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3 Questions Every Small Town Pastor Should be Asking

Do you remember the Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken?” The premise is in life we have choices, and sometimes choosing to take the road less traveled can make all the difference. Today, I was looking through some old notebooks of mine and came across some thoughts I had written down in 2009. The […]


“However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.” (Ephesian 4:7 NLT) I have a friend that is one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard. He has an uncanny ability to explain the most complex theology is concise, simple, and often, humorous terms so that anyone can […]

Preventing Pastoral Stress and Burnout

Serving the local church as a pastor is a calling, and on the best days, there’s nothing more fulfilling than leading a congregation into deeper relationship with God. But, on other days, we pastors face challenges that are unique to our individual callings as we wear the mantle of responsibility and bear the weight of […]

View the Current Pastor Resources Issue

3 Questions Every Small Town Pastor Should be Asking


Preventing Pastoral Stress and Burnout

Pastor's Life

Preventing Pastoral Stress and Burnout

Serving the local church as a pastor is a calling, and on the best days, there’s nothing more fulfilling than leading a congregation into deeper relationship with God. But, on other days, we pastors face challenges that are unique to our individual callings as we wear the mantle of responsibility and bear the weight of […]

Recent Articles

The Danger of Ugly Duckling Theology

Pastor Resources 0

I was looking at the results of a major survey of pastors the other day and noticed a trend. Pastors of small churches are more likely to be less energized by their ministry than those who serve large churches. They are also more inclined to question their calling. The message seems to be twofold. First, […]

Getting Honest About the State of Our Witness

How would you characterize your own witness efforts? A characterization must be accurate enough to truly name reality, but short enough to be memorable and useable. Getting to a place where you can honestly characterize your own witness efforts should take some time and work. The process should force you to reflect and think. We […]

This is your wake-up call…

beep…Beep…BEEP! Your alarm clock goes off. Do you… __groan and go back to sleep? __press the snooze button? __get up ready for action? How does your answer mirror your reaction to what’s happening to the church today? Well, we just got a wake-up call: According to a recent Gallup poll, for the first time in […]

How to Practice Compassionate Curiosity

1. Be Interested Birds of the same feather flock together. We typically are interested in others who have something to offer us or have something in common with us. To be interested we need to notice the dirt path off the side of the four-lane highway of our lives. We need to look for peculiar […]


My mother chuckled as she penned her poem, a parody of “The Church in the Wildwood,” entitled, “The Wild Woods in the Church.” In our small congregation, three separate and unrelated Wood families occupied the pews. While the other two Wood families consisted of only a few folks, my father’s family influence spread across several […]

3 Ways to Fight Negativity and Slander in Your Church Community

As a former church staff member, I’ve seen it happen over and over. A growing congregation, fully unified and working toward the same goal, starts to slowly splinter off into pockets of like-minded people. Those pockets live in harmony—for a while. But then, you start hearing rumors about someone unhappy with the direction the church […]

When Church Conflict Happens QA

You write that conflict is something to be expected as part of our human experience—that wherever there are human relationships, sooner or later, there is conflict. What makes conflict that happens in a church more complicated than conflict in other contexts? Most organizational conflicts tend to be complex because of the different levels from which […]

7 Ways to Avoid the Summer Slump

June 20th is the first day of summer. I can barely contain my excitement. It may sound like I’m being facetious, but that’s not the case. After enduring a spring that was filled with dogwood, blackberry, and cotton britches winters, I’m ready for some warmer weather. Even if that means 90+ degree days and 100% […]

Chicken Little

In the story of Chicken Little, an acorn falls on the head of a young chicken, causing him to panic, feeling that the sky itself is falling. Armed with this myth, Chicken Little sets off to systematically convince his friends that the world is ending. Each friend agrees to join the mission until eventually they […]

The 95 5 Principle

Many years ago when I was in seminary, I was given an assignment to write a research paper on any problem a shepherd (pastor)/staff may face on a regular bases. After several weeks of interviewing multiple shepherds and staff I began to see a pattern emerge that I titled “The 95 5 Principle.”   My […]

For the Love of Jesus

Why do we serve? Why do we give of ourselves, day in, day out, week after week? We all know the answer: because of love. Right. But what is the object of our love? Whom or what do we love in order to allow ourselves to be given? Once again, the answer seems obvious: the […]

I Considered Your Church, And Passed

Isn’t one of a pastor’s unspoken fears that lurking about in the community are unknown people who have given your church—the place you sacrificially pour out your soul to grow—a preliminary examination and decided visiting wasn’t worth the bother? Ouch, that’s harsh! We can write off guests preferring a denomination of a different stripe. That’s […]

The Power of Praise!

This is something we are super passionate about in Planetshakers, and something that Ps Russell and Sam Evans are always teaching and showing us. It’s something they have carried to a generation. I can honestly say, that it was as a young person going to Planetshakers Conferences, that I personally learned the power of praise. […]

Build a publication from the ground up.

Have you ever had to start a church newsletter from scratch? If not, you may face that challenge someday. Maybe you’ll accept a job at a church that’s never had a newsletter. Or a publication might become so outdated that church leaders ask you to start over. Or a ministry or program within your church […]

The Challenge in Preaching: Do They Know What We Mean?

I have a missionary friend who has been uniquely used by God. But, I confess one thing: he does annoy me. When he is conversing, he frequently interjects a phrase, “Do you know what I mean?” Almost seems like an elongated “uh” or “um.” However, upon further reflection, the phrase, “Do you know what I […]

Announcements, Bulletins, and When to Say No

“Can you announce that the mission team is having a barbeque fundraiser this Saturday? The ladies quilting group won’t be able to meet next week either. Make sure to get that in the bulletin. Oh and by the way, last Sunday you forgot to mention that the Richardsons had their new baby here for the […]

Atheism on Trial

Like all the major arguments against God, particularly the Christian God, the problem of pain has been with us for thousands of years; and yet, when it comes to this specific argument, there is a great irony. In the early church and Middle Ages, when disease and mortality rates were much higher and the overall […]

Why Religious Leaders Need to Cultivate Self-Control and How to Do So

The Bible describes self-control as an invaluable trait. However, it isn’t something you’re born with. It is a skill that needs to be cultivated, especially in religious leaders. But what exactly is self-control? Why is self-control so important? And how can you cultivate it in yourself and in others?   What Is Self-Control? The simplest […]

Every Church Welcome Needs These Five Elements

Hi, welcome to the blog. My, that’s some weather we’ve been having, isn’t it? This is unfortunately how many churches welcome people to church. It doesn’t connect with people. It doesn’t communicate value, and it’s not even that welcoming. We have to do better than that. Now, for those not quite familiar with the terminology, […]

Read this Before You Go Live on Facebook

There are now over 2.2 billion Facebook users across the world. A staggering number, and one that continues to grow year after year. If you’re doing ministry in a small town or rural setting, it may have taken a little longer for the Facebook craze to hit, but at this point I think we can […]

Is The One Pastor System What God Intended?

Like many of you I was saved and baptized in a church with one pastor and a deacon board. The pastor and deacons took care of most of the decisions required to keep the church functioning on a day-to-day basis. As a 15 year old boy, this system seemed to work pretty well. I never […]

Pastors as Homemakers: Shaping the Christian’s First Family

A few years ago my wife and I attended a small international church in Limassol, Cyprus. Among the congregation were several Filipino domestic workers who led the singing, a couple who were refugees from Syria, about twenty Cypriots, and four pastors! The pastor of the church was of Indian background and British citizenship. A visiting […]

Quiet Time? Haaahhhhhhh

Quiet times, huh? Does that phrase instantly make you feel guilty, like you don’t do enough when it comes to your spiritual life? There are two opposing lies about quiet times, and both can drag us down:   It’s the law. It’s optional.   You might be assuming that one of these has to be […]

The Place Where FOMO Becomes FOBI

One might think the term FOMO is a rather new term, but according to Wikipedia it was made popular over 10 years ago. For those of us who can’t keep up with such “new” words, this might be the first time we have ever even heard or read of such a term. FOMO, or Fear […]

When Sacred Space Intersects Secular Space

Driving down “church row” in small city USA, I would often wonder why we don’t fill our sacred spaces with the secular during the week in response to our call to reach our community. Seeing all of that space available and going unused always bothered me. Some churches have embraced the idea of community space […]

The Secret to Staying Energized

What would you say zaps your strength? The kids? Your job? The soccer schedule? The unending housework?   If you’re talking to other tired moms, chances are you’ll hear them point to external circumstances as the primary reason they’re exhausted. But the truth is, there are a lot of internal conditions that exhaust us. These […]


You see the pictures regularly, and you hear the pleas for help. Somebody flashes a photo up on your screen of the most pitiful little face who seems to come from a far-off place, and your immediate thought is that they are simply tugging on your heartstrings to sponsor this child. Although a focus on […]


The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; from heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.” (1 Samuel 2:10) What the prophet Samuel learned as he anointed David the next king—that God […]


“Make the most of every opportunity.” (Colossians 4:5b NIV); About this time last year, I had a chance to spend some time with the man that mentored me spiritually when I was in high school. He now lives in Birmingham, AL and I was there for a few days attending a conference for church leaders. […]


As a counselor and a student of the Bible over the years, I recognized that there are three kinds of forgiveness: From God From a person you have offended To another person when you have felt offended In this chapter we will share verses about these three distinctives of forgiveness and give you specific language […]

5 Myths We Believe That Keep Us From Rest

Just like Aretha Franklin so famously sang, “R-E-S-T-I-N-G is supposed to be so good for me, R-E-S-T-I-N-G what’s that? Please help me!” Ok so we all know that The Queen of Soul never quite belted those lyrics, but I have read them in the eyes of countless pastors, mine included. Sometimes it feels like there is just so […]

Unlocking the Joy of Giving in Your Congregation

Giving is the fruit of a discipled believer. The amount may be limited by circumstances, but not by the lack of an uncomplicated and generous heart. Just like every ministry, a church must be built upon a solid foundation. The cornerstone is Jesus and we anchor the ministry structure on Him. He keeps the plumb-line […]


adjective: discovered after a deliberate search; located, recovered, brought back Imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: “Celebrate […]

The Most Underrated Mission Field in America

When we talk about areas in need of gospel-centered churches, American church leaders usually focus on secularized areas where Christianity is uncommon, unpopular, or unheard of altogether. We think of places where churches are not found on every corner, and where high school football games do not begin with the local youth minister saying an […]

5 Ways to Support Your Pastor’s Wife All Year Long

1) Give her a gift- something that you know she likes that she doesn’t have to share with anyone else. This tells her she is known– and loved– by you. 2) Take her out to coffee- take time out of your busy day to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a […]

The Messiah Tree

If the Old Testament had a tree nursery in it, it would be found in the book of Isaiah. It is the Grand Central Station of trees. Isaiah’s prophecies overflow with trees and metaphors involving the land as they return again and again to describing the coming of the Messiah. That’s because the two are […]

The “God-of-the-Gaps” Objection

A common defense of the materialist approach to science is to say that positing the supernatural as an explanation for any aspect of nature commits the error known as God-of-the-gaps—plugging divine agency into current gaps in scientific knowledge. The argument typically goes as follows: As man’s understanding of nature has grown, the space left for […]

Habits That Transform What Matters Most

I remember the discussion like it was yesterday. I was sitting with a pastor friend of mine, and we were enjoying a cup of coffee and good conversation. I was expressing my recent ministry struggles and how, as a young pastor and a newly married man, I was feeling “crispy” from the endless demands on […]


“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV) Life is hard, fast, and complicated, and we are easily distracted by the demands … constantly juggling schedules with obligations. […]

Getting Guests Back

Easter is coming! You’ve been exhorting, imploring, and challenging your congregation to invite about everyone attend your Easter service. The guests are on the way. Your congregants will be on their best behavior. The church is looking nice. The service is planned in detail. The guest gift bags are filled and waiting at the Info […]

Developing a Gospel-Centered Identity

How does one know whether their core identity is centered in the truth of the gospel or something else? The key is where a person gets their sense of worth. How do they feel when achieve certain accomplishments? It is appropriate to feel good about our achievements, but do they define us? If a person […]

Getting from here to there!

