All tagged pastoral ministry

Clarity Is King.

Most the preachers I know work very hard at the craft God has called them to. They labor hour after hour, week after week, in order to faithfully feed the people God has entrusted to them.

This means...

They work hard to humbly exegete each text. 

They dispense an immense amount of effort into every word.

They carefully craft nearly every sentence. 

They give much thought to the illustrations they use. 

They want the gospel to be front and center every time they climb into the pulpit. 

Despite the hard work, there is one common shortcoming I see in a lot of preaching, including my own. It's a shortcoming that I believe separates the sub-par sermons from the good ones. 

3 Pastoral Priorities...

Pastors always have plenty to do.

There is always another meeting to attend, sermon to write, class to teach, decision to make, counsel to give, etc.  If we are not careful, our calendars can quickly fill to the point of being unrealistic. This is one reason so many pastors burn out. 

What most pastors are not honest about, or maybe even in touch with, is what truly drives our over-busyness. Too many pastors don’t trust the God we preach. We betray our disbelief when we try to be saviors instead of the stewards God has called us to be. In his book The Contemplative PastorEugene H. Peterson cuts to the heart of this over-busyness problem:

The word  'busy' is the symptom not of commitment but of betrayal. It is not devotion but defection. The adjective 'busy' set as a modifier to 'pastor' should sound to our ears like 'adulterous' to characterize a wife or 'embezzling' to describe a banker. It is an outrageous scandal, a blasphemous affront.” (P.27)

Having a fruitful life and full schedule is a good thing. We should work hard and spend ourselves making Jesus known. But busy to the point of burnout is a problem. It’s a problem for the pastor and it’s a problem for the church.

Busyness becomes a problem when what we CAN do crowds out what we MUST do. We can do all kinds of things, but there are at least three things that must be prioritized in the pastor’s life…

7 Ways To Refresh Your Preaching.

It's Saturday night, which means you're slumped over your sermon notes when it finally sets in. 

No, you're not hiding any sin, or walking through suffering. You're not spiritually dry, or nearing burnout. You simply can't remember the last time you had a Sunday off from preaching. As a result, you feel like you're saying the same thing the same way week after week.

Your illustrations are tired. Your jokes are dry. Your applications are about as helpful as a swimsuit in a snowstorm. Your preaching has gone stale.

But you know what? It happens. It happens to every faithful herald who fills a pulpit week in and week out. Each Sunday as I drive home from church I experience the collision of two emotions simultaneously: 

Your illustrations are tired. Your jokes are dry. Your applications are about as helpful as a swimsuit in a snowstorm. Your preaching has gone stale.

But you know what? It happens. It happens to every faithful herald who fills a pulpit week in and week out. Each Sunday as I drive home from church I experience the collision of two emotions simultaneously: 

The satisfaction that I’ve preached another sermon and the stress of having to do it all over again the next week.