The Painful Truth About Being a Pastor

Leadership and Ministry

I have been a pastor for over twenty years. I enjoy it and I’m thankful that this is my career. However, there is a truth about being a pastor that I just can’t shake. When […]

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What Are the New Steeples?

Leadership and Ministry

The past week I have visited the community that I grew up in. There are no high rises in this area of town. In fact the highest features are church steeples. Both times I was […]

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How Should Churches Look at Past Ministry?

Leadership and Ministry

I have had people in my congregation make comments like, “This ministry was done thirty years ago and worked, filling the church, we should go back and do that.” The problem with that thinking is […]

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The Sounds of Autism

Disability and Faith

I recently mentioned that we had a great service at our church this past Sunday. One of the things that made it a good service was a family that was visiting. This family happened to […]

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What Churches Need to Know About People With Disabilities

Disability and Faith

Yesterday, we had a town hall meeting at our church. This was to look at, among other things, ways we do outreach and ways we welcome. Numerous topics came up and one of them was […]

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The Reality of Welcoming People With Developmental Disabilities

Disability and Faith

I am committed to welcoming people with disabilities, both physical and developmental, into the church. But there is a danger that we romanticize what this looks like. Sure I can share some beautiful stories but […]

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The Year in Review

Stephen Bedard

I am writing this on the last day of 2018. It is a natural point to look back on the year and reflect on what has happened over the last twelve months. Family This has […]

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Top Five Things I Have Learned As a Pastor

Leadership and Ministry

I have had the role of a pastor, on and off, for over twenty years. It is an important part of my identity and I’m thankful to be able to serve in this way. As […]

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Good News: Logan at Church

Good News

I had a number of options to talk about for my weekly Good News post. I could have did it on a Roger Hodgson concert I attended with a couple of my cousins. I could […]

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3 Major Reasons People Resist Change

Change

During my time as a pastor, I have often encountered people who resist change. They are not the majority but they are a vocal minority. Why do people resist change? While there are people in […]

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People With Autism Become Adults

Disability and Faith

I have been doing some informal research into how many people with autism are in churches. I had a very interesting comment that I think reflects common thinking on autism. One pastor responded by saying, […]

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What Our Church Does For Disability Ministry

Disability and Faith

When people find out that I’m interested in disabilities, I often get asked what we do at our church for disability ministry. Like myself, people are always look for ideas. So when I get asked […]

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When Pastors Mess Up

Pastors

This is not about when pastors mess up by having an affair, developing an addiction or being financially dishonest. I’m talking about the regular mistakes that pastors make on a regular basis. They are common […]

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Should Churches Participate in Short-Term Mission Trips?

Short-Term Missions

There are many concerns about short-term missions trips. Some argue that they are more harm than good. Many of the concerns are quite valid. But I will argue that such experiences are good when done […]

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Pastors and the B-Word

Leadership and Ministry

As a pastor, I try not to use the b-word. Which b-word? Busy. This is a change for me. Years ago, when people would ask how I was doing, I would always respond with “busy.” […]

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The Sound of Coming into Worship

Leadership and Ministry

In the church I grew up in, there were instructions in the bulletin about making noise in the sanctuary. It was expected that people would come to worship in silence, to prepare themselves and not […]

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Churches and Mother’s Day

Leadership and Ministry

How should churches respond to Mother’s Day in terms of the worship service? Some churches have a specific Mother’s Day sermon each year. Some give gifts to all the moms and really design the entire […]

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Good News: Not a Typical Sunday

Good News

My Sundays usually follow a regular pattern. The morning is spent at church, likely followed by a nap and then an evening swimming with the kids. The only thing hat happened today was the nap. […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Embrace Thankfulness

Leadership and Ministry

One of the best ways to build a long lasting and effective ministry is to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness. It is easy to focus on the things that are wrong or frustrating. Being thankful […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: No Major Decisions on Mondays

Pastor

I’m told that Christian job sites have biggest spikes of pastor resumes on Mondays. That is, it is most likely on the day after a Sunday service that a pastor is looking for a new […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Take Time to Worship

Pastor

I have already talked about the importance for pastors to grow in their relationship with God in a previous post. Related to that but still distinct is the importance of worship. How are they different? […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Remember Your Call

