The Gospel and the Ministry

Preaching the Funeral of an Unbeliever

Preaching at someone's funeral is one of the most difficult aspects of pastoral ministry. It is all the more difficult when it is the funeral service of a loved one or a beloved member of the church. However, the most challenging of all is preaching the funeral of...

Reformed Evangelistic Preaching in the Sermons of Samuel Davies

Who has not heard about Charles Spurgeon, David Brainard, and George Whitfield? When we think of these names, we can draw a direct line to one common theme through all of their lives. That theme is that they were all effective and prolific evangelists. Whether it was...

Out in the Fields: Why You Should be Evangelizing

Jesus was a busy man, going from town to town preaching the message of salvation to poor, lost, and broken people. This is the setting that we see in Matthew 9:35-38:  “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming...

The Attributes of God

The Knowledge of the Holy Proverbs 1-9 are like the dining table in a palace, and chapters 10-31...

Take Time to Breathe Brother Pastor

Take Time to Breathe Brother Pastor

Breathe, pastor. You’ve made it this far. So don’t collapse when the adrenaline wears off. Remember Adam, formed from dust, whose first gasping breath came from God. “Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of...

The Christian Life and Preaching

The Christian Life and Preaching

Colossians 3:12-17 (Pt. 2 - The Christian Life and Preaching) Well, you remember, don’t you, that Paul exhorts us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” That's what we are to do as Christians. We are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. And already,...

Spurgeon and the Evangelistic Pulpit

Spurgeon and the Evangelistic Pulpit

In the nineteenth century, God was pleased to raise up a man by the name of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 – 1892). As one studies the life and ministry of Charles Spurgeon, it is evident that evangelism was an integral part of his ministry. Spurgeon was a man who was...

Ministry Shouldn’t be Entered Hastily

Ministry Shouldn’t be Entered Hastily

About two years after becoming a Christian, I sensed the tug on my heart to be in pastoral ministry. Early on as a new Christian, I desired to preach God’s Word and counsel God’s people. However, the latter has always been tough since I’m naturally an introvert. It’s...

How to Pray When You Want to Give Up in Ministry

How to Pray When You Want to Give Up in Ministry

Battles that the Pastor Fights Every pastor is a unique person with his own gifting and personality, strengths and weaknesses; but most pastors also have several things in common. Most of us battle insecurity. Too often we’re workaholics and perfectionists. We tend to...

Why Pastors Should Be Good Readers

Why Pastors Should Be Good Readers

Why Pastors Should Be Good Readers from Crossway on Vimeo. Reading Literature for Better Understanding of the Bible One of the things pastors can do that shouldn’t be underestimated is to read a lot of literature. Have a little book of poetry by your bedside or read...

The Gospel and Teamwork

The Gospel and Teamwork

This material has been previously published in Jeff Mingee’s Called to Cooperate: A Biblical Survey and Application of Teamwork. (Ichthus Publications, Apollos, PA., 2016). Reprinted with permission. “Whether or not one realizes it, the gospel is – by its very nature...

Did You Know That Charles Spurgeon Struggled with Depression?

Did You Know That Charles Spurgeon Struggled with Depression?

A Surprising Truth It comes as a surprise to some that Charles Spurgeon had a lifelong battle with depression. His reputation as a famed and powerful preacher, his cheery wit, and his cigar-smoking manliness might lead us to imagine there could never be a chink in his...

Pastor, Don’t Quit—Learn to Lament

Pastor, Don’t Quit—Learn to Lament

When Ministry Wears You Out Years ago, I remember hearing a seasoned pastor say, “Ministry would be a cake-walk if it wasn’t for people.” His tongue-in-cheek statement revealed what people know: pastoral ministry is hard. It isn’t long until the passionate calling...

How the Psalms Saved My Life

How the Psalms Saved My Life

In Psalm 121, the Psalmist is in a valley and looks up to the hills and in desperation, asks, “From where does my help come?” During my first pastorate, I entered into a season of severe depression. Every day, I woke up to a mind full of fog. Every task I completed...

Depression and Lament

Depression and Lament

“By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres.”  (Psalm 137:1, 2) Depression is a complex condition that no single formula can heal—and we should not pretend that any can. I have too much...

When the Pastor’s Wife Needs Prayer

When the Pastor’s Wife Needs Prayer

Christmas Eve found me sitting behind a table with a sign on the front, offering prayer to those who wanted someone to pray with them or for them. As the quiet, instrumental Christmas carols played in the background, my heart cried out, “What if I am the one who needs...

4 Lessons for Pastors from the Life and Ministry of John Calvin

4 Lessons for Pastors from the Life and Ministry of John Calvin

Life Intertwined with Ministry On April 25, 1564, about a month before his death, Calvin wrote his last will and testament. In it, he identifies himself as “minister of the word of God in the Church of Geneva.”1 He served in this role for nearly half of his life. As...

Stop Comparing Yourself to Well-Known Pastors

Stop Comparing Yourself to Well-Known Pastors

Preacher, you can preach better than John MacArthur, John Piper, David Platt, and H.B. Charles. I wonder if that surprises you? It should not. You can preach better to your flock than any of those world-renowned expositional preachers. If you played their sermons at...

Fighting Pastoral Covetousness with Contentment in Christ

Fighting Pastoral Covetousness with Contentment in Christ

There’s something in us that discounts our current circumstances: our lives, our location, our role, our life. We look at others and want more. It’s sin, of course, a direct violation of the tenth word: You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet...

The Grace of Waiting

The Grace of Waiting

“O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble.” (Isa. 33:2) A Call to Wait Life is a waiting room. That’s how Gayline and I see it anyways. When you have a headache that lasts for 30-plus years (like I...

