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
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
Preaching is, for me, like swimming in the ocean. It is an awesome experience if you don’t die!
Nothing is more exciting and nothing is more intimidating. Preaching both charges me up and wears me down. It invigorates and it frustrates. It brings me the agony of labor and the joy of birth. It keeps me up at night and gets me up in the morning. Preaching is big and I know it.
If you are involved in preaching you know something of the dilemma we face. We are tasked with bringing God’s word to man. We are to speak sacred things to sinful listeners. This great responsibility can be a bit overwhelming. But here is what makes it even bigger. We need to preach for transformation.
Nothing is worse than boring people with the greatest news known to mankind. How terrible to think that I can make the gospel sound like average news rather than good news. How Continue reading
Posted in preaching, Uncategorized
Tagged Baptist, Christian, Christianity, church, Evangelism, faith, God, Jesus, leadership, pastor, preaching, Religion and Spirituality
I’ve noticed several cases of minister burnout recently. Maybe these cases are more common, or perhaps the nature of social media has caused me to see these cases more readily. But either way, it is cause for concern.
I’m concerned for a couple of reasons. One is because I am a pastor and I know something of that danger in my own life. I’d like to avoid this problem and be able to remain effective in God’s work. Another reason for concern is because I love the church and those who lead the church. They matter to God’s work in our world and they matter to God. I grieve to see my fellow ministry leaders sidelined no matter the reason.
Let me suggest some reasons for minister burnout and what can be done to help alleviate this problem.
1. Ministers are wearied by conflict and complaint. Ministers love people and want to help them. But their very love for people makes them vulnerable 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
Here is the basic transcript of a recent conversation I had with my pastor buddy.
Me: Did you get a copy of my new book “30 Days to Acts” yet? You wrote the foreword.
Him: No, did that come out already?
Me: Yes. You need to buy a copy. You wrote the foreword.
Him: Well, since I wrote the foreword, shouldn’t you send me a free copy?
Me: The foreword wasn’t THAT good.
And that is when he realized his friend is cheap.
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
With the downsizing of the International Mission Board by up to 800 people, many long time missionaries will be looking for ministry opportunities in the States. While they will be leaving the mission field (after some difficult and painful decisions) they still want to serve the cause of Christ in ministry. Might Southern Baptist Churches strongly consider them when looking for pastors and church staff members? Might they give them preference just as some businesses give preference to military veterans?
Here are three reasons to consider hiring a missionary as a pastor or church staff member.
1. They are willing to Continue reading
Posted in baptist, Church, International Mission Board, missions, Uncategorized
Tagged Baptist, church, church staff, IMB, International Mission Board, ministry, missionaries, missionary, missions, pastor, pastor search committee, pastorate, 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
While in another country, I saw ads painted on the sides of homes and buildings. It was a way for the home or business owner to make some extra income. So, I started thinking about churches. They have big walls and could use extra income. What if they used those walls for advertising? The ideas are endless- and bad ideas abundant. Here are some of those bad ideas for church wall advertising.
– Rogaine. It works for Pastor Bob.
– Dr. Pepper. The preferred soft drink for non-heretics.
– Youth Pastor Jimmy recommends Continue reading
Posted in Christian humor, faith, humor, outreach
Tagged Christian, Christian humor, Christianity, church, faith, God, humor, local church, pastor, pastors, Religion and Spirituality