What Theological Education Should a Pastor Get?

Leadership and Ministry

I would like to say as much as possible but it really depends. The more the better but life circumstances can limit how much formal education some can get. The first question to ask is […]

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What a Pastor Should Accomplish in the First Year at a Church

Pastor

As I write this, I am just starting my fourth year at my church. It has been an amazing time and it has made me think about other pastors starting at new churches. Reflecting on […]

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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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Pastors and the Imposter Syndrome

I first heard of the imposter syndrome in the context of blogging. Bloggers often write from the perspective of an “expert,” giving advice in a specific area. But it is not uncommon for bloggers to […]

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Apologetics and Preaching

Apologetics and Theology

While I consider myself an apologist, my primary role is that of a pastor of a local church. But I don’t find these roles to be contradictory. I try to include apologetics in my pastoral […]

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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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1 Bad Response to Bill Hybels (and 3 Good Ones)

Leadership and Ministry

As we sort through the mess with Billy Hybels and the situation at Willow Creek, there are any number of responses we could have. There are both good and bad responses that we could have. […]

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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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How to Preach Without a Manuscript

Preach

For years I was convinced that I needed a full manuscript in front of me to preach. I don’t have a great memory and was not able to memorize the sermon no matter hard I […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Remember the Cross

Pastor

The day that I’m writing this is Good Friday, the day that we remember the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus is the focus of our faith and the inspiration for our ministry. How did Jesus lead? […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Invest in the Next Generation

Pastor

Moses had his Joshua. Elijah has his Elisha. Paul had his Timothy and Titus. Who do we have? Every current pastor was once a young person who knew nothing about ministry. Ideally, someone came along […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Plan to Finish Well

Leadership and Ministry

When it comes to ministry, we can look at our past and our present. But what about our future? Specifically, how our ministry will end? Our pastoral ministry will end, the question is whether it […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Start Writing

Pastor

Most pastors are writers to begin with. Many of us write out a sermon manuscript, even if we may not preach from that manuscript. However, we can work on our writing skills. Developing our writing […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Read the Bible

Pastor

Read the Bible? Who reads the Bible more than pastors? That’s the problem. We read the Bible to plan out sermons and Bible studies. But how often do we read the Bible to feed ourselves […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Start a Reading Plan

Pastor

Many of the pastors I know love to read. They have large libraries and collect resources to help with sermon preparations. But we can do better than just reading commentaries and other biblical resources. The […]

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31 Days to Become a Better a Pastor: Pray For Your Congregation

Pastor

There are many activities that a pastor can be involved in but prayer is one of the most important. There are many things that we can pray for but one of the most important is […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Plan Out Your Year

Pastor

One way to do ministry is to do it Sunday by Sunday. Each week, pick a passage to preach on. Start or stop ministries as situations come up. Hope for the best and pray it […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Retreat!

Leadership and Ministry

I was involved in a youth group at a particular church. The youth group traditionally went on retreats. One year, the youth pastor announced that Christians don’t retreat and so the time away was renamed […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Get Some Exercise

Pastor

In my first four months as a paid pastor, I gained about thirty pounds. This was the result of two things. One that I was spending much of my time getting together with youth at […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Mental Health

Pastor

One of the biggest challenges that I face as a pastor is responding to mental illness. While I had a couple of counselling courses in seminary, I feel that I lack background in mental health. […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Include Apologetics in Your Ministry

Pastor

Some people embrace Christian apologetics and some have no interest at all. I would suggest that pastors don’t have the right to reject apologetics. Even if we are not interested, apologetics is necessary for our […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Continue Your Education

Leadership and Ministry

Can you remember your time in Bible college or seminary? Were you counting the days until your graduation? Were you eager to finish your education? It is interesting to note that many other careers expect […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Invest in Your Preaching

Pastor

In smaller churches, pastors are equated with preachers. But even in larger churches, many pastors have preaching as one of their responsibilities, although perhaps not every week. After preaching for a number of years, it […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Observe a Sabbath

Pastor

One of the best decisions I have made is to observe a Sabbath. A Sabbath is not just a day off. A day off can easily be filled up with other stuff. A day off […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Subscribe to Some Podcasts

Leadership and Ministry

One of the best ways to become a better pastor to be intentional in lifelong learning. The worst thing is to see graduation from Bible college or seminary as the end of learning. There are […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Focus on the Family

Pastor

There is much respect given to pastors who work long hours and who are always available to their congregation. But that doesn’t mean they are good pastors. What about their family? At one time there […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Embrace Thankfulness

Pastor

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 Becoming a Better Pastor: Connect With Other Pastors

Pastor

One of the frequent descriptions of pastoral ministry concerns the loneliness of being a pastor. It doesn’t have to be that way. While I think it is good to have friends within the congregation, it […]

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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: Love Your Congregation

Pastor

The two most important things a pastor needs to do is to love God and love people. Often the loving of God comes easier than the love for people. Some people are easier to love […]

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31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Seek After God

Leadership and Ministry

You have likely noticed that during safety demonstrations by airlines that the stewardess always tells the passengers that in case of emergency they need to put the oxygen on themselves before helping another. The reason […]

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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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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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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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Thoughts on Ministry to Those With Dementia

Dementia

One of the most common aspects of my pastoral ministry has been to individuals or families dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It is always a difficult situation for those involved. On a personal note. this […]

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Introverts Can Be Good Pastors

Leadership and Ministry

My name is Steve and I’m an introvert. And I’m also a pastor. Today, I listened to a great episode of the 200 Churches Podcast titled Yes, I am a Pastor and an Introvert! I was very […]

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Good News: Thankful to Be Pastoring Again

Good News

It is hard to believe that only three years ago, I didn’t think that I would ever pastor a church again. It is not that I had a bad experience at my previous churches. I […]

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Should Pastors Be Involved in Pastoral Care?

