LEADERWORKS BLOG 2017-09-01T06:44:17+00:00

LEADERWORKS BLOG

2509, 2017

“Next Year in Jerusalem”

By | September 25th, 2017|Categories: FaithPassage, Travel|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Stunning Evening in the Old City Next Year in Jerusalem "Next Year in Jerusalem" is a Jewish phrase with a long and deep history. You can read about it here, but the idea is self-evident.  It represents hope; the unfulfilled hope of the Jews and their desire to rebuild the Temple and make the Davidic kingdom a modern-day reality. But it has become a statement that I say to many of my friends in Israel when I leave every year. "Next year in Jerusalem." They smile and say it back. And both hope that it is going to be [...]

2009, 2017

The American Religious Landscape: A New Resource

By | September 20th, 2017|Categories: Culture|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

The Public Religion Research Institute just released an invaluable new resource to help church leaders see what’s been happening across the American religious landscape. Their American Values Atlas is an up-to-date, representative dataset drawn from over 100,000 interviews conducted in 2016. The breadth of the data allows church leaders to target the responses of specific states and even metro areas according to the questions used in the survey. These responses can be broken down even further into demographics. For example, with a few clicks, I learned that from 2013 to 2016 those who identified as Baptist in the Dallas metro [...]

1909, 2017

5-Day Inclusive Pre/PostGAFCON HOLY LAND TOURS

By | September 19th, 2017|Categories: Discover Israel, FaithPassage, Travel|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

The GAFCON Dates have been announced for June 2018 (17-22nd) and conference planning is underway.  Many will be coming to Jerusalem for the first time; some have been many times. I have been leading tours there for over 20 years, and many have asked me to organize excursions for GAFCON attendees before and after the official start of the GAFCON conference. Wait until you see what we have come up with! I am happy to announce that, in partnership with Imagine Tour and Travel, I am able to provide three amazing 5 day/4 night excursions for GAFCON attendees from North [...]

1809, 2017

Resurrect Houston

By | September 18th, 2017|Categories: Generosity|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

  When I saw the radar images of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on my laptop, the magnitude overwhelmed me. When I saw the images of canoes and kayaks floating down streets, with water lapping at the roofs of homes, the need overwhelmed me. Of course, it’s selfish to sit here and talk about being overwhelmed, knowing how many people in South Texas and Florida are only beginning the process of rebuilding. But I relate to this feeling in the most minor of ways—when I feel overwhelmed, I become paralyzed, not knowing where or how to start. Which is why I [...]

1409, 2017

Discover Israel: Behold the Man

By | September 14th, 2017|Categories: Discover Israel, Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

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 to join the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. Read more about how you can be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Holy Land that will Renew your Faith, Refresh your Ministry, and help you to Realize the Story. This week: [...]

1109, 2017

Sneak Peek: An Excerpt from Giving Up

By | September 11th, 2017|Categories: Giving Up|Tags: , , , , , , |1 Comment

I just can't wait for the release...here's an excerpt from the Introduction of my book, Giving Up: How Giving to God Renews Hearts, Changes Minds, and Empowers Ministry. Writing this book made me rethink how I understood church ministry—I hope reading it does the same for you! Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus lived a generous life. He noticed and commended the many generous people who gave sacrificially. He freely used the generous gifts of others who gave to his ministry. He borrowed the freely offered gift of the donkey colt at Passover and, as prophetically imagined, was laid in the borrowed [...]

709, 2017

I WALKED ON THE MOON…*

By | September 7th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

*...said only 12 people on earth. That's right. For all the technology that we have and all the money that has been spent on space travel...only 12 people have ever walked on the moon. This is the shot I took with my DSLR. For all the beauty of this barren satellite, I will never reach it. I've wanted to for all my life. I love the moon. I was out in the Arizona desert a few weeks ago when the moon rose up out of the desert floor.  It was stunning.  I had my camera and my tripod [...]

509, 2017

The Vital Role of the Small Church Leader

By | September 5th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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 of growth. No matter how much they may believe that the number of attendees isn’t the barometer of their success in ministry, there’s little that tangibly validates their tireless labor in the same way. Sometimes, they drift into a sense that their ministry has stalled, [...]

309, 2017

A Prayer on the National Day of Prayer

By | September 3rd, 2017|Categories: Liturgy & Worship, Pastoral Ministry, Prayer|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

  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 and promise of Your enduring presence. Uphold those who were first to act, to search, to rescue, and to save. Bless all who have given love, goods, hours, and resources to help strangers. Grant wisdom and insight to our leaders and officials to discern our [...]

109, 2017

Interview: Bishop Clark Lowenfield of Houston

By | September 1st, 2017|Categories: Generosity, Interview, MInistry|0 Comments

As we have heard the reports and seen the images coming out of Houston and South Texas, we don't always know how to process what's really happening on the ground. I had the great privilege to speak with my good friend and partner in ministry, the Right Reverend Clark Lowenfield, Bishop of the Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast. He also serves as the rector of HopePointe Anglican Church in The Woodlands, Texas. A photo from Bishop Lowenfield's neighborhood. This faithful bishop has lived and served through five hurricanes, and—as he told me—he has never seen anything like the devastation [...]

3008, 2017

Discover Israel: Renewal at Cana

By | August 30th, 2017|Categories: Discover Israel, FaithPassage, Travel|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

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 to join the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. Read more about how you can be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Holy Land that will Renew your Faith, Refresh your Ministry, and help you to Realize the Story. This week: [...]

3008, 2017

Five Ways To Help Houston

By | August 30th, 2017|Categories: Generosity, MInistry|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Note: Earlier this week, we posted some links that can help you and your church begin helping. Here is how you can begin empowering your congregation to serve this enormous need. Those of us on dry ground cannot fathom the devastation and loss caused by Hurricane Harvey. As much as the media has covered it, our minds cannot take it in. To help us truly fathom it, experts set up mind-blowing comparisons. Here are a few: Harvey has dumped trillions of gallons of water onto the city — enough to fill the Great Salt Lake twice over. Harvey dumped enough [...]

2808, 2017

Helping After Hurricane Harvey

By | August 28th, 2017|Categories: Generosity, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Helping After Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey is still dumping rain on the Houston metro area, and it will be some time before we know the extent of the destruction. As one, unified church we pray that God would continue to care for those who are in dire circumstances right now. In the coming days, we will understand more about the needs along the Texas coast. In the meantime, church leaders should begin preparing to serve. Find a point person in your community who will make contacts, gather a team of volunteers, and Marshall resources. Leaders should get organized so that the church can meet [...]

2408, 2017

Announcement: Giving Up is Coming Soon!

By | August 24th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, MInistry, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching, Stewardship, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , , , |4 Comments

It’s Ready After years of gathering ideas, studying Scripture, preaching “The Money Talk”, collecting three decades worth of wisdom...and months of writing and re-writing, the book is finished.  We took our final pass at it with our red pens and now it lives with the publisher and then onto the printer...and then I hope...to you! It should be available for pre-order on September 30. This book will help any pastor, church leader, or member rethink the vital issue of generosity and their own faith. It is inspirational—but also practical and timely. It is chock full of workable ideas that can be [...]

2208, 2017

The Formation Gap in the Information Age

By | August 22nd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|2 Comments

You may have seen Jean Twenge’s recent article in The Atlantic: “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” (Try not clicking on that title!) It’s an in-depth, troubling look at the habits and health of young people both before and after the ubiquity of the smartphone. I taught high school seniors for the last eight years. The researched claims in this article confirmed my own admittedly subjective observations. In the last four or five years, I watched as some of the very brightest students became anxious shells of themselves. For a long time, I chalked it up to rising pressures from college [...]

1608, 2017

Discover Israel: King Saul, Tragic Leader

By | August 16th, 2017|Categories: Bible History, FaithPassage, Leadership, MInistry, Travel|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Discover Israel: King Saul, Tragic Leader

Every week or so, we'll highlight one of the sites we'll visit on our upcoming Israel tours for pastors or for 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 to join the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. Read more about how you can be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Holy Land that will Renew your Faith, Refresh your Ministry, and help you to Realize the Story. This [...]

1408, 2017

Pastoral Resources and Responses to Charlottesville

By | August 14th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Culture, Leadership, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Pastoral Resources and Responses to Charlottesville

This weekend was a sobering reminder that the work of a church leader doesn’t exist in the isolation of a Sunday morning service or even the context of the local community. In the light of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, pastors should speak clearly and wisely with their parishes. Obviously, rhetoric alone is not enough—Christian communities will declare what they believe by their actions in the wake of this moment—but we have the pastoral responsibility to speak the truth in love and help those we serve to know how best to respond. It’s a challenging moment and a moment [...]

2707, 2017

Barista, Priest, and Planter

By | July 27th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, MInistry|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Barista, Priest, and Planter

What does it cost to plant and fund a church? Well...like so many other things, it depends.  But there is a four-word sentence that will answer the question squarely: MORE THAN YOU THINK. Here are a few factors that will affect the cost of a church plant: 1) Age/stage of the Planter; 2) Family size and needs. 3) Cost of Living in community 4) The size imagined for the church (larger churches take more up front money) and, 4) the availability of space and paid/unpaid staff.  But make no mistake, it is more than you think. Helpful Tools Some organizations [...]

2507, 2017

LeaderWorks Update

By | July 25th, 2017|Categories: FaithPassage, Leadership, Travel|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on LeaderWorks Update

Big Changes I am excited to announce a few big changes to LeaderWorks that will help leaders do their work. I have been mostly ‘radio’ silent on the blog for the past weeks for a few reasons:   I have been on vacation for 10 days in California.  What a place!  We’ve had an amazing time of refreshment and renewal. I can’t believe that this happened, but we even braved a day at Disneyland with grandkids. Fun. Hot. Crowded. But absolutely worth it! Secondly, I have been writing up a storm to finish my new (and first) book!  I pushed ‘SEND’ on [...]

2007, 2017

The First Question to Ask Before You Ask!

By | July 20th, 2017|Categories: Stewardship|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on The First Question to Ask Before You Ask!

Note:  All my life I have had to ask for money...and in the back of my mind has been a reluctance.  A guilt. How could I?  I'm taking away from them! But Alex Wilgus clears this up in the first few minutes of this video below. Simple wisdom. One of the great challenges for the church planting is finding funds. Questions like, "What does it actually cost to plant a church?" will trouble the mind and the waking thoughts of every planter.  They might go here to read about the variables involved. The Barna Group has a thorough approach here. [...]

