Four Kinds of Churches on the Attractional Spectrum (Where Does Yours Land?)

You may have noticed that there has been a bit of conversation around the web about “attractional” churches. The question is often posed as to whether your church is attractional or missional in regard to its approach to reaching the lost. Rather than discuss that polarization, I’d like to take a moment to look at […]

Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry

I’m excited to let you know that today marks the release of Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide, edited by Cameron Cole and Jon Nielson. Cameron is the director of youth ministries at Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, AL and the chairman of Rooted Ministry, which seeks to advance grace-driven youth ministry and to equip […]

3 Tactics for Discipling Your Church on the Issue of Abortion

Pastors have a unique opportunity to disciple their churches on the issue of abortion right now. Conversation about abortion is not going to die down anytime soon, now that we’ve seen a second release of an undercover video capturing Planned Parenthood higher-ups negotiating the purchase of organs of aborted babies. How can we help our […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

5 Warning Signs Your Relationship with God Is Strictly Professional

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 […]

My Top 10 Posts from 2013

Tis the season for top ten of the year posts! Never one to enjoy being left out, here are the top ten articles of the past year here at Pastoralized. Thank you everyone who have read my musings on pastoral ministry this year. Thank you to everyone who linked to, tweeted, liked, or otherwise shared […]

Impactful Pastors Are Offline Influencers

Here is a preview of my latest article at You can find the whole thing here. The social media landscape can make the average person wonder if he can make an impact in the world today. If you take a look at well-known pastors, you can’t help but notice they are prolific, not only […]

5 Ways the Sin in Your Heart Shapes Your Ministry – From Paul Tripp

Paul Tripp, in Dangerous Calling (pp .119-120) lists five ways that our ministry is affected by what rules our heart. Do any of these apply to you? Do any of these not apply to you? “It is very difficult in ministry to give away what you do not possess yourself. In ways of which you are not always aware, […]

Do You Hide Behind “Ministry Talk”?

Pastors love to talk shop. Conversations about church initiatives, structures, programs, and events crank up our adrenaline. Our body heat rises in theological conversations, debates over how to take a pivotal phrase in a verse, or discussions about the latest viral blog post. I call this phenomenon “ministry talk.” It’s not necessarily a bad thing. […]

7 Disastrous Results of Letting Your Personal Fulfillment Drive Your Ministry

I was struck by something Ray Ortlund said in a blog post recently: “I am not impressed by young pastors who seem too eager to publish books and speak at big events and get noticed.” It’s as if men get in the ministry and treat the first few years like the kid who shoots hoops […]

Suffering for the Gospel in Unity with Jesus

Part of what makes suffering in ministry hard is the loneliness you feel in the midst of the difficulty. For this reason, I am comforted by the New Testament passages that show our suffering in ministry is not apart from Christ, but in unity with him. According to the New Testament, Jesus suffers with his […]

My Top 12 Quotes from Tim Keller’s “Center Church”

I read Tim Keller’s Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City toward the end of 2012, and found it extremely formative in regard to philosophy of ministry. Out of my 132 Kindle highlights, here are my top 12. 1. On the inescapability of contextualization If we never deliberately think through ways to rightly contextualize […]

A Great Ministry Opportunity for Soon-to-Graduate Seminarians: The Pastoral Residency at College Church

If you are in your last year of seminary or grad school, November is not too early to start thinking about how you will serve the Lord after you graduate. I hope you seriously consider applying for the Pastoral Residency program at my church, College Church in Wheaton, IL. What the College Church Pastoral Residency […]

The Subtle Difference Between a Success Mindset and a Fruitfulness Mindset in Ministry

Do you aim at success or fruitfulness in your ministry? It’s often hard to tell the difference because they look so similar on the outside. One way to tell which side you’re on is to analyze the questions you ask – either in your own mind, or of others – after a church function. Here […]

How to Turn From Your Idols

If John Calvin was right when he said that our hearts are idol factories (and he was), then seeking sanctification within a community means we must help one another inspect the stuff coming off the assembly line. Whether you are a preacher, teacher, small group leader, counselor, discipler, or evangelist, it’s your job to teach […]

4 Inspiring Ministry Quotes from Piper, Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, and Kent Hughes

I had the honor of guest posting at Zach Nielsen’s blog this week (one of my fave’s), sending him excerpts of books on pastoral ministry that have impacted me. I’ve linked to all four below, for your Friday reading pleasure. (By the way, if you dig jazz music, be sure to check out Zach’s jazz […]

My Philosophy of Ministry in 4 Words, Drawn on a Napkin

If you want to be a complete pastor, you gotta do all three.

13 Gospel-Centered Catch Phrases and 29 Bible Verses that Support Them

This post is a follow up from my previous post, “Are Your Gospel-Centered Catch Phrases Biblical?” I’ve provided thirteen examples of gospel-centered catch phrases below, along with verses from the Bible that express the idea the phrase is meant to communicate. Remember, a gospel-centered catch phrase is one that connects “gospel” (as an adjective) with […]

Are Your Gospel-Centered Catch Phrases Biblical?

Have you noticed that the Reformed vernacular has shifted from biblical language to gospel-centered language? Not that it has completely shifted. But, if you’re like me, lately you’ve heard the phrase “gospel joy” more often than, “rejoice in the Lord always.” What is a gospel-centered catch phrase? To go super nerdy on you, a gospel-centered […]

Personal Priorities for Every Pastor

This is a guest post by, my friend and colleague, Jon Nielson, the High School Pastor at College Church. He wrote “Why Youth Stay in Church When They Grow Up,” a top ten most read article at The Gospel Coalition Blog in 2011. Follow his daily devotionals at his blog, Something More Sure. 1. First […]

5 Lessons I’m Learning in My First Year as a Lead Pastor

This is a guest post by Brandon Levering. Brandon is a recent graduate of the Pastoral Residency Program at College Church (check out the program’s intro video and info packet). He now serves as Lead Pastor at Westgate Church in the suburbs of Boston. Learn more lessons on ministry from Brandon at his blog and on […]

7 Principles for Gospel-Centered Conversations Among Catholic Friends

This is a guest post by my friend, Chris Castaldo, who Justin Taylor called, “one of evangelicalism’s most insightful dialogue partners with Roman Catholicism.” Chris is the author of Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Catholic and contributed the evangelical view in Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Anglicanism. Hear more from Chris […]

The Celebrity Pastor Fanboy Scale: Where Do You Rank?

This is the third of three posts leading up to the 2012 Together for the Gospel Conference. Even if you’re not going, I hope you find this entertaining! There are fans. Then there are fanboys. Which one are you?  

4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Prepare Your Heart for T4G

This is the first of three posts leading up to the 2012 Together for the Gospel Conference. Even if you aren’t going, if you answer these questions for yourself, you will be challenged to rely on God’s grace all the more in your ministry. We who preach the gospel so often underestimate its power. The […]