Pastoral Care

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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Why I Can’t Tell You How Long Sermon Prep Takes

Sermon Prep

I sometimes get asked about how long it takes me to prepare for a sermon. The usual writing of it while sitting at the computer takes between an hour and an hour and a half. […]

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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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Good News: Thankful to Be Back in Pastoral Ministry

Good News

If you spoke to me three or four years ago about my career goals, being a pastor would not have been high on the list. Despite spending a long time in school training to be […]

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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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My 4 Priorities as a Pastor

Pastor

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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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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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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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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5 Things I Do For Sermon Preparation

Leadership and Ministry

When I met with one of the faculty as I began my studies at McMaster Divinity College twenty years ago, I made it clear that I wanted to be a pastor but I didn’t want […]

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5 Different People That Pastors Preach To

Preach

The challenge for preaching is that most churches don’t have a homogeneous congregation. The people who are listening to the message are coming from different backgrounds and perspectives. I think that its is a mistake […]

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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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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

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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If I Could Restart My Life…

Leadership and Ministry

This morning, my ten year old son asked me a very interesting question. He asked me, if I could restart my life, what job would I want to do? Imagine having that second chance. Being […]

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Weekend Leadership Roundup

Leadership and Ministry

Here are some leadership posts that I came across this week. You might find them helpful, so go check them out. 5 Questions Pastors Neglect in Sermon Prep – Charles Stone Eight Time Drainers of […]

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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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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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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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Pastors Should Take a Compliment

Pastors

I remember the feelings that I experienced as I began my pastoral ministry, especially around the role of preaching. I knew that I had to work hard at writing the message and presenting it in […]

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Expository or Topical Preaching?

Preaching

I have attended and visited churches that have different philosophies of preaching. Some churches seem to be purely topical. Each week is a topic such as mental health, finances, prayer and so forth. These can […]

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How Should a Pastor Dress?

Pastor

I recently came across a blog post called Does It Matter How the Preacher Dresses? written by Joe McKeever. It is an interesting article and is worth reading. For some traditions, this is not an […]

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Pastor as Protector: Some Clarifications

Apologetics and Theology

I recently wrote a post about why apologetics is an essential role for a pastor. Gavin Rumney at the OTAGOsh blog was nice enough to respond to my post with his own post called Apologists and […]

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Good News: Returning to Pastoral Ministry

Good News

Just over three years ago I left pastoral ministry after nine years of pastoring at Woodford and First Baptist Church Meaford. I had a great experience at those churches and nothing took place that turned […]

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30 Day Apologetics Challenge: Day 15

Apologetics and Theology

Talk to Your Pastor About Apologetics This challenge is aimed at laypeople but if you are a pastor, the principles are the same for talking to the leadership in the church. One of the frustrations […]

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5 Mistakes Pastors Make

Pastors

Pastors are just as human as everyone else. This means that mistakes are made. The first step is to just be aware of these temptations. Here are five of the most common mistakes that I […]

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How I Went From an Ex-Pastor to an Ex-Ex-Pastor

Leadership and Ministry

Or how I felt it was time to return to pastoral ministry Friends of mine and long-time readers of this blog will be familiar with my transition three years ago from a pastor to an ex=pastor. […]

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Our Big News!

Personal Reflections

If you have been following my personal posts, you will know that we are in a season of change. Over the past two days, we have moved back to our home town of St. Catharines. […]

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Is the Pastor on Vacation Again?

Vacation

You show up for church and find that there is a guest preacher. Is that pastor on vacation again? I have heard such statements, about myself and about other pastors. People in the church seem […]

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How I Write a Sermon

Leadership and Ministry

I have been preaching sermons for almost twenty years. Hopefully my skills have developed during that time. I know that I have learned a lot, both through the good responses and the less than good […]

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7 Things For You to Pray About at Church

I am a firm believer that attending a worship service should not be a passive experience. We can do much more than just soak up whatever is offered to us. One of the ways that […]

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Can I Be a Pastor and Autistic?

Disability and Faith

One of the reasons that some people are surprised by my autism diagnosis is my history of Christian ministry. I have worked as a pastor, chaplain and Bible teacher. All of those roles require social […]

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Should Pastors Display Their Degrees?

