Searching for Greatness in Ministry

Zack Preaching Spurgeon Fellowship 2016
Zack speaking to Pastors and Ministry leaders in Portland Oregon, March 2016.

This two-part audio series “Searching for Greatness in Ministry,” is taken from Zack’s recent visit with pastors and ministry leaders who participate in the Spurgeon Fellowship in Portland, Oregon.  Out of his daily life in local pastoral ministry, Zack seeks to encourage us in our common vocation in Jesus.

Part 1: What do you want Jesus to do for you?  (begins at the 40 minute 20 second mark)

Part 2: What is the greatest thing you can do in ministry?

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Why are we Lonely in Ministry?

The Bishop Cover Picture“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?”

The Book of Strange New Things

The Book of Strange New Things Cover

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”

Pastoring Ministry Volunteers, Part 2

 

I want it now! Image

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”

Pastoring Ministry Volunteers, Part 1

Tim Burton Santa Teddy Bear Pic

 

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”

Does God Need Anger Management?

View of a lightning over city

Two dear friends of mine reject the God of the Bible because of passages like this one. It don’t blame them. Over the years I too have grown fatigued with callous doctrinal academics or simplistic Christian clichés. I feel like a child trying to describe mysteries, like an adult grappling with God amid the beauties and true horrors in the world.   Continue reading “Does God Need Anger Management?”

Isn’t Jesus Intolerant?

Cross-FS

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Jesus)

When Jesus talks about some people not entering heaven, some of us feel repulsed. We are tired of intolerance of any kind, but especially intolerance done in God’s name. Jesus just sounds like one more bigoted religious figure power hungry to create barriers between persons. Too many of us have known this kind of pain. And yet, have you ever noticed that if someone comes to your house . . . Continue reading “Isn’t Jesus Intolerant?”

Is Jesus Arrogant? Musings on Exclusivity

One Way Sign

“I am the way, and the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jesus)

Jesus sounds narrow minded and arrogant. He suggests that we locate God through no other way but His. This kind of exclusive claim disgusts many of us. We are wore out with the mean dismissal of human beings on the basis of our believing differently from one another. No wonder we feel this way. So many have claimed that they alone possess what is true, that a great deal of harm and hurt has resulted over the years. And yet, despite this terrible harm that arrogance in the name of God has caused us human beings, it startles us, doesn’t it, to admit how important it is on some occasions to give thanks for what is exclusive?  Continue reading “Is Jesus Arrogant? Musings on Exclusivity”

Why We Need Silences, Not Just Sentences

Tunnel Light - 3D Render. Cool Blue Light. The Road to the Light ( Near Death Experience? )

Lingering among silences makes us feel like toddlers entering the nursery on Sunday mornings. When our parent drops us off, we feel abandoned. We either tantrum about, or we cling to anything or anyone that promises to hold us.

Continue reading “Why We Need Silences, Not Just Sentences”