Last week I was driving down I-44 in the middle of a rain storm and I went to pass a semi truck that was going 65 in a 75 mph zone. Just after I passed his rear dual axels, things got dicey. He veered into my lane and I immediately took to the shoulder and […]

Three Ways to Engage Givers and Increase Giving

If I had to name the biggest leadership struggle currently in the church I serve, I believe I would choose the area of giving. How many of you can relate? It’s not that they’re not generous, most of them are. It’s just that small towns and rural communities typically don’t have as much to give. […]

People Over Process – Improving Church Outreach

In a recent Pastor Resource’s survey, church leaders responded that outreach is the number one need felt in the church. This need is no surprise since nearly all churches consider themselves dedicated to spreading the word of God and include the term outreach in their mission statement. But why is today’s church falling short in […]


noun: way of life, conduct, or thought; route or course May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance. 2 Thessalonians 3:5 In the Pacific Northwest, we love to hike. It’s exhilarating. We hike trails that lead through old forests, along rivers, or through alpine […]


Our cultural reluctance to ask for things is certainly a hurdle for our spiritual life. So we need to spend a little time thinking about how we can carve out a different path than the one our culture encourages when approaching God with requests. First, we need to remember to whom we are directing our […]


“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you and your joy may be full.” (John 15:11) The Holy Spirit unites with our spirits the moment we receive Jesus as our Lord and savior. Because of this union, we can’t help but feel what the Holy Spirit within us is […]

3 Ways a Lenten Fast Can Transform Your Church

Easter used to sneak up on me. Growing up in a Protestant pastor’s family, I was grateful for Jesus’ death and resurrection. But my soul was overwhelmed by the noise of my life, and I struggled to enter the narrative of His victory. I imagine many people in your pews feel the same way. Enter […]

Mindfulness and the Pastor

Mindfulness is a big deal in today’s culture. Businesses such as Apple, sports figures such as basketball player Kobe Bryant, and the popular press such as Time magazine have all given it their stamp of approval. Governments are spending hun­dreds of millions of dollars researching it, and it has become a billion-dollar-a-year business. In fact, […]

Discipling as Coaching

We typically think of discipleship relationships in the category of mentoring. A mentoring relationship is where someone who has more experience or knowledge seeks to transfer that information to someone younger or less mature. One person, the mentor, sets the agenda and the content for the relationship. The person being mentored either seeks out the […]

We Need to Talk about Self-Control

I know what happens when you mention self-control. It’s like sucking the oxygen out of a room. When I told people that I was writing a book on the topic, I heard a lot of sighs and groans. “Oh yeah, I should be better 
about that,” they would say, their
 voices tinged with defeat. Most […]

Awe-Inspiring Creator

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he […]

Ministry is Hard – 4 Ways You Can Stay in the Race

Ministry is hard. I hate saying that because it sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m actually just stating a fact. According to the statistics, between sixty to eighty percent of those who enter the ministry will not make it past ten years. Less than fifteen percent of pastors will last long enough to retire from […]


“Why should I be afraid?” Israel’s King David once asked. I could give him plenty of reasons, from a pulmonary embolism that could have taken my life to a succession of less threatening but still uncomfortable and debilitating ailments, most recently the need for cataract surgery. Instead of worry, I decided to arm myself with […]

Man, the Glory Mirror

Man was created to worship God’s glory, and we saw in that earlier list of experiences that our appetite for God’s glory is one of the most foundational motives in our lives. We have longings. It’s one of the things that sets us apart from the animals. But here’s another thing that sets us apart […]

Missions with Accent

Yes, it may indeed be difficult to learn a foreign language, but one thing that English does not have is accent marks! Although English doesn’t really like to obey all the rules, English-speaking learners of other languages find those accent marks to be rather pesky. What part do they play anyway? Those who are learning […]

God and the Experience of God

I google the word “prayer” And there I am, Hands raised, Eyes closed, Silhouetted Against a backdrop Of God’s warm and welcoming glory. Clicking through these search results might get me re-thinking my prayer life a bit. Perhaps my prayers are lacking because my arms aren’t raised high enough. Or maybe I’m not holding them […]

A Clear and Personalized Path to Discipleship

“If I am honest, I’ll admit that I don’t really know how to make disciples.” I remember when those words came out of my mouth. I had been in the pastorate for almost a decade, and despite sermons, programs, Bible studies, and small groups, many of the people I pastored weren’t becoming more deeply devoted […]

God’s Will

“God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin” (1 Thessalonians 4:3 NLT). “Rejoice always. Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV) Often we diligently seek God’s will in unclear matters while neglecting, or blatantly disobeying, […]


noun (plural): broken or irregular parts of something; fragments “God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him.” Psalm 18:20 “Careful… don’t break it!” How many times have you heard that in your life? Of course you didn’t want to break Grandma’s Christmas platter or the preschool handprint made of clay. […]

Listen . . . For Heaven’s Sake! The Confessions of a Recovering Evangelist

Several years ago, I was invited to speak at one of the largest churches in Colorado. After flying into Denver, I was shuttled over to my rental car company to pick up my ride for the weekend. While I was filling out the paper work for my car, I couldn’t help but overhear what was […]

Four Phrases Every Pastor Should Say Every Sunday

There’s something powerful about repetition. Doing the same thing day in and day out. Over time habits start to form, and those habits play a big role in our lives. If you have good habits, your life tends to go well. If you have bad habits, your life tends to fall apart. In the same […]

Five Ministries Every Church Needs to Be Good At

Most small town churches are trying to do too much. In reality, you really only need to be good at about five things, and I would argue you could get by with being really good at three of them. For many years the church I serve has offered a great kid’s ministry, a great worship […]

4 Simple And Effective Growth-Engaging Techniques

I’ve yet to meet a pastor who wants 2019 to be labeled by their church as the “Year Of Blah.” Yet you know the struggle it can be for our congregants to attend regularly, or–especially–to engage. I’ve noticed something significant among churches I’ve worked with this past year. Neither attendance nor busyness equals growth. At […]

If We Had More Prayer…

“If we had more prayer and less selfishness, our world would be much better.” A person I have known and respected for many years wrote that simple sentence to me in an email the other day, and for some reason it really resonated with me: More prayer and less selfishness. Rather than viewing prayer and […]

Living Intentionally

What would you do if you knew you only had six months to live? That question confronted me during a recent close brush with death. A blood clot had formed in my lungs. I filled a tiny red notebook provided by the hospital with thoughts on how to leave nothing important unsaid or undone. `Living […]

Proximity and Presence

At Canaan we are trying to live into our tagline “the church where love makes the difference,” which we have found to be a very dangerous statement. Christians often tell people we love them before we have ever lived with, listened to, or learned from them. If we are going to be genuine, presence becomes […]

Heaven: It’s Not for Everyone

Most people believe in an afterlife. And in most cases, this belief involves a good place and a bad place. If you’re a good person, and you embrace the right beliefs, you go to the good place. If you’re not, and you don’t, you go to the bad place. Seems simple enough. If you were […]

Four ways to help your teens disconnect from social media and spend time with God

It’s no surprise that students need to spend daily time alone with God. And its also no surprise that a student’s relationship with God can improve if they would just spend some time cultivating that relationship through reading the bible and praying. The majority of youth leaders regularly encourage students to do just that and […]

Improving Family Relationships: A New Year’s Resolution

You’ve heard it said many times before. You’ve likely even said it to yourself. “Don’t sacrifice your family for your ministry.” You know it’s true, but you continue to struggle with the implementation. It’s not just about the preaching and teaching, but about the calls, emails, and text messages that don’t ever seem to stop. […]

Real Worship

Jesus Christ is the essence of true beauty. When God created the earth, He created it by, in, and through His Son, the Lord Jesus (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2–3). For this reason, the universe is brimming with beauty and elegance. For this reason, everything beautiful in creation is both a token and a pale reflection […]

To Give or Volunteer, that is–NOT–the question.

The American church has, in practice, converted some principles away from their original meaning. Particularly, it seems the ideal of volunteering has replaced true giving. To make my point, let’s convert a few well-known verses to how they’re being played out in Christendom. “Where your time is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21 […]

Created to Create

The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Genesis 2:7 NLT Have you ever wondered, Where did I come from? Before your eyes glaze over and you start to dream of pizza or the […]

Six Things You Should Know About First-Time Guests

The church I serve recently hosted a “Friends and Family Day” in which we saw our largest attendance of the year. It was awesome seeing all the new faces and how our volunteers connected with new guests. I’m hoping that we see many of them come back and get connected over the next few weeks. […]

Good, Better, Best

Exercising discernment when every choice is a good choice It happens more often than I like to admit. My husband and I will be comparing our schedules, synching our calendars for the upcoming week, when we realize that we’ve got (at least) two important events happening at the same time. Maybe our son’s basketball practice […]


“Do not judge, lest you should be judged.” Matthew 7:1 BLB “There are too many hypocrites in the church, so I don’t go.” That was the first sentence out of the young man’s mouth after he found out that I was a pastor. I was walking my dog and stopped to talk to a neighbor […]

The Hardest Part of Being a Missionary

You know it is true…most people avoid ever praying the prayer asking God if they are to be headed to the mission field! Why? God might actually say “YES, GO!”. Do you think that is the hardest part of being a missionary? There is no rock solid evidence or great plethora of research studies to […]

Taking Back Advent Part 4

As I laid in bed this morning, our Advent journey drawing towards the culmination of all of our hopes and preparations, I thought about the capacity I have for fearfulness. I expend way too much time and energy worrying about what might happen. The beautiful thing about our Lord’s coming is that we no longer […]

Does the Passing of Billy Graham Signal the Death of Christianity?

When I came to Wheaton College, I began to serve as the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair. That role, and the role at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton, came with a key responsibility. Eventually, I was given a card that I was told I needed to carry on my person at all times. Printed on […]

5 Steps to Growing Your Facebook Audience

Have you been on Facebook for a while but your ministry page seems to have slow growth? Are you stuck at 1k followers? Are you posting content consistently but not seeing much engagement? Well in this guide we layout 5 Steps to help you grow your Facebook Audience.   Step 1: Know Who You Want […]

“Help” me

“Hep me, Jack, Jack! Hep me Jack, Jack!” These sounds came from a visiting two-year old, desperately calling his brother for a little help. He was furiously building an important tower from Legos, and he knew his older brother could help, even when he couldn’t quite pronounce the word just right! Fast forward ten years […]

Light of the World

What unexpected twists my life has taken in the nursing home. Sometimes I’ve soared. Other times, it’s quite dark, like the day I returned from the hospital after a pulmonary embolism and acute respiratory distress. I returned home, alive, but devoid of spirit. If I had acted on my feelings, I would have quit. Instead, […]

Eternity: It’s Not What You Think

What Most Christians Get Wrong About The Gospel Are we there yet?      Every parent has heard it. Every kid has asked it. Every human being has felt it. We suffer from destination impatience. We rush through life, always in a hurry. To get to where, we do not know. The late cardiologist Meyer […]

Taking Back Advent Part 3

During this Advent season and throughout the year, how wonderful it is to call upon Christ as Lord and Savior! No matter what is going on in the world – we don’t lose heart and we don’t lose hope. Jesus is faithful and God has shared with us His redemptive plan for humanity in His […]

Healed Without Scars

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”  Isaiah 61:3 I was rushing to get […]

5 Reasons Pastors Struggle with Facebook

Have you been on Facebook for over a year but yet you only have under 1000 followers? Are you posting content 2-3 times a day but yet your engagement is low? Do you have a huge following but your content isn’t getting many likes? You are probably making 1 of these 5 mistakes that a […]

Four Types of Pastoral Leadership

As a pastor it can seem noble and even Biblical to try to be all things to all men. The apostle Paul even said as much in his letter to the church in Corinth. “19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of […]

Worship in All Directions

At some point in your life, you may have been as I was (and so many in our pews still are!). Anytime you heard the word worship, you assumed that word mostly referred to singing, clapping, and talking to God. Worship is actually much more than that: True biblical worship encompasses our entire lives. In […]

Christianity & Creativity

We have a problem—whether we recognize it or not. It has to do with the relationship between Christianity and creativity. Many Christians have grown suspicious of creatives. Creativity impedes true spiritual progress, doesn’t it? So many have given up on their creative impulse because someone somewhere has somehow convinced them that creativity is pointless, excessive, […]

Praying for Your Missionary

Why a Book on Praying for Missionaries? I’ve been in pastoral ministry for over twenty-three years now, spanning four countries—America, Canada, Australia, and South Korea. So I know how hard, lonely, and challenging being a pastor can be. I grew up thinking pastors didn’t have the same kind of struggles that “regular” people had, but […]

Taking Back Advent Part 2

During this season of Advent we are reflecting on God’s love for us through the birth of His Son Jesus Christ, as we remember and anticipate his return. How do we define love and how do we express it? We can go to Scripture for the answer. Read the famous “love passage” from 1 Corinthians […]

Where You Go

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16 The implications of this action were so grand because Ruth essentially saved Naomi’s life […]

Keep Up

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way . . .” (1 Peter 3:7 NASB) I often joke that it’s easy to see that Peter was married and Paul was not. In his instructions to husbands, Paul spent a great deal of time talking about sacrificially loving our wives […]

Time to Simplify!!!!

Let’s face it…life is complicated! The more advanced our society becomes, the more complicated every single thing has become. Oh, yes, there are many who will tell us how these gadgets and systems are making life easier. Perhaps there is some validity to that, but about the time one has spent two hours on the […]

Ten Tips on Church Growth

Sometimes we make ministry harder than it should be. Now, I’m not saying it’s easy. We all know that’s not true. I’m just saying, it’s usually not as complicated as we make it out to be. I’m guessing that most small town churches could see substantial growth by just doing a few of the things […]

The Power of Live Stream

We live in a very digital world and if your church or ministry is anywhere on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and all the other social media networks you know that these platforms offer live stream. Live Stream is a feature that allows you to stream your content onto social media platforms. If the live stream feature […]

Taking Back Advent

As we are getting closer to Christmas during this Advent season, it is easy to find ourselves overwhelmed with busyness. The pressures of making preparations for family gatherings, Christmas shopping, church activities, and attending Christmas functions can make the days pass in a blur. You may also find your mailbox filled daily with solicitations for […]

You’re Already Discipling

Sometimes it feels like we should be doing more. Our preaching could improve, and there’s always something more we could be doing. Add to that comparisons to other pastors and churches and it’s easy to get discouraged. I have good news for you today: You’re already discipling. You probably don’t need to feel bad about […]

Smoke Machines in Church?

My teenage son, Justin, had been invited to an area church by a friend. Since he had grown up as a PK (pastor’s kid) and had never been to a megachurch like this before, I wondered what impression it might give him. Sure enough, soon after his experience, Justin asked me a question: “Why do […]

Pastor Practices

Now a word about pastors with doubts. When I was in college, I waited tables at one of my then-favorite restaurants, which served amazingly soft rolls with cinnamon butter and allowed you to throw peanut shells on the floor, a brilliant combination of two of my favorite things: carbs and littering. But after working there, […]


“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT) Halloween. It’s the time of the year that stores and homes get paper ghosts and skeletons out of their closets and hang them up as decorations. Children dress […]

Ask the Experts!

