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

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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 [...]

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

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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 [...]

A New Definition of Seeker Sensitive Ministry

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My philosophy of ministry is strongly geared toward Seeker sensitivity. I hope that by the time you finish this article yours will be, too. But it’s not the seeker sensitivity you’re used to hearing about. In fact, it’s probably the exact opposite. In John 4:23, Jesus says this to the woman at the well, “But [...]

9 Reasons Pastors Fail to Equip the Saints for Minsitry

It’s not easy to put your philosophy of ministry into practice. Every seminary student cites Ephesians chapter 4 in their philosophy of ministry papers. Every book written on pastoral ministry exegetes this passage. And for good reason. It lays out the key ministry principle that the body of Christ works together to grow and mature in [...]

Why Pastoral Work Is So Complex (And Why You Shouldn’t Try to Simplify It)

Pastoral ministry is the most difficult job in the world. I don’t think that’s an overstatement. One contributing factor to this is the complexity of the job of a pastor. There are lots of bad ways to deal with the complexity of pastoral ministry. You could put in more hours. You could cut down on [...]

How to Avoid Fake Buy-In to Your Vision

Leaders know that buy-in is crucial to the success of a big vision. The chain of your vision is only as strong as its least invested link. But not all buy-in is created equal. Some is fake. Some is real. Everyone knows how to achieve buy-in: gather everyone involved into a meeting, discuss the vision, [...]

Leadership Coaching at The Resurgence

I just happened upon some great leadership videos by Mark Driscoll at The Resurgence. I think you check them out (registration required). I just watched one on prophet, priest, and king leadership styles, which are strong in preaching, counseling, and administrating respectively. I was encouraged that Driscoll said some things I’ll be writing about in [...]

Something for Pastors to Remember on Monday Morning

“All things considered” is an ingredient that will tame the zing of a spicy Sunday church service. The sermon wasn’t that bad, considering that important visit to the hospital that ate up some prep time. The attendance at the evening service wasn’t that bad, considering it was the start of spring break. The singing wasn’t that bad, considering [...]

24 Examples of Gospel-Centered Ministry from 1 Thessalonians

Understanding gospel-centered ministry merely in terms of preaching the message of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection will turn you into a one-trick pastoral pony. Pastoral work should have the gospel as its motivation, not only its message. Paul defines his ministry in terms of proclaiming the gospel in 1 Thessalonians, but it works itself out [...]

10 Questions You Better be Ready to Answer at a Pastoral Interview

A reader emailed me today to let me know that the articles here have been a big help to him as he finishes seminary and prepares to candidate at a church in a couple weeks. It reminded me of an article I read a year ago by R.C. Sproul entitled “10 Important Things to Ask [...]

17 Simple Actions to Grow as a Pastor Scholar

Pastors stall in their growth sometimes. It is to be expected because we are imperfect. But how do we break out of the plateau? New challenges have always seemed to work for me. That’s how P90X works for physical muscles. We should expect the same for pastoral muscles. But new challenges don’t have to be the [...]

Pastoral Ministry and Strengths-Based Leadership

Have you ever rationalized ignoring your weak areas of ministry? “I’m not a people person, so I spend most of my time preparing sermons.” We all make excuses to avoid pastoral work that doesn’t come easy. But is this reasoning valid? Avoid weak roles and focus on strong ones? One major book  in the strengths [...]