It’s Sunday morning. Nobody talked much on the way to church today. Mom and Dad had words. But the kids were quiet. They knew better than to speak up when the air was thick with the tension of an argument.
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Ministry is one of the most demanding professions in the North American environment. It is a profoundly satisfying task because pastors daily have opportunities to impact others for all eternity. Yet, in spite of its eternal implications, it is a wrenching and draining profession as well.
When the Christian Reformed Church North America was awarded a Lilly Endowment grant of nearly $2 million in September 2002, the funding provided the momentum for an initiative with the potential to transform local churches and their pastors through “Sustaining Pastoral Excellence.”
As we dig into “conviction,” the second leadership trait that congregations can develop, we switch to a new image—a ship on a voyage. Here’s the story.
Since ministers are not allowed to deduct church related business expenses from their local church employment as self-employed workers, often ministers and other church employees pay unnecessary income taxes on legitimate business expenses.
Bomhof says he has learned that serving a larger congregation requires different skills than he relied upon in his smaller charges, and he’s intentionally sought out opportunities to hone those much-needed skills. He is not alone in that.
Careful preparation for retirement brings major advantages for pastors and congregations both before and after the actual farewell event. Many denominations and pastors have studied the matter of retirement with care.
A pastor’s care can be costly, and the expense is not salary-related. Many pastors simply pay too high a price to practice their profession. It’s a condition common among the helping professionals—sometimes referred to as the “cost of caring.”
A book review of The Unnecessary Pastor: Rediscovering the Call by Marva Dawn and Eugene Peterson.