Pastoral Reminder

Much of pastoral work is in fact the work of reminding.When I preach, for example, I am (usually) not so much teaching people new truths but instead reminding them of ancient truths that they have perhaps forgotten. Or chosen to disregard.Just as often, preaching is a...

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When The Sermon Begins

When does a sermon begin? After the public reading of the Scripture? After the prayer? After a really cool solo?It's actually the wrong question.The better question is where does the sermon begin? Not when, but where.There is an easy answer to that question: in the...

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Blessing Houses

We have this ministry called Bless This House.It involves getting the addresses of recent house closings in our area from the Sunday Charlotte Observer, and then sending out pairs of people (going out in twos -- that's biblical!) to welcome the new movers to southwest...

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A Ministry Trap

I recently heard a pastor-teacher say, "We can get so wrapped up in what God is doing through us that we neglect what God needs to do in us."So true. Guilty as charged.Pastorally speaking, it is easy to become enamored with all the things God does through us: lead...

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How Many Members Do You Have?

Every so often, someone will ask me, "How many members do you all have over there at Good Shepherd?"The truth is, I don't know.That's because membership is an inaccurate measure of church health. The typical church in United Methodism, for example, has about three...

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A Lesson Learned

This July, I will begin my 20th year of full-time ministry.Over that time, I've learned many, many lessons. Some of them with great joy. Others with great pain.So I share one with you today. This one is especially for pastors and church leaders. It's this.Any time...

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The Day After Sunday

Preachers and Mondays. An interesting combination.A lot of pastors take Mondays off.But somewhere along the way, someone told me that pastors who do take Mondays off have a higher rate of clinical depression than those who don't. I have no way of verifying that claim,...

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The Visitation

A few weeks ago, I was at a seminar about churches, leadership, and pastors. During the presentation, the leader said, "Newcomers to churches know how much better it is to get an email from a pastor than a visit from him."The line got a good laugh.But it got me...

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Congregational Identity

In church land, there is a fine line between learning from other churches and copying them shamelessly.Honestly, we sometimes cross that line.There are a number of churches around the country that we follow quite closely. You can see their links under the Churches We...

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Passion & Compassion

I believe good pastoring comes from equal parts passion and compassion.Passion for the gospel. As Paul says in Romans 1:16: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the...

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