Often when difficult people are confronted for bad behavior it’s easier for them to run somewhere else than stay and work it out. I love it when the circle of restoration that began with confronting sin, and then leads to repentance and confession is completed in reconciliation. Sadly, I’ve not seen it often. I remember in a church I pastored, the leadership warned a divisive man to stop organization a secret petition against the elders and step down from teaching his popular Sunday school class. Remarkably, he did, and a year latter, in humility, he resumed his teaching and served many years as a model of what happens when peacemaking is allowed to run its course. That is where peacemaking really works. READ MORE
One of my favorite moments as a pastor is to see hurting and broken relationships restored where the wounds from words and actions are changed into life-giving expression toward one another. To get there, two people have to admit their READ MORE
I remember years ago listening to well know pastors and often thinking, wow, it would be so cool to sit down with them and ask any questions I wanted.Well, I had such a privilege recently when I sat down with Pastor Stuart Briscoe to talk to him about pastoring in this critical age. READ MORE
You probably have heard this statement before. I love Jesus, but I’m not a big fan of the church. There is strong evidence today that our millennial generation, I know, they get picked on a lot don’t they, is becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the church. This generation is what I would refer to as the “optional-church” generation. Studies show that this generation will get involved mainly if there is personal value. This becomes a crisis of sorts particularly if you are one, as I am, who strongly believes that what God is going to do in the world today he is going to do through the local church. READ MORE
“Why the trend towards ministry as a second career? Is this a positive trend? Is it a trend about which the church should be worried? Why are fewer younger women and men not pursuing ordained ministry upon graduation from college as was the case in the past? Do second career clergy bring greater maturity and experience to pastoral leadership than those who did not work for any significant length of time in another career? These are important questions.” (Jackson W. Carroll). READ MORE
What the pastor believes really matters, and what his congregation believes really matters. Spiritual discernment is vital in the pastor’s commitment to stand for the gospel, and to stand against false beliefs. How does he remain faithful to the gospel when compromise and accommodation are the norm? I’ve covered a lot of topics to this point on Before You Quit. Marriage difficulties! The pastor’s family! Dealing with conflict! Antagonists! Sense of failure! Loneliness in ministry! When is it time to make a change! Dealing with loss! Confessing sin! READ MORE
The call came late. I’d counseled the couple in preparation for their marriage, but someone else would officiate. Four days before the wedding, the pastor’s son fell ill, forcing him to cancel, and the couple asked if I would perform READ MORE
We talk a lot in these podcasts about the sort of hard things pastor’s face; marriage challenges, hard people in the pastor’s life, the struggle with children and even facing loss. My goal has been pretty singular with all the interviews, and that is to encourage the pastor to keep his focus, to not be distracted and to realize also that with serving Jesus can come, and probably will come a lot of opposition and challenges. There is one thing we have not talked about in the sort of things pastors face and that is the pressure to bend his convictions to the many theological trends blowing across our landscape today. The pressure for the pastor to bend to, to compromise his message is becoming an increasingly heavy load to carry. It’s getting harder and harder to just stick to the simple message of the gospel. Even with all the pastoral responsibilities he carries, it’s getting harder for him to take time in studying and preparing for his primary role, of preaching the Word of God. READ MORE
I am sure you can identify with these following comments: I wish I was preaching more. If only I could take on more responsibility, I would be happier. I wish the board would let me start that ministry program. Even if you are not a pastor or in ministry you have longed to do something that fits your gifts better, or to find what we are going to define today as your sweet spot.
I’m taking a huge risk with this blog. To suggest that we curb how often we tell people we’ll pray for them could leave me isolated, should you take me too seriously. Allow me some room for hyperbole here. Before READ MORE
About a year ago, I began to ask the Lord if he would be so kind to allow me to serve a local church somewhere, somehow, as an interim pastor. With no agenda, no idea how to land this, I READ MORE
“Antagonists go for the jugular. They have a singular goal. They want to hurt, humiliate and destroy the senior pastor. In the course of their attacks, they intentionally want to divide the congregation between those that agree with them and the supporters of the rector.” Dr. Dennis R. Maynard.