Leadership and Ministry

I am not the best pastor in the world nor do I have all the answers. But I have been pastoring for over twenty years and have been able to serve in a variety of […]

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The Autism Opportunity Easily Missed by Churches

Autism

My observation of churches is that there is an increase in awareness and compassion about autism. The media has really brought autism to the forefront and a variety of advocacy groups have promoted autism awareness. […]

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How to Become a Disability-Friendly Church

Disability

You may or may not know that I used to be the associate editor for Faith Today magazine. Although I have moved on to other endeavours, I’m still very excited about the magazine. I sometimes […]

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A Challenge For Pastors in the New Year

Mission Statement

There was a time not long ago when it was trendy fir churches to develop vision/mission statements. We don’t hear as much about it now, perhaps because most churches have now adopted one and so […]

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Should Churches Remove The Denomination From Their Name?

Denomination

There is a trend for churches to change their names. Sometimes it is to find something a bit more trendy or hip (e.g. Explosion Church) but more often it is to just remove the denominational […]

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Pastors and Titles

Leadership and Ministry

I have had numerous titles during my ministry career. I have been pastor, reverend, padre, chaplain, captain and hopefully soon, doctor. But what titles, if any, should a pastor use? In my first ministry placement […]

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Good News: Take Me to Church

Good News

Our son Justus has been trying to figure out his own way when it comes to faith. We have purposely not pushed him. We don’t want to pressure him to be a certain way just […]

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A Simple Way to Make Your Church More Accessible

Disability and Faith

When you think about an accessible church, what do you think of? Perhaps the installation of an elevator or a wheelchair ramp. Maybe hearing assisting devices or specially designed washrooms. Those are good but there […]

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Pastors Don’t Need a Day Off

Leadership and Ministry

“The devil doesn’t take a day off and so neither should the pastor.” Have you ever heard that one? But then again, perhaps Satan is not the best model for healthy leadership. At the same […]

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5 Things You Can Do With a Church Facebook Page

Blogging and Writing

The first thing you need to know is that there is a difference between a Facebook page and a Facebook group. The basic difference is that on a page, only the admin can post but […]

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The Jesus Myth and How Scholars Almost Failed the Church

Apologetics and Theology

The first book that I ever wrote was co-written with Stanley Porter. It was called Unmasking the Pagan Christ and it was written in response the the Jesus Myth, the theory that Jesus never existed […]

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Welcoming People with Mental Health Issues Into the Church

Leadership and Ministry

This is a guest post by Joseph Mulak. Joseph blogs at Walking in the Faith, “The purpose of this site is to help Christians live out their faith while living in an increasingly secular society.” […]

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5 Ways Churches Can Help Support Families With Disabilities

Disabilities

One of my passions is to help churches be welcoming and safe places for families with disabilities. I come at this both as a pastor and as a father of two children with autism. My […]

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Who Should Sunday Worship Services Be Aimed At?

Sunday Worship

One of the things that I have noticed about contemporary Christian ministry is there is disagreement over the purpose and aim of Sunday worship services. The two options for the focus are: Christians who are […]

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A Biblical Image For How Apologetics Helps Build the Church

Apologetics

Christians are divided on the role of Christian apologetics and its usefulness. While some are convinced of the importance of apologetics, others see it as a distraction from “real” ministry. I see apologetics as having […]

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Apologetics Will Not Make Anyone a Christian

Apologetics and Theology

There are those within the church who are critical of Christian apologetics who point out its limitations. They will argue that presenting an apologetic for Christianity will not result in the person becoming a Christian. […]

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On Being a Pastor and Teacher

Leadership and Ministry

Between my time as the pastor of Woodford Baptist Church/First Baptist Church Meaford and my current church of Queen Street Baptist Church, I had an opportunity to wrestle with my calling. During that time, I […]

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What Does Jesus Want Our Churches to Look Like?

Disabilities

I was preparing for an upcoming sermon and came across an interesting passage. He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you host a dinner or a banquet, don’t invite your friends […]

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How Long Should a Sermon Series Be?