Tips for Seminary Students: Maintain Your Joy in Ministry

Tips for Seminary Students: Maintain Your Joy in Ministry

I want each of you to maintain your joy in ministry. Let joy be a hallmark of your service to Christ’s church, and let your joy winsomely commend the faith to unbelievers. At times, maintaining your joy will be difficult. Heartache, setbacks, and discouragement will...

Pastor: It Shouldn’t Be Lonely at the Top

Pastor: It Shouldn’t Be Lonely at the Top

Pastors and leaders spend a lot of time with people—leading meetings, grabbing coffee, responding to messages. And yet with all this connection, they are often socially isolated, with their interior lives largely unknown. Some feel relationally full, yet upon deeper...

How to Keep from Falling Away: A Study from Hebrews

How to Keep from Falling Away: A Study from Hebrews

Introduction About 25 years ago, I heard an early twenty-something young man preach. He was extraordinarily gifted, with a public presence and gifting that was unparalleled in my experience. His skills in preaching, illustrating, and capturing crowd attention were...

Pastoral Care in the Digital Age

Pastoral Care in the Digital Age

It’s no secret that we spend more and more time online. You’re reading this article online. You likely have at least one—and probably several—social media accounts. And many of our churches likewise have an online presence, even if it’s just a dorky early 2000s...

The Pastor and the Care of the Body

The Pastor and the Care of the Body

Several years ago, my wife interrupted me while I was exercising at home. A friend was on the phone. I took the call, and my friend greeted me, quoting from the King James translation of Paul’s first letter to Timothy, “Guy, don’t you know that bodily exercise...

Biographies in Pastoral Ministry

Biographies in Pastoral Ministry

Pastoral ministry is isolating and discouraging. Few people in your congregation understand what you face. For some, building relationships with other pastors is difficult because of schedule and other sundry reasons. People may not be growing as you desire to see...

Dear Pastor Watch Your Life and Doctrine

Dear Pastor Watch Your Life and Doctrine

As a young pastor, I’ve always been drawn to Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 as he comes to the end of both his ministry and life: For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have...

Who Pastors You, Pastor?

Who Pastors You, Pastor?

The longer I pastor (almost 20 years now), the more I appreciate pastors. The long and often unscheduled hours, the heart-labor of counseling and visitation, the prayerful sermon prep that you hope will change lives forever each Sunday. No experienced pastor is too...

What Makes Charles Spurgeon Relevant Today?

What Makes Charles Spurgeon Relevant Today?

What Makes Charles Spurgeon Relevant Today from Crossway on Vimeo. Look to Christ The touchstone of Spurgeon’s life and ministry was undoubtedly looking to Christ. He was converted as a teenager when he walked into a chapel as a very poor preacher was preaching on...

Renewing Your Call To Ministry

Renewing Your Call To Ministry

We all love to beat up on old Peter. He is unbridled, braggadocios, embarrassingly bold and at times even aggressive, if not downright violent. But he is also a man who was greatly used of God to preach at Pentecost, to lead the church at Jerusalem, to minister to the...

The Importance of Preaching the Theology of Suffering

The Importance of Preaching the Theology of Suffering

Learning Obedience by Suffering One of the most mysterious statements about Christ in the Bible appears in Hebrews 5:8: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” The Holy Spirit had just asserted that Christ, though tempted as...

Two Things Pastors Can Learn from Spurgeon’s Preaching

Two Things Pastors Can Learn from Spurgeon’s Preaching

2 Things Pastors Can Learn from Spurgeon's Preaching from Crossway on Vimeo. Preaching Christ Spurgeon was very concerned that his preaching address the needs of the people where they were at. He was actually highly wary of having sermon series, saying most preachers...

Pastor: Expound, Apply, Repeat

Pastor: Expound, Apply, Repeat

Both/And The role of application in a reformed preacher’s sermon is critical today particularly because this is the area where reformed preachers, many times, can fall short. In fact, there are some reformed preachers today who say I shouldn’t do the application...

Find Healing for Church Hurt

Find Healing for Church Hurt

Driving home after Wednesday night church, I turned off the main highway onto the familiar tree-lined road that twisted and turned as it led to our subdivision. From the passenger seat, my fourteen-year-old daughter asked, “Mom, have you ever questioned why God chose...

Participating in the Life of the Church as a Pastor’s Wife

Participating in the Life of the Church as a Pastor’s Wife

I’m from the South. I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but I grew up with the very idea of a pastor’s wife being freighted with expectations and assumptions. When my husband was in seminary in the South-- before we were married--I went to a “how to be a...

Why Your Sermons Should Address Believers and Unbelievers

Why Your Sermons Should Address Believers and Unbelievers

Why Your Sermons Should Address Both Unbelievers and Believers from Crossway on Vimeo. Trinitarian Transformation All biblical preaching should accomplish several things. Number one: it should speak to the believer in such a way that it urges him to be conformed to...

Five Ways that Susie Spurgeon Encouraged Her Husband

Five Ways that Susie Spurgeon Encouraged Her Husband

Faithful pastors are busy. However, occasionally God uniquely gifts a man for extraordinary work in ministry. That man cannot be fully imitated, but he can be learned from. Charles Spurgeon was such a man. Spurgeon authored 135 books, 63 volumes of sermons, and was...

Five Lessons in Perseverance for the Pastor’s Wife

Five Lessons in Perseverance for the Pastor’s Wife

After nearly a decade as a pastor’s wife, I have experienced the unique roller coaster ride that is pastoral ministry. I find much joy in being married to a pastor, but it is certainly not without unique challenges. I want to offer my fellow pastors’ wives five...

The Pastor’s Wife and the Congregation

The Pastor’s Wife and the Congregation

In the early years after my son’s autism diagnosis, I had to learn many lessons. I had wanted to be the person everyone came to for help, but instead I was the person who needed it. And because I hadn’t let others in to see what life was really like for our family,...

