I’m talking about getting out of my office, off church property, and out where people are. I wanted to become a regular somewhere to get to know people outside our church. My entire life – home, ministry, and work – is contained in one block of one small town. I live in a parsonage on the same property as my church. I don’t commute to work, I step out my back gate and I’m at work. If we hang out in our back yard, I see my work. The people who walk by are all people from our church. Our house is situated in such a way that we don’t have natural contact with our neighbors. We live in a box, and have very little contact with anyone who isn’t a member of our church. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about what I like about being a pastor, and I wanted to write some of it down. Now, there are things about being a pastor I don’t like. Not everything is easy, but for the most part I love what I do.
- Preaching. I really enjoy it. I see preaching as the time when a pastor has an opportunity to speak truth in the power of the Holy Spirit. Preaching is when I strive to leave the congregation with one or two compelling thoughts. If God uses my words to keep people thinking throughout the week, then I’ve done my job.
- Worship. I really enjoy leading the sacramental aspects of worship like Communion and liturgy (liturgy lite in our case). Continue reading
I love small towns. I’ve lived most of my life in towns of 100k-150k people. My wife and I lived 5 years in Dallas, Texas. I currently live and minister in a town of about 7,000 souls. Every place is different, and each place I’ve lived has had its positives and its negatives. But yesterday being July 4, my small town was at its best, and it got me thinking about life and ministry in a small town.
Christianity Today published this study on church conflict including statistics related to pastors getting forced out of churches without being given any sort of fair due process. A little talked about fact among churches is how often pastors are forced out with out actually being fired. Believe it or not, pastors are rarely fired. This is because most churches have constitutions that create a process for treating a pastor fairly when it comes time to ask the pastor to leave. Most churches ignore their own constitutions and force the pastor out. Pastors are rarely allowed to talk about it, and many are denied severance packages unless they sign non-disclosure agreements. 76% of pastors report being forced out of a congregation at some point during their careers. This is a real concern for those of us in independent churches where the pastor has no real security. It is sad to say that people in churches will often do to pastors things that would give them cause to sue their own employers if it were done to them.
What I find interesting on the following chart are the warning signs of church conflict. See the chart after the jump.