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pastoral ministry

Beware of ‘preacher eater’ churches

A preacher eater church has a series of short-term pastors, and those departing pastors have few positive words to say about them.

Why should you stay a long time in the same church?

I was grateful to learn that I don’t have the right to dislike and refuse to care for someone’s soul that God had entrusted to me.

How do I follow a long-tenured pastor?

Following a pastor who has run well is only a problem for those who lack the character or the stamina to do the same.

Five ways to fight “preaching hangover”

You may call it something different, but every pastor knows it well. It is the mental, emotional, and spiritual crash that takes place on Monday as a result of pouring your heart and soul out in the proclamation of God’s Word to God’s people the day before.

10 habits to help a pastor stay married and in ministry

The combined stress of marriage and ministry is a unique situation that demands intentionality to keep both a marriage or a ministry from imploding.

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.

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…

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…

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…

How do you shepherd a dying and divided church? Interview with Brian Croft

In his 13 years as senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Brian Croft has seen it all. He has experienced profound lows in the ministry but has sought to remain faithful and has also seen God bring the church from death to life. He chronicles that incredible tribute to God’s grace in a…

5 ways to help missionaries transition back to the states

One of the most frustrating parts of living overseas was placing an order at a fast food restaurant. Virtually every time I would have to elbow my way to the counter, mentally rehearse the order for a family of five in another language, and then hope that I could communicate without being misunderstood or worse,…

4 reasons preachers must find their own voice

In his classic book, Lectures To My Students, Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Scarcely one man in a dozen in the pulpit talks like a man.” This is a problem all too common today. Some preachers feel inclined to take certain routes in their sermon preparation, leaving them to be very unnatural in their delivery, as if…

Breaking the silence

It isn’t the first time we’ve seen it. A black man shot to death by a white police officer. And yet, this week’s disturbingly horrific images of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being gunned down have struck a nerve. At the same time, reports are coming in–even as I write this–of attacks on police officers,…

6 Reasons pastors and future pastors should attend the SBC annual meeting

It is rare to find an evangelical Christian under 50 who has been a part of one denomination for their entire church life. I was born into a family that was deeply committed to the local church and equally committed to the vision and mission of the Southern Baptist Convention. I have many cherished friends…

Should I leave my church? 8 critical questions

In the spring of 2014, I made one of the most gut-wrenching decisions of my adult life: I resigned as pastor of a church that had called me little more than three years before. After months and months of prayer, soul-searching, and much advice from wise men with decades in the trenches of local church…

Practical questions to ask before entering church revitalization

There is no sure-fire recipe for ministry success. There is no checklist for prospective churches that can guarantee a pastor’s church revitalization efforts will prosper. God could send fire down from heaven one day, and you still might be chased out of town by a murderous matriarch the next (see 1 Kings 19:1-3). However, I…