1407, 2017

Tourism in Israel on the Rise

By | July 14th, 2017|Categories: Bible History, Leadership, MInistry, Travel, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Tourism in Israel on the Rise

I received a note yesterday that tourism from the United States to Israel is growing—and not just by a little bit. Compared to 2015 and 2016, tourism to Israel is up 20% from January to June. So far this year, 400,000 Americans have travelled to Israel—90,000 in the month of June alone. What is it that continues to draw people to discover this place? Maybe you should find out for yourself. Travel with LeaderWorks to the Holy Land in January 2018, either as part of our Pastor Tour or on our Israel for Everyone Tour. Both trips are led by [...]

1307, 2017

Introducing Our New Assistant Director

By | July 13th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , , |1 Comment

Thanks to a generous supporter of LeaderWorks, we would like to announce our new Assistant Director, the Rev. Kolby Kerr. Kolby is a fantastic young priest in our ACNA and will add greatly to what LeaderWorks is able to offer. You’ll be hearing a lot from him on the blog, so I wanted to give him a chance to introduce himself. A word from Kolby First, I want to say just how grateful I am to be a part of LeaderWorks. To think that I could help church leaders through an organization like this is something I could not have imagined [...]

1006, 2017

The Trinity

By | June 10th, 2017|Categories: Theology|Tags: , , |Comments Off on The Trinity

It was the whole Trinity, which at the beginning of creation said, "Let us make man". It was the whole Trinity again, which at the beginning of the Gospel seemed to say, "Let us save man". -- J. C. Ryle The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. --The Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 13:14) Because the Christian God is not a lonely God, but rather a communion of three persons, faith leads human beings into the divine communion. One cannot, however, have a self-enclosed communion [...]

206, 2017

What They are Saying about Pentecost

By | June 2nd, 2017|Categories: Liturgy & Worship, MInistry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on What They are Saying about Pentecost

Pentecost Since the days of Pentecost, has the whole church ever put aside every other work and waited upon Him for ten days, that the Spirit’s power might be manifested? We give too much attention to method and machinery and resources, and too little to the source of power. – J. Hudson Taylor It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge and my job to love. ― Billy Graham The dove descending breaks the air With flame of incandescent terror Of which the tongues declare The one discharge from sin and error. The only [...]

3005, 2017

Meet RD Glenn: What Would Cranmer Do?

By | May 30th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Interview, Leadership, MInistry|Tags: , , |1 Comment

The Rev. Ray David Glenn and I are friends.  We have known each other since 2010.  When his wife died suddenly seven years ago, he and I became even closer. (For reasons I cannot explain, RD is the ONLY person I ever routinely Facetime with. It cannot be that actually wants to see me. But I think he is that relational; he has a very, very high Emotional Quotient.) We have had lots of Facetime over the years about grief, loneliness, family, his wonderful son, his love for his affianced, the challenges of the culture, Anglicanism, and the work he [...]

2705, 2017

Why Christians Should Honor Memorial Day

By | May 27th, 2017|Categories: Liturgy & Worship, MInistry, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |3 Comments

Civil Religion? Memorial Day is a date on the civil calendar when the nation can (and should) honor the men and women who died in battle on behalf of our nation. The weekend has come to signify things of far less significance: the opening of the public pool, the start of summer, the firing up of the backyard grill, and a day off. But all Americans...and particularly American Christians...should stop and think deeply about this weekend, include comments and prayers about it in our worship services, and pastor our nation as we remember those who died in battle. Really? In honest conversation with younger [...]

2405, 2017

What Happens to Donald Trump’s Prayer

By | May 24th, 2017|Categories: Bible History, FaithPassage, Prayer, Travel|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on What Happens to Donald Trump’s Prayer

I was filled with memories and hope when I saw our President and the Prime Minister of Israel walking together. They both seems happy...or happier that I have seen the Prime Minister and a US President in a long time. God only knows what will come of it...and what will come of the prayer that President Trump prayed at the Western Wall. (He left a little note in the wall, as is the custom.) We are told that the President wanted to go alone to the Wailing Wall, the Western Wall, to have a private moment in prayer. (He has [...]

2405, 2017

Pastors & Presidents Walk in His Steps

By | May 24th, 2017|Categories: Pastoral Ministry, Travel|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Pastors & Presidents Walk in His Steps

The images from the President's trip to the Holy Land brought the memories back...in an instant. Pastors & Presidents walk in His steps. The feel of the Western Wall, the courtyard entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the beautiful and unforgettable Middle-East vistas. It is a remarkable place to which every practicing Christian minister should go. Last January, my wife and I took a group of Pastors and Spouses to the Holy Land on a Familiarization Trip. We are going again and you are invited. If you are a leader in the church, a teacher of the Bible, a [...]

2305, 2017

The Reformation Anglicanism Essential Library

By | May 23rd, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Interview, Leadership, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on The Reformation Anglicanism Essential Library

Edition ONE Released Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, The Rev. Dr. Jensen, The Rev. Dr. John Yates, III, Dr. Ashley Null, and Bishop Ben Kwashi--these are the modern day Anglican scholars and bishops that are teaming together to write a 6-volume work on Reformation Anglicanism. The first edition is out (The Reformation Anglicanism Essential Library, Volume 1). And it is great! An Interview with an Editor A few weeks ago I sat down with John Yates, III, one of the editors of the series (along with Ashley Null). John is the Rector of Holy Trinity Church in Raleigh, a graduate of Trinity [...]

1805, 2017

A Moving Experience

By | May 18th, 2017|Categories: Culture, Interview, MInistry|Tags: , |Comments Off on A Moving Experience

There is a great story to be told about Christ Church located in Austin and the leadership decision their 'daughter' church made a few years back. Their decision addressed a great question for all of us today: Is a church an amenity to our lifestyle, or much more?  If it is all about 'location, location, location,' what decision do you make to move a church away from your own neighborhood?  Here is the story that I have gleaned. Retirement Ministry A few years ago, Christ Church, Austin, under the direction of Fr. Cliff Warner, sent out a group of people to start a daughter [...]

1605, 2017

You’re Not Alone

By | May 16th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Leadership, Matthew 25, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on You’re Not Alone

“I feel so alone” is what we most often hear from Anglicans serving in ministries of justice and mercy. The work is discouraging. Our resources are never enough. Personal lives feel the toll. Our spiritual lives are stretched as we wonder if God is big enough for the suffering we hold each day. The good news is: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are many Anglicans in North America who are serving our vulnerable, marginalized, and under-resourced neighborhoods. Neighborhoods who are grappling with issues of racial justice, homelessness, immigration, refugees, at risk children and youth, substance abuse, the penitentiary system, restorative [...]

1005, 2017

Ten Thoughts for the Mother’s Day Sermon

By | May 10th, 2017|Categories: Pastoral Ministry, Preaching|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Ten Thoughts for the Mother’s Day Sermon

Motherhood is one of the most fundamental human roles, given by God and knit into our DNA. Hallmark’s calendar doesn’t dictate our preaching, but this particular holiday seems worth some attention. Some Mother's Day Sermon tips are listed below and can be developed into whole sermons; others are just words of advice. Use this list to re-imagine how you could approach this subject and move past “Thanks, dear. Here’s your card?” A Higher Love: While we rightly honor the unique bond between a mother and child, our culture (and ourselves) often deify a mother’s love as sacred on its own accord. [...]

405, 2017

A Tour of Scotland

By | May 4th, 2017|Categories: Interview|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on A Tour of Scotland

Are you Scottish? Here is a test you can take.   Do you know Scottish? Gaelic? Do you know the recipe for haggis? (Don't ask. It is a traditional Scottish sausage made from a sheep's stomach stuffed with diced sheep's liver, lungs, and heart, oatmeal, onion, suet and seasoning.) They even have a song, an 'ode' to it. Robert Burns has an address to the sausage. CLICK HERE for more information about the Scotland Tour leaving August 8th But then there is the land, the people, the places, the kilts, the history, and the great story of faith that we will explore this [...]

205, 2017

How a Tattoo Reveals More than Flesh and Ink?

By | May 2nd, 2017|Categories: Interview|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

… we started talking about tattoos and why so many of his generation have them. He explained it to me and showed me his. A few weeks ago I was in the Pittsburgh area doing to work with the Matthew 25 initiative. After one of the interviews, I talked with The Rev. Charles Treichler of South Side Anglican Church. He hinted at a topic that I wanted to explore further, so I invited him to stay around and take a few questions in another video. I wanted to explore how he reaches the ‘millennial’ group in his neighborhood. That conversation [...]

2504, 2017

Weightier Matters: Justice and Mercy

By | April 25th, 2017|Categories: Matthew 25, Theology|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on Weightier Matters: Justice and Mercy

Matthew25i.org continues to widen its reach within our denomination.  Readers will remember that M25i is a 'fund' whose sole purpose is to 'kick-start' mercy and justice ministries in churches and dioceses in the US and in Canada. The Rev. David Hanke, Rector, Restoration Church in Arlington, VA I have written about its origins here. Indeed, LeaderWorks has been working on developing the funding and the delivery lines.  Applications are available here. And the deadline for submission is May 15th. And finally, there is The Gathering in Scottsdale, Arizona in September for Matthew 25 workers. (Go here for more information and [...]

1204, 2017

The Whiplash of Holy Week

By | April 12th, 2017|Categories: Bible History, Prayer, Preaching|Tags: , , |Comments Off on The Whiplash of Holy Week

Holy Week is the "Week of Whiplash."  The highs in the Story of Palm Sunday are followed all too quickly by the shouts from the crowd calling for His death. Then He slow-walks the next days: from the Garden to the Courtyard to the Praetorium to the Streets to the Calvary Hill to the Cross to the End to the Tomb to the Burial, and then into silence... We know all of that...and yet we know that this Sunday is a celebration of hope and promise; the proclamation and display of the evidence of His victory that has been won. So [...]

1004, 2017

Ten Ways To Preach World’s Biggest Sermon

By | April 10th, 2017|Categories: Liturgy & Worship, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching, Uncategorized|Tags: , , |2 Comments

The Big Event Talk about pressure, the Resurrection is the biggest event in the history of the world. People will flock to churches this Sunday from all different persuasions and understandings about the Resurrection. The Gospel is very clear about the Resurrection…but the culture today has morphed it into butterflies, spring lilies, and fertility symbols of eggs and bunnies. Therefore, this can make for a challenging Easter sermon! One of the thousands of crosses across the Holy Land I have kept notes over the years from preaching on Easter. Some of the sermons I am proud to have [...]

