"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.
During Easter, there is great focus on the Resurrection — and rightly so — but before that great celebration morning, there was suffering. On Easter, we are tempted to avoid the stark reality of the cross and concentrate on the miracles.
Recently I experienced a first in my many years of being a pastor’s wife. Oh, I know that church members have been unhappy with my husband at times, for reasons ranging from the understandable to the ridiculous. And I am sure negative comments have been exchanged between parishioners in private. That’s part of ministry. You simply can’t please all the people all the time.
There is one question that pastors do not like to talk about much. In fact, some don’t believe it is even theologically valid to ask it. Should I change careers?
Those of us who serve in the Pastoral Ministries Division have been where you are, and we carry scars from our experiences.
We talk about how we are out doing great things for God. Yet it’s rather arrogant to think that He needs us. What I really learned was that God did not care what I did for Him. Rather He cared who I was and what I was to become. Was I to become more like Jesus, or just do lots of stuff?
Have pastors today compromised the gospel and their callings to avoid hardship, criticism and involvement? Are they too comfortable in their isolated offices to mingle with their beloved as did the Great Shepherd?
Everyone needs to be danced over. But to dance well over your pastor — that is, to show delight and affirmation — you need to know something about the unique perils of his vocation.
The greatest power ever known is the spoken Word of God. Yet, in far too many pulpits, that powerful Word lies unopened, unspoken and, therefore, uncomprehended.
Dreams are the raw materials for adventure. They are heady stuff that enliven people and move mountains.
At times, I have felt that my work in ministry was wasted. However, if I could see from heaven's perspective, I would know that in the spiritual realm, when progress appears slowest, kingdom movement is actually occurring.
Rev. Clark D. Carr led hundreds of religious activities during his nine months of serving as a chaplain in Iraq: “From a chaplain’s perspective, no matter what position we had regarding the onset of the war, our overriding concern was for souls — souls of our warriors, the souls of the innocent and opposition forces who perished.”
Several years ago, my pastor-husband and I found ourselves divorcing — not each other, but a church. We struggled with a gamut of emotions: anger, bitterness, betrayal, jealousy and resentment. In order to recover spiritually and serve again healthily, we needed to embrace four essential principles.
At the basis of your ministry as a pastor and your relationship with Christ as a believer is His love for you.
How to know God's will for your ministry as a couple.
Boost your church's outreach by encouraging your congregation to simply love the people in your community. While you're at it, why don't you and your family set the example? Here are some ways to reach your neighboorhood with simple acts of love.
As a result of a church tragedy, Al and Phyllis Grounds bring healing to wounded pastors and churches embattled in conflict.
Pornography is an addiction that becomes an obsession for a number of reasons. Having at least a basic understanding of what can cause such an addiction will help us in getting the person back on track.
I've always believed that when Noah descended from the Ark, right after he kissed the ground and gave thanks, God handed him another set of plans for turning those spent boat planks into splintery, uncomfortable seats of holiness to be placed at all the sweltering hot outdoor summer revival meetings I attended as a child. The backs of my legs still bear the imprint of the wooden slats.
A life of personal holiness is not easy. But it is important -- both for the Christian himself, for those he encounters and for those whose lives he might someday touch.
For the elderly who are homebound, a phone call, a visit, a home-cooked meal or pet care would bring joy and light into the lives of those who are desperately in need of human contact.
A Thanksgiving message to pastors.
Even with limited funds and a crowded schedule, you can give joyfully to the congregation at Christmastime.
More than 100,000 churches in the United States have 50 attendees or less. That means that the average church will have fewer than 100 worshippers this Sunday. The survival of a church will be ensured by its health, not its size.
Ever feel like you are expected to be a "superhero"? To many in the church, SuperRev's family should have few needs and always be ready to sacrifice time, energy and fun for the sake of the SuperCall. A pastor must balance life as a "superhero" with the realities of family and ministry.
The marriages and families of too many pastors are falling by the wayside. Pastor Gary Kinnaman has developed a strategy that can hold them together.
Leading in times of uncertainty can test your character and spirit as a leader. Navigating through times of uncertainty, when the winds are still and forward progress is limited, provides new challenges for any leader.
I think the one thing that I prayed for most often during the three decades of my pastoral ministry was revival in the church I pastored. I remember praying at first for a return to something, although I wasn't exactly sure what — just something that once was, a happening, a spirit, a feeling.
There may be risks associated with pastors delegating authority to their laymen, but pastors cannot fulfill every ministry need. Your congregation can profit greatly when dedicated laymen took ownership of projects and outreaches.
We want to! We try! We think we give it our best effort, but for many of us, we just don't seem to be able to rid ourselves of that painful feeling that comes from being wronged by another.
There are a number of long-term ways your congregation can show its love and appreciation for your pastor(s) and demonstrate its respect for his or her divine calling among you. Here are a few very important things your church can do to provide the ongoing care God expects from you.
Every pastor brings some form of "baggage" into both his ministry and his family relationships, a burdensome "pile" that tends to grow with each passing year.
The need for youth ministry is far more extreme than I have ever thought. Through my experience, I have noticed that teens today have a lot of doubt in God and little respect for their parents. The need for a positive impact by a youth pastor has become essential.