Do you remember when you were younger and you wanted to know something? Did you head straight to your parents? As a teenager, did you head straight to your friends? Perhaps as you matured, you expected that your teachers or a book might have all the answers to your burning questions. The days of looking […]

Here in Spirit

The Holy Spirit. Three words couldn’t divide the church more. I suppose “I hate you” is up there, but that’s more of a division between people rather than churches. Entire swaths of Christianity have divided over the third person of the Trinity. This division, over the place of the Spirit in the Trinity, left the […]

3 Realizations That Will Help You Trust in God’s Plan

It happened again… Out of nowhere, your great plan was blown to smithereens. You had your life in nearly perfect order and things were going great, but apparently God had different plans. Life threw you a curve ball—and you’re left confused, frustrated, and anxious. How do you keep your faith in God’s plan when everything’s […]


“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NIV) I was plagued by night terrors when I was very young. I had a vivid imagination and dreamed in living color. My dreams were like watching a 3D movie with surround sound in an IMAX theatre on the […]

4 Tips for Growing Your Ministry Facebook Page

Are you struggling to get engagement on your Facebook page? Are you posting regularly but not seeing any new likes or followers? Unless you are an expert or strategist growing your Facebook page may seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 4 tips that I have used to grow […]

Forgiving Ourselves and Forgiving Others

I have been thinking about forgiveness a lot lately. I know many people who struggle with it, in that they are either unable to forgive themselves for something they have done or they are unable to forgive someone else for hurting them. When I think about God’s limitless grace and that it is through Christ’s […]

Worshiping Doubters

I love being a pastor and am called to be a pastor, but at times, doubt comes more naturally for me than faith. When a child dies, I don’t see a hidden joy and design behind the tragedy; I see nonsense. I don’t feel divinely comforted; I feel rage. So if you need your pastor […]


“Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life . . .” (Ecclesiastes 9:9a HCSB) I had the perfect date planned for my young bride. We had only been married a few months and didn’t have a lot of money, but I wanted to give her the best experience and […]

Jesus Cares About Your Joy

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. —John 15:11 Last words matter. When someone dies, we often think back to our final conversation, remembering and reflecting on what we said to each other. I hope my final words will be full […]

An Act of Worship

God, assuming we believe in a divine being, existed before the beginning of time. And Christians believe the God who revealed Himself in the Bible never had a beginning, a thought beyond our ability to comprehend. But it is not beyond our ability to comprehend that He chose to create time (along with everything else) […]

The Rule of Rubrics

Perhaps most would agree that thirty years ago there was no such thing as rubrics. Oh, there was evaluation, but other than a potential list of requirements for that upcoming project or paper, there was no way to determine what the score might be…until it showed up graded! The students waited in great expectation to […]


“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.” (Romans 8:12 NLT) The old sinful nature is a slave driver, a drill sergeant. It demands obedience. It uses the desires and longings of the body and soul to shout at us. It drives us with […]

A Distracted and Disenchanted Day in the Life

“We have drawn important boundaries for the encroachment of technology into our lives to preserve our family and attention spans, but that does not mean we’ve managed to save time for reflection.” The beauty of using my iPhone as my alarm clock is that when I reach over to turn it off I’m only a […]

Inconsolable Longing

Is anything more disruptively unsettling or existentially challenging than having to deeply feel a desire that will never be fully satisfied in this life? It seems reasonable to assume that a good God who loves the human creatures He created would never build into them a longing that could not be satisfied, a thirst that […]

Social Ministry: 4 Reasons Why Your Church Should Be Social Media

Social Media has now become a tool that allows churches and ministries to reach a global audience. Social Media does not replace a traditional church service or replace church but social media is a place where we can keep the conversation going after church service is over. Let’s face it Facebook has more than 1 […]

Training Small Group Leaders

When we first launched small groups at National Community Church, we designed a three-hour, in-person training to prepare potential leaders. We packed in as much as we could—theology of community, icebreakers and snacks, raising up apprentice leaders, asking powerful questions, and choosing study material. But there were so many other topics: navigating conflict, dealing with […]

How Heroes Become Villains

Have you ever seen yourself as a villain? Most of us don’t see ourselves as the villain of our stories… We don’t wear a greasy mustache. We don’t have an evil lair.  We don’t have elaborate plan to rule the world, “mua ha ha ha haaaaaaaa.”   We often see ourselves as the hero of […]


“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10b NASB) Jesus intends that the life experience of those who follow Him should be rich and rewarding, exciting, and full of joy, meaning, and purpose . . . in a word, abundant. Jesus revealed the secret to experiencing abundant life in a […]

Becoming an Unhurried Leader

Hurried leadership makes me think of a childhood toy called a Chinese finger trap. This long, narrow cylinder is often woven from bamboo strips. A child puts a finger from one hand into one end and a finger from the other hand in the other end and pulls. The trap tightens on each of the […]

When God is Good

God tells us His thoughts and ways are above us, so far above both our thoughts of how life should work and our ways of responding to life’s challenges that how He operates is “far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55: 8 NLT). And yet our ubiquitous attitude of entitlement is inclined to reduce […]


“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.” (John 14:16 HCSB) There have been many times in the middle of a counseling session I’ve thought, “Boy, this person really needs a counselor!” This is when I take comfort in the fact that Jesus is the […]

Church Diversity Requires Intention

You don’t drift toward diversity, it requires intention. As pastors, we are tasked with representing the values and priorities of God‘s kingdom as a local outpost called the church. Those around us should know what God is like and who He cares about by how we live, love, and lead—and that includes leading the diversity […]

Turning the Hungry Away

Why a ‘juice and cookie’ Jesus can never satisfy our souls. My two brothers and I sat in the back of our rusty, over-sized late 1960’s Buick, stuffing our faces with cream horn pastries-one of the few traditions we had as a homeless family living in an abandoned building in Detroit.  Every Sunday, we’d excitedly […]

Becoming Resilient

You’ve been through a tough season of pain. You’re finally beginning to heal and discover hope again. You feel like you’re beginning to understand the meaning of the word, Resilient. You are bouncing back from the unthinkable, but you still crave something more. What is that you crave? Purpose. You read of heroes of old. […]

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership

When the early Wesleyan bands of Christ-followers got together in small group meetings, their first question to each other was “How is it with your soul?” This is the best possible question for us as Christian leaders in light of Jesus’ warning and in light of what we witness in and around us. So how […]

Press On

“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the down; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.” Hosea 6:3 NASB The passage encourages us to “press on to know the Lord.” Paul wrote, “Forgetting what […]

The Thinkers

As a baby boomer, enough of the 1960s rubbed off on me to make me willing to question everything. I still believe there are absolutes, however, no matter how politically incorrect that may be, the cataclysm of the Sixties started long before. You could say it began with early man. A survey of what our […]

Looking at the Life of Charles Simeon

One of 12 Faithful Men The Salvation & Struggles that Shaped a Living Legacy Charles Simeon was the pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge, England as well as a fellow at King’s College Cambridge, from 1783 to 1836. Simeon was a well known As a model Bible expositor As an advocate for overseas missions […]

Kept by God! from What??

A look at the letter of Jude   Too often we hear of another pastor falling, another story of moral failure. I wonder how many similar stories remain untold from among the hundreds of thousands who attend church every Sunday. How many teens in good youth groups contemplate suicide, an escape from the intolerable pain […]

One Month to Live: Our Example

Your time on earth is limited. No matter how much this idea makes you squirm, it’s a fact. No matter who you are, how young or old, what measure of success you’ve attained, or where you live, mortality remains the great equalizer. With each tick of the clock, a moment of your life is behind […]

FREE Resources for Churches with Chaplain Ministries

Here are some useful resources for churches that have chaplain ministries. Free and donated resources for chaplains Please note: You will have to either contact the ministry by phone and or fill out a form in some cased cases to get free and donated materials. The 1687 Foundation Read and phone for a password to get […]

Disconnect to Get Connected

One way to connect with other people is to disconnect from technology from time to time. I’m a techie, and I love my gadgets. But a few years ago, I became a reluctant convert to the discipline of disconnecting. The insidiousness of having work with me wherever I walk, sit, or run deeply affects my […]

A Message To Pastors About Using Film in Church

This post was originally featured on  Pastor Resources is reposting it here in hopes that it will be useful to our pastors. In the movie, The Father of the Bride, Steve Martin tells his daughter, Annie, she should put her jacket on because it’s cold outside. She completely ignores her father’s suggestion, but when […]

How to Overcome Writer’s Block Once and for All

by Jerry Jenkins You well know the frustration. It comes time to write, and you can’t produce a single word. Maybe you’ve tried for weeks, months, or even years. But still nothing comes. You’re suffering the dreaded Writer’s Block while your writing dream, your story, and the message you long to share with the world […]

Men, It’s Time to Leave A Life-Giving Legacy

Men, It’s Time to Leave A Life-Giving Legacy. “Get rid of your junk or move!” Those unsettling words were spoken years ago when a village near Chicago took action against one of its families. The family had a business at their home—collecting, storing and selling junk. This was more than just an odd lawnmower by […]

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10 NIV) Human strength is relative. One person may be considered strong until compared to a professional weight lifter. The professional weight lifter’s strength is weak compared to that of an ox. Human strength is relative, but God’s strength is absolute. The old […]

Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10 NIV) We will not truly honor God until we honor Him with our wealth. This is because we honor God only by […]

BUT GOD: Retrospective on my Daughter’s Suicide – Part 2

[This post is continued from Darlene Franklin’s post BUT GOD: Retrospective on my Daughter’s Suicide – Part 1.  Here she enumerates the ways in which God remained faithful and provided in her grief over her daughter Jolene’s suicide.] BUT GOD: Retrospective on my Daughter’s Suicide By Darlene Franklin What I can say beyond any doubt is […]

“Praise the Lord who has given rest to his people, just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave . . .” (1Kings 8:56 NIV). “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.” (2Cor. 1:20). Generally, we don’t think about sitting down […]

“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?” (Jeremiah 23:29 NASB) There will always be obstacles in the way of your dream. Having vision, goals, plans, and promises doesn’t move the bramble and boulders obstructing your way. But, God’s Word is like fire. It’s like a […]

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17). The Father gives us the Holy Spirit to do in and for us what Jesus did in and through His disciples. The Holy Spirit is our counselor who helps us […]

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth” (Psalm 73:25 NASB). Disappointments are a fact of life. The more we accept this fact, the less disappointed by disappointments we’ll be. One of the major problems with the health and wealth, prosperity gospel is that it makes us feel […]

“The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied” (Psalm 16:4a NASB) Our hearts are often torn between the god we want and the God that is. Our sorrows increase when we opt for the god we want over the God that is because serving the god we want allows us […]

“I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3b NIV) “Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1Thessalonians 4:18b NASB) My mom was a stay at home mom. But, there was a brief period when I was around four or five years old […]

“But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions (Matthew 19:22 NLT). The problem for this young man was not that he possessed possessions, but that his possessions possessed him. Jesus is a good shepherd that calls us to follow Him. We simply will not heed His call […]

BUT GOD: Retrospective on my Daughter’s Suicide – Part 1

BUT GOD: Retrospective on my Daughter’s Suicide By Darlene Franklin My daughter, Jolene, committed suicide ten years ago this March. My world still stops for a few seconds when I say those words. I still feel the enormity of the loss, the emptiness left in her wake. The wound has healed, but the scar remains. […]

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34 NASB). Jesus loved us by laying down His life for us. This is how we’re to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. We cannot love each other like […]

“For the word of God is . . . sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitude of the heart.” (Hebrew 4:12b) Destructive thoughts and negative attitudes cannot exist in a vacuum. They thrive only as they are nursed and […]

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle” (Psalm 144:1 NASB) Prayer is more than just asking God for things. It is the battlefield where we apply our spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-18). We are at war and prayer is the warfare. When the scripture says that […]

“For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12b NIV). Jesus + our sins = His death on a cross. Jesus + 3 days in the grave = the keys to death and Hades. Jesus + resurrection = our justification. Jesus + nothing = our […]

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 NIV) The Christian life is not about what you do; it’s about Who you know. This is because only life can produce life and God’s objective is to reproduce His life in and […]

In the beginning God . . . (Genesis 1:1 NIV) God is first. Nothing began before He began it. And, when He began it, He called it “good.” The way to make this a good year for you is to begin it with God. Ask Him to begin a new work in you and through […]

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12 ESV). This is the power of God’s grace: it brings complete salvation from sin. That is, grace saves us, not only […]

‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23 NIV) Edward Kimble was a shoe salesman. Even though he was a bit shy, he shared Christ with a fellow employee named D.L. Moody. […]

What If The Traditional Spiritual Disciplines Aren’t Working For You

By Larry Osborne, Pastor & Author, North Coast Church If you’ve ever felt like a spiritual loser because you’ve consistently failed to maintain or master the traditional spiritual disciples, you’re not alone. Lots of Jesus followers feel the same way. And that’s unfortunate, because in most cases Jesus is not as concerned with our spiritual […]

“. . . that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend . . . what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” The divine romance began before […]

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1 NASB) My dad was a master at inventing games to keep us entertained or in line. When I was very young, one such game was, “Steppin’ On My Shadow.” Dad would start the game by […]

“The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant” (Psalm 25:14 NASB). There is a secret place where the Lord meets with those who fear Him and whispers to them the mysteries of His covenant. He holds them in private counsel, face-to-face, friend-to-friend, as with […]

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5). There are times when no amount of positive thinking, confessing, proclaiming, or praying can immediately pull us out of the pit of despair. […]

“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again” (1Thessalonians 5:23 NLT) Intrinsic to holiness is the idea of wholeness. God is holy; that is, He is whole, complete, without deficiency. Therefore, He […]

“I count all things loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8 NIV). C. S. Lewis said, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered […]

“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36). It’s the nature of human nature to want the quick fix. We’re always looking for the “zap.” We expect God to “zap” away all of our problems, even if those problems […]

Abandoned for Our Sake

Abandoned for Our Sake by Steven Furtick I was talking to someone who grew up largely without a father. His father was abusive to him in his early years, and then the fa­ther died. I asked him, “How do you think it affected you to be abandoned by your father?” He started to share with […]