604, 2017

Holy Week and the Cross of Christ

By | April 6th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Liturgy & Worship, MInistry, Pastoral Ministry, Uncategorized|Tags: , |Comments Off on Holy Week and the Cross of Christ

Reflections about The Cross of Christ Here is a small collection of moving and provocative quotes and comments about the Cross and Holy Week that I have collected over the years. They are sermon starters, devotional nudges, and deep expressions of our faith and love of Jesus Christ and the Cross He endured. May the Lord richly bless you all in the Holy Week.  I am praying with and for all those who have the burden and joy of pastoral leadership and preaching. --DHR   Notes and Quotes about The Cross We sinned for no reason but an [...]

404, 2017

The Easter Bunny Can’t Handle the Truth

By | April 4th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Easter Bunny Can’t Handle the Truth

Last Spring Break I went to the area mall. It was teeming with people. Kids were everywhere. Families were shopping sales. Kiosks were jammed with goods. People carried all kinds of packages. It was a great day for commerce in North Texas. Except if you were the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny was going broke. The Easter Bunny display was set up in the highest traffic area of the mall. A white, knee-high picket fence formed the boundary of a fake yard display of artificial turf.  A lattice arbor arched over a resin w00d-like chair. Faux vines and flowers festooned the [...]

2803, 2017

Two Rectors Past and Present

By | March 28th, 2017|Categories: Interview, MInistry, Pastoral Ministry, Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Two Rectors Past and Present

Christ Church March marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the transition process at Christ Church. I remember it well.  I had asked the Vestry 9 months earlier to begin a search process for a new Rector. I was so thankful for their diligence and care throughout the process. Fran and I were very excited to see the process narrow down to a few likely candidates. Then, as Paul Donison was in the final stages of the call process it suddenly and irreversibly got real. A year ago this month, the announcement was made and the transition process began. (I [...]

2803, 2017

Pastor Tours to Israel, Neil Armstrong, and the Moon

By | March 28th, 2017|Categories: FaithPassage, Interview, Travel, Uncategorized|Tags: , |Comments Off on Pastor Tours to Israel, Neil Armstrong, and the Moon

These Guides are Good! Among all the people that I have met in Israel over the past 20 years, the guides are the most amazing to me. I have seen them in action on many different occasions over a period of 20 or more years. They do NOT disappoint. They will make or break a tourist experience in Israel. I have never had a bad experience with any of the guides I have used. They must do far more than just repeat facts and dates at a site.  And they are the language interface between Hebrew, Arabic, and English. They [...]

2303, 2017

Pastor Tour of Israel will Extend Your Ministry

By | March 23rd, 2017|Categories: FaithPassage, MInistry, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Pastor Tour of Israel will Extend Your Ministry

I am leading clergy tour (Pastor Familiarization Tour) to the Holy Land next January 10-19th, 2018. This will be my 21st trip to Israel and my 4th tour with my ordained colleagues. I can’t wait to share the power and beauty of Israel and to have you experience the visual feast that awaits. I have been able to secure an amazing price for those who are interested.  I only have a limited number of spaces to offer. If you have thought about it...pray about it...and then let's get going! (Exodus 14:15) Need to Know The trip is for active pastors [...]

2103, 2017

WATCH: Part 2 – A Call to Plant a Church

By | March 21st, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Interview, MInistry, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on WATCH: Part 2 – A Call to Plant a Church

A week ago I added a blog post featuring Shawn McCain and his church plant in Austin. He spoke about the vision he has for RezAustin and what it is like to work in a start-up church plant. As I mentioned in the post, Shawn is a great thinker. He is also, humble and clear in his views. Part 2: I wanted to press him further about the ceremonial aspects of the church plant. When I was there for Ash Wednesday it was crowded with young families and clouded with incense!  Those two things to do not often go together. So [...]

1903, 2017

Pastor Tour of Israel, January 2018

By | March 19th, 2017|Categories: Pastoral Ministry, Travel|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Pastor Tour of Israel, January 2018

Some call it "A Holy Land Tour" or a "Biblical Israel Tour", or an "Experience of the Fifth Gospel". But whatever you will call it, it is on your bucket list. And if you are an ordained leader, it has been on your bucket list for a long, long time.  And after a Pastor Tour of Israel, you will never be the same. I know. I have taken dozens of ministers and spouses who serve as pastors, preachers, seminary professors, theological students, missionaries, or ordained leaders in active service of the church. I have seen them 'in country', so to speak. [...]

1703, 2017

Raise a Glass and Propose a Toast for Patrick

By | March 17th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Culture, Theology|Tags: , |1 Comment

Raise a Glass Patrick was born in 380 AD in Scotland (probably).  As a teenager, he was kidnapped by wild Irish traders and brought to Northern Ireland as a slave.  It was this hardship that brought him to consider his own sins and his need for a Savior.  He writes in his Confession, “the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance.” Hard times [...]

1603, 2017

Patrick and the End of the World

By | March 16th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, FaithPassage, Travel|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Patrick and the End of the World

Last summer I led a group to Ireland on a Faith Passage tour. The Emerald Island is breathtaking. One day we drove to the furthest point west on the Dingle Peninsula. There, the wind-swept blue sea crashes on rocky cliffs. It is harsh and cold; vast and beautiful. We were at the end of the world, or at least the end of Patrick's world of the 4th  Century. He had been kidnapped by slave traders (in Britain) and sent to Ireland to work as a slave.  God only knows what that life was like. In his Confession, he speaks of the harsh weather and [...]

1403, 2017

WATCH: A Call to Plant a Church

By | March 14th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Interview, Liturgy & Worship, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on WATCH: A Call to Plant a Church

A week or so ago I had the chance to sit with one of the church planters in our diocese (C4SO) from the Austin area. Shawn is one of a growing number of young leaders that have sensed a strong call to ministry in the Anglican Church in North America. However, he's done more than that; he has answered a call to begin a new congregation. In church language, he is 'planting a church' in South Austin. Church of the Resurrection. RezAustin The members and visitors know it as RezAustin. It is a young church with young families that worship [...]

903, 2017

WATCH: Are Muslims Really Coming to Faith in Christ?

By | March 9th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Interview, Islam, Leadership, MInistry|Tags: , , |1 Comment

I met Duane Miller in Nazareth a few years ago through an odd and wonderful set of circumstances. He was finishing his PhD from the University of Edinburgh. He was helping to start and teach in a seminary teaching Arab Christian pastors and living among Muslims in Jesus' hometown. He is a ministry partner with Anglican Frontier Mission, an agency that reaches the Arab world. And is an Anglican. Go here for a very good summary of his academic career. His new book, "Living Among the Breakage" is a serious, well-researched, scholarly look at why Muslims are leaving their faith and [...]

803, 2017

Getting Sheepish

By | March 8th, 2017|Categories: Matthew 25, MInistry|Comments Off on Getting Sheepish

Getting a bit Sheepish? I have been getting a bit sheepish about the Matthew 25 Initiative. Over the last few months, as the background and preparation for the website were in the final stages of development, I began to see what the Lord was doing in me.  As I spoke to some of the leaders, I was as humbled and inspired as I was surprised. Programs that were meeting the needs of the poor and needy, the helpless and hopeless, were everywhere! Wow. I never knew of the heart and passion for this kind of work in every [...]

603, 2017

Matthew 25 Initiative Launches New Website

By | March 6th, 2017|Categories: Matthew 25, MInistry|Tags: , , |2 Comments

I am happy to announce that the Matthew 25 website is up and operational.  It has been a blessing to work with a wide number of people throughout the Anglican Church in North America to make this happen. We are all thankful to Archbishop Beach for the early vision behind this effort.  I have worked with a team of people around the Province.  In addition, many donors have stepped forward to provide the initial funding for this project, and as funds continue to be available, we will open up new phases of the application. So, we are set to go. [...]

103, 2017

This Man Rescued my Prayer Life

By | March 1st, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Interview, MInistry, Pastoral Ministry, Prayer|Tags: , , |Comments Off on This Man Rescued my Prayer Life

I have the joy of introducing Rev. Michael Jarrett and The Trinity Mission (thetrinitymission.org).  The Trinity Mission is an online audio podcast and website featuring a daily reading of the Daily Office, both Morning and Evening Prayer. Michael is its developer, its visionary and its voice. What a blessing this man and his website has been to me and to so many. The Trinity Mission will help you get started in a life of daily prayer. Access it yourself and see what a simple and convenient way of praying this website offers.  Come back every day...especially during the Season of [...]

2702, 2017

Burial At Sea

By | February 27th, 2017|Categories: FaithPassage, Liturgy & Worship, Pastoral Ministry, Travel, Uncategorized|Tags: , |1 Comment

Ashes, Ashes Tears filled Jessie's eyes when she took my hand one evening and said,  "I brought Derrick's ashes. Could we have a service tomorrow in one of these beautiful places around the Sea of Galilee?"  I knew her well. She was with her son on our trip to the Holy Land that her husband had wanted to go on. He died quite suddenly, and I had led his burial service eight months before. His son was escorting his mother on the trip to honor his dad. I was expecting some tears and sorrow along the way but not expecting [...]

1602, 2017

Getting Blown Away at Armageddon

By | February 16th, 2017|Categories: Bible History, FaithPassage, Travel|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

This is the Jezreel Valley, the Valley of Megiddo or Armageddon. On a clear day, you can see both the beginning of the Gospel and the end of the world. Like on most days on a Faith Passage tour, what you see will blow you away, especially when you look east from the top of Mt. Carmel. Mt. Carmel is at the northern end of a chain of small mountains that run up the coastline ending in the modern city of Haifa. Carmel means "God's Vineyard". When you stand on the mountain, the bible story rolls out like a [...]

1402, 2017

It Feels Like I’ve Come Home

By | February 14th, 2017|Categories: FaithPassage, MInistry, Travel|Tags: , , |Comments Off on It Feels Like I’ve Come Home

There is a remarkably common expression that Christians make when they land in Tel Aviv (Joppa). They say, "It feels like I've come home..."  The land where our Lord lived and loved and died and rose again is our home!  It is open for all Christians to visit and experience. This, without a doubt, is the most amazing trip you will ever take. Explore your faith Our first stop is usually in Caesarea Maritima which has a rich biblical connection. Cornelius, who had the vision of Peter having his vision, was stationed there. (Acts 10) In fact, Paul defended his life and [...]

2501, 2017

“Let Us Go The House of the Lord”

By | January 25th, 2017|Categories: Culture, Leadership, Travel|Tags: , |Comments Off on “Let Us Go The House of the Lord”

The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles (Mt. 4) HERE WE COME! This week I am traveling with two groups through the Holy Land. First, Fran and I host a clergy and spouse group during week one. Imagine that!  Ordained ministers and spouses finally seeing the land they have talked about and taught about their entire ministry. It is extraordinary in every way. What a tremendous experience and it would make a great gift to your own pastor or clergy. Really! A trip like this [...]

