A selfie culture can radically mis-shape the way American Christians think about using their gifts and volunteering in local churches.
Let’s look at three selfie influences that damage volunteer teams and ministries. Continue reading “Pastoring Ministry Volunteers, Part 3”
When I was a boy, the dangerous mystery surrounding the Bermuda Triangle captured my attention. Sometimes a plane or boat would enter the Triangle only to barely and frightfully get through or to disappear altogether. The riddle of the Triangle remains illusive.
As a Pastor, (and a parent) I’ve become painfully aware of what we might call “The Decision Making Triangle.” Many of our decision-making journeys have ended with just as many riddles. Is there a map that can help us? Continue reading “The Decision-Making Triangle”
The Apostle Paul was physically and emotionally wore out. Fear thunderstormed his soul. Conflict awaited him. He had no rest. Rather than hide this fact, the Apostle gave voice to it. As pastors, the idea of giving voice to the hurricane that batters against the boarded up windows of our souls feels dangerous. But God has a help in mind.
Continue reading “A Forgotten Remedy for the Stress and Fatigue of Ministry”
“Ah, look at all the lonely people,” the band sang in the old song. “Where do they all come from?” This question hums with haunted melody, as the song searches out the lonely lives of a priest, his congregant and the church they both serve. Why is it that those who give their days to a vocation charged with the enjoyment, love and glory of God remain so vulnerable to the loneliness and isolation that any human being can feel? Anton Chekhov’s short story, The Bishop, helps us. Without spoiling the story, I’d like to tell you why. Continue reading “Why are we Lonely in Ministry?”
This gifted writer, has as an atheist, given those of us who serve in Christian ministry, a rare gift. Without spoiling this novel for those who’d like to read it, I’d like to share a few reasons why pastors and ministry leaders are wise to notice the mirror Faber offers us.
Continue reading “The Book of Strange New Things”
In part one, we talked about how volunteers come with a story. This story shapes their expectations more than they realize. To pastor volunteers begins with managing expectations and helping future volunteers see the beauty as well as the difficulties they may unwittingly bring to a team.
Our next step is to clearly name how the consumer inside each one of us can damage our view regarding how to use our gifts and why we use them. Let’s take a look. Continue reading “Pastoring Ministry Volunteers, Part 2”
Unwisely, Santa offered a teddy bear to James, unaware that he had been mauled by a grizzly earlier that year.
Receive an email titled, “concerned” or an invitation for dinner in order “to talk,” and a seasoned pastor can suddenly resemble little James in the cartoon above. So it is when someone risks making an appointment with the pastor, risks joining a small group, risks seeking a role to play as a volunteer.
Good words in themselves such as “pastor,” “committee,” “mission,” or “service for God” can dishevel us. A friend or teammate meant something good. We see ghosts instead because of past experiences.
Continue reading “Pastoring Ministry Volunteers, Part 1”
Sometimes when I feel that I’m trying to be something I’m not, or pretending that I’m not something that I am, or when I’m losing a sense of clarity regarding what my identity and calling in Christ actually is, I will revisit questions like these. Not all of them will resonate with me at one time or another. But the ones that do provide a strong clue regarding what to pray about.
Continue reading “Clarifying Your Calling: Some Questions to Help You”
Sometimes our preaching doesn’t connect with our hearers. Before we conclude that we are not called to this particular place, we want to remember that whether as a Rookie, who preaches for the first time at our first church or as a seasoned veteran starting again at our third church, every congregation has its own culture, its own storyline with God and its own providences and people prior to our arrival. Here are six markers to help you assess the obstacles that might exist between your sermons and the culture of your congregation. Continue reading “Sermon Disconnect: Six Questions to Assess Your Preaching”