We live in a world that bombards us with incessant visual stimuli and noise. It’s easy to become addicted to noise without realizing it. We often turn the radio on in the car when we drive. We leave the TV on, even though we aren’t watching it. And our cell phones are seldom silenced. Not only do we live in a noisy world, but we live in a busy one as well. Our time saving devices (cell phones, computers, faster internet connections) relentlessly remind us that we should get more done in less time so that we have more time to get even more done. As a result we are addicted not only to noise but to hurry. John Ortberg says that, “Hurry is not just a disordered schedule. Hurry is a disordered heart.” So, what do we do?
I recently read Andy Stanley’s book, Visioneering (God’s blueprint for developing and maintaining personal vision). I recommend the book, as you consider vision casting. The book is worth the read, just to get to chapter seventeen. In this chapter Andy discusses distractions.
This past Sunday a lady walked up to me after the morning service and said, “Thanks for the sermon.” That simple statement was like extra frosting on a cake, a cherry on a hot fudge sundae. Pastors need to hear encouraging words. Why?
Encouraging words do just that, they encourage. All of us need encouragement. Without it the well soon runs dry.
I love principles. Perhaps this is one reason I spend so much time reading Proverbs. Principles aren’t always “guaranteed,” but they are often proven by time and experience.
Principles can help us learn from one another. We can benefit from another person’s experience.
Here are a few principles of ministry I’ve experienced:
Mondays are not usually great days. I mean, only the sickest of optimists looks forward to Monday morning, right? And, for pastors, Mondays have special import. Mondays, you see, are the number one day that pastors resign. Why, you ask? Well, they were hoping Sunday would turn everything around and it didn't.
Pastors and church leaders are all too familiar with those monthly church business conferences that can be mind-numbingly boring at times and at other times can rip open a fellowship of believers and leave it in shreds. Their unpredictability has caused many a church leader to look for ways to dispense with them, everything from simply forgetting to have them to amending the constitution and by-laws to say the church will have only quarterly or annual conferences to outright canceling them altogether.
Last month I attended the Louisiana Baptist Evangelism conference. At the conference I heard a sermon that was encouraging and convicting to me. This sermon was about our attitude toward people.
Evangelist Phil Waldrep preached from the neglected passage in Rom. 16. In this passage Paul sends greetings to various people with whom he was associated. Almost half of the chapter was devoted to “greeting” these people. To be honest, the passage is somewhat monotonous to read. Bro. Phil shared three truths that made this passage come alive.
Last week I visited with a pastor who acknowledged he is living in a cave. He went through a painful exit at his previous church, is suffering with health issues, and his family is struggling with financial challenges. The story could represent anyone who serves in ministry. This pastor added a detail that all of us should heed. He admitted he is living in a cave (Tim’s interpretation). He acknowledged that the pain and discouragement he has experienced has caused him to withdraw. So, at the present moment he is a cave dweller.
The past few weeks I have been supplying for a small church near my home. One Sunday, while returning from this pulpit supply, I pondered the good and bad side of serving as a pastor. For the past six years I have been a servant to pastors rather than a servant to one local church. This has allowed me to see things from a different perspective. Sometimes when you take the distant view of things you see things you never saw before. Thus, I contemplated the things I miss and the things I do not miss about pastoring. Last week I wrote about the things I DON’T miss. This week I will discuss the things I DO miss about being a pastor.
The past few weeks I have been supplying for a small church near my home. One Sunday, while returning from this pulpit supply, I pondered the good and bad side of serving as a pastor. For the past six years I have been a servant to pastors rather than a servant to one local church. This has allowed me to see things from a different perspective. Sometimes when you take the distant view of things you see things you never saw before. Thus, I pondered the things I miss and the things I do not miss about pastoring. This week I will discuss the things I do not miss about being a pastor. Next week, I will discuss the things I miss.
Criticism hurts, especially the non-constructive kind. We tend to stay away from such critics. But is that the wisest choice? Should we draw close to them instead of pulling away from them? In this post I explore the idea of not shunning your critics.
or pastors, Sunday can be the most draining day of the week. Intense people interaction, teaching or preaching, seeing our critics, trying to remember names, and attempting to put our own problems aside to listen to other peoples’ problems add up to a stress-filled day. The very day we want to be at our best requires more from us than any other day. As a result, we can easily make one or more of the 5 biggest mistakes pastors make on Sundays. Evaluate this list to find out how many you make. I follow the list with some suggestions on how to avoid them.
Every leader at some time in his or her leadership will face multiple leadership lulls. We have a down Sunday. A new ministry doesn’t take off. Someone expresses disappointment in us or criticizes us. A seasonal program doesn’t bring as many new people as we expected. Sometimes those lulls can push us into a downward spiral from which it becomes difficult to pull out. Understanding what goes on in our brains offers insight on how to pull out of a leadership lull.
Recently I had car trouble. The wheel bearings on the front of our car went out. For weeks before the bearings went out, the car gave a “warning roar.” I thought the sound was coming from a bad tire or poor wheel alignment. However, while speaking with a mechanic he explained the roar was coming from worn wheel bearings. He explained that it was just a matter of time until we found ourselves sitting on the side of the highway in a broken down car. This was an occasion when I was pleased with the “warning roar.” The roar saved either my wife or me from an unexpected break down.
In recent weeks the Shepherds Connection published a series of articles on depression. Depression is often identified with feelings of hopelessness. Also, depression frequently causes a person to question the value of life. Questions such as, “Why am I doing this” float through the mind?