2101, 2017

Should You Be Praying for Donald?

By | January 21st, 2017|Categories: Culture, Prayer|Tags: , , |7 Comments

I watched a bit of the Inauguration ceremonies yesterday. If our new President wants to Make America Great Again, he started with a whole lot of God and Country patriotism that frankly, was moving to me. I love this country and I love the pomp and ceremony of these grand state occasions. The rich scenes of pageantry and prayer reminded me of black-and-white flickering images from my TV set in the early part of my childhood. Praying for Donald? Not even a question. Then, down the street and a few blockheads blocks away (My autofill feature tried to insert the word blockhead. [...]

1901, 2017

Don’t Give Up on Lent. (Read this Great Book First)

By | January 19th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Interview, Leadership, Liturgy & Worship, Theology|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Don’t Give Up on Lent. (Read this Great Book First)

Lent begins this year on March 1st. And thank the Lord for the Rev. Aaron Damiani who has given us a head start in our thinking about the glory of those Forty Days.  The Good of Giving Up is a fantastic resource for us right now, before Lent.  It is not a Lenten Devotional to be read during Lent. Rather, it is a feast of ideas, theology, tradition, and practices to consider before we enter the Forty Days. The book should be read by all church leaders, congregations, families, and others who are drawn to the Great Tradition or who want [...]

1701, 2017

Why Bishops Wear Purple

By | January 17th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Matthew 25, MInistry, Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Why Bishops Wear Purple

Why do bishop's wear purple?  I'll get to that very quickly...but let me squeeze in this quick update: Matthew 25 Update: Last week I had the great pleasure of addressing the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America. They were meeting in session at a 0ff-season Hilton in Melbourne, Florida. It took some doing to get there; flights are not cheap unless you fly to Orlando and rent a car. However, I got there in time to give my presentation and update on the work with Matthew 25. It was great to be with them; some of [...]

1201, 2017

A Remarkable Ministry: St. Lazarus Mission

By | January 12th, 2017|Categories: Interview, Matthew 25, MInistry|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

It's hard not to love Chris and Carol Herman, the lead ministry husband and wife team at St. Lazarus Mission. Unfortunately, I do not know them in person, but my brief encounter with them and their dedication to a forgotten and ignored segment of our American life is humbling.  For this reason, I called them a few weeks ago to interview them about their ministry as recipients of Matthew 25, a 'kick-starter' funding program for outreach ministries of the Anglican Church in North America. (Go here to find out more about it.) Five Impressive Things about this Ministry Their church [...]

901, 2017

A Prayer for Second Rector of Christ Church

By | January 9th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Liturgy & Worship, MInistry|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

The Rev. Canon Paul E. Donison was formally installed yesterday at Christ Church (Anglican) as its Second Rector. I am the first. I was given the opportunity to offer a prayer for my successor in a formal way during the service. What a joy! I had stepped aside a few months ago to pursue the vision of LeaderWorks. Paul was elected by the Vestry and began his ministry in the Fall of 2016. It took a few months to coordinate the calendars of all the Anglican luminaries to meet at Christ Church. Yesterday, it happened: The Vestry and Bishop 'installed' the [...]

2912, 2016

Those Far Away Places…

By | December 29th, 2016|Categories: Travel|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Those Far Away Places…

Over the last few days, Willie has been in my ear; actually on my mind. (Wait, wasn't that Georgia?)  Anyway,  I can't get a song out of my mind. It was first done by Bing Crosby. But that is not when I first heard it! (WAAAY before my time). Willie crooned it wistfully...and beautifully. Check below this post for a treat: Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow sing it beautifully. Do  you know it? "Those Far Away Place" Here are a few of the words of the song: They call me a dreamer Well maybe I am But I know that I’m burning [...]

2612, 2016

The Day Beyond Christmas

By | December 26th, 2016|Categories: Christmas, Pastoral Ministry, Uncategorized|Tags: , |Comments Off on The Day Beyond Christmas

I wrote "The Day Beyond Christmas" years ago as a children's poem about a Shepherd Boy.  I found it a few days ago, made a few edits, and publish it here. (See below for Downloadable File)       Day Beyond Christmas Downloadable

2612, 2016

Launching LeaderWorks!

By | December 26th, 2016|Categories: Leadership, MInistry, Stewardship, Theology|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Launching LeaderWorks!

I am so thankful that I am able, through LeaderWorks, to take over 3 decades worth of parish leadership experience, a few bits hard-won wisdom, and few more wounds, and share them with other churches and leaders. These first months have been a joy. LeaderWorks is up and running and I am thankful to have your support and prayers. Now I am asking for you to pray about making a year-end financial gift for this important ministry.  Our Giving Page is Here Here are just a few things that have happened over the last few months. I am ready to launch a [...]

2112, 2016

Sincere Thoughts This Morning About Christmas

By | December 21st, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Sincere Thoughts This Morning About Christmas

This morning, in the stillness of a very quiet home, I've thought a bit about the mystery of what we believe in Christmas.  How can one think about a mystery? The very fact of it as 'mystery' means that it escapes our thoughts and search for rational clarity.  How can we fathom this: That God came down in Christ, born as a baby, completely naked and uncovered in his mother's arms?  Even more profound, we see this very picture again at His Crucifixion. How can God allow Himself to be stripped, beaten, killed on a tree, and then lowered, again, [...]

1412, 2016

Four Meditations for Advent’s Lessons and Carols

By | December 14th, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism, Christmas, Liturgy & Worship, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Four Meditations for Advent’s Lessons and Carols

The interior of King's College, Cambridge in England. Nothing is as thoroughly Anglican as the "Advent Service of Nine Lessons and Carols". Our churches today may not look like King's College in Cambridge, but that doesn't keep many churches from offering their own version of Lessons and Carols. It is a beautiful service, to be sure. A question rises with respect to the wonderful tradition of Lessons and Carols: Is there room for a brief homily or meditation during this service? Is there an opportunity to present the gospel from the lectern (through the nine lessons) AND through [...]

1412, 2016

Give the Gift that Keeps on Giving: TRAVEL!!!

By | December 14th, 2016|Categories: Travel, Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Give the Gift that Keeps on Giving: TRAVEL!!!

Join us! All my adult ministry I have tried to lead people to a deeper knowledge of God in Christ. That has been my calling from the first day of my ministry until now.  I have preached thousands of sermons.  I have written a thousand church newsletter articles. I have had numerous appointments over coffee, tea, or other beverages. Every time I have tried to remember that the wider, bigger purpose of my ministry is to lead people to a deeper knowledge of God in Christ. But then I started to travel with them. I took people first [...]

1312, 2016

Marriage and Contemptment

By | December 13th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Marriage and Contemptment

When I was in seminary I was given an opportunity to serve a summer in a National Park Ministry called (as I remember): Ministry to People in Leisure.  What a piece of cake, I thought! Summer in Aspen. Yellowstone. Pastoral ministry in the Rocky Mountains. Church and camping all in one!  What could be hard about that assignment? Ministry to singles, married couples and children in a perpetual state of play! I went to the orientation meeting one evening and was quickly sobered. When families are squeezed together in the tight confines of a tent or a camper, often times [...]

512, 2016

Updated: 10 Tested Tips for Increasing Giving in the Last Weeks of the Year

By | December 5th, 2016|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship|Comments Off on Updated: 10 Tested Tips for Increasing Giving in the Last Weeks of the Year

Stewardship Joke Alert: Just a few days before Christmas, two women stood looking into a department store window at a display of the manger scene. It had clay figures of the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men and the animals. Disgustedly, one woman said, “Look at that — the church trying to horn in on Christmas! Indeed, we should remember.  This is our party! Many people have written to ask that I provide a brief outline of how a church/congregation might end their year with joy, gladness, and still be finanically strong and viable for the next [...]

312, 2016

Survey Says! Faith Passage Results

By | December 3rd, 2016|Categories: Travel|Tags: , |Comments Off on Survey Says! Faith Passage Results

Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey for FaithPassage. The results are in...and they all point toward the same conclusion: Faith-based Travel is in! (It is a national trend, by the way. Read this.) The survey says: We love doing it. We have been to amazing places, seen incredible things, and are eager to go again. Look at the results; I am sure you will agree. What is most striking to me is the importance of the faith-experience for all the respondents. People love to go; who wouldn't? But it is not just about the trip or the [...]

212, 2016

What About Vestry Elections?

By | December 2nd, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on What About Vestry Elections?

Right now, many church leaders focus on celebrating the Season of Advent and Christmas, as they should. They also are encouraging participation in the last parts of any stewardship campaign. Leaders are needed to help meet the year-end financial goals and good leaders are taking care of that part too.  And the wise leader will look for some time with family and personal rest over the holiday. But there is one more thing.  At least one more thing. (There is always one more thing.) The Critical Importance of the Vestry The chief governance vehicle for many churches consists of a [...]

2911, 2016

The High Cost of Cutting a Budget

By | November 29th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship|Comments Off on The High Cost of Cutting a Budget

Here is the problem. I have heard it from readers over the last few months as I have posted articles on Stewardship. I have seen it in a few Vestrys I have consulted with recently. I have sensed it in the worried undertones when I speak with Rectors, church treasurers, and finance leaders. Church leaders call it the ‘fail-safe’ option. It lurks out there as a simple solution to a growing unrest with this year's budget.  They say, "If we don't' make our budget this year, we can always cut our budget next year." That is the 'fail-safe' option. Ugh. [...]

2411, 2016

Proclamation 106 — Thanksgiving Day, 1863

By | November 24th, 2016|Categories: Culture|Tags: , , |1 Comment

This is eloquence. This is beautiful. This text of President Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation calling us our nation to an expression of thankfulness is high-minded and hopeful. This words can still inspire us. They can still touch the heart. This is the proclamation in its entirety from 1863, 153 years ago. Leadership always seeks to lift up and unite. May it be so in these days. -DHR   By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these [...]

2411, 2016

When Tensions and Turkeys Meet at your Table

By | November 24th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on When Tensions and Turkeys Meet at your Table

When political tensions, positions, and talking points are served up alongside the Turkey at your holiday table, chances are, temperatures are going up too. Members of the same family, who claim to love one another, do not necessarily see eye to eye over Red and Blue issues in the country. As tensions mount and turkeys are present on both sides, it is good to remember a few things. Dr. Tony Baron, a guest writer has offered four ways to keep the temperature down and thankfulness high (instead of the other way around). Thank you, Tony, for another insightful post (found at [...]

