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 […]

How to Always Be Ready to Care for Your Congregation

Since pastors know ministry is full of surprises, there’s no excuse for being caught off guard when a need arises. Just like superheroes wear their costume under their normal clothes, we always need to be ready to serve our people (not that we are superheroes). Some pastors feel interrupted by congregational needs. “I didn’t get […]

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 […]

5 Lessons on Planning Funerals You Can’t Learn in Seminary

For the uninitiated, planning a funeral brings much anxiety. You deeply desire to lead and shepherd the family, but you may not know what to do or the manner in which to conduct yourself. These are the kinds of things you learn through experience. Here is what I learned in my experience walking with a […]

3 Simple Steps to an Encouraging Hospital Visit

So what should actually do when you visit someone in the hospital? What actions will encourage and comfort the person you are visiting? Here are three steps. They each start with “P” to help you remember. 1. Presence. Just being there is a tremendous encouragement. Years later, the person will not remember the conversation you […]

The Prophet, Priest, and King Ministry of the Apostles in Acts 6

If your priorities in ministry are out of whack, there is no better place for you to turn than Acts 6:1-6. The pastor’s single priority is a triune priority. We are to shepherd God’s flocks as prophets, priests, and kings. One priority in the three, three priorities in one. In Acts 6, the apostles model […]

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

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

How to Hack Your Introversion and Warmly Visit Someone in the Hospital (Even If You’ve Never Met)

I can still remember my first hospital visit. I was a new pastor at a big church. No one knew me and I didn’t know anyone. Fears swarmed my mind. What do I say that will bring comfort to this person? What Scripture do I read? How do I even introduce myself? All these questions […]

Why Seth Godin Might Be More Pastoral Than You

There are two kinds of pastors in the world: those who are good at following up, and those who aren’t. Which one are you? Before you claim to be at the “good” level, let me set the standard. The time I emailed Seth Godin Before I launched this blog, I read a lot of Seth […]

Strengthen Your Pastoral Counseling: 7 Book Recommendations

David Powlison, in his article “The Pastor as Counselor,” recommends these seven books for pastors who want to strengthen their counseling ministry: Pastoral Care by Gregory the Great The Reformed Pastor and (for the overly ambitious) Christian Directory ( 5 vols.) by Richard Baxter Pastoral Counsel by Thomas Oden Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer Powlison also recommends reading fiction because, […]

When Interruptions Help You Become a More Complete Pastor

A common frustration in ministry is when demands on our time and energy surprise us. The result is that we can’t focus on what we planned to work on because what came in unplanned is urgent. What I’ve discovered about these surprises is that these interruptions are often not interruptions in the truest sense. A […]

Relief for Pastors Stressed-Out by Their Complex Job

Stress is an inevitable byproduct of the complex nature of the pastor’s job. The pastor has three jobs, not one: he’s a prophet, a priest, and a king. If every pastor were honest, he would admit that one of those jobs brings more stress than the others. Which role – prophet, priest, or king – […]

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 […]

The Most Important Productivity Tool for Pastors Is…

…your knees. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16). A lot of us are at the beginning of a very busy week. I’m the kind of guy who gets to work, and then half an hour later remembers that I haven’t prayed about my work yet. Bring […]

Can Shorter Prayers Be Better?

When it comes to prayer, according to Martin Luther, the shorter, the better. In Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer, Brian G. Najapfour quotes Luther: “Our prayer must have few words, but be great and profound in content and meaning. The fewer the words, the better the prayer; the more words, the poorer the prayer. Few words […]

7 Prayer Lists You Already Have

The problem with prayer lists is that we feel productive after making one, even if don’t get around to actually praying. That’s like drafting a fantasy football team and never setting your roster the whole season (don’t you hate that guy?). Only this is worse, since the people in your church are real. So time is […]

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 […]