5 Tips for the Introverted Pastor

Here’s a preview of an article I wrote for introverted pastors at ChurchPastor.com: It can be hard to be an introverted pastor. Our culture values the strengths of an extroverted personality more than those of an introvert. There is also the reality that we have a people heavy job, and an inclination to enjoy alone [...]

My 3 Favorite OT Biblical Theologies

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When I first began learning about biblical theology at Wheaton Graduate School, I was immediately hooked. To this day one of my greatest joys in studying Scripture is discovering new twists and turns that the themes of the Bible take on their journey from Genesis 1-3 through Jesus’ ministry and on to Revelation 21-22. To spur you [...]

How Basic Economics and Effective Church Leadership Go Together

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I’m currently about halfway through Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics: A Commonsense Guide to the Economy. Not only have I learned a lot about economics, I’ve gleaned many lessons that can be applied in a church context. So much so that I wanted to share some things even before I finish the book. First of all, [...]

Top 10 Sermon Introduction Mistakes

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How you get your sermon started matters. While there is lots of room for error in the body of your sermon, there is little room for error in your introduction. It can be the difference between someone being on the edge of their seat or slumped in their seat, between using their phone’s Bible app [...]

3 Great Options for Small Group Curriculum

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“What do your small groups use for curriculum?” It’s the second question you get asked if you’re in charge of small groups at your church, right after “How many groups do you have?” Choosing what your small groups study may be more important than you think. Ministry leaders may seek to provide freedom to their groups by [...]

The Blessings and Curses of Being an Introverted Pastor

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Here’s a preview of my most recent article at Pastors Today: The stakes are high when it comes to being an introverted pastor because our job is people. The very nature of our role requires us to engage with our congregation relationally, but the nature of our personality inclines us toward alone time. To the [...]

7 Shortcuts to Hitting Your 10,000 Hours as a Preacher

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It takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert at something, according Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers. That’s not very good news for preachers. To reach that number, you would have to preach a one-hour sermon every week for over 190 years, if you only counted the time spent preaching your Sunday [...]

Thinking About Starting a Blog? 4 Important Questions to Ask Yourself First

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If you have been thinking about starting a blog, you may be interested in my latest article at Pastors Today. Here’s a sneak peak: “We are in a digital age, and our effectiveness as leaders will be measured in part by the extent that our influence reaches to the digital realm. Pastors are seeing the [...]

10 Questions with Barnabas Piper on His New Book “The Pastor’s Kid”

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Today Barnabas Piper’s book The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity is being released. Being the son of John Piper (who wrote the forward), he draws on his own experience of growing up as a PK. Pastors who want to raise their kids as best as they can will benefit immensely. Barnabas provides several quotes from [...]

What Small Groups Do Best

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In my article today at Christianity.com, What Small Groups Do Best, I discuss two good things small groups do that should not be the main thing you aim for, and then the one thing that small groups are best for. Here’s a preview: The motto, “good is the enemy of great” applies as much to [...]

Bad Reasons to Switch to Expository Preaching

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It’s never good to do the right thing for the wrong reason. This is because your heart is with the wrong reason, not the right thing to do. And as soon as the right thing to do no longer gets you the results you wrongly desire, you’ll ditch doing that right thing and either do [...]

How Our Small Groups Grew 30% in Just 8 Months

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“It took me two years to find a small group,” a young lady at my church once told me. She stuck it out a long time until she finally got plugged into our church. But how many dozens of others came and left because they couldn’t meet people, build relationships, and experience community? I realized [...]

Your Three Options When Instituting Change

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Change is hard no matter where it happens, but it seems like it can be hardest in churches. People have a vested interest in keeping things the same. Maybe they are comfortable with where the church is. Perhaps it has taken a lot of work to get there. Or maybe certain ministries suit their interests. [...]

Why Playing it Safe as a Pastor Is the Riskiest Move You’ll Make

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My article this month at Pastors Today was posted this morning. My wife said it’s one of the best articles I’ve written, so I hope you will click over and give it a read. Here’s a preview: The call to ministry is a call to confrontation and controversy. It’s impossible to read the Bible and [...]

How to Preach on Controversial Theological Subjects

In regard to preaching unpopular doctrines, such as election before some audiences, future punishment, depravity, and even missions, before others; one comprehensive rule maybe given, be faithful and fearless, but skillful and affectionate. John Broadus, On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, p. 25.

5 Common Small Group Myths

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This is a guest post by Steven Lee, Pastor of Small Groups and Community Outreach at College Church in Wheaton, IL. You can follow him on Twitter at @5tevenLee. What you believe about your small group will dictate how you approach potential problems when they arise. If you buy a house knowing it will be [...]

4 Reasons to Start a Mid-Week Sermon Feedback Meeting

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From my article this month at Pastors Today: Pastors need feedback in order to improve their sermons. But helpful feedback on your sermon is hard to come by. To fill this need for brutally honest, educated, and constructive feedback, I suggest you start a mid-week sermon feedback meeting. Every Wednesday several of us on the [...]

How to Read Fiction and Become a More Interesting Preacher

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It’s been said many times that it’s a sin to be a boring preacher. But what is the opposite of a boring preacher? An entertaining preacher? An intellectually enlightening preacher? Or, heaven forbid, a good communicator? I’d trade those three for an interesting preacher every time. Of course you don’t want to be interesting just [...]

10 Ways to Avoid the Awkward Silence in Your Small Group

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A big challenge all small group leaders face is to keep the conversation flowing. The easiest groups, of course, are the ones where everyone comes bubbling over with how they’ve been growing spiritually. But the reality is that people often come with guards up, struggles getting them down, or just so wrapped up in getting [...]

3 Ways Expository Preaching Combats Biblical Illiteracy

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From my monthly article at Pastors Today: “Biblical illiteracy is a widespread problem that manifests itself in several ways. The basic nuts and bolts Bible knowledge of key stories, people, and concepts is much less common. People have little patience for the parts that are difficult to understand, let alone the parts that are clear [...]

The Term “Sermon Illustration” Is Broader than You Think

Good writers typically supply a fair number of preachers’ “illustrations,” as we call them. The term is actually a catch-all for anecdotes, analogies, stories, blog entries, editorial opinions, famous tweets, incidents from history, memorable sayings, biographical profiles, statistics, snippets of dialogue from TV interviews, lines from Wikipedia bios, lines from poems, news reports, people’s comments [...]

What it Takes to Get Important Things Done in Ministry

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From my article this month at LifeWay’s Pastor’s Today blog: There is no shortage of activity in the pastor’s office these days. Everyone is busier than ever, pastors included. But being active does not mean you are impacting the lives of your people. Entire mornings slip away as you process email, dabble in your sermon text, and [...]

5 Quick Tips for Giving a Great Job Performance Review

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I just finished a rough draft for new job performance reviews at my church, and it got me thinking about what makes a review go well. Here are five tips I hope aren’t painfully obvious. 1. Nothing should be a surprise, nothing should be news. The review is not the time to unload weapons grade [...]

5 Warning Signs Your Relationship with God Is Strictly Professional

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I’m excited to have the opportunity to contribute to a new blog at LifeWay called Pastors Today. It is written by pastors for pastors, and addresses many of the challenges pastors face in ministry. My first article was posted yesterday: 5 Warning Signs Your Relationship with God Is Strictly Professional: “Ministry is more than a job. It’s [...]

3 Wrong Roles Pastors Cast for Their Church Members

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Between school plays, little league teams, and numerous other ways, we have all been given roles that we thought were below us. We wanted the leading role, but got curtain duty. We wanted to pitch, but got stuck in right field. What was that role for you? (Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself.) Like [...]