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I Don't Want to Be One of Those Pastors

I don’t want to be one of those pastors. I don’t want to be one who stays in a church even though it’s not a good fit, who keeps working just to get a paycheck, who refuses to retire even though the congregation is unhealthy and in need of new leadership. But I can see how I might just be tempted. Greeting at the local Wal-Mart just won’t pay the bills... 

Pastors
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Three Bits of Advice for New Pastors

When I met soon-to-be-retired Pastor Neil in the first community that I served as pastor, I saw a golden opportunity. “Pastor Neil, would you be willing to give me an hour of your time before you retire and give me some advice?” Perhaps he saw a golden opportunity, too, for he gladly agreed. The following headings highlight the three bits of advice that I received from Pastor Neil that day...

Pastors
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Bucket List Prayers

Been there, done that. In a world where we often have a particular life experience and then scratch it off our bucket list, it is always powerful to discover things you would do again and again. Things so wonderful that you would keep repeating them. Last year’s Prayer Summit was like that for me. It was a rich time...

Pastors
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"How Far is Too Far?"

“How far is too far?” I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately. It’s normally a question we ask while attempting to navigate the sexual desires and angst of relationships before (and regrettably, sometimes outside of) marriage. That question has been in my heart and mind lately, only in a very different context...

Pastors
Blog
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The Old Rugged Cross

There is, in a church we've been attending, a fairly significant chunk of history in the pew, two versions of the denomination's Psalter Hymnal. Still, yesterday, when we sang "The Old Rugged Cross," a hymn that must rank among the most popular of the 20th century, the pastor had to import it into the bulletin because neither Psalter had it. Weird, I thought. I wonder why not?

PastorsWorship
Blog
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Fractured Flocks - A Good Reason to Consider Another Option

Fifty years or so ago, CRCNA congregations, much like McDonalds franchises, shared countless similarities. They shared a similar culture, similar liturgies, identical creeds, confessions and hymn books, and almost identical menus of ministry. As a result, you could attend almost any Christian Reformed congregation in North America and find it similar to your home church...

Pastors
Blog
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Creating a Culture of Generosity

When the subject of money is brought up in the local church people get antsy. Money and giving have become bad words inside and outside the church. What got me thinking about this subject was a post by Tim Challies called “How Much Money Am I Supposed to Give Away?”...

Pastors
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You – and You – and You

We have a problem in the English language when reading the Bible—a problem that most other languages do not have. When we read the word “you” and “your” in a passage, there is no way to tell whether the message is being directed to a single person or to a group of people. Such is not the case with the biblical languages...

Pastors
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Preachers and Churches

The latest Christian Courier’s cover story is remarkable because it documents a phenomenon that’s truly denominational news—the significantly high divorce rate between preachers and congregations in the denomination I’ve always been a part of. "Fractured Flocks: A Leadership Crisis in the CRC" begins with this fact: pastor-church splits have increased over 500% in the CRC in the last ten years...

Pastors
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Humbled by the Pope's Resignation

“With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.” Pope Benedict ended his resignation letter with those powerful words. As a fellow pastor in the holy catholic church, I am humbled by the Pope’s awareness, commitment, and love for the Church...

Pastors
Blog
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Preventive Maintenance against Sermon Stealing

Reading the recent article in The Banner called “I Think the Pastor Stole that Sermon” got me thinking about sermon stealing. Over the years I’ve read a lot of articles on the topic of plagiarism, but I don’t recall that any of them provided concrete suggestions on how to prevent and/or stop this stealing sin. It’s been my experience that if we want either to stop a certain sin or avoid temptation, we need to prepare in advance...

Pastors
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#helphimjesus

Two weeks ago I was privileged to sit in on a consultation on preaching hosted by my colleagues. One theme we circled back to often had to with the use of social media in the preaching event. Many of us who were at the consultation had been pastors of congregations in the past and we admitted to each other that it's an odd thought to ponder someone in a pew Tweeting about a sermon even as we are delivering it...

Church CommunicationsPastors
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The Joy of Generosity

It was recently observed that although our weekly worship service attendance had increased steadily over the last few years—thanks be to God!—our weekly giving had not. Why? My mentor reminded me this isn’t necessarily a bad sign, as our church does bring in people with little if any church background. For some of those folks, giving to the church is a new thing, and must be taught. So that’s what I set out to do...

DeaconsPastors
Blog
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Which "If" Is It?

One of the more important things a preacher should do when working with a passage of Scripture is to examine every conditional sentence that you encounter, especially in the New Testament. In the English language, we have only one word to express a conditional clause: the word “if.” Greek, however, has two different Greek words to introduce conditional clauses and how each conditional sentence is structured grammatically goes a long way to...

Pastors
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Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit

Recently I was encouraged to read Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit, a book I probably would not have picked up on my own. The title set off my warning bells. Exactly why that is, I’m not even sure I know myself. Somehow I feared gimmickry or formula or an unspiritual pragmatism. But I read it, and I want to recommend it...

ClassisPastors
Blog
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The Stewardship Series

Financial stewardship is a topic we don't touch on frequently in the church, yet we deal with money daily! This week we're starting our journey into the questions related to tithing, giving and money in general.

DeaconsPastors
Blog
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Peterson's Memoir On the Life and Ministry of the Pastor

This past Christmas my children blessed me with Eugene H. Peterson’s memoir The Pastor. What a joy it has been to take a leisurely stroll through Peterson’s reflections on his life and ministry. Here’s one word that echoed in my life: Was it realistic to think I could develop from being a competitive pastor to something more like a contemplative pastor ...

Pastors
Blog
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A Rusty Spare

We have this beautiful mission statement that expresses a common commitment that we exist to serve our community. The challenge is that we too often take that statement for granted. We have been out of the habits of listening to our neighbours, of spending time with them, of inviting them over, of simply being present in our neighborhood. When a situation comes up, we struggle with what it means for us to serve our neighbors...

Pastors
Blog
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Outsiders: Our History of Exclusion

Unfortunately, the church has created "outsiders" for more than 2000 years. Here's an example: around 200 A.D., Tertullian, a North African theologian, denounced the theatre— truth be told, he had some good reasons—then, in 398 the Council of Carthage declared excommunication for any Christian who went to the theatre rather than to church on holy days. Additionally, actors were forbidden participation in the sacraments... 

Pastors
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A Public Faith

We are the first generation in Western culture that is facing the real prospect of living in a statist society. Although there are many faiths under the roof of our pluralistic house, it is becoming rather clear with each passing year that the one approved faith is acceptance of the rule of the mother state...

Pastors

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