2211, 2016

For the Beauty of The Year: The Liturgical Calendar

By | November 22nd, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism, Christmas, Liturgy & Worship|Tags: , , |Comments Off on For the Beauty of The Year: The Liturgical Calendar

Our culture has its own calendar for the next month or so. We can mark off these days: Door-busters, Black Friday, Parties, Winter breaks, Holiday cheer, Family dinners (and political arguments) and ending with a Ball-dropping champagne toast. That is the liturgy of the world at the end of a year. But what about the Liturgical Calendar? Christmas: The Prequel There is another timeline from another culture that some observe.  The Liturgical Calendar starts this Sunday with Advent 1; the first day of the new Church Year. The calendar makes this bold claim: the real New Year begins this Sunday, with a [...]

1711, 2016

How to Write A Year End Appeal: Part 2

By | November 17th, 2016|Categories: MInistry, Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship|Tags: , , |Comments Off on How to Write A Year End Appeal: Part 2

This is the Second is a Series on the Annual Appeal Letter. Read the First here. A year ago, in late November and early December, I had an unusual experience about writing a year-end appeal letter for a church. I was the lame duck Rector of Christ Church in Plano. I had announced my resignation six months earlier. The entire congregation was waiting for some good news from the Search Committee. A year ago, in late November and early December, I had an unusual experience about writing a year-end appeal letter for a church. I was the lame duck Rector of Christ [...]

1511, 2016

Should you Write an Appeal Letter: Part 1

By | November 15th, 2016|Categories: Christmas, Leadership, Stewardship|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Should you Write an Appeal Letter: Part 1

It is starting to happen on most afternoons now. I innocently walk to my mailbox hoping for a few letters or a favorite magazine.  I open the mailbox door, and it all starts to overflow into my arms and onto the street. Catalogs. More catalogs. Credit card offers. Direct mail solicitations. And of course, daily appeals for money and support from a whole host of non-profit ministries, companies, agencies, and institutions. Should the church join this stampede and write a year-end financial appeal letter? The Avalanche: In the closing 45 days of the year, there will be an "onslaught of [...]

711, 2016

Voting like a Serpent, Living like a Dove

By | November 7th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Voting like a Serpent, Living like a Dove

A few thoughts about the election and the solemn duty we have as citizens of our country. Vote: Voting (as we know it) is not mandated or commanded in the Bible. However, we are called to 'render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God, the things that are God's.' (Mark 12:17)  This is a remarkable admonition from our Lord given the culture and government of the Roman Empire.  The Roman government was anything but friendly toward its citizens.  Soon enough, it would become deadly for the followers of Christ.  But the time of Jesus, the Empire was [...]

311, 2016

The Vote: The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

By | November 3rd, 2016|Categories: Culture, MInistry, Voting|Tags: , , |Comments Off on The Vote: The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Ross Douthat depressed me thoroughly with his sobering comments in the New York Times. (Behind a paywall, sadly, but is he really blasting Trump and urging HRC?) In other arenas, solid Christian leaders are falling all over either side of the choice. Some pro-Trump...some, NEVER! Many of these leaders and writers are people read and admire for their faith, conviction, and ability. And like many others, I have read and read and read. But so far, I have not gone to the polls. But the article (below) was of great help to me. Dr. Ramesh Richard is president and founder of RReach. [...]

2710, 2016

How Church Leaders Lead in Election Year Tensions

By | October 27th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on How Church Leaders Lead in Election Year Tensions

In the United States, we are enduring one of the longest (it seems) and mean-spirited (it is sure) election seasons imaginable. Politics is on everyone's mind.  I listened to a news story about a Dallas firm that had asked its employees to NOT discuss politics anymore around the 'water cooler'. They were not trying to infringe on freedom of speech; their motivation was to protect the morale of their firm. It was getting ugly! Here is a story featured in the New York Times: The Uninvited Guest--The 2016 Crashes the Dinner Party.  You can guess what it is about. What [...]

1910, 2016

Birthday Moments and a Gospel of Grace

By | October 19th, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism, MInistry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Birthday Moments and a Gospel of Grace

This past Sunday, my son led Restoration Church in the celebration of their 7th anniversary of their founding. I had some deep thoughts when I heard my son preach a Gospel of Grace...knowing that it was probably mostly God who taught him these things. Here is what happened: It was a very moving day for everyone. Restoration Anglican Church is a church plant from Christ Church in Plano. Over the years, they have met in a bar, a hotel, a warehouse, and now they meet in an event space in the neighboring town of Richardson, Texas. It was also just [...]

1810, 2016

Come to Beautiful Scotland!

By | October 18th, 2016|Categories: Travel|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Come to Beautiful Scotland!

If you don't have the perfect Christmas gift picked out yet...what about Scotland?  Fran and I are pleased to announce our 2017 Summer Tour: Come to Scotland! (Early Bird pricing extends until December 24th, 2017; that's $100 off!) On this FaithPassage tour, you will see and experience the amazing beauty of Scotland. We see the sights and scenes of the land; the highlands, the churches, the castles, the coasts, even the kilts! (Men, you can even try one one and buy your own!) We come to know the culture and the people through an incredible guide and itinerary. We steep [...]

1210, 2016

Guest Blog

By | October 12th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Guest Blog

Thanks to my friend and colleague, The Rev. Dr. Tony Baron, for this insightful and sobering article. BREAKING BAD: HOW GAINING POWER CAN MAKE YOU LOSE YOUR SOUL by Tony Baron, Psy.D., D.Min., Director Breaking Bad, is a universally acclaimed award-winning drama built on chemistry, cancer, and crime. It’s also the story of the erosion of a man’s soul as he gains power. As the protagonist, Walter White (played masterfully by four-time Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston) is a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher who is struggling financially. In the first episode of Season 1, White is stunned to learn [...]

1110, 2016

The Stewardship Digest: Everything in One Place

By | October 11th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship|Tags: , |Comments Off on The Stewardship Digest: Everything in One Place

I have been writing a series of blog posts about Stewardship. I decided to gather them all up under a Stewardship digest.  Here they are...up-to-date. (Click on the title of each post.) Stewardship, Giving, & the Third Rail. Even though money and giving empowers and enables so much good to happen,  many church leaders don’t feel comfortable talking about it. For some, the topics of stewardship and giving are the third rail of church work. It makes them nervous. They might be shocked! (Find out what to do about it.) Habits for a Generous Church. Money feeds momentum. It is a [...]

610, 2016

A Prayer for Those in the Path

By | October 6th, 2016|Categories: Liturgy & Worship, MInistry|Tags: |Comments Off on A Prayer for Those in the Path

For those in the path of this brute force of nature. We are praying for you. I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. (Jeremiah 5:22 ESV)  

2509, 2016

Prayer for Race and our Communities

By | September 25th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Prayer for Race and our Communities

Foley Beach, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America has called us to prayer over the racial tensions in our communities. He includes these wise observations: “the events in Tulsa and Charlotte continue to foster and deepen fear, mistrust, anxiety, and a simmering frustration in our cities here in the States.  African-Americans are becoming more and more fearful of the police in their communities and the violence of the protestors, and the police are becoming more and more fearful of getting arrested for doing their jobs.”  His letter to the church begins: Dear Friends in Christ, I am writing [...]

2009, 2016

Stewardship for the Last 100 Days of the Year

By | September 20th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Stewardship for the Last 100 Days of the Year

I have written a few posts on stewardship over the last few months. You can find them on this blog page. But this last post will pull everything together in a sample 'Stewardship Emphasis Program' for your church this Fall. It is not too late to do something specific and practical. So here are ten things to make happen between now and the last hundred days of the year to increase the level of generosity in your congregation.  Some of this will seem obvious given the last months of blog posts. Sermon Series Schedule a 2-3 week sermon series on [...]

2009, 2016

Keep Calm and Fight On: Lectionary Life App

By | September 20th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Pastoral Ministry, Pro-Life|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Keep Calm and Fight On: Lectionary Life App

Note: Georgette Forney of Anglicans for Life contacted me a few months ago and ask me to write a series of short essays  on any of the readings from the Lectionary for the month of September. I was asked to provide thoughts, insights, and understanding of the text and any application as it had to do with life, protecting and defending the right of the unborn or the weak to live. I was happy to do so.  Over the next few weeks, you will see a blog posted on Tuesday for the Sunday to come. For September 25th, 2016 Fight [...]

1309, 2016

A Peculiar Parable: Lectionary Life App

By | September 13th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Pastoral Ministry, Pro-Life|Tags: , |Comments Off on A Peculiar Parable: Lectionary Life App

Note: Georgette Forney of Anglicans for Life contacted me a few months ago and ask me to write a series of short essays  on any of the readings from the Lectionary for the month of September. I was asked to provide thoughts, insights, and understanding of the text and any application as it had to do with life, protecting and defending the right of the unborn or the weak to live. I was happy to do so.  Over the next few weeks, you will see a blog posted on Tuesday for the Sunday to come. For September 18th, 2016 He [...]

609, 2016

When A Terrorist Received Mercy: Lectionary Life App

By | September 6th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|Tags: |Comments Off on When A Terrorist Received Mercy: Lectionary Life App

Note: Georgette Forney of Anglicans for Life contacted me a few months ago and ask me to write a series of short essays  on any of the readings from the Lectionary for the month of September. I was asked to provide thoughts, insights, and understanding of the text and any application as it had to do with life, protecting and defending the right of the unborn or the weak to live. I was happy to do so.  Over the next few weeks, you will see a blog posted on Tuesday for the Sunday to come.   (The first in the [...]

109, 2016

One Great Sermon

By | September 1st, 2016|Categories: Culture, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |1 Comment

In August I attended the Executive Council of the Anglican Church in North America. The host church was St. Stephen's Sewickley, PA.  On Tuesday morning, we gathered for Morning Prayer where Geoff Chapman, the Rector, was to preach. I hate to say it, but I have come to NOT expect much homiletical inspiration at 'church business' meetings, especially when there are only about a dozen people in the church. But great preaching and good sermons about Gospel living are always welcome. And we were not disappointed. Geoff preached a short, clear, powerful and perfectly applicable sermon on Galatians 5. It [...]

109, 2016

He Stands at the Door: Israel

By | September 1st, 2016|Categories: Travel|Tags: , , |Comments Off on He Stands at the Door: Israel

Jesus says that he stands at the door and knocks. (Rev 3:20) And in Israel, when you walk in His footsteps and read His words where they were first spoken, it seems like He is right there.  Knocking again...to come in a renew your faith, encourage your heart, show you His Word, and teach you some things both old and new. Why not experience this for yourself?  Bring your spouse, learn how to lead a trip to Israel for yourself and the people in your congregation or ministry. And then go again...and again...and again. Over the past two decades, I [...]

