Archives For Church Leadership

Readership of this blog grew dramatically in 2014. Overall traffic rose by more than 250 percent, and the number of unique readers climbed by more than 80 percent. Hopefully, that’s an indication that the posts are helpful and meaningful to a growing number of folk.

Top 10 Letterpress

Through the year I learned a couple of lessons about blogging. But my greatest insights are about the state of the church.

Here are my top 10 posts for 2014 and what I’ve learned from your responses.

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Generation labeling makes the church narrow its vision for spiritual transformation. But people aren’t just one thing. They can change.

I resisted seeing the movie Divergent at its release earlier this year because it looked to be a knock-off of The Hunger Games. Amazon Prime made it too easy to change my mind though, and I’m glad I did.

Young Woman In The Field

This story gets at an important truth we, especially Christians, need right now.

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Pastors spend a lot of time solving problems, and that means asking questions. Unfortunately, most of those questions are unimportant, even trivial. I know this because I’ve wasted plenty of my own time wondering about these same things.

Handsome businessman daydreaming of his business future
In fairness, many of these questions are forced upon pastors by their job description as the leader of an organization and have little to do with their real work as shepherds of God’s flock.

But a pastor has to earn a living somehow, so most spend the majority of their time pondering things like these—

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Immigration reform is a hot topic this summer as the U.S. Congress appears poised to take action that could affect some 11 million undocumented residents. My denomination is on record in support of common-sense reform for biblical reasons. Our general superintendent, Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, even met with the President to discuss the matter.

Immigration

Even so, immigration is a sticky subject for many Christians. We are law-and-order people for sure, so going soft on violators is hard to swallow. At the same time, we’re deeply compassionate and believe in being hospitable to strangers and those in need.

What to do?

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I am a big fan of pastoral ministry, and I’ve written about that elsewhere. Yet I know that many people find the pastorate an uncomfortable fit and are quietly looking for a graceful exit.

The number is nowhere near the erroneous, unfounded, and gleefully over-reported figure of 1,700 pastors a month suffering burnout.

Man having an interview with manager and partner employment job

Even so, some pastors—like some lawyers, doctors, and plumbers—do want to change careers.

The problem is they don’t know how.

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An urban legend circulating around the church holds that pastoral ministry is the most highly stressed, undervalued profession on earth, and all pastors are miserable. In support, this factoid is nearly always given: “1,700 pastors leave the ministry each month.”

Open Door

You’ll see that number touted on blog after blog—always without a citation. This unverified datum flits around the Net like a vampire bat, sucking passion from ministers and their churches.

And it simply isn’t true.

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I did something for the first time this week: went to Washington, D.C., to advocate for political action on a matter that is important to me: comprehensive, common-sense immigration reform.

United States Capitol Building east facade - Washington DC Unite

On Apr. 29, 2014, some 250 evangelical pastors from around the country met for a rally at the historic Ebenezer United Methodist Church (4th & D Sts., SE). Then we set out for appointments with congressional offices. Our visits were arranged by representatives from Evangelical Immigration Table.

Fellow Wesleyan pastor Zach Szmara of The Bridge Community Church and I partners for the day, and we met with representatives of House Members Vicki Hartzler (MO-04), Todd Rokita (IN-04), Luke Messer (IN-06), and my own Congresswoman, Susan W. Brooks (IN-05).

Here’s what I learned on my visit to Washington, D.C.

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