Five Myths about Preaching

Five Myths about Preaching

Five False Dichotomies Which is your kind of preaching—expository or relevant? That is an example of a false dichotomy—a logical fallacy. False dichotomies operate under the assumption that there is no alternative, including no way to combine the qualities entailed in...

Ministry Moves

Ministry Moves

“How have you coped with moving your children from one ministry situation to another?” I’ve been asked this question a few times as ministry friends have started to think about moving on from one job to another. Most ministry families will move at least once, and for...

Four Essential Ingredients of Reformed Preaching

Four Essential Ingredients of Reformed Preaching

4 Essential Ingredients of Reformed Preaching from Crossway on Vimeo. Letting God Speak The vision for reformed preaching is to bring a comprehensive worldview of what Scripture is presenting in terms of truth. What reformed preaching does is it aims to take all of...

Preaching is Indispensable

Preaching is Indispensable

Preaching is not optional to the life and health of the church. A church that does not emphasize and value preaching is not simply a different style of church; it is an unfaithful church. J.I. Packer warns: History tells of no significant church growth and expansion...

Raising the Pastors Kids

Raising the Pastors Kids

For almost a year, I’ve been taking my kids swimming after school once a week. No, I didn’t enroll them in lessons like a good suburban mom. I could barely justify adding the gym membership to our monthly expenses, much less private lessons for four kids. Instead, I...

When You’re the Loneliest Member of Your Church

When You’re the Loneliest Member of Your Church

I’m not very good at friendship. I used to be the kind of friend who was as comfortable listening as unloading, but fifteen years of being a pastor’s wife has muddled my ability to be the kind of friend I’d like to be. At twenty-four, I started out with wide eyes,...

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

In my childhood, it was always an exciting annual moment. On that cold December night, sitting in the sanctuary, surrounded by friends, enveloped by the warmth of a fire, a church elder would approach the podium and speak with authority: “We’d like to ask Pastor and...

Regular Pastors Have Regular Devotions

Regular Pastors Have Regular Devotions

If you’ve been around church for any length of time, you’ve probably been encouraged to practice “spiritual disciplines.” Pastors want their people to read the Bible, and pastors want their people to pray. The disciplines of Bible reading and prayer are often termed...

Pastor: Are You a Ceo or a Christian Shepherd?

Pastor: Are You a Ceo or a Christian Shepherd?

This morning I picked up the Wall Street Journal and read about new leadership at the General Electric Company. G.E. has apparently fallen on difficult times recently (as of this writing in October 2018). A new chief executive officer has been chosen. The standard of...

Calming the Chaos of Sundays

Calming the Chaos of Sundays

Let’s be honest. Sundays are not a day of rest for a pastor’s wife. Just getting kids out the door looking presentable can be a monumental task. Then you have the job of overseeing them once you arrive at church while greeting people, having conversations with...

Don’t Let Go of God’s Sovereignty over Your Worst

Don’t Let Go of God’s Sovereignty over Your Worst

Helpful but Hopeless In times of tragedy and suffering, well-meaning pastors and friends frequently offer a religious word that momentarily appears helpful but proves hopeless in the end. As sufferers wrestle with how a loving, good God could allow such painful,...

Four Truths to Hold on to When Your Pastor Husband is Discouraged

Four Truths to Hold on to When Your Pastor Husband is Discouraged

“Can you please pray for us right now? He’s so discouraged. I don’t know how to help him. I don’t know how much of this I can bear. For that matter, I don’t know how much of this he can bear.” My shoulders shook as I quietly sobbed in my laundry room. With the door...

How Should I Give a Testimony?

How Should I Give a Testimony?

Let’s say you are called upon to share with a small group or a large congregation the recent happenings at Vacation Bible School, a missions trip, or some other event at school, church, or elsewhere. How will you do it? What priorities will inform your 60 seconds or 6...

How to Prepare a Bible Study

How to Prepare a Bible Study

There is no greater honor or joy than teaching the inerrant and infallible Word of the Living God. To get to teach the Pastoral Epistles is a particular joy and a challenge. You will have the opportunity to help your fellow believers enter into the first-century world...

Out of the Mud Pit

Out of the Mud Pit

When I met my husband, I knew the Lord was calling him to be a pastor. In my head, I envisioned us working side-by-side for the Lord, furthering His kingdom by building relationships with the kids, youth, and adults in our church together. While perhaps this may be...

Reading Stations Making Room for A Lifetime of Reading

Reading Stations Making Room for A Lifetime of Reading

INTRODUCTION The following transcript comes from a classroom experience on “applied theology,” or “pastoral theology.” The lecture that day went to the matter of how to incorporate reading deeply and widely into the ministry, and why such a strategy is important. In...

Introduction to Pastors’ Wife Series

Introduction to Pastors’ Wife Series

When I married my husband, I knew I was also marrying my pastor for life. While others might get to go “church shopping,” I was already committed to the church that would one day hire him. We chose Ruth’s famous promise to her mother-in-law as our wedding verse:...

How To Prepare A Devotional

How To Prepare A Devotional

Introduction No less than Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield of Princeton Theological Seminary wrote, in his still-popular article of 1864: "Christendom has always reposed upon the belief that the utterances of this book are properly oracles of God. The whole body of...

Pastor: Equip Your People to Counsel Each Other

Pastor: Equip Your People to Counsel Each Other

Equipped for the Work I remember hearing a pastor of a fairly large church saying—at a counseling conference no less—that he wasn’t going to hire any more counselors on the church pastoral staff. What he meant was this: he had hired fine counselors whose schedules...

10 Things You Should Know about Preaching

10 Things You Should Know about Preaching

Preaching is a wonderful privilege. Preaching is declaration of the gospel—what the Apostle Paul calls in Ephesians 3:8 “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” C. H. Spurgeon remarked on that verse that “all God's truly-sent servants have experienced much delight in the...

