Sermon preparation and the bivocational pastor

One of the biggest challenges bivocational pastors face is finding adequate time for sermon preparation. Our congregations expect to hear something fresh and engaging every Sunday. They aren’t going to give us a pass just because we spent most of the week trying to make a living.

Sure, you can burn the candle at both ends in order to get everything done, but that isn’t sustainable. If you’re going to make it for the proverbial “long haul,” you need a different strategy. Continue reading “Sermon preparation and the bivocational pastor”

The secret to a guaranteed harvest

Life and farming often mirror each other, a fact the Bible repeatedly exploits to illustrate spiritual principles. One of Jesus’ best known parables begins with, “A farmer went out to sow” (Matthew 13:3).

I’m not a farmer, but my parents have had a vegetable garden for as long as I can remember. Every spring, Dad would pull his gasoline-powered tiller out of the shed (we were too poor to own a garage) and prepare the soil for tomatoes, sweet corn, cabbage, and a host of other vegetables that mom would can in the fall. Continue reading “The secret to a guaranteed harvest”

Some people don’t want what you have

I’ve recently come to accept the following truth that seems obvious, but, sadly, often gets ignored: you can’t change people who don’t want to change.

In ministry and other professions focused on helping people, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that, if we present change in the proper light, or present it frequently enough, or eloquently enough, it will be irresistible. I suppose that assumption includes a bit of baked-in arrogance: the belief that we are compelling enough to change anyone.

Continue reading “Some people don’t want what you have”

It’s going to be alright

Are you trapped in negative circumstances that aren’t of your own making?

We all have been there. In those moments, it’s easy for our thoughts to be consumed by our problem. We go to bed thinking about our dilemma, and it’s the first thing on our mind in the morning. It’s easy to quickly become engrossed in a full-blown pity party.

Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Is God upset with me? What did I do wrong? Continue reading “It’s going to be alright”

5 ways you can support your pastor

You, the church member, have the ability to help lighten your pastor’s load. And trust me, your pastor is looking for all the support he can get.

Serving as a pastor can be very rewarding, but the position definitely has its fair share of frustrations. Shakespeare eloquently captured the essence of leadership when he wrote, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown” (Henry IV, Part II, Act III, Scene 1). Pastors certainly aren’t the equivalent of earthly kings: they bear the burden of responsibility without the perks of royalty. I’ve been a pastor for nearly four years, and, like Henry IV, I’ve had a few restless nights.

There are multiple ways you, the believer, can be a huge blessing your pastor – and it’s easier than you think. Here are five ways to get started. Continue reading “5 ways you can support your pastor”

Don’t camp in the wrong spot

If you enjoy camping, you know finding the right campsite often determines the difference between a miserable and a memorable experience.

My brother Nathan and I discovered this firsthand back in 2010, when we rented an SUV and took off on a road trip to Yellowstone National Park. We had dreamed about this adventure for a long time. We had been on many previous camping trips, but we felt certain this would top them all.

Continue reading “Don’t camp in the wrong spot”