3008, 2016

To Build and to Battle: Lectionary Life App

By | August 30th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on To Build and to Battle: Lectionary Life App

Note: Georgette Forney of Anglicans for Life contacted me a few months ago and ask me to write a series of short essays  on any of the readings from the Lectionary for the month of September. I was asked to provide thoughts, insights, and understanding of the text and any application as it had to do with life, protecting and defending the right of the unborn or the weak to live. I was happy to do so.  Over the next few weeks, you will see a blog posted on Tuesday for the Sunday to come. For September 4th, 2016   [...]

2208, 2016

Meet the Author: Liturgy of the Ordinary

By | August 22nd, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism, Culture, Interview, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

I had a chance to connect with The Rev. Tish Harrison Warren about her new book releasing in December: Liturgy of the Ordinary. (Pre-order it here.) It looks great and pre-orders are making it the #1 selling book in Anglican Spirituality at Amazon. InterVarsityPress is publishing the book with a Foreword by Andy Crouch. But what also intrigued me is that she is a presenter at The Anglican Family Symposium in Truro, Virginia in September. (Go here for the links to this important gathering) I am excited to support this important gathering. The blurb from Amazon shows the book to [...]

1808, 2016

Seeking Financial Support?

By | August 18th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Seeking Financial Support?

Lyle Schaller, the great church consultant of the last generation, once offered this four-word piece of advice for raising more financial support for mission and ministry in a church. He said, "The secret to raising more money for mission and ministry in the local congregation is this simple: "Ask for more money." * Simple! True? But how? How can you ask an individual for financial support to help the church with its mission? What exactly and precisely are the words that can be said?  We will get to that below, but here are a few questions to ask. 1. Can you Disconnect [...]

1608, 2016

Saying Thanks to Christ Church

By | August 16th, 2016|Categories: MInistry, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Saying Thanks to Christ Church

(On Sunday, August 14th, I preached my final sermon at Christ Church as its Rector. It was a tearful, joy-filled, service of thanksgiving and praise to God. This is my note of thanks to this wonderful parish.) Dear Friends, Even in Plano, Texas, you can have a mountaintop experience. Fran and I had one on Sunday morning. If you were there you know what I mean! Our worship service was so incredibly moving. Full and filled with praise and joy. Great numbers of people...and who wasn't moved?  I wasn’t the only one fighting the tears back. I looked over the [...]

1208, 2016

Saying Goodbye at Christ Church

By | August 12th, 2016|Categories: MInistry, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Saying Goodbye at Christ Church

People say that it should feel like sending your kid to college. This moment...this season. Saying goodbye after so many years of ministry together. “You’re saying goodbye to your baby!”, they say to me. I think the image is meant to comfort and encourage. But, God willing, you never really say goodbye to your children. Instead, you thank the Lord for the privilege of being a part of their lives and sharing moments and meals and memories together. I think that is the way I feel this weekend. We are not saying ‘goodbye.’ Fran and I are thanking God for the [...]

108, 2016

Telling it Slant: Stewardship and Humor

By | August 1st, 2016|Categories: MInistry, Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship|Comments Off on Telling it Slant: Stewardship and Humor

Fifth in a series... The topic of stewardship and giving is not an easy one to speak about. It makes some people feel very uncomfortable. Both speaker and listener share long moments of angst when the topic is raised publicly. But humor is a great equalizer. It eases the tensions and diffuses the inherent discomfort in a subject. No pastor or preacher should allow the pulpit to become an entertainment venue for jokes and quips. But, a little humor may make an important point a bit easier for some to grasp and accept. In an article defining humor as a literary device, [...]

2707, 2016

Funny You Said That: Stewardship and Humor

By | July 27th, 2016|Categories: Stewardship|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Funny You Said That: Stewardship and Humor

(Part Four in a Series on Stewardship) Normally, you wouldn’t find a blog post on humor mentioned in a series on Stewardship, Giving, and Generosity. But humor is one of the most effective ways to work through a very sensitive topic for many in the church. Humor opens the heart. Some may think differently about the use of funny stories in the context of a sermon. Its use in the pulpit has been discussed and debated, and disagreed about, for centuries. Does humor put the spotlight inappropriately on the preacher? Does it draw attention away from the seriousness of the [...]

2507, 2016

More Habits for a Generous Church

By | July 25th, 2016|Categories: MInistry, Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship|Tags: , , |Comments Off on More Habits for a Generous Church

(Part Three in a Series on Stewardship) In future posts, I will cover some basic design ideas for Stewardship/Generosity effort or program in the local church. Plans should be made even for this Fall to begin to build a generous church. But first, I want to lay out some foundational concepts that should define a biblical approach for the local church. In the second post in the series, I offered five values. Here are five more ideas to think about...digest...and develop for your congregation. Beginning with... 6. Be Guilt/Shame Free. Never write a negative letter to your church asking for money. [...]

2107, 2016

Habits for a Generous Church

By | July 21st, 2016|Categories: MInistry, Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Habits for a Generous Church

(Part Two in a Series on Stewardship) As mentioned in my first post in this series, a church without adequate resources will soon see their visions become vapors. Money feeds momentum. It is a sign of commitment, involvement, trust, hope, and even worship unto the Lord! It is good to talk about! That is why developing a culture of generosity in every church is vital. It takes time and consistent teaching, honest accounting and communication, and Christian modeling. But church acutely aware of the biblical principles of stewardship is a wonder to behold. (See this blog post on "St. Archimedes".) What [...]

1907, 2016

Stewardship, Giving and the Third Rail.

By | July 19th, 2016|Categories: MInistry, Pastoral Ministry, Stewardship, Theology|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Stewardship, Giving and the Third Rail.

(Part One in a Series on Stewardship...) A third rail is the high voltage power line that runs along a subway train. It is the one you are warned NOT to touch. It powers the train don't touch it. It makes everything go, but if you touch it, it will kill you. Zap! Shock! For some congregations, the topics of stewardship and giving are the third rail of church work. Even though money and giving empowers and enables so much good to happen,  many church leaders don't feel comfortable talking about it. It makes them nervous. They might be shocked! [...]

1207, 2016

The “Mere Church”

By | July 12th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|Comments Off on The “Mere Church”

Three decades ago, church planting was hailed as the single most effective form of evangelism. The expert in this field was Dr. C. Peter Wagner of Fuller.  His statement is legendary: “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.”  There are LOTS of other evangelistic methods for reaching non-believing people: outreach programs, visitation campaign, public crusades, radio/TV, and local training programs. But it was said, church planting trumped them all. Again, under heaven, nothing was as fruitful as a garden variety "ecclesia plantabunt", a church plant. Why? Because for many people, a simple church plant is a naturally “pure” church. [...]

907, 2016

Why Faith, Hope, and Love Still Abide

By | July 9th, 2016|Categories: Culture, MInistry, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Why Faith, Hope, and Love Still Abide

This letter was sent to all clergy in the Diocese of C4SO on Friday afternoon. I thought it was so good that I wanted the readers of my blog to see it. Some of these thoughts are mine, but that is not what make is good. Canon to the Ordinary Kimberley Pfeiler took these remarks and those of Bishop Todd after the Orlando shooting, added her own pastoral comments, and developed this letter from all of us on the Staff Leadership Team in C4SO. As an introduction, I quote the Apostle Paul: For in this tent we groan, longing to put on [...]

807, 2016

Shooting. Dallas. Officers. Twitter. Terrible.

By | July 8th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Shooting. Dallas. Officers. Twitter. Terrible.

Fran and I were at a concert at Fair Park last night enjoying the wry humor of Jim Gaffigan. Toward the end of his performance, a couple in front of us got up abruptly and started to leave. Their movements were sudden and quick; it seemed out of place. I asked the woman, "What's going on?" She answered with a full sentence I  can't remember now. All I heard were these words: Shooting. Dallas. Officers. Twitter. Terrible. A tweet on social media and alerted them. They were gone...not knowing the full extent of the crimes that had been committed or [...]

507, 2016

How to Keep Calm and Carry On

By | July 5th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on How to Keep Calm and Carry On

I was in Scotland when the result of the Brexit vote was announced. In a way, life went on and the people continued to do their jobs, their duties, and live their life. It was the typical UK way: Keep Calm and Carry On. The history behind this wonderfully British morale-boosting meme from WWII and its rediscovery is a interesting. Read it here. But when we spoke to people about the vote, they felt uneasy. They saw clearly how the future was unclear. Some of the older folk we met on the street were worried about their pensions, about the future of [...]

207, 2016

Stars and Stripes Forever!

By | July 2nd, 2016|Categories: Culture|Comments Off on Stars and Stripes Forever!

The tune "The Stars and Stripes Forever" was written by composer John Philip Sousa in the late 19th Century.  One hundred years later, by an act of Congress, it was designated the National March of the United States of America. Vladimir Horowitz arranged it for piano in the mid-1940's and it was an immediate hit. Here is how one reporter described the piece: The fusillades of octaves, the thunderous bass, and, especially, the prestidigitation — the famous piccolo solo skirling away, the accompaniment bounding below, while the tune, in the middle rung out by way of his alternating thumbs... Wow!  Wanna see it?  Danny McGee, [...]

3006, 2016

Our Independence, our Freedom and our Faith

By | June 30th, 2016|Categories: Culture|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Our Independence, our Freedom and our Faith

This weekend hundreds of millions of Americans will celebrate the 240th anniversary of our nation's birth. We should give thanks to God for our country by attending church on Sunday and praying for our nation, our leaders, and the significant challenges we face. Here are some inspiring quotes to help you think about our liberties, our freedoms, and our faith.  Happy Fourth of July!  ∗  ∗  ∗  ∗  ∗ Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.—Thomas Paine Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience...without [...]

3006, 2016

When It’s Time for Transition…What Then?

By | June 30th, 2016|Categories: MInistry, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: |Comments Off on When It’s Time for Transition…What Then?

I had felt the "Time" coming up on me rather slowly at first... It was an occasional tap on the window. "It's about Time", it would say. I could barely hear it at first. Then a slightly louder tapping…especially during prayer: ”It’s Time!" I didn't like it. "Go away!", I'd mutter to myself and stay busy. I spoke to my wife about it...then to few friends privately at first. I didn't want to pray anymore about it. I knew enough to know it was from God. But gradually...in conversations...and in quiet, surrendering moments...I let the idea of "Time" come in and [...]

2106, 2016

Ministry by Emoji?