Help for Humanly Impossible Acts

Help for Humanly Impossible Acts

Beauty of Corporate Worship It is beautifully fitting that Christian people gather for corporate worship every week. When they do, they give united expression to their truth-rooted knowledge of the triune God and their treasure-rooted affections for all God is for...

Advice to a New Pastor

Advice to a New Pastor

My son in the Faith, I want to ask you to step aside from the fast-paced track that you are on. I know that it has been a whirlwind of activity since you finally said “yes” to God’s call on your life to preach the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ. You left your...

The Dignity and Demands of the Pulpit: Advice to a Young Pastor

The Dignity and Demands of the Pulpit: Advice to a Young Pastor

My beloved son, there is something that I want to talk to you about today. It has been on my mind as I have observed our evangelical Christian culture. The matter that I seek to address is that of “the pulpit.” The “pulpit” is a word that signifies more than a...

If Paul Experienced Ministry Pressure—So Does Your Pastor

If Paul Experienced Ministry Pressure—So Does Your Pastor

It is well documented that the apostle Paul had a hard ministry. He didn’t exactly have an ivory palace gig where he studied the ancient writings of Moses and churned out volumes of commentaries. Instead, he was God’s chosen instrument for the work of spreading the...

Lessons from the Life and Ministry of Anne Dutton

Lessons from the Life and Ministry of Anne Dutton

INTRODUCTION Among English Baptists of the eighteenth-century, Anne Dutton was known as “the most theologically capable and influential Baptist woman of her day.”[1] Anne Dutton’s hymns, poems, letters, and writings have had a tremendous influence on Baptistic life in...

Three Lessons from the Ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Three Lessons from the Ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones

INTRODUCTION The greatest need for the Church today is to have faithful men who will proclaim the whole counsel of God. Instead of feeding the sheep, preachers today have often sought instead to entertain people. This article aims to look at the life and preaching...

Humility and Church Planting

Humility and Church Planting

During the past 16 years, I’ve been the pastor of (this) church. We’ve grown from 32 in attendance to over 5,000 members. Our budget has gone from $43,000 a year to $4.2 million….Will you let me help you lead your church to the next level? —brochure advertising a...

Error Code 404 in the Pastoral Ministry

Error Code 404 in the Pastoral Ministry

Generally speaking, there is usually a debilitating and persistent viral infection in every human undertaking. The pastoral ministry is most certainly not exempt. I recently saw a quote that struck me as having contemporary universal acknowledgment: "Who is Mr. Error...

Dear Young Pastor

Dear Young Pastor

Dear Young Pastor, I pray you’re doing well. I hope the family is fine and your ministry is increasing. But if you’re like me, you probably struggle at times. I imagine there are some things you “didn’t learn in seminary” that you wish you had. I bet you wish you had...

Our Deadly Obsession with Celebrity Culture

Our Deadly Obsession with Celebrity Culture

Evangelicals have a deadly problem. Our obsession with celebrity culture is a cancer destroying our churches from the inside out. You can see this obsession on display in a number of places. For one thing, every celebrity or an athlete who mentions God or stands up...

Seven Reasons I’m Thankful for Hospital Visits and Funeral Services

Seven Reasons I’m Thankful for Hospital Visits and Funeral Services

I don’t know many pastors who took up preaching because they loved preaching funerals. That certainly wasn’t on my radar as a seminary student. I also don’t know many pastors who genuinely enjoy making hospital visits. People tell me all the time they hate hospitals....

Five Surprisingly Effective Ways to Improve Your Preaching

Five Surprisingly Effective Ways to Improve Your Preaching

I am a pastor who loves to preach. I find joy in proclaiming God’s Word to people. The thrill of watching people’s eyes light up as the truth of God comes to life is addictive. There are just few things that compare. So when I see articles and posts on preaching, I am...

Should We Seek to Burn Out for Jesus?

Should We Seek to Burn Out for Jesus?

Good Intentions Can’t Save You from Burnout I love energetic, ambitious, zealous young Christian men. What a gift to the church they are! And I want them to do whatever their vocation leads them to do—go for it. However, there are dangers if you make unwise choices....

A Plea for Holistic Christianity

A Plea for Holistic Christianity

What Is to Blame for Burnout? In a survey (see the infographic) conducted by Crossway last fall, 76% of men and 88% of women admitted that they had experienced burnout for a significant period of time. Of those who experienced burnout, 31% of men and 26% of women...

Preaching Christ So The Spirit Will Fall

Preaching Christ So The Spirit Will Fall

There is a famous story that relates to the ministry of Charles Spurgeon, but it is really a story about the ministry of the Holy Spirt. As a young man, Spurgeon was invited to speak at the Crystal Palace in London. It was a massive venue that held over twenty...

The Roller Coaster Effect of Ministry

The Roller Coaster Effect of Ministry

I recently listened to one of the fathers of our denomination speak about the “ups and downs” that he was experiencing in ministry. This man had planted a church in the PCA (which he subsequently pastored for many decades), oversaw quite a number of church plants out...

Picking Up Sticks in the Service of Jesus

Picking Up Sticks in the Service of Jesus

One of the perennial problems of the fallen human condition is that men and women love to serve when there is respect, reputation and remuneration involved, and not serve when it involves what they perceive to be a menial task done out of the sight of the prying and...

Five Necessary Steps in a Call of God

Five Necessary Steps in a Call of God

Introduction to the Reading In risky times, God is getting our attention. Sometimes we think of surprises in our lives as the interruptions of life. But there can be no journey of Biblical faith without a divine interruption in our lives. And there can be no beginning...

