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Consider Faith Alive First

I’m writing to ask for your help with an issue that affects all Christian Reformed churches. Faith Alive, as you know, is the publishing ministry of the CRC. But like many denominational publishers, Faith Alive is facing significant financial headwinds in today’s tough economic times.

EldersPastorsChildren's Ministry
Blog
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The Myth of Super-Pastor

He asked them the simple question, “What are your expectations for your next pastor?”  Someone immediately chimed in, “We want a heroic leader who will fill our pews.”  A statement like this sounds ridiculous and yet it sheds light on some of the unhealthy, unrealistic, and unbiblical expectations that churches and pastors come to expect from the role of pastor.

Pastors
Blog
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The 9th Commandment

Contrary to popular understanding, the 9th commandment is less about lying in general than it is about slander. The 9th commandment reads: “You shall not give false testimony about your neighbor.” It seemed to me as I listened to the political ads this morning that the purpose of these soundbites is to do exactly what the 9th commandment forbids – give false testimony about your neighbor.

Pastors
Blog
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Meaningless Mumbling vs. Restorative Ritual

I will admit that certain rituals do become dead routines in particular communities where their meaning is not taught and their mode is irrelevant. But the assumption by many Protestants that ritual itself is meaningless is theologically flawed and spiritually hazardous.

Pastors
Blog
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Young Adults in the CRC

YALT, the Young Adult Leadership Taskforce, takes a look at some of the trends that have contributed to the problem of young adults leaving the CRC and sheds some light on how we might move forward into the future.

PastorsYoung Adults
Blog
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Improvising Within Biblical Authority

Scripture’s authority is not like a rule book or an instruction manual that locks us in and orders us around. Its authority is akin to God’s authority – to liberate us and the world from the evils of our own doing and, in the process, to make us more fully human.

Pastors
Blog
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A Year of Tears and Prayers

For the first time in living memory, and recent history, the church in Egypt seems to be waking with a renewed vision, with hunger for prayer, thirst for justice, seeking to be salt and light, to intercede for neighbors, and to stand up for their faith, with confidence, even in the face of threats and violence. And what is blossoming from this development is amazing.

Pastors
Blog
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Christ’s Face in a Street Person

Van Gogh once wrote, “I prefer painting people’s eyes to cathedrals, for there is something in the eyes that is not in the cathedral, however solemn and imposing the latter may be – a human soul, be it that of a poor beggar or of a street walker, is more interesting to me.” I will never forget the day I experienced Van Gogh’s truth for myself.

Pastors
Blog
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Redefining Friendship

I’m curious how widespread Facebook’s influence is in redefining friendship. Several years ago, we would not necessarily have thought of everyone in our online friends list as friends. That doesn’t mean we don’t like them; it’s just that these people are now lumped into a single category

Pastors
Blog
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Running to Bethlehem

It is almost here. And it would not be hard to miss it. Really! It is such a hectic time of year. Calendars are so cluttered with activity. The worship schedule is heavier than usual, and it was already heavy. The only relief this year is that the holidays fall on Sundays.

Pastors
Blog
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Reflections on the Retirement Journey

I want to do something, use my gifts, build on my experiences, and share learned insights. Am I still too concerned about being a pastor and not focusing enough on being a person?

Pastors
Blog
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I’ll Be Home For Christmas

The troops are coming home. What does this mean for the churches and our worship during this holiday season? What kind of person is coming back from these wars? Is there a calling to the church from our Lord at this time to make our worship and ministry meaningful for these warriors coming home for Christmas?

Pastors
Blog
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Letter to a Job Seeker

Dear lady at Starbucks, I just wanted to let you know that you won't be getting the job. I overheard parts of your interview and you did well. The interviewer asked good questions and you gave good answers. But you won't be getting the job.

Pastors
Blog
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An Anthem for Black Friday

Tomorrow is Black Friday south of the 49th, the biggest consumer bender known to humanity. Called black because merchants’ books finally crossover from the red into the black. And it would be so easy to watch the spree and smugly gloat, believing I’m free from that, above it all. Truth is, 

Pastors
Blog
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Evaluation of Pastors and Staff

How about asking a second question, just as real and powerful as how to get rid of a pastor: “Are there ways we could help our pastors grow and flourish in their places of ministry?”

Pastors
Blog
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Answering Young Steve Jobs: The Problem of Expectations

Young Steve Jobs was sharp enough to see the incongruities between the world in Palo Alto, CA in the 50s and 60s, the presentation of God at his Lutheran church, and the image he saw on the magazine cover of starving children in Africa. The dissonance he felt brought him to a crisis

Pastors
Blog
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A Mariner's Psalm 23

This past summer vacation, we visited the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. On the second floor of the museum is the Fishermen’s Memorial Room. A whole wall in that room is dedicated to remembering the names of men and vessels lost to the sea. On another wall is a mural painted by Joseph Purcell (seen here) of Jesus calming the storm.

Pastors
Blog
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After the Tornado: A Pastor Reflects

On August 21, 2011 at roughly 4pm an F3 tornado struck the town of Goderich. Within a matter of 15 seconds the beautiful town was transformed. Many people I know lost their homes, businesses, and employment. The streets that had been lined with large, mature trees were empty and bare. Worst of all was the toll ...

Pastors
Blog
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Getting Rid of a Minister

The title may seem a bit crass -- and actually it is -- but that is precisely the question that I am asked most often as a stated clerk by elders: "How do we get rid of our minister?" I vividly recall the conversation from the chair of council who actually began our phone conversation with that question. I quickly learned that he was the one having difficulty with his pastor and he simply wanted him 'gone'.

EldersPastors
Blog
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What Will It Take?

Christianity is a religion of influence. From the first, Jesus' invitation to follow him was an invitation to impact people. Jesus didn't say, "If you want to go to Heaven, come follow me." More like, "If you want to impact people, come follow me." Literally, Jesus said, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). What would you think if I told you that your primary task as a Christian is to impact people?

Pastors
Blog
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Pastors Supporting Pastors

When I was first ordained a little over seven years ago, I quickly came to realize that as a young pastor I knew very little about the practice of ministry. There were many situations that I was encountering that made me feel very uncomfortable and unsure. Our church is fairly isolated geographically in the CRC, which often left me feeling like I was alone when facing the realities of ministry. I think that having recently come from the peer-rich environment of seminary probably accentuated my feelings of loneliness in ministry.

Pastors

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