Sermon

I don’t think that there is any one answer to how long a sermon series should be. At the same time, there are some good decisions we can make to help our messages be most […]

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6 Steps I Take Toward Healthy Ministry

Ministry

As I write this, it is the beginning of September. As a pastor of a church, in many ways this is the beginning of the ministry year. After a couple of months of a relaxed […]

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Should Pastors Be Involved in Pastoral Care?

Leadership and Ministry

I’m increasingly hearing calls for pastors to step back from pastoral care. Experts in church growth are claiming that one of the most important things to do to grow a church is for the pastor […]

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My Four Greatest Temptations as a Pastor

Pastor

When I was studying at seminary, we were told that the greatest temptations for a pastor were sex and money. I have no doubt that many pastors have stumbled in these areas. However, this has […]

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What’s the Difference Between Teaching and Preaching?

Preaching

Is there a difference between preaching and teaching? There certainly is overlap. There are some larger churches that have a position called teaching pastor. What is meant by that is that this pastor is released […]

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How Contemporary Does Worship Have to Be?

Worship

One of the most successful and influential pastors in Canada is Carey Nieuhof. His influence goes far beyond Canada. Carey has been successful both in church revitalization and church planting. He has much for all […]

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Should Churches Acknowledge Father’s Day and Mother’s Day?

Leadership and Ministry

When it comes to Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, different churches have different responses. Some churches make a big deal about these days. They will have mothers or fathers stand up, the might give special […]

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How Diverse Do You Want Your Church to Be?

Diverse

I have listened to a number of podcasts and read some books that have argued for increased diversity within the church. I am all for this. One of the things that I love about Queen […]

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5 Things I Need to Remind Myself as a Pastor

Leadership and Ministry

I love being a pastor. It is one of the most fulfilling things I have done. But it is easy to lose focus. I need to remind myself of some important truths on a regular […]

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Good News: First Communion

Good News

Today may have been one of the most amazing mornings at church in my life. I shared a couple of weeks ago about how we brought our son with autism to church for the first […]

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Why I Teach Apologetics at My Church

Apologetics and Theology

My primary role in ministry is as a pastor of a local congregation. Why then do I choose to teach apologetics at my church? Is this just a case of me pushing my interests on […]

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Do You Have People With Autism in Your Church?

Autism Blog

The CDC has said that 1 in 68 children are born with autism. In Canada, the numbers are about 1 in 94. Those are some pretty significant numbers. My question to you is: Do you […]

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What Gardening Has Taught Me About Church Ministry

Leadership and Ministry

I am no expert at gardening. In fact this is my first year of even attempting to grow vegetables. In the past, we enjoyed the flowers that previous people planted but even then never weeded […]

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My 4 Priorities as a Pastor

Leadership and Ministry

What does a pastor do? There are different types of pastors (solo, lead, associate, youth, executive) and so there are different responsibilities. But I can share what my priorities are in my role as the […]

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Why Should the Church Care About Autism Awareness?

Autism Awareness

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day and April is Autism Awareness Month. But why should the church care about autism awareness? Shouldn’t we just leave autism awareness to secular social programs? I would like […]

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5 Things You Need to Know About Pastors

Leadership and Ministry

Although things have changed, there are still people who place pastors on pedestals. There is nothing wrong with respecting pastors. Pastors study a lot and work hard to help in the spiritual development of their […]

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7 Questions Pastors Need to Regularly Ask

Leadership and Ministry

I love being a pastor and I’m so thankful that the opportunity to return to pastoral ministry came after a three year break. I appreciate the work of my colleagues in ministry and I am […]

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Tips to Becoming an Autism-Friendly Church

Disability and Faith

The CDC has reported that 1 in 68 children are born with autism. Your church needs decide if you want to include or exclude people with autism. Most churches take the steps to be accessible […]

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An Interview With Deane Proctor on the Church and Mental Health

Hope's Reason

In this episode, I interview Deane Proctor of Queensway Baptist Church on the subject of the church and mental health. Deane is the co-host of a podcast called Mind Matters and you can find it here and the Facebook […]

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5 Ways For Pastors to Avoid Burnout

Pastors Burnout

While pastoral ministry is a very rewarding career, it can easily lead to burnout. Back in 2010, The New York Times published an article on pastoral burnout. The findings have surfaced with ominous regularity over […]

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The New Edition of How to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly!