5 Biblical Portraits of Biblical Counselors, Part 2

5 Biblical Portraits of Biblical Counselors, Part 2

In my last two posts, I’ve pondered the relationship between truth and love in biblical counseling. You can read the first post at Truth and Love: Sharing Scripture and Soul. You can read the second post at 5 Biblical Portraits of the Biblical Counselor.   Couplets In...

Five Biblical Portraits of the Biblical Counselor

Five Biblical Portraits of the Biblical Counselor

In my previous post, Truth and Love: Sharing Scripture and Soul, I addressed the question, “Does the Bible teach that in biblical counseling relationships are tertiary?” I was responding, in part, to a blog post I had read by a fellow biblical counselor, Donn Arms,...

Truth and Love: Sharing Scripture and Soul

Truth and Love: Sharing Scripture and Soul

Truth and Love: Sharing Scripture and Soul I recently read a blog post by my fellow biblical counselor, Donn Arms, that described well the importance of relationships in biblical counseling: “Now, of course, nouthetic counselors understand the importance of building...

Care for One Another in a Manner Worthy of the Gospel

Care for One Another in a Manner Worthy of the Gospel

Over the past week, we’ve been considering how to fight against ministry burnout. My prayer is that this series has been helpful for you and caused you to see where the Lord might want to do work in your own heart and life. I know writing this series of articles has...

Accountability, Friendship, and the Gospel

Accountability, Friendship, and the Gospel

Over the last two posts, we’ve considered the problem of ministry burnout and rest and renewal in Christ. Today we’re going to explore our ongoing need of the gospel, friendship, and accountability. My Ongoing Need of the Gospel In August of this year, I will have...

Resting in and Being Renewed by Christ

Resting in and Being Renewed by Christ

Introduction In the first installment of this series, I shared my own story of ministry burnout, and we learned that the root of ministry burnout is unbelief. In today’s article, we will discover what it means to rest in and be renewed by Christ. A survey of 1,220...

My Story of Ministry Burnout: Idolatry, Unbelief, and the Gospel

My Story of Ministry Burnout: Idolatry, Unbelief, and the Gospel

Fairly recently Lifeway Research conducted an in-depth examination of the problem of ministry burnout and concluded through its research that only ten percent of pastors left the ministry because of burnout.[i] Whether it’s ten percent or more, ministry burnout is an...

What Biblical Counseling is NOT: Simply Spiritual

What Biblical Counseling is NOT: Simply Spiritual

What Biblical Counseling is NOT: Simply Spiritual At some level all our problems are theological. A more controversial statement cannot be made in the realm of counseling, but it's a statement that I truly believe. Since we live in God's world everything about us, our...

What Biblical Counseling is NOT: Sin-Obsessed

What Biblical Counseling is NOT: Sin-Obsessed

What Biblical Counseling is NOT: Sin-Obsessed I have been looking at some of the characterizations of Biblical Counseling over the last several weeks. There are many to consider, but I have limited myself to the most serious and most common. This critique today argues...

Biblical Counseling Is Not Anti-Medicine

Biblical Counseling Is Not Anti-Medicine

I am a biblical counselor. I spend most of my day working with others to evaluate their problems, strategize for change, and seek wisdom from God’s Word. I love what I do, but what I do is different from many of the dominant models of counseling. Biblical counseling’s...

Three Ways to Let the Fire of the Sermon Warm Your Own Heart

Three Ways to Let the Fire of the Sermon Warm Your Own Heart

I have preached a lot of sermons. I may only be 36 years old, but I have been preaching for fourteen years. Over those years I have preached multiple sermons per week. It is safe to say I have logged some significant preaching hours. One of the biggest lessons I have...

Strategic Issues in Counseling: Consider the Age of Your Counselee

Strategic Issues in Counseling: Consider the Age of Your Counselee

Time changes us all. Or rather, we all change over time. As a young man I was impetuous and impulsive, but over time I find myself much more careful, slow to act even. As a young man I was far more gregarious and extroverted, but now I tend to be more introverted. The...

Too Tired to Care

Too Tired to Care

During my law enforcement career, my comrades and I were repeatedly instructed to use caution when responding to an emergency call because, as the saying went, you were no good to anyone and a drain on available resources if you were involved in a vehicle crash on the...

Stuck in a Rut: Responding to Emotional and Spiritual Inflexibility

Stuck in a Rut: Responding to Emotional and Spiritual Inflexibility

By the time couples, individuals, and parents make their way to the counseling table, they often consider themselves to be stuck in patterns of thinking and doing that seem unalterable. For the biblical counselor, identifying not only the symptoms (presenting issues)...

Taking Every Thought Captive

Taking Every Thought Captive

“I’m stuck, and I feel like God’s nowhere to be found.” “I can’t get over how they treated me—like I’m something less than human.” “There’s no hope for me. I’m sorry I’ve wasted your time.” “This is just God’s will for me. There’s no use in praying.” I frequently hear...

Finding Hope in Gospel-Centered Counseling

Finding Hope in Gospel-Centered Counseling

In my years of work as both a police officer and now a biblical counselor, I have found that one common thread running through most, if not all interactions with people seeking help is their desire for hope. Whatever circumstance they face, they seek the assurance...

The Centrality of Hope in Counseling Biblically

The Centrality of Hope in Counseling Biblically

In my years of work as both a police officer and now a biblical counselor, I have found that one common thread running through most, if not all interactions with people seeking help is their desire for hope. Whatever circumstance they face, they seek the assurance...

Thoughts On The Rise And Fall Of Pastors

Thoughts On The Rise And Fall Of Pastors

His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful. But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God. (2 Chronicles 26:15-16) In the past year, five of my friends who are pastors have...

Five Pitfalls for Young Leaders

Five Pitfalls for Young Leaders

I'm young, leading my family as a husband and father of four, through the ERLC (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC), and as an pastor/author/writer/blogger. The world gets excited about young leadership, but quite often young leaders make mistakes...

