Ten Poets Every Pastor Should Read (Part One)

I made you a mixtape. Let me explain. When I get to know someone in church ministry and it comes out at some point that I have a background in poetry, there’s usually just two responses. For some, it’s a polite pivot into safer conversational territory—so how about this weather we’ve been having, huh? But [...]

By | 2017-12-11T10:53:56+00:00 December 12th, 2017|Pastoral Ministry, Preaching, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Make a Christmas Wish List for Your Church

Before Thanksgiving, I had the chance to lead a webinar with the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others to talk about increasing generosity at the end of the year. As we’ve posted elsewhere, the end of the year brings challenges. You’ve got this year’s budget gaps, next year’s budget planning, end-of-the-year appeal letters—it’s [...]

House Calls: A Pastor’s Guide to Talking to Donors

It's the time of year when church leaders are starting to see lots of red—and it isn't always early Christmas decorations! Lots of churches have deficits they need to close by year's end. I have been there many (MANY) times. Sometimes, these gaps are relatively small. All you need is to remember to 'double December' [...]

By | 2017-11-15T14:09:42+00:00 November 16th, 2017|Generosity, Giving Up, Leadership, Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship|Comments Off on House Calls: A Pastor’s Guide to Talking to Donors

Trellises and Vines

The Church is a tended vine. The metaphor runs through all of scripture, from Isaiah 5 to John 15. It's our model for making disciples. But have we taken a moment to ask what we know about the plants themselves? Consider: Vines offer less to look at than perhaps any other plant. There's just no [...]

By | 2017-11-13T13:17:27+00:00 November 14th, 2017|Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Comments Off on Trellises and Vines

Stop Casting Vision

Though we love talking about 'casting vision', but often our 'vision' is just too big for anyone to grasp. It's too wide to take in and leaves people feeling overwhelmed and even paralyzed by possibilities. Barry Schwartz has some remarkable (and terrifying!) research about "the paradox of choice." When we are confronted by too many [...]

By | 2017-11-08T21:28:17+00:00 November 9th, 2017|Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Comments Off on Stop Casting Vision

What’s Wrong With My Letter?

Writing an Appeal Letter is about saying "will you" and then "thank you". A few years ago I had to do what every Rector or Sr. Pastor should do about this time of year: write a year-end appeal letter.  My church (Christ Church in Plano) was in the red for the year. Again. [...]

By | 2017-11-07T08:13:40+00:00 November 7th, 2017|Generosity, Giving Up, Pastoral Ministry|Comments Off on What’s Wrong With My Letter?

Hack Next Year’s Budget

It is that time of year again. Budget time! As pastors, leaders, vestries, and boards are wringing their hands about the close of this year, plans for next year are being drawn up. Over the years I developed a few ‘hacks’ for church leaders. I’ve collected a few of these tips, tricks, and rules of [...]

By | 2017-10-12T06:14:21+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Bible History, Generosity, Giving Up, Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship|Comments Off on Hack Next Year’s Budget

Discover Israel: Behold the Man

Every week or so, we will post about one of the sites on our upcoming Israel tours for pastors and everyone. The stories of these people and places in the Bible have the power to form us, first as humans made in the image of God, but also as servant leaders who have been called [...]

By | 2017-09-26T08:21:01+00:00 September 14th, 2017|Discover Israel, Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Comments Off on Discover Israel: Behold the Man

The Vital Role of the Small Church Leader

The mission of LeaderWorks is to help church leaders do their work. In that effort, James K.A. Smith and Tim Keller have blessed us richly with their recent conversation in Comment Magazine. Church leaders who have just begun their ministries, whether planting a church or leading a small congregation, often feel frustrated by a lack [...]

By | 2017-09-01T10:13:54+00:00 September 5th, 2017|Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Comments Off on The Vital Role of the Small Church Leader

A Prayer on the National Day of Prayer

  Heavenly Father, hear our cry, O God; Please, in your mercy, attend to our prayer today. From the ends of the earth, from across this state, and all around this nation we call to you: Defend those who have lost much from all further fear and despair. Comfort all who mourn with the hope [...]

By | 2017-09-03T06:29:49+00:00 September 3rd, 2017|Liturgy & Worship, Pastoral Ministry, Prayer|Comments Off on A Prayer on the National Day of Prayer