Autism

I believe that of all the books that I have written, one of the most important is How to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly. It covers a topic that is very close to my heart. There […]

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Don’t Be That Christian!

Christian

I encounter a lot of objections to Christianity.  While I have read many posts by atheists, the most difficult to my faith are posts by people who label themselves Christians. There are Christians who are […]

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Bullying Also Happens in the Church

Disability and Faith

People with disabilities are too often the target for bullying. Those who have communication or cognitive challenges are particularly vulnerable as they may have difficulty reporting the bullying. Ideally, the church would be a safe […]

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7 Ways Pastors Can Begin to Integrate Apologetics into Their Ministry

Apologetics

I believe that apologetics is important and not just for those interested in apologetics. Apologetics is especially important for pastors, whether they like it or not. The fact is that there is a steady stream […]

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The Church and People With Mild Autism

Autism

I think that there has been some improvement in the church’s willingness to embrace and minister to people with autism and their families. But often the people with autism that the church has in mind […]

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4 Myths About Baptists

Leadership and Ministry

I was not raised as a Baptist, but I feel very much at home within a Baptist church. However, when people find out that I’m a Baptist, I sometime encounter some stereotypical judgments about what […]

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Good News: Rhythm Section

Good News

My good news for this week has to do with a decision my son and I have made. I am very sensitive about trying to force my children to go to church. There definitely is […]

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5 Good Reasons for Pastors to Blog

Pastors

I almost called this post, “Should Pastors Blog?” but I chose not to because it suggests there is a yes or no answer. The truth is that some pastors should not blog. Perhaps they are […]

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Your Church Needs a Website!

Blogging and Writing

Why You Need a Website I’m amazed at how many churches still do not have a website. Perhaps there are some who do not know how to create one or who think it costs a […]

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5 Things To Do When a Child With Autism Makes Noise in Church

Autism

Children with autism are known for making noise in church. Sometimes they say what some adults want to say. One Sunday, our son said with a fairly loud voice during the service, “Just kill me […]

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What If Your Church Can’t Start a Disability Ministry?

Disability and Faith

There are some large churches that have very organized and well staffed disability ministries. They have a sizeable budget and may have a specific pastor or other staff member overseeing it. These are the ministries […]

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5 Questions Pastors Should Ask at the Beginning of the Ministry Year

Leadership and Ministry

Although the financial year for a church might start in January, the ministry year really starts in September. As I write this, September is just a couple of days away. Pastors should not just walk […]

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Research That Demonstrates the Need For Apologetics

Apologetics

I continue to hear from Christian leaders that there is no need for apologetics. People are looking for community and experience and are not impacted by intellectual arguments. Apologetics belonged a modernistic vision of the […]

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Churches Need More of an Inward Focus

Churches

What?! Am I out of my mind? Pastors and other church leaders have been working hard for decades to get congregations to move from an inward to an outward focus. We have finally made some […]

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How I Was Called Into Pastoral Ministry

I really enjoying being the pastor of a local congregation. It is a fulfilling and stretching career. But how did I get to this point? What led me to pastoral ministry? This post is about […]

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5 Ways a Church Can Support Their Pastor

Leadership and Ministry

Being the pastor of a church can be a rewarding experiencing. However, much of that depends on the nature of the congregation. Individuals within a church have the power to make or break the experience […]

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Why You Should Get a Master of Divinity Degree

Leadership and Ministry

Perhaps you are considering attending seminary and getting a theological degree. But what degree should you pursue? I would like to put forth the case for getting a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree. The MDiv […]

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How to Talk to Your Pastor About Apologetics

Apologetics

I have heard from a number of people who have been frustrated when their church leadership does not seem interested in apologetics. You have read the books and have been to the conferences and you […]

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Don’t Be That Pastor

Leadership and Ministry

I recently wrote a blog post called Don’t Be That Apologist, where I gave some examples of apologists (without names) that are bad examples. I thought I would do the same thing for pastors. As a […]

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Why the Church Should Care About People With Disabilities

Autism Blog

Life to the Full Conference from Julie’s Photograph on Vimeo. You can find out more about the Life to the Full conference here.