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit . . . You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last” (John 15:8, 16) The meaning of the Greek word for glory (“doxazo”) here is “to be revealed for […]

“For we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (BLB). God has written an epic poem – you. The word “workmanship” in this passage is the Greek word “poiema” from which we get our English word “poem.” You beautifully express […]


Copyright © 2018 Roger Helland The Influence of Pietism Pietism as a late 17-18th century renewal movement was a powerful tributary that unleashed a torrent of church renewal that flowed into an ever-widening missional river. It helped incite and irrigate the great awakenings into what would become evangelicalism. Perhaps you as a pastor and your […]

“Worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness.” – Psalm 29:2b & 96:9 (KJV) Holiness is beautiful to God for the same reason rainbows are beautiful to us – the refraction of light. Holiness in us is the refraction of the glory of God’s character through the prism of our personalities. We cannot be […]

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls. (Psalm 42:7a NIV) Tourists standing inches apart on the platform overlooking Niagara Falls have to shout to be heard. Lovers, however, can be yards apart and understand each other instantly with but a meeting of the eyes. Words are unnecessary; “deep calls to deep” from […]

Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be lightly esteemed. (1Samuel 2:30b NIV) Honor in this passage is the idea of weightiness – who or what holds the weight of influence in ours lives. We honor God by honoring His word (Lk. 6:46-47). Here’s the key: We can and […]

“Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves . . . but our competence comes from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5) Confidence comes from competence. But, there’s the rub; God never calls us to a task for which we’re adequate. If He did, He would be superfluous […]

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27 NASB) When Jesus spoke the word, “peace,” storms stopped and seas stilled. This is the peace He offers us. It’s […]

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . .” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Change is inevitable but growth is optional. Gas and grocery prices change daily. Our jobs, health, and finances can change without warning. Of course, there’s the inevitability of change that comes with aging. Growth, however, is […]

“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion . . . and everlasting joy will be yours.” Isaiah 61:7 (NIV) Guilt and shame are the natural responses of our inner justice system that demands that wrongdoing (sin) be punished. The problem is that we don’t want to be punished to the degree we […]


“Forgive one another . . . Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Col 3:13 (NIV) We receive all of the blessings of God’s grace when we receive Jesus (Eph. 1:3). However, in God’s economy, our personal experience of those blessings is proportional to our giving them away. This is especially true of forgiveness. God has […]

Why Worship Matters by Louie Giglio

Why Worship Matters by Louie Giglio When the subject is worship, the stakes are high—because worship is what God is all about. Worship should matter to you simply because it matters to God. And worship matters to God because He knows He’s worthy. I know that doesn’t sound too persuasive in our me-centered culture, but […]


‘“This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.’ Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 3:17-4:1 NIV) Here’s a biblical pattern; battleground follows holy ground. This is because God measures our maturity, not by our mountaintop experiences, but by our victories in […]


Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. (1Peter 4:10 NIV)  In God’s economy what we give away comes back to us in increasing measure. When we use our spiritual gifts to serve others we are giving to them God’s grace in one […]

Resisting Conflict

By Darlene Franklin, who wrote prayers for, A 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women (Barbour Books), is scheduled for a February 1st release. Hatred stirs up conflict,     but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12, NIV   Like a church, life inside the nursing home gives me multiple opportunities for conflict. It often leaves me spouting like someone arrested […]


Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. (Psalm 25:12-14 NIV) God created you for […]


“Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, so he may run that reads it.” (Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV) Have you ever noticed that there are some people who accomplish more in a year than many people do in a lifetime? We often rationalize that these high achievers are lucky or more talented or just […]


“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3) The Hebrew word translated “commit” in this passage literally means, “to roll out.” When a Hebrew in ancient times wanted to present a gift to someone they would roll it up in cloth or leather. When they presented it, they would […]


Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9b NIV) Nothing hinders our efforts as much as fear and discouragement. Most of the time our fear is the paralysis of analysis. We over think our limitations while not […]

Pastors and Pietism: KEY TO SPIRITUAL RENEWAL, Part 5

Copyright © 2017 Roger Helland On October 31, 1517, a massive theological tsunami slammed the shores of the Roman Catholic Church. Martin Luther—gripped by a fresh understanding of salvation by faith and grieved by the abusive corruption of the papacy—launched a new movement later called the Protestant Reformation. Eventually, a revolutionary doctrine emerged called the […]

Daybreak Devotions – Difference

“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1Corinthians 9:22b NIV) Two friends, Sam and Dave, went for a walk on the beach one morning. When they arrived they noticed the shoreline was cluttered with thousands of starfish washed up by a storm. Sam exclaimed, […]

Daybreak Devotions – Citizenship

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20 NIV) Christ followers have dual citizenship. We are citizens of an earthly country and citizens of heaven. The question is, which citizenship ultimately rules our hearts?   What is your reaction when your presidential candidate […]

Daybreak Devotions – Tested

Tested “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is […]

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life – Part 2

What are some life-transforming experiences you have had?  What conclusions did you make about God, others and/or yourself in light of those circumstances? We all develop thought patterns based on our experiences. Some of our thought patterns seem to be correct based on our experience.  When we take time to ask God what He thinks […]

Change Your Thoughts – Part One

Are you happy right now with the way your life is going?  Do you want to live the rest of your life the way you are living it now?  Do you know that you have the power to choose your tomorrows by changing your thoughts today? Your thoughts define your destiny! I often tell people […]

4 Traits of a People Pleaser (And What to Do If This Describes You)

Nobody wants to be a people pleaser. But could you be one without even realizing it? I was. Until I realized I was hurting others because of it and I needed to re-prioritize my life. Often those we live with and love the most get the least of us when we are trying to please […]

Why God Doesn’t Want You to Stress

What stresses you out? Work? Finances? Your kids? A project you are working on that doesn’t appear to be coming together? An over-packed schedule that has you striving for the impossible? Maybe it’s even your ministry or service to God that has you stressed out! Stress results when we worry that something won’t work out […]

Make Counseling Easier With These 5 Resources

One of the most difficult aspects of a pastor’s job is the role of counselor. No two situations are the same, so there is no one-size-fits-all way to go into a counseling situation. Many times an issue can’t be resolved by just talking with a minister; a person may need time to work through issues. […]

Three Ways to Recharge Your Spiritual Battery

Do you know what it’s like to feel spiritually dry? Do you ever wonder if you’re going through the motions? Maybe you feel as if you’ve stopped moving, spiritually, altogether. We all have times when we need to be refreshed, refueled, and re-energized in our relationship with God. We can get so busy doing things […]

Trends and Struggles Pastors Face According to Barna

A new study, “The State of Pastors,” conducted by the Barna Group in partnership with Pepperdine University, explores the relational health of pastors – looking closely at relationships with their spouse, children, friends and peers. Study findings revealed that pastors have a deep human need for community, transparency and intimacy. The study also delved into […]

7 Reasons to Trust God in Times of Stress

When life gets messy, it’s natural for us to get stressed. Or angry. Or bitter. Especially when life takes a turn we didn’t expect – a broken engagement, the loss of a spouse, the diagnosis of cancer, the death of a dream. Sometimes it’s even the day-to-day frustrations that make us feel we’re in a […]

Are Your Loaves-and-Fish Leaders Playing Hide-and-Seek? 

Your ministry could use more “loaves-and fish leaders”—leaders who believe in the potential of five loaves and two fish before God multiplies in miraculous ways. But here’s the catch, they’re probably playing hide-and-seek in your church. Pastors and ministry leaders are always on the lookout for faith-filled dreamers and doers to pave the way. So […]

Standing in the Fire: Muslims Thriving for Jesus in the Midst of Adversity

Pastors, did you know that more Muslims have come to faith in Christ in the last decade than in the last 1,400 years of the religion of Islam? As a pastor, are you prepared to lead the way in training and equipping your congregation to reach out in love with the Gospel?

What is Crossruption?

Disruption in technology and the marketplace has become an expected and anticipated part of our existence. This occurs when an outlier—something deemed unimportant—quickly becomes the central theme of its paradigm. Today, we believe disruption will improve our lives. But what about the supernatural? Jesus Christ came from the spiritual realm to disrupt the physical world. […]

Practice the Discipline of Celebration

One Sunday at church, my husband preached about the celebration as an important part of a Christian’s life. He said it was a discipline that, when practiced, can help develop us into mature Christians. At that point, he grabbed the microphone from the pulpit and said, “What is God doing in your life? Let’s share […]

Families Need Your Forgiveness

Late to church again, Jared and Ashley found a parking spot and rushed inside with their toddler and second grader. After stopping at the restroom, checking into Sunday school, and waiting for the ushers to allow latecomers to be seated, dad and mom plopped down in the back of the sanctuary with one prayer in […]

How to Fan the Flame of God in Your Church

At my son’s school the other day, I spotted some artwork that lined his classroom walls. Each child created a flower and wrote five descriptive words about another classmate on each petal. One girl said my son was “handsome, smart, friendly, trustworthy, special.” When he came home, I affirmed all of those traits within him. […]

Mental Illness as a Preacher, Teacher, Pastor, and Leader

Rev. Pamela Yerby-Hammack, visionary and founder of Wind of Change Ministries, shares her story of brokenness and mental illness. Diagnosed with depression and anxiety, she shares how God used both prayer and medication to bring her out of a place of darkness and show her His love in ways she had never known before. In […]

Where’s The Deep End Of Discipleship? 

“I’m just not being fed.” Every pastoral leader cringes when they hear this from concerned church attenders. What am I doing wrong? What can our ministry do to help? While it’s tempting to double sermon prep time, launch a series of apologetics classes, and recruit retired seminary professors to lead small groups, resist beefing up […]

Traits of a Leader

My husband and I lead a mentorship group for aspiring leaders in our church. We hand picked the leaders and taught them through practical example how to lead their small groups. But one member, at the end of one meeting said, “I don’t think I’m a leader. I always think of leaders as people have […]

Five Tips For Creating A Third Space At Your Church

Ray Oldenberg, author of The Great Good Place wrote, “The third place is a generic designation for a great variety of public places that host the regular, voluntary, informal and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work.” Small groups are the conduits to community. However, you or your group members may not […]

Bless Those Who Curse You

The knife went in, only a bit deeper this time. Some congregation members had spread gossip about my husband and I, ruining our reputation not only in our community, but with our leadership team as well. People who we thought were friends became our enemies. I felt like I was walking to the guillotine to […]

5 Quick Ways To Reclaim Your Off Time

As a pastor, your job is more than a “job”—it’s a way of life. Even if you have set hours, you probably feel like you’re on call 24/7. With the majority of your time spent with staff, in meetings, researching, writing, and in services…do you ever feel like you don’t have any time to yourself? […]

Encouraging Authentic Prayer

Though it’s been the better part of eighteen years, I can still recall vividly the day I received a phone call at work from the secretary at the church my wife and I had recently joined. As much as I was confused at how she knew the phone number she had reached me at (this […]

Cocaine Trafficking, Heroin, and the Grace of God

If you feel you’ve walked too far from God, trust and know that you can never go too far from God’s love and salvation. James Sizemore, pastor of Radiant Church, shares his redemption story of drugs, trafficking, and addiction and how through God’s grace, he and Radiant Church are ministering to the people who need […]

Fighting Addiction With Grace

Though it typically is thought to be in reference with alcohol, drugs, and, lately, pornography, the term addiction truly refers to an almost unlimited list of habits that negatively affect a person and/or the people around him or her. In addition to these, people in your pews may also be suffering, knowingly or unknowingly, to […]

The Truth Behind Being a Pastor’s Wife from Kay Warren

Through the ups and downs of many years as a pastor’s wife, Kay Warren has a lot of great wisdom to share! In this eye-opening and insightful video, catch a glimpse into her life and learn from her years of trial, error, and experience.

The Three Discipling Relationships Every Pastor Must Have

No follower of Jesus would deny the importance of relationships within the church body. First Corinthians 12 and other similar scripture passages are quite clear on why we all need each other. And no happily married man or woman would argue against maintaining a healthy relationship with their spouse, or with their children if they […]

Expectation Versus Reality For Pastor + Congregation

My husband became a minister in his mid-thirties. Being actively involved in church life prior to entering ministry has its advantages. We both worked in the youth department, held various committee positions, worked in the nursery, and my husband served as a deacon for several years. We have seen the pastorate from both sides: from […]

Why Reconciliation Is Vital

As a pastor, I have no doubt you are very familiar with and quote often what Jesus said concerning forgiveness after He taught His disciples how to pray: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive […]

So You Want To Write A Book?

