Here are some of my random thoughts on preaching from my 34 years as a senior pastor.
1. Boring preaching is criminal. The most important and amazing message in history and you are going to make it sound boring? Jail time.
2. It is hard for preaching to be boring if the preacher is excited about the text.
3. The preacher’s devotional life affects his preaching. Maybe you can get away with it for a while, but neglect time alone with God and preaching will suffer in the long run.
4. You can’t separate who you are from the task of preaching.
5. Preachers who read a lot Continue reading
Posted in communication, faith, ministry, pastor, preaching, Uncategorized
Tagged Christianity, communication, faith, ministry, pastor, preaching
What is your sermon about?
Years ago, while serving as a youth pastor, I got the opportunity to preach at my church on a Sunday morning. The day before the big event, I saw one of the teenagers in our church and he asked me what I was preaching on the next day. Five minutes later I was still talking to the poor student in an ill-fated attempt to explain the upcoming sermon!
I didn’t know much about preaching (should I use present tense instead of past tense here?), but I suddenly realized that I needed Continue reading
My pastor friends will say to me as I write on preaching, “Physician, heal thyself!” I don’t even want to know what my enemies might say! But I want to provide some thoughts on this work in which I have been engaged for the past several decades.
Preaching is an incredibly daunting, challenging and difficult task. It takes skill and effort and practice. But it also is incredibly rewarding– not to mention that we pastors believe God has called and compelled us to preach.
Here are three basic and fundamental thoughts on preaching every preacher should understand.
1. You are the preacher God called. If God called you to preach, he called you to preach. He didn’t call you to become someone else who will then preach for you. He has called you to preach. While you can and should learn from other preachers, you must never try to be another preacher. God made you to be you. Be the best version of you, but be you. Continue reading
The ringing of my phone jarred me awake at 2:55 on Sunday morning. 2:55! Vaguely conscious, I mumbled some sort of greeting. It must have sounded like I’d smoked profusely for a lifetime.
Someone on the other line said something about being with a security company and that an alarm was going off at our church building. “Church? What’s a church?” Slowly, the fog in my brain began to lift and I asked a few questions. Apparently, the wind had caused an unlocked door at our church building to set off an alarm. No motion detectors were activated so it seemed all was well. After some additional words the phone call ended. It was nearly 3 a.m.
Since becoming a pastor decades ago, Saturday night sleep has always been fitful. Continue reading
A disappointing conversation reminded me that some problems never fully go away.
I recently spoke to an older pastor. Now I love older pastors. They have some experience and wisdom from which I can benefit. And, they can make me feel young– a sensation that doesn’t happen as often as it once did!
But this conversation was not so edifying. It served more as a warning. In the course of our conversation he said that not all of the bible is God’s word. Some of it is, but some of it isn’t. Some of it, he felt, was just some cultural baggage Continue reading
I saw an old pastor friend recently. I don’t know exactly when you should start calling a pastor “old” but he was well past his 80th birthday, so I guess he qualifies. He retired from the full-time pastorate some years ago due to health but remains busy as an interim pastor and preaches frequently in those in between times. And he is doing great work for the kingdom.
I want to suggest that our old pastors have great value for our generation. And, I suggest that our younger pastors would do well to get to know, love and appreciate some older pastors–before they get there themselves!
Here are some reasons young ministers- and the church as a whole- should value our older ministers and Continue reading
Pastors struggle to have deep and meaningful friendships. Note the words “deep and meaningful”. Most pastors would say they have lots of friends but often they are more shallow than deep and more superficial than meaningful. There are reasons for that. Deeper friendships can be betrayed. Deeper friendships take effort. Deeper friendships can cause jealousy. Lots of reasons.
I recently finished a Continue reading
Posted in books, encouragement, friendship, pastor, Uncategorized
Tagged book, Christian, Christianity, encouragement, friendship, God, ministers, ministry, pastor, relationship with god, Religion and Spirituality
Our churches are never fully defined by our biggest Sundays or our smallest.
As a pastor, I love Easter Sunday. I love the large number of guests, those who haven’t been in a long time and the spiritually curious. We had our biggest attendance ever this past Sunday with 2,551 people. It is exciting to preach the message of the gospel to lots of people. There is an energy that comes with the large crowd.
I do know, of course, that not every Sunday has Continue reading
Posted in Church, Easter, Easter Sunday, pastor, Uncategorized
Tagged Christian, Christianity, church, God, Jesus, local church, Religion and Spirituality, worship attendance
The world of pastors and other vocational ministers is a different world. It can be wonderful, fulfilling, frustrating and discouraging all in the same day. It is fantastic because we get to work with people and it can be challenging because… well, because we get to work with people.
The majority of ministers do it because they believe God has called them to this important task. They want to make a difference in this world and in eternity. They care about people and love the message of the gospel. Their motivation, if they are what they need to be, is to honor the Lord, teach His word and help others to join them in following Jesus.
But, like all people, they have needs. Let me mention four things pastors need from their churches.
1. They need Continue reading
Posted in encouragement, minister, pastor, Uncategorized
Tagged Baptist, Blessing, Christian, Christianity, church, God, Jesus, local church, minister, minister appreciation, pastor, pastor appreciation, Religion and Spirituality, SBC, southern baptist convention
I’m starting my 21st year as pastor of First Baptist Church, O’Fallon, IL. We celebrated my 20 year anniversary with a reception, some ice cream (woo hoo!) and thoughtful cards and gifts. It has me thinking about the value of longevity for pastors.
Let’s face it. Some pastorates are short term for good reason. Sometimes the fit doesn’t work. Sometimes financial limitations or inflexibility or unwillingness to play nice ends relationships. Staying long term isn’t always best for the church or the pastor. I get that. But let me offer some suggestions about the benefits of long term pastorates for those who can make it work.
1. It builds Continue reading
Posted in Christianity, Church, pastor
Tagged Christian, Christianity, church, church life, First Baptist Church, local church, longevity for pastors, pastor, pastors, Religion and Spirituality