What is one key event that has shaped who you are today? Have you ever thought about what your life would be like if that had never happened? What would be different? There are surely many. Some surprisingly simple and seemingly insignificant when they happened, some seismic in their nature. I was a music major my freshman year in college, aspiring to be a worship pastor/leader. I was doing OK all things considered, but still … something wasn’t settling right. I was asked to read a passage of Scripture and share a devotion at a student worship gathering one evening, […]
All too rare are the days when the list of our daily tasks lines up well with our available resources to achieve those tasks. Perhaps our expectations for the day are too high. Maybe we are lazy. Maybe time and money are short. The reasons vary, but the result is still the same: we end each day feeling we haven’t accomplished enough in order to rest well. And our reaction to this feeling of disappointment is to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and try all the more to accomplish. This is an unending, life-killing loop of insanity: a list […]
“The problem is that we hired a student pastor to do a senior pastor’s job. All things considered, you’re not doing half bad.” These words were spoken to me by a church member about 8-9 months into my first senior pastorate. We were alone. He was teaching me how to bass fish on Lake Murray in the heart of South Carolina, but the real purpose was to talk about my leadership. That statement made an impact. On one hand, I was encouraged. I wasn’t doing “half bad.” On the other hand, I felt insulted. Apparently, my youth and inexperience were a […]
Next week, the church I’ve been serving as Interim Pastor will vote on a new Senior Pastor. I’m very excited for them and him, and in reflecting on the three transitions I’ve made in years past, there are five practical things I’d encourage the new pastor to practice. First, be vulnerable. People don’t trust pastors with their lives who don’t trust the people with their lives. And trust is the foundation for any healthy pastorate. This is not to say that the pastor should consider the congregation as part of his group therapy. But it is to say that a […]
The top 10 qualities of a pastor you don’t want are (in no particular order): Treats his marriage vows loosely Is easy to manipulate Is selfish and reclusive with his home and other resources Is neither gifted in nor puts any real effort into preaching and teaching Is either legalistic or licentious with regard to alcohol Is abrasive and difficult to work with Is easily bought Demands his family follow him without earning their trust Thinks far too highly of himself Cares not for the respect of others Courtesy of 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
Did you hear the one about the five year-old boy who wanted a new baby brother? His father, knowing his wife was in the early stages of pregnancy, told his son to pray every day for 6 months and then he would have a baby brother (and maybe a sister). The young boy prayed daily for two months, but soon quit, unconvinced that his prayers had any tangible effect toward his goal. Six months later, the mother gave birth to twins. The boy’s dad said to him, “Now aren’t you glad you prayed?” The boy hesitated a little and then looked up […]
Motivation is a complicated social science. There are a myriad of theories as to what kinds of motivation are proper in various situations. We humans are as fickle as we are predictable, so one can never be quite sure what kind of motivation is appropriate and successful for a given situation. That’s not to say, however, that there are no appropriate or helpful motivational principles in the Bible for leaders and participants alike. Early in Paul’s missionary, church-planting life, the church in Judea needed money. Paul had the responsibility of collecting it from various congregations he either started or visited, […]
The church I grew up in was a veritable bee hive of activity, particularly for students. A typical Sunday looked like this: Sunday School at 9:30 Worship at 11:00 Ensemble at 3:30 Choir at 5:00 Snack Supper at 5:45 Bible study at 6:00 Evening worship at 7:00 Fellowship at someone’s house at 8:00 When you consider all of the other age-related and need-based ministries taking place, and all of the other business-type activities required to run the church, it be can be difficult to sort out what, exactly, a church is about at its core. Indeed, when churches become overly focused […]
I’m preaching through 1 Timothy over the 10 weeks at FBC Gallatin, and I never once read any of the following pieces of advice for Pastor Timothy. Take the truth for granted. Everybody believes it already anyway. Compromise under pressure. Nothing worth believing in should cost you very much. Make every decision you can that appeals to or appeases the biggest donors. They do, after all, feed your family. Elevate your earthly citizenship over your heavenly one. The gospel is most useful when it aligns with and lends support to your political preferences. Follow your heart. Nothing is more trustworthy […]
Far too often we are surprised at conflict, and because of this, we don’t treat it as a necessary opportunity for the gospel, but as an embarrassment to the gospel.