Pastors are in a wonderful position to know what people need. Day-in and day-out you hear the longings, fears, questions, and hopes people in your communities have. Pastors are usually terrific storytellers, and every week they craft a message that weaves those stories with biblical application in order to address those needs. As the owner […]

Awkward Situations for the Single Pastor

If you’re a single pastor, there’s a good chance you’ll experience an endless stream of well-meaning (mostly) people who want to be instrumental in finding your “special someone” for you. It doesn’t matter whether you are divorced, happily single, open to a relationship, or a confirmed party of one your whole life—you’ll encounter at least […]

The Core of True Discipleship

In recent years, “discipleship” has become the new buzzword. As a result, we’ve seen churches begin to make a shift toward helping people grow up spiritually, and utilize the best means to that end. Leaders have begun to recognize that disciple making involves spending time with the person being discipled outside of a church service. […]

Perception And Our Behavior

“The picture I have of prayer is like Luke 15 and the prodigal son story, where the father ran to him and embraced him; I see prayer more as a hug than a kneeling appeal.” Judah Smith in The One: Experience Jesus. This excerpt from the interview we did with Pastor Judah really hit home […]

3 Great Ways To Unwind Right Now

Sunday morning seems to come every single week, doesn’t it? Without fail. And depending on your church’s typical weekly schedule, so does Sunday night, Wednesday night, Tuesday morning Bible study, and the recently popular Saturday night services. On top of that, there’s always a newly engaged couple asking you to perform their wedding ceremony, there […]

The Pastor’s Struggle with Personal Finances

In July 2015 Grey Matter Research surveyed 4,249 pastors and discovered that 50 percent receive less than $50,000 per year in compensation with 30 percent having student loan debt averaging $36,000. Thirty-three percent have under $10,000 in retirement funds, and 29 percent have $0 in personal savings. More than 85 percent of pastors said they […]

Stop Throwing Hail Marys

The American church is having a bit of an identity crisis. People want to be entertained, and they have a long list of expected religious goods and services. Pastors can find themselves caught up in having to create “cool plays” or throwing Hail Mary’s, hoping for the best — only to receive Monday-morning emails on […]

Thoughts On Balancing Love And Judgment

Several years ago, the Sunday school lesson was about judging. A young woman in the class told a story about a coworker who was of a different faith—one that does not believe Jesus is the Son of God. This man had asked the class member if she thought he would go to heaven. The member […]

From Inherited to Adopted Beliefs

“We d.i.v.e. deeper into God’s Word so He can dive deeper into us.” I’m a church girl, a preacher’s kid. I grew up in the church, knowing all the things about the church—the lingo, the rules, and the traditions—and my head was spilling over with Jeopardy knowledge. I carried my burgundy NIV to church every […]

Healing From The 2016 Election For A Healthy 2017

November 8, 2016, brought an end to perhaps the ugliest, most unethical, and most divisive presidential election ever. In fact, I purposely chose to write this article before the election even took place, because I wanted to be clear that no matter the results, the opening statement here still applies. The 2016  election made one […]

Big God in a Small Church

I grew up as an active member in a medium-sized church of about five hundred. When I was newly married I began ministry work in a megachurch with three services and over two thousand attendees each week. And now as a bit older and with kids growing up way too fast, I find myself in […]

The Absolute Gospel In Our Non-Absolute Culture

“If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy.” “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” This wretched exchange of dialogue between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi is only a small part of the disaster that Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith brought to the childhood favorite saga of tens of millions. Unfortunately, though, […]

Engaging Disinterested Members

If you count the names on a church’s roll and compare the number to the attendance on a given Sunday, many times there is quite a difference. There can be various reasons: some move away; others attend a different church, but they are still listed on your church’s roll. And then there are the ones […]

Small Group Ministry The “Right” Way

“You’ll know when you go.” Many years ago a popular local commercial for my Southern town’s newly transplanted NHL hockey team repeated this phrase in order to help encourage the college-basketball-obsessed, NASCAR-enthused sports fans to give hockey a try and go see their new professional team play in the beautiful arena with 20,000 seats to […]

Deck the Soul with Boughs of Forgiveness

CHRISTMAS!  The word evokes many feelings, depending on our experiences. For some, Christmas is a happy time, filled with beautiful memories and joyful expectations. For others, Christmas is a depressing time, a season one wants “to get over with” as quickly as possible because of bad memories associated with this time of year. Having ministered […]

How to Shop Like a Christian on Black Friday

It has been said that the USA is the only place where people express gratitude on Thanksgiving for all the stuff they have and spend the next day shoving people over to get the stuff they don’t. Sadly, Black Friday is only the beginning. Maybe we won’t fight with another dad for the last pair […]

Surviving the Most Difficult Circumstances in Marriage: Justin and Trisha Davis

Justin and Trisha Davis know all too well the dangers of settling for an ordinary marriage. As bloggers, authors, speakers and founders of RefineUs Ministries, they allow their story of pain and redemption to be a story of hope for other families and marriages. Originally aired at Catalyst Atlanta. For more information on Catalyst, visit […]

Keeping Younger Church Members Engaged

Getting younger people to join and stick to a church full of senior citizens can be a challenge. The desire to add younger members must be shared by the entire church. If this is your vision as the pastor, and the older folks don’t share it, you are probably fighting a losing battle. Many times, […]

Five Activities for Better Holiday Season Mental Health

God never sleeps, but you have to. Our mission here on earth never runs out, but you run out of energy and motivation to keep on the mission. Your congregants will never say, “We have no more problems, questions, or concerns,” but you run out of answers and ways to pacify everyone. This kind of […]

When People Try to Undermine the Pastor’s Authority

This subject is difficult for me because the very thought of it makes me ill. If you have experienced, or are now experiencing, a situation where a congregant or a group of congregants try to undermine your authority as a pastor, you are not alone. I would imagine it happens in most churches at some […]

Donald Trump To Take The Whitehouse: What It Means For The Church

  Concerned citizens cast their ballots yesterday, and let their voices be heard, and America spoke. When the results came in during the wee hours of the morning it was clear: history had been made. Now that the confetti has fallen, the concession calls have been made, and the world can now put this historic […]

Hey, Pastor. Who’s Looking Out for YOUR Marriage?

As a pastor, it could be said that your job boils down to one simple word: relationships. First and foremost, the personal relationships that those in your church and community have with Jesus. The relationships built between the individual members of your church body—how they live life together and work together for the unified purpose […]

Be the Multiethnic Church Your Community Needs

More than likely, when you were young there was something you really wanted to be when you grew up. Maybe a professional athlete, a police officer, a movie star, or the always popular fireman. Now, there are any number of reasons why that one-time dream of yours didn’t pan out, not the least of which […]

Experiencing Joy in Ministry

In September, God gave me the privilege of traveling to Nepal where I provided Bible teaching at two conferences for rural church leaders and pastors. My husband and I ministered there with the United Mission to Nepal (UMN) from 1982-85, so I felt like I’d returned home. Some things in Nepal never change, but the […]

Get Your Congregation Involved

If your church is like most, your volunteer base reflects something close to the 20/80 rule: 20% of the people are doing about 80% of the work. My guess is those same 20% of the people are doing 100% of the complaining about why the others 80% aren’t stepping up and helping out more. You’ve […]

Through A Child’s Eyes: What Makes a Christian

I remember as a boy seeing a man from our church having a beer at a restaurant. My immediate thought was something along the lines of, Wow! I thought he was a Christian. Later as a teenager in the youth group, I had a conversation with who I had thought were the kind of boys […]

5 Ways to Help Others Choose a Translation

My husband and I are asked at times what Bible translation is best. If you visit a Christian bookstore, the selection of translations and bindings is overwhelming, so people may ask the pastor for his preference. Friends and family who do not attend your church may need a little help choosing too, and of course, […]

It’s Time to Eject Your Mixtape

I want to talk now about mixtapes. They were the 1980s version of a playlist, but instead of living in iTunes, they lived on good old-fashioned plastic cassettes. When a cassette broke, you didn’t take it to the Apple Genius bar. You took a number-2 yellow pen­cil, stuck it in one of the sprockets, and […]

Pastor John Iskat on Living Through a Church Split

Often Christians step down from a calling before seeing God accomplish his will, as the pain and suffering that usually come first are too much to bear. Facing a church split and several years of turmoil and ministry stress, Pastor John Iskat of Faith Baptist Church suffered mentally and physically. Refusing to quit, he ultimately […]

Curing the Messiah Complex

Hannah Anderson A few years ago, I found myself going through a period of intense anxiety and stress. From the outside, my life looked fine. Besides serving in my local church, God was opening up more and more opportunities to serve through writing and speaking. I began traveling to events, sharing God’s word, and helping […]

Am I Equipped to Minister to the Dying?

The local church is confronted with death and the resultant grief on a consistent basis. There are approximately two million funerals in America per year or about 5,479 funerals that take place per day. What does the God and church leaders have to say to those who are dying and experiencing grief? How can clergy […]

Pastor Cubello Almost Stepped Down, but His Congregation Wouldn’t Let Him

After a devastating family loss, Pastor Tony Cubello of Branch of Life Christian Fellowship in Cape Coral, FL was ready to walk away from ministry. The overwhelming love and support he and his family received from their congregation in the months that followed were a catalyst to healing, ultimately leading to a deeper trust and belief […]

Why Ministries of Greeting and Hospitality Matter

The ministries of greeting people and showing hospitality may be two of the least recognized areas of church ministry. In fact, many people may not think of them as ministry at all, but they are vital to your church. You will notice I am referring to them in the plural sense because I see them […]

Aleppo: What You Need To Know (And What Gary Johnson Didn’t)

In the midst of one of the tightest and most divisive elections in our history, Gary Johnson, a third party candidate for president, made a huge error when being interviewed on one of the most influential news stations on television. On CNN, Gary Johnson stated he had a plan on how the US could help […]

Why Our Physical Health Matters in Ministry

Three years ago I lost my mobility for three months due to leg injuries. For the sake of great storytelling, I could blame something dramatic like a ski accident. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The truth is, I’d neglected my physical health for several years prior. As a busy mom and ministry wife, I’d become […]

How Planning Kills Motivation

It is often said that everyone wants to be a writer, but no one wants to write. Although this may be true for some, I believe many people want to write, they just have no idea how to get themselves to do it. As a writer and editor, the question I get most often is, […]

Mediating Clashes Between Young and Old As Times Change

Many smaller churches, especially those that have been around for a long time, have quite a few senior citizens. There may be a good reason for that: sometimes they have been in that particular church for many years, maybe since they were young. Having a good senior citizen group is a positive thing. In our […]

Pastor Derwin Gray Wrestles with Modern Evangelicalism

Why is the church the most segregated place on earth? Why are there celebrity pastors? How do you reconcile the business principles that often overshadow the Gospel of the church? How do you deal with doubt, disillusionment, and disappointment as a pastor of the church? God in his providence used football to lead Pastor Derwin […]

Do You Have An Ego Problem?

You never struggle with an ego problem, do you? No, of course not. Ego problems are for athletes and celebrities. CEOs and politicians. Maybe from time to time you find a head deacon or a retired pastor in your church who thinks their way is the best way, but that’s not you, the humble servant […]

Inspire Giving Without Preaching On It

How many times have you mentioned Malachi 3:10 in a sermon meant to inspire giving? “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. . . . Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not […]

Responding to Terror in New York, New Jersey, and Missouri

We are at war. The world is a crazy, scary place. Children are being sold into slavery, terrorists are attacking innocent victims and no one knows where Isis will strike next. This newest bombing in New York and New Jersey confirms that the U.S. is not immune from tragedy. Since 9/11, the world has become […]

Managing Volunteers at Church

In the business world, there are managers and employees. Managers normally have the authority to hire and fire at will, and everyone is working for an hourly wage or salary. If an employee doesn’t do the job as instructed, he or she may be replaced. But in the church, much of the help is volunteer-based. […]

Pastor Kevin Harney on Neglecting Family for Ministry

Kevin Harney, Pastor of Shoreline Community Church in Monterey, CA, shares how a broken promise to himself to live a truly balanced life led to redemption through “dad home nights” and an admission that sometimes family must come first.

The Art of Parenting Little Girls

The National Study of Youth and Religion[1] indicates that 82% of children raised by parents who talked about faith at home attach great importance to their beliefs and were active in church as adults. Similar studies and surveys show that intentional parenting children in faith matters. Yet John Trent surveyed hundreds of parents and discovered […]

Dr. Mike Garrett, Staying Faithful to God’s Calling in the Face of Rejection

Dr. Mike Garrett, Senior Pastor of Meridian Baptist Church, suffered depression and rejection while leading his church through a major community outreach project. While knowing it was the right decision, it was fraught with challenges and for the first few years, little fruit. But with God’s help and intervention and the support of a core […]

5 Financial Documents Every Church Needs

When most pastors think of ministry, they are energized by helping people. They aren’t usually nearly as excited about the financial aspects. I’ve recently started Fully Funded, an organization to help church leaders lead well in the area of financial stewardship, with Michael Lukaszewski of Church Fuel. We want to provide Pastors and Church Leaders […]

The Missing Heart of our Gospel: Union with Christ

We all want to see lives changed for Christ. But what message does the church most need to hear for that to happen? I’d like to suggest there are two dominant “songs” being sung in the church today. One you could call the song of Extravagant Grace. It says God loves you unconditionally, just as […]

Beating “Preacher’s Block” With Old Ideas

Most pastors would probably say that preparing for and delivering Sunday’s sermon, something that a large majority of people would claim to be terrified or possibly even completely incapable of doing, is actually usually the easiest part of their job. Pastors do what they do because they love to study and preach the gospel, not […]

Hilary or Donald? Participate Without Losing Your Soul.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have become household names over the past few months as the bid for the white house draws near. This election is one of the most important in our history, yet it’s bringing out the worst in people. Well-meaning Christians are hurling insults, drawing battle lines and ending long- term friendships […]

Ten Non-Ministry Leadership Books Every Pastor Should Read

Running a church is a lot like running a business, and therefore pastors can learn a lot from the business world. While not everything is applicable, and the focus of a business is a lot different than a church, the two share a common denominator–people. The following list of books will help the pastor as […]

Pastor Greg Locke Gets Vulnerable About His Struggle with Depression

Pastor Greg Locke, Lead Pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, TN gets vulnerable and honest about his deep struggle with depression and how he found freedom and the strength to overcome.

Dealing with Leadership Adultery

As sad as it is, adultery happens, and it is not restricted to non-believers. It also happens in the church and sometimes among the leadership. A church can be in a real quandary as to how to handle such a serious situation. My husband has never pastored a church where the offending party was in […]

It’s Never Too Late To Serve The Lord

Many, many years ago I was in Utah serving in the U.S. Air Force at Hill Air Force Base. I was a young Christian at the time and during my off hours I helped out in the base chapel. The chaplain of the base, a friend and encourager in my life, asked me to fill […]

Army Veteran and Pastor on Leading At Home

PTSD to parenting. Army Veteran and Pastor of Excellent Praise World Outreach Ministries, Louis York, shares his story.

