Let me start with a definition of humility derived from A Theology of the Ordinary by Julie Canlis; humility is understanding who God is and who we are. This truth is allowing me to begin to see and experience conviction in two areas: my utter lack of true humility and second, the way that my pride, stress, and anxiety are intrinsically linked together. My pride will give me an inflated sense of self, telling me to do and be more than I was intended for. Burnout chases after those who do life and ministry without humility.
Every pastor's wife has an unwritten job description for herself. It might be unconscious and loosely defined but it's there. We know the feeling of not measuring up to what we think we are supposed to do and be. We know the areas that we're falling short. You might not be a pastor's wife. You might be a mom, a ministry leader, or whoever. We have this mental checklist, job description, at all times that we measure ourselves against. It is so tiring!
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.
One of the typical weaknesses of the local church that I have observed over the years is the ability to assess and evaluate people for a variety of leadership positions. That runs the spectrum from new hires to elder/deacon selections to church planters. How can I make such a rash and generalized statement? In my 42 years of supervising, managing, and leading people, I have made almost 1,850 hiring decisions…and fired 55 staff (to the best of my recollection) for a variety of reasons.
Why is it important for the leaders of our church to experience care? It’s because the spiritual vitality and the relational health of our churches will only be as strong as the spiritual vitality and relational health of the leadership team. When Christ saved us, he committed to caring for us, and for our churches to last, we must share that care with each other.With that in mind, I want to share seven commitments for the leader who cares for leaders.
The Apostle Paul was physically and emotionally worn out. Fear thunderstormed his soul. Conflict awaited him. He had no rest. Rather than hide this fact, the Apostle gave voice to it. As pastors, the idea of giving voice to the hurricane that batters against the boarded up windows of our souls feels dangerous. But God has a remedy in mind.
Sojourn Network Conversations is a series that attempts to peer into the collective experience, wisdom, and personal lives of pastors and leaders who have particular insight in the topic of discussion. Recorded live and unscripted, we hope you'll carve out time to listen in on these important issues.
As I’ve said before, forgiven sinners forgive sin. If you enter pastoral ministry, you will sin and you will be sinned against. But here’s the thing: being sinned against can become a gospel opportunity — a place to pass along to others the mercy that we have received. If you’re called to ministry, you’re called to apply the gospel in the face of sin. In fact, the degree to which we really understand the gospel is revealed by how faithfully we extend mercy when sinned against.But what exactly does mercy look like? Four things come to mind.
Hi, guys. This is Mike Cosper from Sojourn Network and I'm really excited to announce the launch of our Fall cohort, The Pastor and Spiritual Formation. What we're after in this is not just another conversation about "What are the disciplines," or "What's the theology of the disciplines?" We're really after trying to move from concept to practice, from a deep sense of integration, and really a deep sense of congruency in our lives between things we believe, the things we do, and the ways we think and feel and act about them. So it's truly a time where I think we're gonna be able to have some deep reflection together and some deep conversations about what it means to be reformed and transformed into the image of Christ.
Last Thursday I had the opportunity to go to Huntsville to listen and learn from Elliot Grudem with about 40 other guys. Something that he said during our time together resonated with me and has challenged me to take a long contemplative pause. He asked the question, “If you had to describe Jesus in one word, what word would you choose?” That’s a good question…a really good question.
The gospel is at the very heart of pastoral ministry. You cannot have true ministry without having the gospel at the very core. This means that the call to ministry is a call to gospel work. The gospel is absolutely essential to the role of pastor. How come? There are many reasons, but let me offer a couple that are of critical importance.
Many pastors have said that affirmation doesn’t come naturally for them, so they look to other more “naturally” encouraging leaders, hoping to unlock the affirmation code. Whether you are supernaturally gifted to encourage or not, we all need supernatural grace and discipline to grow in encouragement.