Back from Sabbatical: 10 Reflections Upon Reentry

I realize that not all of us have the luxury of taking a sabbatical 5-7 years into our church plants, but I would encourage all pastors reading this to begin to have serious conversations with your elders or leadership teams about the necessity of sabbaticals for your spiritual, emotional and physical health.With that said, Melissa and I decided to jot down a few reflections (in no particular order) which we hope might be helpful to you whether a sabbatical is coming soon or later.

Travel Blog | New City Church | Fresno

After a quick stop in San Francisco to visit Dave Ainsworth and CJ Bergmen and hear about all that God is doing through Citizens Church (you can read more about this trip here), I got up early to beat the bay area traffic, launching out of the city and into a misty Monday morning making my way to Fresno to visit another Sojourn Network church planter: Troy McComas.

Resource Roundup #51

Almost 1 in 5 women in Japanese prisons is a senior. Their crimes are usually minor—9 in 10 senior women who’ve been convicted were found guilty of shoplifting. This week's Roundup features a piece that demonstrates just why community is so important for human flourishing. We've also got resources on paper airplanes, child dedication services, using the creeds and confessions in corporate worship, how to preach Ecclesiastes, and a hilarious, 9-year-old caption creator for the New Yorker. Enjoy!

Staying Long

Recently, I joined two other pastors in a panel discussion on endurance in pastoral ministry. We averaged 28 years in the same church. Since that may seem daunting to a young pastor, the moderator asked if we originally planned to stay so long in our ministries.That question sent me drifting back 31 years to the start of my present pastorate. I don’t remember thinking consciously at that stage, “I’m planting my life in Memphis.” Many in my generation tended to go light on ecclesiology, and so thought of climbing instead of staying. Discussions of moving on to bigger and better things frequently marked the ministerial gatherings. Staying in one place, planting your life, enduring the many changes accompanying any congregation, just didn’t seem to be the focus.

Travel Blog | Citizen's Church | San Francisco

Recently, I got a chance to travel out to California to visit two of our Sojourn Network churches: Citizens Church in the San Francisco area and New City Church in Fresno. In this post, I’ll share a bit about my time at Citizens Church through several photos and short captions that should provide a visual story-arc of my time in San Francisco.

Holy Weekend: Experiencing Resurrection

In more than a decade of pastoral ministry, I’ve wrestled with this tension. How much should we cultivate special, extraordinary experiences in the faith, and how often should we just put our heads down and follow God — living quiet lives, minding our own business, working with our hands (1 Thess. 4:11) Thankfully, we are not alone in this struggle: The Church has historically wrestled with the times and seasons of the Christian life, and the Church Calendar was formed and embraced as a way of living in this tension.