Tag Archives: ministry

Some pastors pray way too much…

Many of my best friends are pastors. Really. For the most part pastors are fine people. Recently to two such friends of mine I said that they “pray too much.” In my humble opinion, there’s an epidemic proportion of profuse pastoral prayers in public. OK, I exaggerate in order to provoke – I also liked stringing together all those words that begin with “p.” But I do have a point to make. Continue reading

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Pastor, don’t lose your head (or anything else for that matter)! Part 3

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at bringing others to Christ. Complete the ministry God has given you.  2 Timothy 4:5 NLT

Undoubtedly due to my Baby Boomer Generation mindset, I prefer lists; you know the kind that delineate six do’s and four don’t’s for choosing a mate, five steps to avoiding joining a cult, three ways to stay out of trouble with God. I like Romans more than Ecclesiastes – the more linear approach than the poetic. This is probably why, over the years, I’ve been drawn to this verse in Paul’s last letter to his young protégé before his beheading. He boiled it down to four things that he thought a young spiritual leader should remember – Don’t lose your head, don’t be afraid, share Christ with as many as possible, and finish what God has called you to! Continue reading

Pastor, don’t lose your head (or anything else for that matter)! Part 2

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at bringing others to Christ. Complete the ministry God has given you.  2 Timothy 4:5 NLT 

In Part 1 we talked about the first of four important pieces of advice that Paul gave Timothy in this verse – to be sober in his thinking and not freak out when things get weird in his ministry. He knew for sure that things would get that way, and warned his protégé to keep his head together. He also knew things would get hard, that difficulty was inevitable for the one living a life of service, so he encouraged him to endure whatever came his way.

“Don’t be afraid to suffer for the Lord” (Don’t give up when it gets hard)

Not to play the Greek card in order to make me look like an expert, but I noticed that this phrase (which is a translation of just one original word) literally means to “suffer evil.” I think Paul was encouraging his young disciple to refuse to quit when being a spiritual leader seemed unbearable. It reminds me of the time when I asked the Lord what I was to do about all the loss I was experiencing at the time (divorce, broken neck, cancer). The words that ricocheted around in my thinker were “Suffer well!” (Not exactly what I was hoping for at the time! “Get well… Be well” even “Well, well…” would have sounded a lot better to me. But oh well!) Continue reading

Pastor, don’t lose your head (or anything else for that matter)! Part 1

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at bringing others to Christ. Complete the ministry God has given you.  2 Timothy 4:5 NLT

Admittedly, my principle aspiration here is to address my fellow spiritual influencers (otherwise known as Christian leaders). Everyone is supposed to influence others, make disciples, and teach the truth to people around them. But then there are those whom God has asked (well, not really asked, more like ordered!) to lead groups of people in one form or another – as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers. If you’re one of those, you certainly have my admiration. I was a pastor for over thirty years, and I know it’s hard work! My deal with God these days is that if I help/support/pray for pastors he won’t make me be one! I don’t know that he totally signed off on it, but so far so good. So, if you’re not one of those, my guess is that you’ll get something out of this (at least you’ll be entertained by the story I tell about the demon-possessed guy a couple of paragraphs from now), but you might be inclined to browse these posts and then pass them on to a pastor or other leader that you care about. Continue reading

My Ministry Mantras (Part 4)

This should be my last offering on this topic, at least for the time being. If you’ve been following the previous three posts, I’m sure you’ve picked up that my motive for sharing these “ministry mantras” of mine is to not so subtly suggest your own musing about how you or your spiritual leader friends might think about spiritual service. All of us who love Jesus are in his service in one way or another, and I hope that you’ll find that some of these ministry values of mine will remotely apply to how you are to go about your own God-mandated assignment. Continue reading

My Ministry Mantras (Part 3)

I’m using this word, “mantras” not in the eastern meditation sense like chants, but more as “mottos” that describe the way I feel called to serve God and people. If I were to boil down the things I think I’m supposed to do in this season of my life, the following things convey my heart’s deepest aspirations.

The ones I talked about in Part 1 and Part 2 are:

  • I’m just trying to make friends with God.
  • I’m trying to simply follow and follow simply.
  • I am trying to be more of a pacesetter than a superstar.
  • I’m trying to impact people without having to impress them, and reach people without having to possess them.

I’m trying to remember that Sunday is practice for the rest of the week.

I’m ashamed to say that dizzying myself and most everyone else in the church on the Monday-to-Sunday cycle was all too common when I was pastoring. Along with all the Sunday teams (the Sunday worship team, the Sunday set up and tear down team, the Sunday School team, the Sunday greeters, ushers, pray-ers, and coffee makers) we worked all week to create an engaging service for whoever was left that wasn’t on one of the teams! And then on Monday the cycle began all over again to as we would prepare for the next Sunday performance. A little overstated you say? Maybe, but what is it we’re trying to do here – make strong disciples or have good services?  Continue reading

My Ministry Mantras (Part 2)

Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight… 1 Timothy 1:18

I heard about a pastor who had a sign on his pulpit facing him that said, “What are you trying to do to these people?” He wasn’t alone in needing regular reminders of what he was assigned by God to do, to say, how he said it, and to whom he was to say it. Without such reminders we tend to veer off course and begin to talk only to and for ourselves.

I inherited a love for swimming from my dad who won a bronze medal in the 1932 Olympics. Not only did he swim in pools, he also swam and won two Golden Gate competitions out in the frigid and fearsome Pacific! That kind of aquatic experience was most definitely not passed down to me. I hate cold water and swimming where there’s no line at the bottom so I can swim straight! In lakes or in the ocean (of the warmer variety) I absolutely cannot swim in a straight line. Without constant navigational checks (i.e. stopping and looking up) I might find myself either back where I started or out to sea. Continue reading