Three Keys to Saying and Doing the Hard Things in Ministry

Three Keys to Saying and Doing the Hard Things in Ministry

It was John Lydgate (followed by Abraham Lincoln and Bob Marley) who said something that all ministers must understand and take to heart: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of...

10¢ Moments; $10 Conversations

10¢ Moments; $10 Conversations

Small talk is one of my least favorite things ever. Most introverts like myself say they don’t like small talk because it forces them to step out of their shell and talk to people. They want to do as little talking as possible, especially about nominal matters like...

Four Essentials for Building Consensus

Four Essentials for Building Consensus

There are really two types of leaders: Those who attempt to force their way on the people they lead and those who work to get maximum consensus before making big decisions. The former can achieve small successes in the short run, but ultimately fail to achieve their...

Five Ways to Have a Marathon Mentality for Ministry

Five Ways to Have a Marathon Mentality for Ministry

I was always better at sprinting than running long distance--back in the days when I actually ran...in high shcool. My wife, by way of contrast, was and is a marathon runner. One of the things that I've noticed as I have watched her run over the years is that she...

The Controlled Fire of Passionate Preaching

The Controlled Fire of Passionate Preaching

The Controlled Fire of Passionate Preaching The summers in East Texas are miserable. They are dry, humid, and downright unbearable at times. As a result, it is common to be placed on a “burn ban” for fear that a fire would start an out of control blaze. An out of...

Preaching and Hard Work

Preaching and Hard Work

Editor’s note: This is an eight part series by Charlie on expository preaching. In his first post Charlie looked at the essential element of good preaching. In his second post Charlie looked at preaching to glorify God and transform lives. In his third post, he looks...

Developing Genuine Love for the People

Developing Genuine Love for the People

Editor’s note: This is an eight part series by Charlie on expository preaching. In his first post Charlie looked at the essential element of good preaching. In his second post Charlie looked at preaching to glorify God and transform lives. In his third post, he looks...

Pursuing a Life of Holiness

Pursuing a Life of Holiness

Editor’s note: This is an eight part series by Charlie on expository preaching. In his first post Charlie looked at the essential element of good preaching. In his second post Charlie looked at preaching to glorify God and transform lives. In his third post, he looks...

The Dirty Jobs Pastor

The Dirty Jobs Pastor

“I just wish I got to do what you—get paid to serve Jesus,” he said to me, with eyes betraying the wariness of facing another Monday under the hot sun. This longtime church member, who owned his own landscaping business, loved talking theology but could not see the...

Pastoring Your Family

Pastoring Your Family

I have yet to meet a young man who enters the ministry with the intention to neglect his family. No one begins this way. However, some come to the end of their ministry and their greatest regret is how they led their family. We are not pastoring our church well if we...

Communion with God

Communion with God

Editor’s note: This is an eight part series by Charlie on expository preaching. In his first post Charlie looked at the essential element of good preaching. In his second post Charlie looked at preaching to glorify God and transform lives. In his third post, he looks...

Preaching the Actual Words of the Word of God

Preaching the Actual Words of the Word of God

Editor’s note: This is an eight part series by Charlie on expository preaching. In his first post Charlie looked at the essential element of good preaching. In his second post Charlie looked at preaching to glorify God and transform lives. In his third post, he looks...

Four Practical Ways to Faithfully Shepherd God’s People

Four Practical Ways to Faithfully Shepherd God’s People

“You need to know your people and they need to see you as their pastor. It’s important.” Bill said this to me on the weekend before I was installed as pastor. Bill was in his late seventies at the time. I was not yet thirty. “Everyone today says that visits are a...

The Word of God Effects Transformation

The Word of God Effects Transformation

Editor’s note: This is an eight part series by Charlie on expository preaching. In his first post Charlie looked at the essential element of good preaching. In his second post Charlie looked at preaching to glorify God and transform lives. Today he looks at how the...

Preaching to Glorify God and Transform Lives

Preaching to Glorify God and Transform Lives

Editor’s note: This is an eight part series by Charlie on expository preaching. In his first post Charlie looked at the essential element of good preaching. Today he looks at preaching to glorify God and transform lives....

The Essential Elements of Good Preaching

The Essential Elements of Good Preaching

The Essential Elements of Good Preaching I believe in sequential, expository preaching, so much so that I wrote an entire book about it entitled Preach the Word: Why I’m Passionate About Expository Preaching (Xulon Press: 2012). In the first two sections of the book I...

The Pastor’s Personal Holiness

The Pastor’s Personal Holiness

Robert Murray McCheyne famously said, “The greatest need of my people is my personal holiness.” Now, before the critiques are lobbed at McCheyne for having too-high a view of pastors, let’s be clear, McCheyne is not implying he is more important than Christ. This is...

Three Important Ways for Pastors to Build Trust

Three Important Ways for Pastors to Build Trust

What is the most important character trait for a pastor? A preaching gift? Theological education? Leadership skills? Vision? Communication saavy? A shepherd’s heart? All of these things are important and essential for the ministry, but none of them will be used...

The Affection-Driven Ministry

The Affection-Driven Ministry

The Affection-Driven Ministry When I entered into ministry I was driven by a desire to see a vision accomplished. My eyes had been radically opened to the glories of Christ. I was 23 years old and eager to help others see what God, by grace, had shown me. I had...

The Dangerous Task of Expository Preaching

The Dangerous Task of Expository Preaching

Since the inception of the Church on the day of Pentecost, the “sermon” has been a central part to the worship experience. The history of the sermon is quite intriguing. The communication of ancient wisdom and tradition passed down and delivered into the hearts and...