How to Know if You’re Giving (or Receiving) Biblical Counsel

In Romans 15:14, the apostle Paul told the church in Rome, “And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.” The Greek word used here for “admonish” is noutheteo, which means “to admonish, to warn, to […]

Pastor David Doster Describes Frustration with what Felt Like Never-ending Transition

David Doster, pastor of Burke Community Bible Church, shares about a challenging life season where God worked in his heart to deal with his need for control. In this season, he came to truly understand how ministry can happen anywhere and at any time.

Politics and the Church

The presidential election of 2016 will probably go down in history as one of the most memorable. I would imagine most people, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent will monitor the Republication convention with interest, if for no other reason than to see the drama that is likely to unfold. I don’t know if I have […]

An Urgent Conversation Many Pastors Overlook

Recently the CEO of Awana, Valerie Bell, asked a pastor, “Pastor, in 30 years from now, will the children in your church thank you for preparing them to walk into an unknown future?” That question punched me right in the gut. As I pondered my response in my head and heart, I tried to envision […]

Should Your Group Leaders Plan Their Own Bible Studies?

The writer of the Book of Hebrews gave us a lasting, but very practical, exhortation in Hebrews 10:24-25. He told us that we should not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but continue on. Keep gathering. Keep meeting. That’s because the gathering of God’s people is an incredible environment […]

Author and Former Pastor was Entrapped by Alcohol

  Matt Bays is on a mission to open the conversation about an often undiscussed topic amongst the church. He learned the hard way how certain coping mechanisms can take your life down a dangerous path. Thanks to a life-altering encounter with a friend and an accidental phone call, his life is back on track. […]

Building a Church from Scratch

My husband and I are not church planters. We were once called to lead a new mission after it had already begun; and we have been a part of a core group starting a church, becoming a part of the group shortly before the church met for the first time. Although we have not personally […]

Kurt Sauder, Further Still Ministries, on Dealing With Anger & Unexplainable Loss

God can handle our deepest pain and questions and even our frustration and anger with Him. Kurt Sauder of Further Still Ministries and former pastor at Southeast Christian Church shares about working through anger at God in the midst of unexplainable loss.  

5 Ways To Plan a Great Staff Retreat

Whether you have a huge staff or just a handful of loyal warriors, a staff retreat is a terrific way to reward hard work, deepen personal ties, build unity, and set aside time to simply be. Here are some tips for creating a great staff retreat. First, distance is important. There is something special about […]

Five Resource Options for Today’s Teens

More than likely, it’s been many years since your youth group days of Sunday school, discipleship training, and midweek groups. For some, many more than you’d care to admit. If you can even remember what resources your leaders used back in your day to help teach God’s Word to you, it’s probably not even available […]

The Necessity of Being A Bivocational Pastor

Does God still call people to become a bivocational pastor? Most young pastors probably assume that, of course, God wants them to receive a salary from their church that compensates for all their family’s financial needs (and if the budget’s not there, then that’s what GoFundMe is for!) so that they can focus solely on […]

Bob Russell Shares How Being Over-Driven Became Destructive

Pastor Bob Russell knew that watching the numbers was a necessary part of growing his church. Sadly, without balance, the numbers game can lead to competitiveness. In Pastor Russell’s case, this created a major distraction, ultimately stealing him from the Kingdom and his family.

Erin Blair Wrestles with What it Looks Like to be a Pastor’s Wife

Erin Blair, lead pastor of Limitless Church gets real about the struggle of being a pastor’s wife. The challenges and difficulties of this role are real. Erin share’s her story of turning pain into purpose and following God’s call on her life.

Ways To Keep Kids Engaged

It can be hard to plan church activities for children during the summer, especially in small churches, because of sports, family vacations, and so forth. Our church will have Vacation Bible School, as will many other churches. But, in addition to whatever Sunday and Wednesday activities the church might provide, what do you plan for […]

The Pastor And His Rural Community

For most of his ministry, my husband has pastored rural churches. He feels called to serve smaller churches, to “remind them . . . to be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1 nkjv). Pastoring in a rural community is a mixed blessing. On the positive side, we have experienced some of the best cooking […]

Matt Blair of Limitless Church on Overcoming the Battle of the Comparison Game

What do you do when the dream God puts on your heart doesn’t look like you thought it would? Matt Blair and his wife planted Limitless Church in Tampa Florida through ARC (Association of Related Churches). Here, they share their story on some of the unexpected challenges that they faced.

Making Disciples, Not Diaper Changers

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. —Matthew 28:19–20 Go. Make disciples. Baptize them. Probably every single evangelical church is very familiar with Jesus’ final command to his disciples. It’s written on walls, websites, and mission statements. […]

The Power of A Sunday Morning Testimony Time

I grew up passively watching TV and learning by quietly listening to lectures. However, technology has transitioned our culture from passive listening to active involvement. Perhaps we’re catching up with Benjamin Franklin who is often quoted as saying: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” So much […]

A Pastor Shares About a Deep, Painful Addiction

With addiction, there is hope and recovery is possible., in partnership with Celebrate Recovery, have documented this story with the desire to share that message of hope to anyone struggling with this addiction.  

Pray For Sister Dicki

PKs—or, preachers’ kids—have it rough; they really do. How do I know? I am one. My father pastored my whole pre-adult life—and I loved it. But it is not without its challenges. In the ’60s and ’70s, when I was growing up, evangelists didn’t stay at the Hilton when they came for revivals, or even […]

Seven Ways to Battle the Urge to Quit 

I quit! Admit it. Sometimes you feel like shouting it from the highest rooftop…or the closest podium. I quit!  I’m done with people who are ungrateful and selfish. I’m finished with ministry leaders who serve their own agenda.  I’m exhausted by ministry participants who drain me emotionally and physically. People will disappoint you. They’re undependable. […]

Pastor Davey Blackburn: Working Through Unthinkable Grief & Loss

Just when Pastor Davey Blackburn and his wife were beginning to experience traction in their new ministry at Resonate Church, unthinkable tragedy struck. Davey shares his story of grief and loss and how God is working through his story and bringing revival, working miracles, and showing His amazing grace.   This interview was sponsored […]

When a Former Pastor Won’t Go Away

Throughout our years of ministry, my husband and I have had some wonderful relationships with former pastors of our church and their wives. Normally we see them at funerals—many times my husband and some of the former pastors conduct funerals together, and sometimes we see them around town at local restaurants. We have a deep […]

Hitting a Wall in Ministry

Joel Bruce with H2 Ministry shares his story of working in ministry and being wounded by a pastor in leadership over him. He tells how he hit the wall in ministry and how working through the hurt and pain ultimately had a positive impact on his life. Don’t let the hurt of ministry get a […]

How To Find New Church Members

Identifying potential church members and attracting them to your church can be challenging. This is especially true where I live in the Bible belt because selecting a church can be like going through a buffet line: there are a variety of churches to choose from, and people can find just about anything they are looking […]

Giving Your Worship Service a Budget-Friendly Facelift

Has there begun a slight indentation on the top of your desk from where you bang your head each week trying to plan yet another worship service? Have you already run out of fresh ideas for Sunday worship this year . . . and it’s February? Are you not one of the lucky few pastors […]

When A Pastor Has Temporary Physical Limitations

  A few years ago, my husband decided to buy a small motorcycle. This was during the time when gas was more than $4.00 a gallon locally, and some gas pumps had to shut down temporarily because of a supposed shortage. He went through proper motorcycle training, and everything was fine until one particular Saturday. […]

Inspiring Giving in Low-Income Areas

If you pastor a church in a low-income area, giving might be an uncomfortable subject to approach. Even if you aren’t necessarily in a low-income area, but you have many congregants on fixed incomes, you might have the same discomfort. How do you inspire people to give to the church when they may not really […]

Rob Rucci Shares his Heart on Working through Church Controversy

Rob Rucci, pastor at Upcountry Church in Traveler’s Rest, SC, shares his heart and story about working through church controversy. Dealing with change in the church can lead to controversy. How do you deal with church controversy without becoming embittered and angry? Rob learned this the hard way and shares his story and how he […]

Filtering Through All the Voices to Find God’s

It’s been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we will listen twice as much as we talk. However, pastors probably need about ten or twelve ears in order to best function. (And no, that’s not a joke about how long their sermons are!) Because they constantly have staff, elders, […]

So Your Child No Longer Wants To Attend Church

All parents know children go through various stages (and attitudes), and sometimes a child might say he or she wants to stop attending church. What is a parent supposed to do in that situation? I remember a time when a particular church member was upset because her teenage son didn’t want to attend church anymore. […]

Hey, Pastor! It’s Time To Plan A Getaway!

At the beginning of each year, I begin thinking about planning a week for my pastor husband and me to get away to unplug and rejuvenate. In our experience, a staycation is not an option—we need to leave town. But where does a pastor take his family for a break from the stresses of ministry? […]

Mutual Submissiveness

Training seminars and textbooks galore focus on how to lead with compassion, understanding, and authority. What about those who do not serve in a leadership capacity? Are these followers simple sheep, witlessly trailing wherever the leader decides to direct? Or are following and leading two sides of the same coin, each distinct yet working together […]

Solving Conflicts When Tensions Are High

As today’s political climate heats up, we’ve got to learn how to deal with a certain amount of tension in the air. Conflict in the church takes on various forms. Sometimes the conflict surrounds something the pastor has done, or hasn’t done, or someone thinks he should have done something differently. Sometimes there are members […]

4 Ways to Increase Giving in your Church by MyCom

Money can be a touchy subject, especially when we start talking about how churches can increase donations. People often fear the stereotype of the church that “always” is begging for money. However, the reality is that people want to give to your church and God calls them to do so. That means that any reasonable […]

Got Guilt Over NOT Being an Insanely Busy Pastor?

There are many stereotypes people have concerning pastors: They do not make much money (unless they pastor a megachurch, in which they then make too much money). Most of their week is spent studying and memorizing the next sermon. They are definitely Type B personalities who could not survive in a Type A business world; […]

Why Vacation Bible School Is Vital

I have good memories of Vacation Bible School. When I was growing up, it was held in the daytime, mainly because more moms stayed home with their children and could teach VBS during the day. I remember marching through the front doors of the church to “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” and I remember the […]

Change The World. Become Stephen.

I just want to change the world. That’s it. Nothing more. So… who’s with me? Have you ever considered the life of one of the boldest preachers in history? He was of such significance that God gave him a place in Scripture, a testimony for all time, because of his great faith in Christ. I […]

Finding Affordable Speakers and Bands

Though the gospel may be free, groceries and rent are not, and more and more gifted speakers and musicians are having to increase their booking fees to amounts that the average church pastor would get laughed out of a deacon’s meeting if he proposed paying it for a single worship night. “Only if we can […]

Author & Pastor Larry Osborne Shares His Secrets for Success

Larry Osborne has served as a Senior Pastor at North Coast Church in Vista, California since 1980. The church has grown from 128 to over 11,000 in weekend attendance. Larry’s books include Thriving in Babylon, Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret, Accidental Pharisees, Sticky Teams, Sticky Church, Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe, Spirituality For The Rest Of […]

9 Must-Read Biblical Fiction Titles For Pastors

If you are looking for a good escape that can also feed your spiritual hunger, biblical fiction could be your answer. Just what is biblical fiction? First, it is speculative fiction that uses Christian themes and incorporates the Christian worldview, however varied that may be. The difference between biblical speculative fiction and general Christian speculative fiction […]

Three Strikes For Tough Teens in the Church

I love the kids my husband has had the privilege of pastoring, no matter their ages, and many a child has gone through one of my Wednesday night classes. Some of the children who gave me grief in their elementary school years have grown to be sweet, loving teenagers. But not all of them. Sometimes […]

Bishop Quigg Lawrence Shares the Worries He’s Experienced in Church Finances

Quigg Lawrence, Bishop of Church of the Holy Spirit, talks about church finances while opening up about his family’s financial struggles when he was a boy. This, among other things, has led him to the important realization that satan can gain a foothold where there is financial insecurity or worry. Lawrence explains that no matter […]

Dealing with Addiction as a Grace-Filled Church

Though it typically is thought to be in reference to alcohol, drugs, and, lately, pornography, the term addiction truly refers to an almost unlimited list of habits that negatively affect a person and/or the people around him or her. In addition to these, people in your pews may also be suffering, knowingly or unknowingly, to […]

Eight Ways to De-stress This Spring

A life of ministry collects stress like a house collects dust. That’s why Spring cleaning isn’t t something that should just happen in our homes. Each Spring you and I can de-clutter our lives to eliminate the stress and make sure we’re maximizing our time at work and with those we love most. Here are […]

Q&A With Lead Pastor and Awesome Guy, Ron Vietti

Pastor Ron Vietti is the Lead Pastor of Valley Bible Fellowship in Bakersfield, California. Ron and his wife Debbie, of 43 years, pioneered Valley Bible Fellowship in 1974 with ten teenagers. It is now a church of over 10,000 people. Outside of the main campus, VBF has successful satellite campuses that meet within Bakersfield and […]

The Best Bible Study Resources

As an editor of Christian books, I often need quick access to multiple Bible translations and resources, and I know you find yourself in the same boat daily. Here are some online sources to assist you in your preparation. Bible Gateway—This is my go-to resource, and I keep it on the Favorites bar of my […]

Former Pastor Jonathan Watson Digs Deep Into Pride

Pastor Jonathan Watson stepped into a leadership role in the church just days after his son was born. Here, Jon discusses his experience with pride and his relationship with his position of authority within the church. As he faced devastating challenges in his personal life, the Lord’s truth became clear. Learn how Jon was able […]

Licensed Counselor Steve Bielby On Seeing The Bigger Picture

Licensed Counselor and former Singles Pastor Steve Bielby worked in ministry at the same church for 13 years. His time in the church came to an abrupt and surprising end. Here, Steve discusses how, even if it involves pushing you to face challenges, the Lord will push you toward your true calling. Learn how He worked […]

Admin Tools that Save The Pastor Time

My husband is a full-time pastor who serves a smaller to average-sized congregation. Our church also has a bi-vocational youth pastor. Beyond that, our other positions are volunteer-based. A pastor, no matter the church size, has daily administrative tasks. Churches that are the size of ours many times do not have the budget for a […]

A Biblically-Based Ministry to the Elected Officials of Nations

In my lifetime I haven’t seen as much anger and frustration expressed by so many professing Christians as I am seeing this election season. It is no secret that politicians are typically perceived in a negative light in America and around the world. They are often labeled by society as selfish, greedy, and power hungry. […]

Can You Get Real with Anyone?