By | June 21st, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|4 Comments

I texted a woman in our church about her dad’s surgery a few weeks ago. He had undergone a serious heart by-pass procedure. “How did it go?” said my iMessage. A few minutes later I could see that she had ‘read’ my ministry text. But I didn’t get any response in return...for about an hour. Then I got her text back: “Fine. Thanks.” I shot back quickly this wonderful pastoral phrase, “Great. Glad to hear it.” (Yes...I then inserted an emoji!) I saw that she read it…and was preparing a response. I waited to receive her text. It never came. It was almost as if [...]

1906, 2016

Ireland: At the End of the World

By | June 19th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry, Travel|1 Comment

The Chapel at Clonmacnoise Ireland is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places on earth. From its wind-swept countryside and charming villages to its breathtaking coastal cliffs, Ireland is one of the most amazing and enchanting trips I have ever experienced. My mind, my eyes, my imagination, and our cameras have been on overdrive! But there is much more to Ireland than its stunning beauty. There is also an incredible lesson of history to learn. God begins something big with sometimes someone small.  There are many inspiring stories of faith and God’s faithfulness here (St. Columba, St. Brigid, St. Hilda, and more; admittedly [...]

1406, 2016

St. Archimedes and your Church

By | June 14th, 2016|Categories: MInistry, Theology, Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on St. Archimedes and your Church

[dropcap color="#333399"]I[/dropcap] was in third grade (I think) when I first learned about the Archimedes principle. I was enthralled. You remember the Greek philosopher and mathematician. He's the one who said, “Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the world!”  What a powerful statement. What a compelling vision! Archimedes never went to a church of course, but we use his maxim every day.! And watch what happens when Archimedes and his principle go to church! In most every congregation, the leveraging force for the Gospel and for good is truly amazing. It moves the world! The local church, its people and [...]

1306, 2016

When Your Words Won’t Suffice: Orlando

By | June 13th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|2 Comments

Driving to church yesterday, I caught the news feed on my smartphone out of the corner of my eye.  I clicked the radio on. Shooting. Night Club. Massacre. Orlando. The death tolls was, at that time, about 20. I thought, "...this is like San Bernardino again...this is our own Paris or Brussels...what a tragedy." Fifteen minutes later, the service at Christ Church was ready to begin.  What do I say? What meager words could I offer to a group of early morning worshippers who would be in shock and sadness? What dare I say? There were still so many unanswered questions... I tried [...]

1006, 2016

The Merry-Go-Round of Change

By | June 10th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|Comments Off on The Merry-Go-Round of Change

Change is hard. Sometimes very hard. I'm going through one right now...from one ministry assignment (that I love) to another (that is new). Change is happening!  As I have listened to my heart and thought and prayed deeply about this, I discovered that there are three parts to change.  And they keep inter-changing too.  Like a Merry-Go-Round! Here is what I tell people about the change I'm going through: It's going great! God is good...all the time. I'm doing well. Fine! Here is what I should say if I were totally transparent: It's great...for the most part. Most of the time, really... Well, it depends on [...]

606, 2016

The Conversion of the Pasedenian Biker

By | June 6th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , |4 Comments

It started off as a random drive with a good friend along a Southern California freeway...and ended with in a mind-blowing  story from a real biker dude. A few years ago, a friend and I were attending a Pastor's Prayer Retreat in Pasadena. The first five days of the retreat were pretty intense. But it was Saturday and we were off; no lectures and lessons until Monday. We had one car, a full tank of gas, and the whole weekend to explore the hills, beaches, and freeways of Southern California. We hit the road in our rental. The beauty of Southern California has sparked the dreams of millions over the years. [...]

206, 2016

Plano School Clarifies its Honors Policy

By | June 2nd, 2016|Categories: Culture|Comments Off on Plano School Clarifies its Honors Policy

Earlier today I posted a blog article about the intense news story concerning Plano High School.  There is a good deal of misinformation swirling around about this.  Now there is new information about the school's policy and the practice that deserves to be published: WFAA has clarified their story.  The white satin stole is okay to wear...but the seal from the NHS is not; all regalia and badges of that type are not to be worn. However, all students who have a 3.6 or higher are given public honors and a white stole to wear. The student- approved policy is up for review next year. And [...]

3105, 2016

My Advice to Every Pastor: RESIGN!

By | May 31st, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry, Theology|Tags: , , |1 Comment

Or...something like that.  Resign? Okay, maybe NOT that drastic.  But something like it. Here is what I mean. Last summer I strongly felt the Lord leading me to step aside from my role at Christ Church as its founding Rector of 31 years. It has been a great relationship.  Fran and I have been (and are currently) delighted to service here. Who wouldn't?  The people in the parish are wonderful. I have some ministry to do in the wider church (read about it on this website, LeaderWorks.) But I didn't resign and leave.  I announced my intention to resign and [...]

2805, 2016

The Good Four-Letter Word

By | May 28th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on The Good Four-Letter Word

My step-father turns 91 in a week. He is a veteran of the Second World War. Most every time we are together I ask questions about his military service. I try to pull out more information about his time in Europe in 1944.  Sometimes he will say something about it. Often times he redirects the conversation; he changes the subject. My attempts to hear his great war stories are in vain. In my experience, he is, like many from The Greatest Generation, strangely quiet about his service to our country. I don't know why. Is it the 70+ years of [...]

2305, 2016

Thank you Bishop, and Good-bye

By | May 23rd, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |5 Comments

Bishop Donis Patterson with Cope and Mitre Ten years ago Fran and I flew to Orlando to say some words to my former bishop, Donis Patterson.  We had not been close friends, but when I had heard that his health was failing I felt we had to go to see him. To thank him. In 1985 he appointed me as 'Missioner' of the diocese and sent me to Plano to start a church.  I was 29. He took a chance on me; he believed in me enough to risk it. Over the years, at important milestones along the way—the opening of a [...]

1605, 2016

Surprise Baptism Creates International Incident — UPDATED

By | May 16th, 2016|Categories: MInistry, Travel|Comments Off on Surprise Baptism Creates International Incident — UPDATED

The wonderful story of a surprise baptism (below) that I first wrote in early February of this year needs an update.  Read and rejoice! First, the story itself went 'viral'...in our little blog world nearly 30,000 people read the story. It was the top read story of all time at Anglican Pastor, where it first appeared. Second, I heard from one of the nuns across the River!  Yes...through the miracle of Facebook and the Internet, one of the sisters read the story and commented on what a blessing it was to see the whole event unfold from their Jordanian side.  She even send [...]

1305, 2016

The Glory of our Gender

By | May 13th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

There is lots of confusion in our culture today about bathrooms, gender, and sexual identity and what makes up our humanness. Are we just a collection of biological features that can be changed, chemically adapted or surgically altered? How much choice does one really have? What is gender?  Is it a movable category?  What role does it play in our lives? This morning we woke to the bracing news that the Obama Administration is pressing this confusion forward. They are liquidating the lines between genders. Boys can now fully mix with girls and vice versa in bathrooms, locker rooms, and other places. Children in public schools, who are [...]

605, 2016

Things Moms Need to Hear on Sunday

By | May 6th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |Comments Off on Things Moms Need to Hear on Sunday

Should the preacher preach a Mother's Day sermon on Mother's Day?  Lectionaries purists and biblical exegetes might scoff at the idea. But this Sunday could me a great moment to speak to a wide audience about a critical role in all of our lives. Parenthood. Mothers. Our moms. Being a mom. So, In a word, yes. Here are some thoughts: The bible stresses the vital role of women in the transmission of the faith. Not only is motherhood vital in the Old Testament, Paul calls out the mother of Timothy and his grandmother. He honors them for being the ones who gave [...]

505, 2016

About that Mother’s Day Sermon…

By | May 5th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on About that Mother’s Day Sermon…

Perhaps you have wondered if you actually should preach a Mother’s Day sermon.  I dealt with that subject last year here.  I even posted my Mother’s Day sermon from last year. But, if you decide to do it (and you’d better hurry) here are a few ideas you might find helpful on that Hallmark Holiday. Center it in the Gospel. Never give up your opportunity to preach the Gospel. Ever.  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  How did he come here?  Through the womb of a willing woman. Go for it. (Again, last year's post dealt with some of this.) Make it biblical. [...]

205, 2016

How to Bless your Business

By | May 2nd, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on How to Bless your Business

Of course, only God can bless a business.  But, from time to time I get to do things that are just fun. Today is a day for that.  I am traveling across town to bless a man’s business. I will arrive mid-morning and tour their small factory. Then he will gather all the employees together for a few minutes and turn it over to me. I have put together a few thoughts (below). I want to do more than just ‘wing it’ with a prayer and a bible verse.  And since I am an Anglican, I have a short liturgy. [...]

2704, 2016

What Does the Rector Do?

By | April 27th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on What Does the Rector Do?

(Recently, I published a blog post on the Role of the Vestry or Church Board here. This is its companion piece on the role of the Rector or Sr. Pastor.) Over the years, I have been through many different periods of growth and development as the Rector and Sr. Pastor of Christ Church. I have made mistakes along the way; I've had some blessed moments too.  Many of both. And fortunately, for all but a few years, I have had a great relationship with our Vestry.  We have developed a good working relationship; one of advice, counsel, wisdom, and consent.  Along with my blog a few days ago [...]

2504, 2016

What Does the Vestry Do?

By | April 25th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on What Does the Vestry Do?

Tonight I have another Vestry meeting; maybe my 350th monthly meeting of the elected leadership of Christ Church. The Vestry in an Anglican church meets routinely, usually monthly, to give leadership and oversight to the mission and ministry of the congregation. Over the years, Christ Church has been through many different phases of Vestry development, involvement, and leadership…not all of them have been easy or effective. There are Canons to be followed, to be sure. And certainly, we (the Vestry and I) have grown and changed over the years. I have made too many mistakes in my leadership. But the Christ Church [...]

2104, 2016

Hey Church Leader: Which Property Brother Are You?

By | April 21st, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Hey Church Leader: Which Property Brother Are You?

Drew and Jonathan Scott are kind of a big deal on HGTV. They are The Property Brothers. One is a licensed real estate agent who helps would-be home buyers find their dream home in the used housing market. The new, used, dream home is usually a fixer-upper, however. So the other brother is a licensed contractor who comes along side the new homeowners and helps them renovate their new, old home into a new, perfect, gem. The show is addictive. One more important fun-fact: these guys are 37-year old identical twins! One wears a tie (Realtor) and the other wears [...]