Pastors

Despite the way I have titled this post, I am not sure there is a pure should or shouldn’t that fits every case. But I am getting ahead of myself. Does your pastor display their […]

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Responding to an Open Letter to Pastor-Theologians

Pastor

I recently came across a blog post titled An Open Letter to Pastor-Theologians that was written by Seth Richardson. Should such a letter be written? Definitely. In fact I am kicking myself that I didn’t […]

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Invest in Your Food Bank

I want to tell you a secret. People eat year round, not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course that is obvious, but for some reason that is when churches like to donate to the […]

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5 Things You Can Do While Your Pastor is Preaching

Pastor

What do you do when your pastor preaches? Do you zone out? Do you play with your phone (text, Facebook, etc.)? Do your try and listen? Listening to a sermon does not have to be […]

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3 Ways Pastors Can Promote Discipleship

Leadership and Ministry

It is all about discipleship. It really is. I firmly believe that the Church needs to focus on discipleship more than anything else, including evangelism. Of course evangelism is important, but if the people in […]

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Atheists in the Pulpit

There has been a recent article about a United Church of Canada minister who is an avowed atheist. The denomination is trying to determine if she is still effective in her ministry. For those unfamiliar […]

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What I Find Hardest About Pastoring

Leadership and Ministry

I am not currently pastoring a church but I did pastor for fourteen years, nine in the same two-point charge. I really enjoyed pastoring and I left because of some life circumstances more than any […]

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3 Things for Pastors to Teach About the Bible

Leadership and Ministry

Christians need to learn the Bible It is well known that the average person in the pew no longer has a good grasp of the Bible. Yes there are a few exceptions in certain families […]

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My Top Five Posts

Post

My most popular posts I have been blogging in some manner or other for about ten years. This particular blog is a bringing together of my three previous blogs. Since the amalgamation, it has been […]

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Pastors, Families and Priorities

Being a pastor is a high calling. It can be both an enjoyable and fulfilling career. One of the challenges of being a pastor is that there are many bosses, whether official or not. A […]

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How to Have Conflict With Your Pastor

Leadership and Ministry

This is not a guide of how to start conflict if you are currently in a good relationship with your pastor. Rather, this post will seek to give some suggestions on how to deal with […]

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How to Leave a Church and How I Did It Wrong

Church

I have attended eight different churches over my lifetime. However, six of them were churches that I was pastoring at. That means that I have left only two churches based on decisions and not because […]

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Step by Step: A Conversation With Deane Proctor

Leadership and Ministry

This is a special interview for me as this one is with my pastor. I have known Deane Proctor for some time as we were both pastoring in the same denomination. When my family was […]

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Life Centred: A Conversation With Jason Boucher

The Church has been blessed with many talented pastors and it is my desire to introduce some of them to you. Jason Boucher is the Lead Pastor of Lifecentre in the Ottawa area. Although I […]

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5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Associate Pastor

Associate Pastor

Being an associate pastor is both very rewarding and challenging. It is not necessarily the role that is difficult but rather the mindset that goes with it. Here are few things I learned during my […]

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Why Should a Church Support Their Pastor in Military Chaplaincy?

You may be a part of the leadership of a church that has a pastor interested in reserve military chaplaincy. Your pastor may have introduced the subject and you are not sure what to think. Why […]

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5 Tips to Prevent Pastor Burnout

Leadership and Ministry

Being in pastoral ministry is one of the most rewarding careers available. At the same time it is stressful and there are all too many cases of burnout. Pastoral ministry does not have to lead to […]

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5 Things to Know Before You Become a Pastor

I have pastored for twenty years and I recommend it as one way to serve God. I had an extremely positive experience but there are certain things that people should understand before beginning a career as […]

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5 Things to Do If You Do Not “Feel Fed” at Church

Church

I often hear people complaining that they do not feel fed at church. By this they usually mean they do not like the pastor’s sermons. I will admit that I have been there before, although I […]

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Three Good Things

Personal Reflections

I have recently moved from doing a daily good news post to a weekly good news post. This allows me to focus on one really good thing for that week. However, as I write this […]

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What Does It Mean to Be an Ex-Pastor?

I recently blogged on how I understand the call to ministry. I mentioned in passing that I felt called to ministry (even though I understand that call differently now) but that now I am not […]

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Does God Call People into the Ministry?

Leadership and Ministry

The question of God’s call to ministry is something that has very much been on my mind. The reason for this is that I truly believed that God called me into the ministry and yet […]

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5 Ways to Bless Your Pastor

I pastored for fourteen years. While I have lots yet to learn, I did come to understand some things. As a person who now attends rather than pastoring a church, some of those lessons have […]

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What We Can Learn From Mark Driscoll

I am not interested in going into detail about Mark Driscoll’s recent problems. I feel as if leaders of “less successful” churches are watching with glee as this evangelical super-star falls from power. The truth […]

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Dear Pastor

I know that you have a lot on your plate. You need to prepare sermons, organize a worship service, visit the sick and shut-ins and attend meetings. As society moves farther into the post-Christian era, […]

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Pastors, Congregations and Expectations

When people leave a church, the most common reason is, “I just wasn’t being fed.” So they go to some other church where they are fed, until they find another church that will feed them […]

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