Discouragement in Ministry

Discouragement in Ministry

Anyone who has labored in ministry for any period of time knows that a consistent companion accompanies ministry. This companion raises its head for moments, days, months, and even years. It can threaten our joy, steal our delight, and hinder our zeal. What is this...

A Fruitful Ministry

A Fruitful Ministry

If there’s one subject with which the mind of a minister is often engaged it is that which is framed by the question, “How do I know that I have been fruitful in ministry?” Fruitfulness in ministry is deeply important to those who have given their lives in service to...

Six Helpful Reasons for Extemporaneous Preaching

Six Helpful Reasons for Extemporaneous Preaching

When first preparing for ministry, I would sometimes try to envision the Apostles standing before a great crowd of people about to preach one of the sermons that we find recorded in the book of Acts. Peter would subtly slip his hand into his pocket, pull out a sheet...

Eight Ways to Handle Contentions in the Church

Eight Ways to Handle Contentions in the Church

Most of the New Testament was written with a view to dealing with sin and controversy in the church. I have often taken comfort from the fact that the churches planted by the Apostles were fraught with contentions and controversy–it is a reminder that such challenges...

Four Kinds of Pastors

Four Kinds of Pastors

About five years into the pastorate–trying to discern my own weaknesses and deficiencies–I started to realize that there are essentially four kinds of men (the lazy pastor aside) who labor in pastoral ministry–“the Idealist,” “the Visionary,” “the Worker Bee” and “the...

Five Reflections from a Young Pastor

Five Reflections from a Young Pastor

On a September Sunday morning in 2013, I stood in front of a small traditional church in East Texas to preach in view of a call. I took as my text Romans 1:1-7 and preached the gospel from it. After I exited the pulpit, my wife and I stepped out of the sanctuary so...

Six Principles for Small Group Facilitating

Six Principles for Small Group Facilitating

Facilitating a church small group is sometimes far more challenging than one might imagine. There are, what sometimes feels like, set patterns that frustrate the outcome. Add to this the fact that there are unique challenges with which you will be faced when you are...

Being Misunderstood for the Kingdom

Being Misunderstood for the Kingdom

I learned very quickly that I had a choice. Either I could constantly invoke my inner attorney to give myself legal defense, or I could invite misunderstanding and let that be okay. Sure, there’s a tension and wisdom that tells us both responses may be done with a...

Relationships the Currency of Ministry

Relationships the Currency of Ministry

On Sunday I celebrate fifteen years of leading Servants of Grace, by God’s grace. I wish I could say that this journey has been easy, but I’d be lying. Anyone who has been in ministry, for any length of time, knows that the work is hard, often intense, and demanding....

Hope for Pastors Part Two

Hope for Pastors Part Two

Depression can be debilitating. It can make the seemingly simplest of tasks seem like scaling Mount Everest. Finding ways to persevere through these seasons can be immensely helpful in the long run. In this post, I’m going to outline a few of the practical ideas that...

Hope for Depressed Pastors

Hope for Depressed Pastors

Recent research has suggested that pastors/clergy suffer from depression at a rate higher than most Americans. This has always been mere information for me; something I knew was probably true but couldn’t speak to with any real knowledge. Sure, I had been sad plenty...

Leading from Bitterness

Leading from Bitterness

A few years ago I read a few books on the life of President Richard Nixon. I have always been interested in American history, especially Presidential history. I’m fascinated by the inside look at leadership at the top levels. But the one enduring lesson I gleaned from...

The Surprising Fruit of Balance

The Surprising Fruit of Balance

It would be hard to find a more boring word in ministry circles than “balance.” There is a lot of talk about being “radical”, “edgy”, “relevant”, etc. But balance sounds rather unhip. But I’m finding this word may be the key to lifelong, steady, sustained ministry...

Ministry is a Tough and Light Burden

Ministry is a Tough and Light Burden

One of the greatest joys I have every day is waking up knowing that the work the Lord has given me is unending. I will never for the rest of my life run out of work to do. That is a joy knowing that but it is also overwhelming. The other day a friend of mine and I...

Five Resolutions for a Christian Communicator

Five Resolutions for a Christian Communicator

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the calling of a Christian communicator. This could be your duties as a writer, whether blogs or books or articles. Or it could be your task as a preacher or teacher, whether in small group, pulpit ministry, or classroom. To...

Disciplined Reading for the Glory of God

Disciplined Reading for the Glory of God

In the section on ‘The Manner of This Oversight’ in the Reformed Pastor, Richard Baxter makes the profound statement, “Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow.” The pursuit of sound biblical knowledge ought to be the goal of every Christian,...

Ten Reasons Ministry Isn’t for Wimps

Ten Reasons Ministry Isn’t for Wimps

The blessings of ministry far outweigh the realities below; however, ministry is definitely not easy. Don’t waste your time and money going to seminary or college for pastoral training if you are not prepared for the negative aspects of ministry mentioned below....

Seven Ways Pastors are to Feed the Flock of God

Seven Ways Pastors are to Feed the Flock of God

If you are a pastor, you cannot escape the unmistakeable call of spiritual leaders, in the New Testament to “feed the flock of God”: Jesus commissioned Peter to do “feed my sheep”, no less than three times, in that famous scene on the shores of Galilee (John 21:15-19)...

Three Thoughts to Consider Before You Enter Ministry

Three Thoughts to Consider Before You Enter Ministry

Matthew 10:38-39, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” Has God called you to the ministry? After being raised by Christian parents and...

Three ways to share the gospel in the midst of hostility

Three ways to share the gospel in the midst of hostility

It should not surprise any mature believer that the good news of Christ does not seem like good news to the hearer—while it does reveal the love of God, in reality it brings conviction and an awakening that is generally not accepted in an intolerant world—it’s always...

