There are some common elements in faithful Christian ministry that will be true and transferable across the world. These will be as true in a small house church as a multisite megachurch. There a couple that it’s almost a cliché to list them But they’re essential. Hard work. Gospel work is a joy, a privilege
Last week, I took a morning to conduct a Quarterly review. It seemed like a good time – two and a half months into the new ministry post, and I’ve gathered a headful of ideas and impressions. So this was a clarifying three hours, looking back and looking forwards. There are a dozen ways of
I was at a large church for a book launch, and the author was introduced as ‘One of the brightest theologians around. A Professor at the University of [prestigious name deleted].’ The problem was, he wasn’t. A bright guy, yes, but a junior lecturer. A bright guy, but this was his first book – and
I’m not a natural cyclist. I see the brave ones in London face-off with the buses, and I am in awe of their daring, but also scared by their recklessness. And I don’t look good in Lycra. But, I think we can usefully learn from the British cycling team, and the approach to training which
I remember the concert clearly. A well known Christian singer/songwriter had put together a string of his material to be able to present the gospel to non-Christian teens. He was very good – he’s a gifted speaker as well as a musician. And the kids responded well. But what I remember most vividly was the
I once had a colleague who had a very talkative walk. As he came up the road you could tell what kind of meeting it as going to be, and for the next three hours his mood would dominate. His body language communicated everything we needed to know – and we worked it out from
This is a reverse blogpost. I need your advice. In exactly one week I start as the vicar (minister, pastor) of a large church with a big staff team What are the top lessons that I simply must put into practice? And what are the ministry-killing mistakes I must avoid? Pile in below – and
We had a really encouraging and enthusiastic afternoon with Matt Chandler. Here are my top takeaways:- Parents – We need to keep articulating the gospel, otherwise our kids will believe that either legalism or licence is the way to go. The gospel must NOT be assumed Otherwise we, and they, will continually want to get
So, sitting with a group of pastors, we were discussing how we can improve as preachers. The generally agreed first thought is that we are not in the best position to assess our own preaching: our sinful selfishness and blindness mean that we are either too harsh or too lenient on ourselves. What to do?
I was a young assistant minister, and I’d been left in charge. The minister was away on sabbatical, and I had been given the keys of the kingdom. It wasn’t my first day there – in fact, I’d been there for three years already, and he had been quite straight and trusting. I was in
If there’s something wrong with the shirt I’ve bought, I take back to the shop. If the mechanic hasn’t fixed the car, I take it back to the garage. I’m a customer, I have paid, and I expect the level of service. That model of thinking is so prevalent in a consumer society, that people
Jesus taught us that our fundamental role as ministers is to be servants. He has served us, we are to serve each other, and those of us who are pastors are to serve as we lead. But words come in particular cultures and contexts. In Jesus’ time the word ‘slave’ was demeaning and potentially violent
‘They’re watching’ Not in a creepy sense, I hope, but every Sunday, every meeting, every conversation, you are being watched. Why? Because you are supposed to be a model of being a mature Christian. People learn from you how they are supposed to be Christians. Paul told Titus, ‘Show yourself in all respects to be
Identifying your strengths is a key part of finding a job or moving on in your career at the moment. Knowing your contribution will lead to your personal satisfaction and worth, and to your being productive and energised. Perhaps the most engaging exponent of this view is Marcus Buckingham. A Brit living in the States,
One of the first, simplest, and best tools for time-management is to distinguish the urgent from the important. But I discovered this week that it has hidden, secret powers. You know how it goes of course: the threat is that the urgent drowns out the important. And so every time management system I’ve seen has
I was taught at seminary that my role was to do myself out of a job. The great temptation of the pastor is to hoard ministry, and so I must delegate, clear out the desk, equip the rest of the church for ministry, and then my job is done. Move on. There are at least
A highly gifted man I know has just moved to pastor a new church. He’s a good preacher, down to earth, warm and greatly loved – and in the decade he’d been at the previous church it had more than doubled. He’s left multiple services, a packed church, a growing staff team and a building
It’s quite the thing these days for churches to have pithy descriptions of their values. A list of them, usually around five in number, starting with the same letter, appears on a large number of church websites. I think this is a great idea. It clarifies and prioritises. But I think sometimes we fool ourselves
Because, as someone said today, it’s like doing open-heart surgery, on yourself, without an anaesthetic, in public. Or at least it should be. Think it through: What’s the opposite of each part of that description? How does this Sunday’s sermon shape up? H/t. Trevor Johnston, from the mission society, Crosslinks.
I’ve been running off-and-on since I was at uni, but my latest ‘off’ has been my longest, around 18 months because of an ankle injury. But I’ve been easing myself back in, and this morning I did my first timed, distance run. What helped me was a series of podcasts which I downloaded for nothing.