Pastors face a lot of challenges, but the hardest is when they’re attacked by an antagonist. Sure, there are some bad apples that fall from the clergy tree, but most are loving and compassionate. They really care about people and do long for those under their care to grow spiritually and thrive in their journey. Why is it then, that too often pastors are attacked? Is it possible that not all the sheep are, what one writer once referred to as, “well intentioned dragons”? Could it be that some are actually bent on causing harm to the pastor and to see his ministry fail? Dr. Dennis Maynard speaks candidly and boldly on the subject while urging the church to become a safe place for the pastor to serve affectively without this all to real pressure. READ MORE
With Dr. Bill Ronzheimer
What does it take to remain passionate and committed to the gospel that will take you the long haul in ministry? I read one stat how 80% of pastors will leave the ministry within their first five years. Some, I’m sure, leave for good reasons and are still serving Jesus faithfully. Others, however, no doubt faced disappointment of not having what it took to stick it out for the long haul. We are not interested necessarily in people having to stay in vocational ministry, but rather committed to serve Jesus wherever they are. Today’s podcast I know will encourage you to serve well, no matter where you are and what you are doing, or even how long you’ve been doing it. READ MORE
He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose. – Jim Elliot An Appeal to the Future I hope to look back one day celebrating the hard decision I made READ MORE
Today we are going to talk about the pastor’s wife and it struck me as I was preparing for this that I have been married to a pastor’s wife for over 30 years. And while she’s been amazing, I know there were times where it was difficult. There is no defined role, but there are certainly definite expectations placed on the pastor’s wife. So much is on the pastor’s wife and she’s never been trained for it. The pastor gets the training, but the wife is expected to be everything for everyone else. She shares her husband with the entire church, and fights to know her place. She’s expected to serve the church, be a model wife and model mom, and in the meantime she’s asking the Lord Jesus “who am I, and what do you want from me?” READ MORE
The Capacity to Forgive It’s hard to forgive. Really hard. It’s like trying to blow up a brand new balloon, which at first invites only small amounts of air, but the more you put in, the larger the balloon expands. READ MORE
What do you do when you’re great at pastoring but not that good at marriage. I ask the question often, can a pastor and his wife have a good ministry when the marriages is hanging by a thread? I enter into a very delicate conversation with a young pastor and his wife who from the day they met, ministry was all they had in common. This almost caught up with them, but God intervened in only the way he can. READ MORE
Most pastors will often tell that they are like a small time pilot being asked to fly a huge plane, something way beyond their ability. Most of us in ministry will even feel that all the training in the world will not prepare us enough to do this job. READ MORE
Today we are going to talk about the preverbal elephant in the room, and that is what to do when there is conflict in the church, or even conflict in your own life. How do you respond when people in your church do not get along. Perhaps one of the saddest thing a pastor ever witnesses is when people are not getting along in his church. I’ve seen it and I know many others have to. Conflict in the church drives people away from the church and sadly, their perception of God is shaped by what they witnessed in a church. I remember someone coming to me once and his words broke my heart. He said, Pastor, I can no longer attend here with all this tension. It led me to pray for renewal and work hard for it. In this podcast interview we talk to Pastor Eric Anderson who is open
and very candid about how he managed through, and survived conflict. Eric even speaks about the nature of conflict, the value of conflict and even how it made him a better shepherd to a hurting group of people. Eric lives deep in the cold flat lands of MN and pastors LifeSpring Church, a reformed church belonging to the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals. He is married to Miriam for over 11 years and both he and Mariam have eight children; five girls and three boys ranging from 19 years old to a 1 year old. You will be blessed listening to this wonderful story of how to thrive where there is conflict.
Here are some of the resources Eric referred to:
Antagonists In The Church click here!
I also highly recommend Thriving Through Church Conflict click here!
“Confessing sins to each other makes for a healthier more humble church.” – Prof. Russell Huizing
We hear the story too often. A well loved pastor, seemingly well put together, a model of righteousness, is outed as a sinner. He’s committed moral failure, or admitted to a sexual or alcohol addiction. And everyone is shocked. We discover that for years he has kept this secret to himself, and not even those close to him, his wife or elders knew of his pain. Imagine if early on, when the first moments of his struggle began and before they took over his life he had taken the opportunity to share with someone else, and confessed his sin to them and received forgiveness and encouragement. READ MORE
When I was twelve, I wanted to die because living no longer seemed possible. Later, I discovered that the cause of this depression was a chemical imbalance created by the usual biological changes that normally occur in a preteen boy. READ MORE
Are pastors allowed to struggle? It seems too often that those in ministry are expected to keep their struggles to themselves. Carly Simons’ well known song, Haven’t Got Time for The Pain could easily have been written for pastors who struggle to hide their pain behind the busyness of ministry and the expectations of others. READ MORE
Brett Schultz grew up in a pastor’s home and he’s actually a normal kid.
Pastors try as best they can to assure their children do not grow up with the common stigmas that come with being a PK (Pastor’s Kid). The pressure to represent the family well can be a heavy burden for any child of a ministry parent. While most pastors and missionaries do a great job protecting their children from these burdens, there are some things that are beyond their control. Brett is my son, and he’s often told me that we did well allowing him to be a normal kid, but there were somethings we could not protect him from. READ MORE
“When is it time to move on?” Is a question many pastors ask. Even if you are a not a pastor, it’s critical you know your pastor is probably asking this question. Your role is important to his health. Encouraging him and praying for him provides the life and fuel for an affective ministry. Letting him know he is appreciated makes him feel valued, but you can do more than that. Tell him what you like about his ministry. Share with him how God is using him in your life. Nothing is more vital than a pastor feeling loved and supported, but, there are times he’s going ask this question of God and certainly of himself, how long do I stay? Should I Stay, or Should I Go, is a great title for a rock song, but for right now, it’s an important subject for us to cover in this podcast. Pastor Steve Kerhoulas readily admits that he stayed two years too long in a recent ministry. How does one reconcile that realization with a solid belief in the sovereignty of God and his management of our lives. Whether you are a pastor wondering if it’s time to move on, or asking that question about a business or a move to a new place, you will be challenged and refreshed as you listen to this conversation.