Pastor Chad Norris: Getting Real Sometimes, the hardest thing for a pastor to do is to be real. There is so much pressure to be perfect, holy, and spiritually on-point that there’s very little room for the things that make you human once you become a pastor. Here, pastor Chad Norris discusses vulnerability as the […]

5 Out-of-the Box Community Outreach Ideas

Bounce houses in the church parking lot has been done . . . a lot. Easter egg hunts in the church lawn . . . yeah, there’s always going to be a couple of churches in your community doing that. And Halloween parties—I mean, fall festivals—are a time-honored tradition that will continue to provide another […]

7 Reasons Church Members Say No    

I once posted the following on a social media page: “Is God calling you to serve Him? What is your answer?” It’s a relatively straightforward question. Yes or no. And yet not so simple. Ministry leaders often walk a tightrope when it comes to recruiting volunteers. We encourage believers to express their love for the […]

The Surprising Secret to Lasting Transformation

The traditional paradigm that has dominated Western thought for the last four hundred years can be summed up in a simple equation: Reason + Good Choices = Transformation This paradigm grew out of the Enlightenment. When René Decartes uttered his famous phrase, “Cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”), he started a revolution in […]

10 Ways to Lead Music Without a Musician 

It’s funny how it can seem that coffee houses, seminary dormitories, and even urban street corners seem to never be short of musicians, but all of a sudden when the invitation is put out in front of a church to form a worship band . . . crickets. But don’t worry. It’s not you; that’s […]

Leaders of “Competing” Churches Talk

A kingdom divided will not stand.” Sounds nice in theory, especially since it’s Biblical. But adhering to it can be a painful process including anger, frustration and even bitterness…This is the story of Pastors Tim Blevins of Life Community Church and Jeff Kapusta of Lifepoint Church, both in Wilmington, NC. They share about early relationship […]

Guarding Your Gratitude

Recently, our family celebrated the 7th birthday of our twin girls, Adleigh and Liana. Amid the festivities marked with Barbies and princess dresses, what made this day extra special for us was remembering the words spoken by doctors days after they were born 3 months premature. We were told that Liana would never have a […]

Why Do My Parishioners Resist Change

Whenever the grandchildren visited, my brother made a point to spend special time with each child. For then five-year old Andrea, it was a trip to a nearby McDonald’s. On a whim, he thought she might enjoy the new McDonald’s across town, complete with a state-of-the-art playground. As he pulled into the parking lot, a […]

Q&A With Retired Bible Publisher Frank Couch

Frank Couch has spent his entire adult life either teaching the Bible in ministry settings or publishing Bibles and Bible study materials. He graduated from the University of South Florida and Dallas Theological Seminary. After serving with a ministry in Berkeley, California and Christ Community Church in Tampa, Florida, Frank was Senior Vice President of […]

Google Hangouts As A Ministry Tool

Technology offers us stunning reach out into the community and world. But, it’s often overwhelming because tech changes faster than a sprinter runs at the Olympics. But if we want our churches to grow and the newest generations to join us in faith community, we need to embrace the technology they’re familiar and comfortable with […]

Ministry to the Disabled

  So your church is considering a ministry to the disabled. As the baby boomers reach their senior years, more people need specialized ministry than ever before. But how is disability defined? I could be a poster child for the term. I live in a nursing home, use a wheelchair except for short distances, and […]

Protecting Yourself From the Crazies

  It is something we deal with as pastors, something we talk about behind the scenes, but it is rarely addressed out in the open. Yet, in the open or not, we must deal with the crazies. I’m not using that term to disparage the mentally ill. Rather, I’m talking about the people in our […]

Real Relationships in a Virtual World

As I sit, enjoying my mocha latte at a local coffee house, I watch the crowds of people mingle in various associations. They are engaged in numerous conversations as they sit opposite one another and fill the atmosphere with language and laughter, enjoying the respite of a moment together. Okay, that’s not exactly how it […]

Q&A With Pastor Bob Sanford

What is your job title outside of church?  VP and Associate Publisher, Bible Group, HarperCollins Christian Publishers What is your title in the church?  Associate Pastor, St. Ignatius Christian Orthodox Church How far in advance to you prepare for services?   I begin preparations one week prior to the service. What do you do if you […]

Get Out of Time Debt

The day has come,” time guru said, “To talk of many things”
 Of days and nights and choices too Of calendars and flings
 And why our days are taken up With craziness that chaos brings If you feel like a hamster running on a wheel with no break or your calendar is filled weeks or […]

I Don’t Need Another Vision and Values Statement

Don’t get me wrong. Most church vision and mission statements sound great. They usually include clear biblical values and been crafted to be interesting and memorable. But what difference do they actually make to the lifestyles of those who adopt them? In recent years, there has been quite a bit of research done into the […]

How to Make your Church Irresistible

Instead of creating another program, let us examine what the church would look like if everyone, regardless of special needs or extraordinary abilities, were embraced as a fully functioning member of Christ’s body. Regardless of cognitive processing, verbal communication, behavioral struggles, or physical ability, each member would be valued as a person flawlessly created in […]

Nine Misconceptions About Love

February is the month when almost every ministry theme revolves around love. Shades of red are the prevailing colors and hearts are the dominant decor. The people in our ministries are hungry for love. Unfortunately, the world has sold them a poor excuse for the real thing. And there’s no time when the concept of […]

Q&A With Pastor Greg Bell

What is your title in the church? Senior Pastor How big is your church? We have about 230 members, but we run about 120 in Sunday School and Worship. How far in advance to you prepare for services? During November or December of the year, I begin to prayerfully seek God’s direction for a new […]

Happy are Those who Share their Faith

It has been said, “There is one thing that believers and nonbe­lievers have in common: they are both uptight about evangelism.” Maybe that’s why statistics indicate that 95 percent of all Christians have never led another person to Christ. For many followers of Jesus, the Great Commission has instead become the Great Omission. I want […]

Is The Past Ever Behind Us?

I’ve been watching the news lately. I’m a bit addicted to it. The political battles that take place in our nation display a reality that illustrates an untenable situation. What is that reality, you ask? It is the reality that no one’s past mistakes are ever truly in the past. Do you remember when Rand […]

Is There Value In Prophesy?

“The Antichrist will be Muslim.” “No, Jews would never accept him. He’ll be a Jew.” “Barack Obama is the Antichrist! Why can’t anybody see that?” Of course, President Obama is not the Antichrist. But I’ve actually heard this conversation Who hasn’t?). The truth is, we don’t know who the Antichrist will be, and there are […]

Resolution for a Lifetime

For as long as people celebrated the “New Year,” I’m fairly convinced that they have been making resolutions. Each first day of January millions of people resolve to quit this or to start that or to change something else. However, each year those same millions of people fail in their objective and never become better […]

How to Avoid Going Spiritually Tone Deaf

Like the exercise of our physical bodies, if we don’t exercise our spiritual bodies, our spiritual antennae will become tone deaf–unable to hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit. Although most pastors have good goals for the New Year when it comes to their physical health, an exercise plan for their spiritual health might not […]

How Women In Ministry Should Behave

I am part of a denomination that allows women to preach. There are some that don’t. And that’s OK, if that’s their interpretation of Scripture. I won’t delve into that here. Each side could argue its “rightness.” The question is, in general, how are women to conduct themselves in ministry? In two words, like ladies. […]

When the Sky is Made of Iron

Step into your prayer closet for just a moment. Do you hear it? It’s that dull, hollow sound which reverberates across the heavens as your prayers are banging against an iron sky. Do you ever feel that way? I know I do. I offer prayers and petitions to heaven, spend hours upon my knees in […]

Unlikely Sheep

I remember, back when I was 14 or so, one particular night when my father, who was a pastor, got a wee-hours-in-the-morning call that changed lives forever. When the phone rang, I tumbled out of bed, tangled in sheets. (The phone was on my nightstand; the only other one was in the kitchen.) On the […]

Divinely Inspired Messages

“Fake it ’til you make it” works in many situations: intramural sports, social interactions at networking meetings, your first job out of college. It does not work in church—or at least not very well. It’s normal to have days where you feel uninspired, far from creative, and are lacking a solid message for your next […]

5 Ways to Invest in Your Marriage This Year  

As a pastor’s wife for more than 20 years, I didn’t realize I was neglecting my marriage, until one New Year’s Day when I was doing my annual goal-setting. I’ve always been a goal-setter. Every January I come up with new goals (not resolutions — goals) to save more money, accomplish more in my ministry, […]

Being A Happy Healthy PK

“Preachers’ kids are the worst kind . . .” How many times have you heard that, fellow PKs? Well, I contend—as would my sister—that we are not the worst kind. But we are human. I grew up in church. I don’t even know how old I was when my dad started pastoring. I do remember […]

Something for Everyone

I have been a part of different churches with three different music styles: totally traditional, totally contemporary, and blended. Some say blended worship doesn’t work, so they have two different types of worship services—one traditional and one contemporary, essentially creating two different congregations who may or may not get to know each other. I have […]

Preach About What You Are For

When it comes to topics of pop culture, would you say you are more well-known in your congregation for what you preach against or for what you preach for? Years ago, when both kids and adults were crazy for Harry Potter, Hermione, and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, did you make sure those who […]

Revitalize Your Prayer Life

People might assume that spiritual leaders naturally have dynamic prayer lives. I wish their assumptions were correct in every case. Unfortunately, pastors and other ministry leaders struggle with fatigue, time management, a heavy workload, and family responsibilities just like anyone else. Dealing with endless to-do lists makes it tough to find time for prayer. When […]

Raising Kids Who Like Church

Before we became a ministry family, we were normal churchgoers. We attended every Sunday, and we had Christian friends. One of those friends had grown up as a preacher’s kid. This man was offered certain volunteer positions within the church he attended, and many times he turned them down. He was a faithful church attender […]

Does Your Attitude Need An Adjustment?

Ever have one of those days!  You know what I mean. You get up on the wrong side of the bed. You have a bad hair day. Traffic is a nightmare. Every line you stand in seems to be the slowest.  Nothing seems to be going your way. It’s so easy when momentum seems to […]

Story Telling in Sermons: It’s Not Just for Kids!

Do you remember your favorite book as a child? There were probably a few lovable characters, a memorable storyline, and a lesson to learn that made you choose that story time and time again. Storytelling is a great way to entertain and teach…and it works for all ages! While I’m not suggesting for you to […]

A Platform Is Not a Vacuum: Addressing the Real World from the Pulpit

As Christians, we’re supposed to live in the world but not be caught up in it. That can seem like a fine line at times, because let’s be honest—it’s hard to do! We can’t ignore world events, civil issues, and threats against the Kingdom—both locally and internationally—and consider ourselves to have forward-thinking, front-line faith. But […]

Make a List and Check It Twice (a Month)

Do you use a journal? It doesn’t matter whether you favor apps like Evernote or prefer the tactile feel of a journal in your hands—as long as you record your thoughts often. While you likely have a system of note taking that works for you—if so, stick with it—consider keeping a running list of possible […]

Break Up with Writer’s Block

You’ve been sitting there, staring at your screen for the last half-hour. And all you can think about is coffee…and when you’re supposed to get your oil changed again, and what you’ll eat for dinner…except that you’re supposed to be writing your next sermon. Welcome to the ugly world of Writer’s Block. But have no […]

The Importance of Prioritizing

Pastoring is tough business. How, as a pastor, do you keep the Lord happy, your spouse happy, your kids happy, and your congregation happy (and if you’re part of a denomination, headquarters happy)—all while making sure you’re healthy and happy too? Well, that’s the riddle, isn’t it? As a 50-plus pastor’s daughter (and niece and […]

The Pastor’s Children in Church

When my husband was getting ready to graduate from seminary, he was asked to visit a rural church in view of a call to be the pastor. It was to be a weekend visit, which included my husband meeting with various groups: the pastor search committee, the volunteer music team, and the deacons. The music […]

The Power of Humility

I love movies – especially redemptive movies with plenty of action and a storyline that captivates the imagination. There are some basic themes that go into these types of epic tales. One of those themes – the “bad guy” must be sufficiently arrogant. Yet, in the culture at large, it seems that pride and arrogance […]

They’re Saying “God Isn’t Fixing This”

A nationally recognized newspaper recently said of the latest tragedy, “God Isn’t Fixing This”…and the people in your ministry are angry. They’re ranting on Facebook and other social media. They want all the so-called “godless liberals who are destroying our country” to be run out of the country. They’re tired of hearing God mocked as […]

Where Is God?