And “That Guy” Enters Your Life

“That Guy” is such a popular phrase these days and it’s a term many of us have used — mostly in the context of not wanting to be “That Guy.” What do I mean by “That Guy”? Who is “That Guy”? For the sake of this article I sum him up in four fitting words: Male Hermione...

10 Marks of What Pastors Do

You might be wondering if you are called to ministry. You might be wondering if the pastor at your church is called to ministry. You might be wondering how do I find a church that has a qualified pastor. Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum, you’ll find this...

Be Spent For The Gospel

Be Spent For The Gospel

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 With these words the great Apostle Paul gives his last instructions to his beloved disciple Timothy. Paul had experienced an immense amount of persecution (2 Corinthians...

3 Reasons Why a Church Wants a Good Preacher and Not a Good Pastor

I thought it would be informing to help identify what the differences are between preachers and pastors. This is not exhaustive, just a basic look at how and why some churches choose to pick the person who fills the pulpit. Also, this will provide a reason why so many...

4 Reasons the Trinity Should Be Part of Your Preaching

When we speak of God in the pulpit, we should speak of the Trinity. When we speak of the Father, Son or Holy Spirit, we should speak of God. We have a responsibility to teach the whole counsel of God, and to leave out the Trinity from our pulpit ministries is to leave...

5 Ways To Use Social Media To The Glory of God

In the past several years, the Church has seen social media explode. Before social media, there were forums, then groups, blogs, and now Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and the list goes on and on. I’ve been online since I was sixteen years old, and now that I am...

What does it mean to “One another” in the New Testament?

God created us to be in relationship with Himself and with others. In eternity there will only be two things apart from God: God's Word and God's children. The reality of this should challenge us to seek to have more God-honoring relationships now. There are over 50...

Three Kinds of Christians Who Should Always Keep Their Cool

I was struck this week as I studied 1 Peter 4:7-11 as part of our Exiles series at church. I was struck particularly by this phrase: “Be self-controlled and sober-minded.” (v 4 ESV). There are differing ways translators have translated this. HCSB says “Be serious and...

Bringing Men To Jesus

As Christians, we ought to bring all types of folks to Jesus. Following the pattern set forth in the Gospels, we ought to bring: The Sick Matthew 4:24 – “So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases...

The Gospel and Mentoring

The word "Gospel" is all over this blog, used in the title of countless books, used in an endless amount of sermons every Sunday morning, and generally not understood. I hear pastors over and over say that the key to changing is found in the power of the Gospel. And I...

Role Models and Cultural Decay: The Church’s Response

In 1984 when Michael Jackson and Madonna were blasting their way through the very large speakers of teenager’s boom boxes, girls my age were beginning to bare their shoulders–but only one–to emulate the new Flash Dance style that was sweeping the country. While I was...

What You Don’t Like About Your Church (And why that’s good)

I have this conversation quite often with members of my church and with believers outside of my church. It is usually sparked by a discussion of something this person doesn’t like about our church or about the church they attend. Now, let’s assume the disagreement is...

When A Pastor Loses His Pastor Pt. 3

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged in general and returned to my little series on “When A Pastor Loses His Pastor.” I hope to do both today. The passing of Roscoe Adams may end up being one of the most shaping influences of my life. Five months after he went to...

What Pastoring Taught Me About Spiritual Growth

As a lifelong Christian, I’ve always known the importance of spiritual growth. But when I became a pastor, suddenly my ideas about this were bigger than simply what was going on in my life. As an undershepherd of God’s people, now the spiritual growth of other people...

When A Pastor Loses His Pastor Pt. 2

The weeks after Roscoe died were a blur. When I started to find something resembling normalcy the summer was upon us. Lisa and I have a tradition with our oldest two kids- to watch a classic movie series from our own childhood together. Having knocked out The Karate...

When A Pastor Loses His Pastor Pt. 1

April 22, 2012 has now become one of the most important dates of my life. My mentor, pastor and spiritual father, Roscoe Adams, went home suddenly to be with the Lord. How a black man who grew up in the segregated Deep South (old enough to be my father) would be come...

Speaking the Truth in Love and Apologetics

The past decade or so has seen perhaps the greatest increase in information the world has ever known. The internet is loaded with good information and also information that isn’t helpful. Christians are thrust into this environment as we have been called by Jesus to...

Killing the Jerk Gene in Leadership

In a defense of polarizing NBA superstar, Lebron James, sportswriter, Rick Reilly wrote this: You think of the great athletes of our generation -- Jordan, Woods, Lance Armstrong. They all had a bit of the jerk gene in them. James is missing it. He is loved by his...

5 Leadership Lessons I’ve Learned in 4 Years

I'm nearing my fourth years as Senior Pastor at Gages Lake Bible Church, which means I'm just beginning. I'm still learning. John Maxwell need not fear. I won't be dethroning him from the position of Leadership Guru anytime soon. However, being on the job has taught...

Organization, the Organism, and Serving

Organization, the Organism, and Serving Orthodox Presbyterian Pastor and author R.B Kuiper, in his book The Glorious Body of Christ, writes that an organism “is something that is alive, as a plant, or animal or the human body. An organization although consisting of...

Equipping the Church to Serve on Sunday

  If we want people to worship through serving, we need to examine our methods for how we develop servants in the local church. With some exceptions, we can expect the level of involved worship in our Sunday service teams to be equal to the level of effort spent...

The Essential Activity of Christian Ministry

Introduction The essential task of Christian ministry is for the disciple of Christ to be, know, declare, and glorify God in thought, word, and deed. Dr. Mitchell after much study on the words “follow” and “disciple” in the New Testament concludes that the conditions...

The Meaning of Missional

Much conversation today in evangelical circles revolves around what it means to be missional. Many books, articles, sermons, and ministries all subscribe to misssional thinking. Being missional means the believer will be intentional about living for Jesus as a...