What is better than resolving conflict? Avoiding conflict! Or at least seeing conflict as healthy to the strength of your church. In our last podcast interview we talked to Ken Sande, of Peacemaker Ministry about the value and importance of bringing about resolution to conflict. In his 30 years in this ministry, Ken also discovered principles and lessons that he placed in his toolbox to start a new ministry, called Relational Wisdom 360.
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
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
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.
“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