Why do bad things happen? What can we say in the light of the almost weekly news of shootings on a large scale? The problem isn’t new to the 21st century. In the 13th century BC, Egypt’s Pharaoh wasn’t happy that the Hebrews were growing in numbers. He made them slaves, gave them the hardest […]

Twelve “Rocket Engines” of Successful Ministry

I watched in horror as the televised explosion of the space shuttle Challenger played again and again on the special news report. Only moments after Challenger’s apparently successful launch, something went terribly wrong. It started out as just a little problem, but the results of that problem mushroomed into a tragedy. What went wrong? A […]

No Small Churches

I am under the impression that there are some in the wide world of God’s kingdom who view the size of a congregation as the empirical test of spiritual power and prestige. Somehow the idea that “bigger is better” has crept into the mindset of those who see the church as a montage of programs […]

4 Ways To Cope with Criticism

None of us likes to be criticized, but few, if any, of us will go through life without experiencing criticism. In fact, the more we stand up for something, the more we will be criticized. So how do we handle criticism when it comes our way? Here are 4 tips that may help: Consider who […]

Intentional Worship With Your Family

Who do you worship with on Sunday morning? Your answer to that question might be a variety of options. You worship with your church family. Your pastoral staff. The choir or praise team. Certainly you probably worship alone, just you and God. But did you actually worship with your family last Sunday morning? Depending on […]

10 Bible Verses on Thankfulness

1. James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning 2. Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 3. 2 […]

A Season For Thankfulness

As vital as it is, being thankful is tough on the best of days. And it’s not because you aren’t thankful for your life and all your blessings. You just have so much going on that between finishing your paperwork, stopping by to see a church member on your way home, and slugging coffee to […]

An Evangelistic Culture in Your Church

What’s needed in our churches today is an evangelistic culture. This is not something that happens naturally; it happens supernaturally. Things always default to mediocrity—never to quality. That’s true of businesses, restaurants, stores, and even the church. If you see quality, and life, and an evangelistic culture, it is there because of effort. And that […]

6 Ways To Get Control Of Your Paperwork

  Today, a lot of our world is digital. But somehow, that hasn’t eliminated those pesky piles of paper that build up day after day. When so many of our systems are electronic, it’s hard to know how to wrangle the mess. Here tips from highly-organized author, Karen Whiting , to help you get those messy piles […]

10 Ways To Take Your Mind Off Of Work

After 20 years in pastoral ministry, my husband learned that if a pastor doesn’t rest his mind, take care of his body, and detach from work regularly he will very quickly burn out. After experiencing burnout twice, resulting in two separate year-long (unpaid) sabbaticals, Hugh now sees the importance of incorporating regular times of rest, […]

5 Signs You Should Consider Counseling

As a Pastor’s wife, I felt pretty sure there was an unwritten rule; “Don’t go for counseling.”  My excuses were plenty; “We’re in ministry. Aren’t we supposed to have our act together? What will people think? Who needs all that “psycho-babble”? My excuses all sounded pretty reasonable until my life began to fall apart. Over […]

The Perfect Potluck Chili For Busy Pastors

OK, call me sexist if you will, but it’s a fact: the majority of cooks are women. They just are. Like it or not, there are just not as many men in the kitchen as there are women. And that’s not necessarily a problem, but it sure can be. Especially if you’re a pastor, your […]

Lessons From Translating The Bible

I worked for a major publisher for many years. For seven of those years, I was given a grand opportunity that most people never experience. I was the associate editor for a new Bible translation. It was my responsibility to manage the editorial part of the translation alongside the executive editor. During that time, I […]

How To Best Choose Pop Culture References For Your Sermons

Let’s see. There’s Chariots of Fire. Ooh, Ben-Hur is a good one. But those are pretty old. What’s at least from this millennium? Oh yeah, Fireproof and God’s Not Dead were popular. Those should all work to pull examples from. And if need be, I can always talk Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Seinfeld. Oh, […]

A Faith That Works

Too many pastors in too many churches today are pressed with unreal expectations. They are expected to be spiritual supermen, always able to leap tall buildings with a single bound. The pastor is expected to counsel without a degree in counseling. He is expected to manage the financial affairs of the church without a degree […]

Best Tools for Growing Faith

Let’s say you wanted to plant a garden. Whether you’re growing flowers, vegetables, or a fruit tree, you’ll need the same basic ingredients—nutrients, time, and the right atmosphere. It’s the exact same with your faith, too! You need nutrients (the right fuel in the right amounts with the right frequency), time (growth requires persistence and […]

5 Lies That Lead To Pastor Burnout

This article was written by our fearless leader, Dave Wike, and was originally posted on  Despite what you may think, burnout isn’t reserved for only Fortune 500 executives and pastors of megachurches. it can blindside any of us. And its effects are devastating not only to you, but to those you love. But if […]

Your Next Unique Sermon Is Closer Than You Think

Assuming you take two weeks off a year (can I recommend you take even more weeks off from at least the pulpit?), you probably preach fifty sermons a year. Do you have a Sunday evening service as well? Then make that a hundred sermons. Wednesdays too? Now we’re looking at 150 sermons a year! Whether […]

What Kind Of Government Does God Want?

The situation sounds all too familiar. The leaders of another country ask for help. “Tell us what to do! Protect us, hide us, give us sanctuary.” Their representatives need help with everything foreign policy covers. More than that, they are at war against a common enemy. Their refugees clamor for sanctuary. The situation is dire […]

6 Ways To Protect Your Kids From Bullies

Bullying. Just the word makes you disgusted doesn’t it?  My heart goes out to kids who are bullied. Both Steve and I were bullied as kids. And to be honest with you, I worried a lot about my kids being bullied when we were raising them. As I began praying for my kids and doing […]

Make The Most Of Your Group’s Time

Group meetings range from small Bible studies, mentoring, steering committees, to full congregation worship services. It’s important to be intentional with these meetings if you want to make the most of them. In order to make the most of time spent, you’ll want to define each group. List what groups meet, how many participate in […]

Rebirthing a Sense of Urgency

I read a very sad report today. According to author and pastor Ed Stetzer, “Almost 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible.” He went on to say that in the UK, children didn’t know the Nativity was a Bible story—but their parents (more than half of them!) thought the Hunger Games might […]

The Hat Collection

As the wife of a pastor, I wear a lot of hats. These are not physical hats but a term I use to represent the roles a pastor’s wife plays. Most people do not realize how many there are. I dare say there are pastors who don’t know everything their wives do. Well, let me […]

What Happened to Halloween?

Growing up in the 50s and 60s, every kid in my neighborhood counted down the days until the 31st of October. We couldn’t wait to dress up in what was usually a handmade costume paired with a mask we’d purchased at the local five and dime. Afterward, we would walk around our small community, which […]

How Denominations Are A lot Like Pizza

A study in 2006 found that there are at least 43,000 different Christian denominations worldwide. That’s not a typo, either. An initial reaction to that huge number is, “How can there even be that many differences in beliefs?” And how do we reconcile that number to Jesus’s prayer in John 17:1 that His followers would […]

The Pastor’s Calling—His or Ours?

My husband felt a call on his life as a teenager, but it was not time for the call to be acted upon. At the age of thirty-four, after attending a Promise Keepers conference, my husband announced to me that he felt called to go into ministry, and we needed to move twelve hours away […]

The 1 Key Trait You Need On Your Team

In our work with churches and businesses, hands down the leading question people ask is, “Where do I find ‘good people’?” But more specifically, what they’re asking is, “What traits should I be looking for in potential team members and volunteers?” Of course, there are many traits that matter when it comes to staffing and […]

How Fun Can Kickstart Your Team’s Creativity

No matter how creative (or not) you may be, sometimes all your team needs for a morale boost is a fun-filled day. It can dramatically lighten the mood around the office to get everyone laughing, and you could likely use a mental break yourself! Remember, this means you get to put your worries aside for […]

Top 5 Places To Avoid If You Want Time To Yourself

Solitude… I hear, echoed in the cavernous halls of my mind, the reverberating sound of an iconic commercial that asks a simple question and speaks to my heart: “Wanna get away?” Of course! We all want to get away on occasion. There is a need in each of us to find that place of rest, […]

Sidetracked Dreams and Sovereignty

Are you grieving over sidetracked dreams? Has too much reality obscured God’s personal word to you and blotted out hope? Are you wondering if it’s practical to continue waiting? Overnight, Joseph went from prison to Pharaoh’s palace. Overnight? Not exactly. It was over 4,745 bleak nights—thirteen dreary years after his jealous brothers sidetracked his dream. […]

Dealing With Conflict Among Church Members

You wear many hats as a pastor—you’re a mentor, teacher, leader, role-model, referee…wait? Referee? As a pastor, you may be expected to have the final say (or at least get involved or give direction) when conflict arises in your church. Sometimes the disputes will be childish, comical even. Regardless of the pettiness, people’s feelings are […]

Top 10 Must Read Books for Pastors

I’m not a pastor but I sure do know your world because I’m married to a pastor.  Steve and I got married at age 21 and he was already the lead pastor in a tiny country church. We’ve served churches here in the states and overseas. Our churches have ranged from 36 people to 5,000 […]

Worship Services That Win

You’ve prepared an amazing, life-giving sermon for the week. In fact, this may be the most powerful message you’ve brought them all year! As you step into the sanctuary to the sound of praise and worship, you know you have 10-15 minutes before you begin your message. Look around the room. The music sounds great. […]

Single Ministry: Creating Fun Fellowship or Dating Disasters?

In the United States alone, it is said that 44% of people are single. That translates into our church numbers as well. Anywhere from 30% to 50% of our congregants are single and while some are certainly happy being single, some are actively looking for (or at least open to) meeting someone special. Singles ministry […]

The Candy People

I find as I get older I think more about legacy. As a parent, and as a pastor’s wife, what will my legacy be? After I am gone, what will people remember about me? I have been a part of more than one church where there were candy people. You may have had them in […]

PKs Offer Their Protection

Pastors, don’t make your kids have to set boundaries for you. What do I mean? Well, there’s nothing like being a PK. I can say that from experience precisely because I am, well, a preacher’s kid. For all the dour, sour words my sister and I have heard from fellow PKs who don’t share our enthusiasm—we wouldn’t […]

Eight Signs of Spiritual Growth

How well I remember my first vegetable garden! Each day I would lovingly water the tender plants and carefully check their growth. I found it exciting to watch them increase in height and fullness every few days and to know they were flourishing. Planting a garden led me to think about my spiritual growth. Was […]

Spontaneous Prayer

I come from a tradition that privileges “spontaneous prayer” and looks suspiciously on scripted prayers or prayers written down beforehand.  According to this perspective, spontaneous prayer means prayer from the heart while written prayers are not from the heart.  I accepted this myself for many years until I met some remarkable Christians and began to […]

Overcoming procrastination

Most pastors have areas they always do well and other activities that they dread and can procrastinate doing. The main reasons people procrastinate are lack of interest or purpose in the task, fear of failure, disorganization, and a false sense of timing. Postponing activities may be tied to your personality. If you’re outgoing and love […]

From The God We’ve Made…To God With Us

What do you do if you’re trying to do everything right and it’s not working? There’s no point in dismissing me here. You probably know what I’m talking about. You’re a pastor for crying out loud. You’ve devoted your life to getting this faith journey right and had the courage to step into the in-between […]

Differentiating Disruptions, Interruption, and Divine Appointments

Life is filled with disruptions and interruptions. So how can we tell the difference between these and divine appointments? Here, contributor Karen Whiting tackles this issue head-on: A woman touched Christ’s cloak and caused him to stop when he felt power leave him. Her faith touched his heart and he used her as an […]

Time and Accountability Partners

Sometimes time management is something that is much more achievable when you don’t try to do it on your own. contributor Karen Whiting is here to explain how an accountability partner can help: Accountability partnership is teaming up with someone to be what Proverbs 27:17 describes “as iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another.” You […]

Top 5 Retreats For Pastors

As great as learning from other pastors at large group conferences can be, we cannot underestimate the equally important time spent simply getting away from it all, either by yourself, with your family or spouse, or among a group of other pastors needing some time to unwind themselves. Pastors’ retreats have become a fairly large […]

When and How to Say “No” Graciously

As pastors, we may feel called to say, “yes” to everything. A congregant needs someone to chat with? No problem! Someone needs some sound advice? You’re there! A wedding ceremony? You’ll plan it! Someone needs a visit at home or in the hospital? Of course! But then, someone needs a couch moved and you stop for […]

Start a New “Preacher’s Kid” Stereotype

You won’t find a Wikipedia entry for “Author’s kid.” Or “Lawyer’s kid.” Nothing for “Salesman’s kid” either. But sure enough, there is an entry for “Preacher’s kid” (complete with its own special abbreviation—PK). What is so special about the children of the clergy that they get their own abbreviation, Wikipedia entry, reality show (Lifetime’s Preachers’ […]

Beyond “Recitation”

I remember, as an adolescent, entering a Scripture memory contest in my hometown. Obviously, the object was to memorize more scriptures than anyone else. I won that contest, and by a large margin (though I did misquote one…). Being a PK (preacher’s kid), obviously I knew a lot of scripture. Even when I wasn’t trying […]

Do I Really Matter to God?

I recently had a conversation with a really smart person. I don’t mean street smart—I mean a bona fide, card-carrying member of the genius club. This individual spoke English, but it wasn’t the English the rest of us speak. We were talking about the Bible. Since I’m a pastor, I try to have a bit […]

3 Problems with our Discipleship and 3 Remedies to Transform it

I don’t surf, but if l did, the last three years at Transformation Church would be like surfing on a tsunami wave of grace. We’ve grown from 178 people into a multi-ethnic, multi-generational congregation of 2,400. More than 1,800 people have to come to faith, and we’ve launched two multi-site campuses: one in a school and one in […]

A New Family Tradition

I have a good friend whose father was a two-term governor of our state—the youngest governor in the state’s history, in fact. So my buddy spent eight years as a little boy in the Governor’s Mansion. That family spent their time and energy invested in politics. Their dinner table conversations were about public service. Just by sitting at the […]

Top 5 Pastor Conferences

Every son needs a father; every mentor needs to also be a mentee; and every pastor needs other pastors feeding into his life. Hopefully you have other leaders in your life to encourage you in your ongoing walk through ministry, but it’s also a great idea to at least once a year find a pastors’ […]

Made for Missions