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4 Questions Pastors Need to Ask

Leadership and Ministry

The unfortunate reality is that not all pastors finish well. We hear about the pastors of megachurches who have moral failures but it happens in small churches all the time. The key is not to […]

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Terrorism, Race Riots and the World We Live In

Terrorism

This is a heartbreaking time that we live in. We live in a world where we can watch a black man killed by a police officer live on the internet. We live in a world […]

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Race Relations and the Church

My heart is breaking as I watch the events that are currently taking place in the United States around race relations. The killing of both black men and white police officers is so wrong. It […]

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How to Pray for Families With Autism

Disability and Faith

I was speaking with one of our deacons this morning about the importance of prayer. We were saying that even if a person is not able to volunteer for a ministry, they can always pray. […]

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Autistic Children Grow Up

Disability and Faith

There is an increasing amount of awareness and resources about ministering to children with autism. Of this, I’m grateful. In fact I hope that this blog and my book are contributing to this. In many […]

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What I Would Look For in an Autism-Friendly Church

Autism

My goal for this blog and my book of the same name is to help churches become more autism-friendly. When I write, I alternate between wearing my pastor hat and my autism dad hat. This […]

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5 Tips for Associate Pastors

Being an associate pastor can be a very rewarding ministry in a local church. One of the advantages of being an associate pastor is that you often have a more focused ministry portfolio than a […]

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What You Need to Know About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks

This blog is aimed at helping churches support families who have autism. I know that one of the things that church members like to do is pass on resources. That is fine, as long as […]

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5 Things That I Love About Being a Pastor

Pastor

I first had the role of a pastor in 1996 and have been ordained since 2001. I have been a youth pastor, associate pastor and solo pastor. I have been in traditional and contemporary churches, […]

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How Many Hours Should a Pastor Work?

Leadership and Ministry

I once talked to a pastor who said that they expected pastors to work 50 hours a week. Their reasoning was that they expect each church member to volunteer ten hours a week plus a […]

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Autism, Theology and Baptism

Baptism

I recently had the privilege of baptizing my daughter. For context, I’m a Baptist pastor and so we baptize believers as opposed to infants. While Emma is our first to be baptized, she is the […]

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Thoughts on Baptism

Baptism

My understanding of baptism has evolved quite a bit over the years. Obviously moving from my Anglican upbringing to my current Baptist pastoral ministry required some change. However, even that change has been complex. When […]

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What the Church Needs to Know About Autism – Episode 5

Autism

In this episode, I introduce you to my daughter Abby. Autism is not just a topic or issue, it is about real people.

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Should Churches Have a Greeting Time?

Leadership and Ministry

I grew up in the Anglican church and one of the parts of the service was the “passing of the peace.” It was a time during the service where you could turn to people around […]

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Disabilities, Church and the Idol of Excellence

Disability and Faith

One of the most common core values for many contemporary churches is that of excellence. That is not necessarily a bad thing. We should want to do the things we do for God to the […]

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4 Things That Pastors Need to Remember About Their Congregation

Pastors

One of the biggest challenges for pastors is preparing one sermon for a congregation that is extremely diverse in their knowledge and experience. It is impossible to design a message that will touch everyone where […]

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20 Things I Have Learned in 20 Years of Ministry

Leadership

The very first pastoral role that I had began twenty years ago in 1996. I began my studies at McMaster Divinity College and my field placement was as a youth pastor of a combined Pentecostal […]

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Leading Your Church Through Change

Change

Carey Nieuwhof has led more change in his church in the last 10 years than most pastors will lead in 10 lifetimes! Carey is a “must listen to” leader for church leaders wanting to understand […]

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What People With Autism Want the Church to Know

Autism

I had the opportunity to ask some people with autism about what they want the church to know. I’m thankful that a number of people responded. This is important because I can only speak for […]

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Disability Ministry as the Church’s Mandate

Disability and Faith

In this video from Lausanne Movement in Capetown 2010, Steve Bundy challenges to the church to take the initiative in reaching those with special needs.

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The Highlight of My Time at Church

Disability and Faith

I am a pastor and a father of two children with autism. My children live in a group home in another city and so have not yet been to the church where I have recently […]

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