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5 things I learned my first year as a pastor

Centering your ministry on the Word of God will cause you to think about successful church life differently than the latest trends from Harvard Business Review would suggest because gospel ministry is far different than simply the application of organizational theory.

Be careful of missionary patriotism

I love our country and respect our flag, and I also love the freedoms that are ours in the USA. I was raised to honor those who serve us and protect our freedoms, and I taught my kids to do the same.

How to be a global Christian without getting on a plane

The fact is, God has been seeking out the nations long before us. As you set your sights on the world, you’ll begin to discover his global desire throughout the pages of scripture.

5 Ways adoption fosters a healthy church

When a church proactively encourages and sponsors adoptions, it testifies to the transforming power of the cross and to the grace of our Father who calls spiritual orphans into his eternal kingdom. Adoption is worship.

20 Books every pastor should read

I have two categories of a top 10 list: One category of books that explain how to think through pastoral ministry as you do it; the other set to help a pastor remain steadfast in the work.

Should I ever break from an expository sermon series?

I am a shepherd who preaches, not a preacher who shepherds. In other words, I am not merely a Bible teacher exegeting the text, but a pastor walking through life with the people I serve and applying the texts I exegete.

On sports and the Christian life: An interview with David Prince, part 2

Sports are never the problem. They are merely exposing the problem. Like all of God’s good gifts, sports can be easily corrupted.

On sports and the Christian life: An interview with David Prince, part 1

We are called to fight against sin as good soldiers of Christ Jesus who proclaim the gospel no matter the cost. Sports expose character, and for those willing to be intentional about using that fact to biblically form character, it provides a great training ground.

You cannot coast into Christ-likeness

I emphasize that godliness is the goal of the disciplines, and when we remember this, the spiritual disciplines become a delight instead of drudgery.

How do I keep growing theologically after seminary?

I still remember the first day I stepped into the textbook tunnel in the LifeWay at SBTS. There were so many incredible books, and all were organized according to the courses in which they would be used. “The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit,” “Hebrew Exegesis: Joshua,” “Jonathan Edwards,” and “New Testament Exegesis: Galatians” all sounded…

Learn to rest in a received ministry

Have you ever met someone whose singular aim is to convince you they are called to ministry? Maybe they give away scores of Vista Print business cards asking you to invite them to your church; maybe they email you regularly to convince you why they should speak or sing or play at your next youth…

A call to be who you aren’t

Every American has undoubtedly heard the phrase: “Be who you are.” Some of us heard it first from Dr. Seuss. Others from the Bee Gees. These days it seems to be the omnipresent mantra of Disney and even much of the church. But despite such endearing sources, I’m fairly certain its origins are far more…

10 questions to ask a pastoral search committee

When seeking a new pastor, most churches elect a search committee that accepts resumes and sorts through them to find a few men who meet the criteria. It is by no means a perfect methodology — often equally difficult for committee members as for candidates — but it is typical. I have heard many who…

6 things to remember when making changes in a local church

With some regularity I receive an email or a call relating that some pastor, often a seminary student or recent graduate, has “torn up” a church he has served. Listening to the details, I usually discern two things: 1) the popular perception is that the cause of the problem was the pastor’s haste to change…

Good liturgy is theology in action

Last year, I was having a conversation about our service with a member, and I realized the two of us were talking past each other. It began to dawn on me when the terms “singing service” and “preaching service” entered the discussion: the disconnect was an effect of twentieth century revivalism. Big tent revivals of the…

What to do with that awkward silence on pastoral visits

This is a question that came to me by a young and introverted pastor who is struggling to know how to make conversation with elderly folks when he goes to visit them. I wish more and more young pastors knew their weaknesses and desired to grow like this young brother. Be comfortable with the silence Because I…

3 things a reformer teaches us about writing

Remarkably, when John Calvin became pastor in Geneva in 1536, he still lacked an official degree in theology from an academic institution. Neither had he submitted to any kind of ecclesiastical examination. Nevertheless, in addition to his studies in logic, languages, and civic law, the French Reformer was also a master of communication. His style…

Imitate spiritual heroes

My spiritual heroes surround me when I’m writing. They sit on the bookcases on either side of the woodstove. The faces of some of them smile at me from various places on the walls or from nooks at the empty ends of bookshelves. The busts of four look down upon me like Mount Rushmore from…