Saturday.
Monday. What to do with these Mondays of ours?
Because the Spirit doesn’t give strength for disobedience, He isn’t going to help perpetuate a myth of “Super Pastor.”
A word to my brother-pastors, who every week labor in preparing to teach the Bible in the weekend gathering while the dark cloud of the new cultural downgrade hangs over them:
Brothers, let's not go about our weekly sermon preparation and personal discipleship in sackcloth and ashes. Let's get into the vineyard of God's word, get some holy sweat worked up, whistling while we work, lifting our hearts…
Unless a flux capacitor becomes a reality in the near future, I won’t have the opportunity to talk to my younger self. But I can talk to you . . .
There are things you can do for your pastor that are like a drink of cool water on a dry, dusty day.
I don’t know what your opposition looks like. It might be a senior leader that prefers you preach four points to a better job rather than freedom in Christ. It might be a church member that can’t stand the songs you sing on Sundays. Or it might be the elder that spends more time thinking about "what could have been" instead of "what can be." But I do know this…
What is gospel-centered teaching?
Training men means that you and I will spend much of our time wire brush grinders, chipping away at the rust of hammers left in the grass. Let’s do it with grace, using the opportunity to train men how to avoid mistakes as much as possible how to take responsibility for mistakes when they are made, and how to rest in the grace of our God through it all.
All men, whether they desire to be pastors or are simply husbands and fathers, need training in 6 key areas. Men who desire to be pastors must then learn to apply these 6 areas to a whole other section of life, a larger family -- their church.
Waiting is not just a discipline we impose but a grace we experience. Our lean is into the promise of His blessing and provision.
Editors note: This article was originally published at Am I Called
We know we are not Jesus, but we're tempted to believe and act from the idea that we're able to be all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful, self-sufficient, without limits, self-existent, and in control of all things. Especially in how we minister to others.
Pastors sometimes say stupid things. Sometimes those stupid things are catchy and wind up being repeated by many other pastors. One of the more preposterous pithy statements I have heard many preachers say is, “Sheep are dumb.”
Ministry methods have changed over the decades, but the challenges and joys of ministry remain the same. Spurgeon’s lectures to his students are just as relevant today as they were 150 years ago.
It is my prayer that your church incorporates a practice of ministry sabbaticals. There are enough burned-out pastors. Let us not add more.
I know it sounds weird but it is important to clearly lay out expectations. As much as pastors love the people God has blessed them with, it is important that they spend time away during their vacation or sabbatical.
A ministry sabbatical is not a glorified vacation, but a time for spiritual reflection, renewal, training, or contribution.
For either churches or pastors who refuse to consider a sabbatical period for the minister, the root of the refusal is often sin.
I know that I have often felt the tug of the Mama Bear inside of me to get the claws out when I feel that my pastor husband is being wronged in some way. Although at times my response may be fleshly, I wonder if I indeed have some role in helping through these times.
The beautiful thing about the shepherding metaphor is that it instructs us on the nature of pastoral leadership with deep emotive insight. In many ways, this is why the Biblical writers employed the shepherding metaphor for pastoral ministry.
This is not the image that most readily comes to mind when we think of pastoral ministry. Nobody flocks to pastor's conferences to learn about this. But it is incredibly important.
What does "first among equals" mean on an elder board?
On this Reformation Day anniversary, here is a reflection on sola fide for the pastor and an encouragement to shepherd "by faith, and not by sight."
We don’t begin by the Spirit and continue by the flesh (Gal. 3:3). We are not followers of Christ-and-something-else-ianity.
To pursue ministry but not having a passion for the gospel and fulfilling the Great Commission is like pursuing medicine, but not liking patients.
It seemed like a simple assignment. I asked my class to write a short essay answering the question, “What is eternal life?”
Multiple pastors have confessed to me that they have few or no real friends. This is unacceptable. There is a better way.
One of the most valuable sentences in a pastor's arsenal is "I don't know."
In my relatively young ministry, I have also developed deeply meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with senior adults. At several different stops in my ministry, I have had the blessing to minister to and receive ministry from seasoned Christian laypeople. It’s difficult to express in words what these relationships have meant to me and my family, but I offer below a few lessons learned in senior adult ministry.
"I am now a statistic," I thought. I am the percentage they talk about at conferences and church planting workshops.
In the pastoral ministry world, we sometimes get the impression from the Bright Minds Among Us that only losers quit. Well, maybe so. But Jesus came for losers.
Too often we envision “successful ministry” and pour our energies and affections into seeing that vision become a reality.
My years of ministry experience tell me that most still feel that the work they do with their hands during the week is inferior to the work of people whose paycheck comes from a church or Christian ministry. Why is this?
A spirit of professionalism is still a danger to pastor ministry, but I think we are seeing a new wave: a spirit of entrepreneurship.
If we get into the habit of weekly preparing our sermons while forgetting the who of the biblical text, we miss the point of the Gospel.
Here are four ways that bi-vocational ministry has been for me a crucible that God has used to refine me personally . . .