Ministers live in a world of tension. We must balance our message with our behavior. Yet sometimes the two don't match. Integrity presents a life of consistency and sincerity, with no deception or pretense.
Every young pastor needs a mentor, and every experienced pastor should become one. But just what is mentoring? The important aspect of mentoring is not using a protegé to accomplish the mentor's goals. Rather, it is a process by which the one being mentored becomes all that he of she should be.
In many ways, a pastor is like a parent to his or her congregation. Like children, church members observe the priorities, values and interactions demonstrated by pastoral couples.
With pastors working long hours and having little confidence that they are doing well, it is difficult for them to believe that their ministries are very significant. As much as we may desire to be affirmed by people, sometimes it simply may not happen.
It is required for us to be united as fellow laborers in the work of the lord. We need to seek the benefits of unity and peace of the churches that we oversee. We need to be concerned for the well being of the whole work of God.
Most of us wander through life without much of a vision. Most of us spend our lives seeking our place in the world, in history, in God's plan. Sometimes, we lack a vision because we are too contented with where we are and what we are about.
A humorous sermon illustration from Dr. Adrian Rogers.
I regularly write notes of love, encouragement and thanks to those I care about. There's something out of the ordinary about taking the time to jot down a few words to lift someone's spirits and then to drop the note in the mail.
It does not take much to divide a congregation, eliminate the effectiveness of the pastor and stunt the growth or the influence within the community. Until we make unity one of our highest priorities as pastors and people, we will continue to send a negative signal to the watching world. They will avoid us.
Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, Pastor Andy Pryor has approached his calling with a deeper sense of intentionality. Todd Beamer, the 32-year-old Wheaton College graduate who died heroically on United Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania, had grown up in Andy's church.
I expected more affirmation, anticipating that she would also comment positively about the sermon on abortion. But she surprised me by asking, "Pastor, do you know how many women like me were sitting in the congregation today?" I thought maybe she was talking about the number of women who came to church alone. Then, like water from a broken dam, the pain from her own abortion gushed out.
Who intercedes for you? For whom do you intercede? Someone has said, "Praying for others is one of the best ways of loving people." I agree.
Far too often the majority of the population views retirees as worthess, no longer contributors to the world at large. Tragically, too many of our churches support this impression, relegating seniors of the congregations to roles of ushers, volunteers and bulletin folders, without taking advantage of the wisdom and experience the elderly have gained.
Bi-vocational pastors were asked if they had any words of advice for other current and future bi-vocational pastors. They were more than happy to share some of their accumulated wisdom to help others considering bi-vocational ministry. Here are their suggestions.
As I travel the country, the one thing that I see dividing congregations and setting pastors and people at odds with one another is music.
Tolerance traditionally means simply to recognize and respect others' beliefs, practices and so on, without necessarily agreeing or sympathizing. But today's definition is vastly different.
Many of the people you serve are probably facing the uncertainty of a new year. I have been so impressed by men and women like you who have stared evil in the eye without blinking and led your people with a sincere faith, affirming the assuring words of Jesus to not worry.
A social concern committee can be of great assistance to any pastor in understanding and addressing cultural issues. It is like Nehemiah on the wall — a watchman on behalf of the church and the community it serves.
The word-picture of Aaron and Hur supporting Moses' weakened arms is a vivid depiction of pastoral ministry. As pastors, we can relate to the story well, but have you ever considered how that specific situation must have looked to Joshua?
So often, the great conflict in any organization is the inability for senior leadership to co-exist effectively and cordially with their colleagues. A senior pastor of over 30 years describes what he has learned about staff relationships.
Those who recognized Jesus as the Messiah weren't looking for a certain type of savior. They were merely watching — shepherd's watching their sheep, wise men watching the stars, an old man and an old woman keeping watch in prayer.
Wouldn’t it be great to have an internal radio dial that would give you access to certain people’s thoughts? I think even more revealing would be to hear what is going on in the minds of our pastors.
What criteria should a pastor consider when selecting a counselor to whom he will send his parishioners? Here are guidelines from a pastor of over 30 years.
While every pastor would probably say he was called to pastor, some are called to other work as well, or they're called to part-time ministry. The situation, despite its additional juggling requirements, allows these pastors to pursue multiple interests and minister more to people outside their churches.
Real revival restores an individual and a church to spiritual health and well-being. For an individual, genuine revival enables him to live out his faith in the daily details of life. How do you know when revival is needed in the church?
While I was still in high school, I first experienced God's call to full-time ministry, and I also felt He wanted me to be like ...
Couples in ministry have burdens, pressures and emotional needs like anyone else. When those pressures remain unaddressed, we start to feel burned out. How can we effectively encourage hurting people when our own tanks are empty? The truth is that we can't — and we don't have to.
An insight into jobs and roles a Pastor's wife may hold.
Ideally, our lives as ministers should become lifelong illustrations of God’s grace and power, but that often means serving your church while facing personal crises.
What can you do to honor and affirm your pastoral staff and their families this year? A reminder to everyone to pray for their pastors and families throughout the year.