1504, 2016

My Favorite (and only) Stained Glass Window Design

By | April 15th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on My Favorite (and only) Stained Glass Window Design

Light teaches. That is the way to think about any stained glass window in a church. The colorful pictures, figures, or scenes and images made in glass always teach us something about the faith through light. They should be much more than decoration on a building...they should be inspiration about the Gospel. In 2004 a generous donor offered to give a stained glass window for the new chapel. What a great opportunity to cap off this magnificent space. I accepted the offer. I then turned to my favorite artist and got to work. Fran wanted to convey the deep connection that believers have with Jesus Christ. Remember His words: “I [...]

804, 2016

How One Baby Shower Changed My Church

By | April 8th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

  When we started Christ Church, my wife was pregnant with our third child. There were a number of women who hovered around Fran to ensure that her needs were met. As she began to grow larger and larger in expectation of her due date, some of the women got together and offered to have a baby shower. What a great gesture of love. We were a young family. My salary was very low in the early days of the church. We were barely making ends meet. I was looking at our third child (the one to come) and counting [...]

2903, 2016

Almost Anonymous: Giving is Never Really Secret (Updated)

By | March 29th, 2016|Categories: Leadership, Matthew 25, MInistry, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Almost Anonymous: Giving is Never Really Secret (Updated)

Anonymous (not his real name) will remain unknown to everyone who reads this account…but I can promise he is real and this story is true. A few years ago Anonymous was moved by a random email from a bishop within the ACNA.  This man was at a particularly prayerful and important time in his life. He was near retirement; he had sold a business. And he was waiting for guidance from the Lord on how to best honor Him for His provision. The random email from the bishop sparked his imagination. (The bishop would become our Archbishop, Foley Beach.) Subsequently through prayer, [...]

2603, 2016

What They Are Saying about the Resurrection

By | March 26th, 2016|Categories: Liturgy & Worship, Theology|Tags: , , |Comments Off on What They Are Saying about the Resurrection

Why did Christianity arise, and why did it take the shape it did? The early Christians themselves reply: We exist because of Jesus' resurrection. … There is no evidence for a form of early Christianity in which the resurrection was not a central belief. Nor was this belief, as it were, bolted on to Christianity at the edge. It was the central driving force, informing the whole movement. --N. T. Wright I don't preach Jesus' story in light of my experience as some sort of helpful symbol or myth that is helpfully illumined by my story. Rather, I am invited by [...]

2503, 2016

Descending to the Cross

By | March 25th, 2016|Categories: Liturgy & Worship, Theology|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Descending to the Cross

A few years ago I was bumped into the First Class cabin of a major airline. I was surprised at how nice it really was to be that close to the front of the plane. I was most surprised that as the pilot made his approach to DFW, the co-pilot (I guess) started calling out the altitude levels.  Little by little...as the plane descended...the voice in the cockpit was speaking clearly: 1000...900...800...700 and on and on until we reached 100 feet above the runway.  Then he called out the altitude by 10's.  100...90...80...70....  I thought then...this is way too much information. [...]

2303, 2016

Ten Ways to Preach the Easter Sermon

By | March 23rd, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Ten Ways to Preach the Easter Sermon

Talk about pressure.  The Resurrection is the biggest event in the history of the world. People will flock to churches this Sunday from all different persuasions and understandings about the Resurrection. The Gospel is very clear about the Resurrection...but in the culture today has morphed into butterflies, spring lilies, and fertility symbols of eggs and bunnies.  This makes for a challenging sermon! I have looked back over 30 years of preaching Easter sermons and have pulled my best thoughts and approaches.  Some I am proud of and might even argue are great ideas.  Others are meh...  You have decide what's what.  But I [...]

2203, 2016

What They Are Saying About the Cross

By | March 22nd, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on What They Are Saying About the Cross

If we do not (preach the Cross of Christ) our churches will lighthouses without light, wells without water, dumb witnesses, sleeping watchmen, silent trumpets, messengers without tidings, a comfort for infidels, jubilant joys to the devil, and an offense to God. --Robert E. Lee Golgotha, the place of the skull, where nails smashed through the wrists and feet of Jesus, the teacher from Nazareth in Galilee, can stand for the skulls of every genocide. Betrayal by friends, self-preserving denial, making sport with prisoners, the mockery of crowds, spectators drawn to the spectacle, the soldiers doing their duty and dicing for his [...]

1603, 2016

What They Are Saying About Palm Sunday

By | March 16th, 2016|Categories: Liturgy & Worship|Tags: , |Comments Off on What They Are Saying About Palm Sunday

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you; righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. --Zechariah 9:9 But Palm Sunday tells us that it is the cross that is the true tree of life. --Pope Benedict XVI But everyone who lined the streets had a different reason for waving those palms. Some were political activists; they’d heard Jesus had supernatural power, and they wanted him to use it to free Israel from Roman rule. Others had loved ones who were sick [...]

1103, 2016

The Vacation Question

By | March 11th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|4 Comments

Yesterday a young minister called me to ask my advice and counsel. He is looking to bring on another minister for a key staff position. They were interviewing throughout the weekend.  They had gone over position description and key objectives for the ministry.  They had talked through the mission and vision of the church. They discussed theology and ministry at length.  They shared their views and practice of personal prayer life and key thoughts about marriage and family.  They have driven around mission area. They had the hard 'money talk'. They even prayed about this new assignment together.  Everything seemed to be right. I said, "You don't sound [...]

903, 2016

How A “Yes” Continues to Bless

By | March 9th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on How A “Yes” Continues to Bless

This is a true story. Honest 22 years ago a man named Herb came to me one morning at a church conference breakfast and said, "The Lord told me in a dream last night to send you and your wife to Israel for a study tour." I sat down at his table. I did not know the man. Like me, he was attending a church conference in Winter Park, Florida. I thought it was a nice gesture, but a bit weird. I thought he was one of those people you meet from time to time in the church. Six months later I [...]

2302, 2016

Why LeaderWorks??

By | February 23rd, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Why LeaderWorks??

The bible is filled with stories like your story...stories of leaders who have been called to lead. So is the history of the church. From Abraham to Peter, from Moses to Mary, from Augustine to Martin Luther, from Patrick of Ireland to John Wesley.  And even you and me!  Whether boldly or feebly, leaders lead…and the world is never the same.  And neither are they! Paul prayed for us this way:  To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the [...]

2202, 2016

Who Donald Trump Reminds Me Of

By | February 22nd, 2016|Categories: Culture|2 Comments

Herod the Great.  Yes…THAT Herod.  The Herod of the bible who was ruling over Judea at the birth of Jesus.  Yes, with obvious exceptions, I think Herod the Great and The Donald have much in common. I have visited the Holy Land many times and every time I see its ancient ruins, I  am impressed with Herod the builder.  He built luxurious Roman palaces, ingenious saunas, functioning long-distance aqueducts, mighty fortresses, and beautiful villas…all seemingly at will.  And of course, his greatest accomplishment was the construction of the Temple…built to secure the allegiance of the Jews.  These sites, most in semi-reconstructed [...]

802, 2016

Ash Wednesday: Are You Really Only Dust in the Wind?

By | February 8th, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|Comments Off on Ash Wednesday: Are You Really Only Dust in the Wind?

On Wednesday clergy around the world will draw a cross-shaped smudge of dark black ashes on the foreheads of millions of people. It is the ancient rite of The Imposition of Ashes which signals the start of Lent. The words that accompany the ‘imposition’ on Ash Wednesday are simple, sober, and true.  Over the years I have said them to thousands of people and many of their foreheads stand out in my memory.  These are but a few. —An older man shuffles forward to receive the ashes.  This would be his last time…and he knows it.  The cancer has eaten away at [...]

1501, 2016

Baptism Creates International Incident

By | January 15th, 2016|Categories: Liturgy & Worship|Comments Off on Baptism Creates International Incident

A surprise baptism at the original site of the Lord’s baptism  (Mark 1) created an international incident yesterday…and a glimpse of the age to come.  Here is what happened. I am leading a tour of 30 adults through the Holy Land. Our bus pulled up to the newly renovated site commemorating the Lord’s baptism by John.  It is also the place where Joshua crossed over the Jordan into the Promised Land. It is called Qasr el Yahud. I led our group in a very Anglican-style service of the renewal of vows.  In other words, people only would get “slightly wet”; bits of the [...]

1501, 2016

A Certain Trumpet from Canterbury

By | January 15th, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism|Comments Off on A Certain Trumpet from Canterbury

The Primates of the Anglican Communion have given us a great gift in their Communique from Canterbury. Coming at the end of a long week of tense meetings, the document is a clear and certain trumpet; a strong message to entire Anglican Communion…even the whole Christian world. It reads as though it is the product of an intense battle that was hard fought; but a battle that achieved great gains. Here are my take aways. Marriage: The Primates moved to protect marriage. While the ruptures in the Communion have been caused by vast disagreements about human sexuality, these men drew the line at marriage. [...]

801, 2016

Why We Should Care about Canterbury

By | January 8th, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism, Culture, Theology|Comments Off on Why We Should Care about Canterbury

Note: Anglican Pastor covers issues facing pastors, laity, churches, leaders from an Anglican perspective.  Occasionally, something happens in a larger Anglican context that deserves mention.  The gathering of Primates in Canterbury next week is one such occasion. These are my own thoughts and perspectives as I think about these issues and pray for our leaders. -DHR In only a matter of days the Primates of the Anglican Communion will have a gathering in Canterbury. The agenda has not been set but the purpose has been made apparent from the outset.  Welby’s invitation was clear and bold: “Our way forward must [...]

501, 2016

What They Are Saying About Epiphany

By | January 5th, 2016|Categories: Liturgy & Worship|Comments Off on What They Are Saying About Epiphany

Epiphany in January 6th. It is explained here. And as the kings discovered Jesus as King, so others have and others will. Lord Jesus may your light shine our way, as once it guided the steps of the magi: that we too may be led into your presence and worship you, the Child of Mary, the Word of the Father, the King of nations, the Saviour of mankind; to whom be glory for ever. –Frank Colquhoun “Let us now observe how glorious was the dignity that attended the King after his birth, after the magi in their journey remained obedient to the star. [...]

301, 2016

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…

By | January 3rd, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|Comments Off on We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…

In just a few days time I will leave for my annual Covenant Group Meeting. There are a few more than a dozen of us, give or take, that have been meeting for nearly three decades. We were all Episcopal priests and rectors of multi-staff congregations. We came from different cities across the US and Canada; no two of us came from the same city or even the same diocese. We are always all guys. We meet for three days in a nice setting during the off-season in Florida. Our days are filled with group meetings where each man takes an [...]

2212, 2015

12 Challenges of the Christmas Eve Service

By | December 22nd, 2015|Categories: Christmas, Pastoral Ministry|Comments Off on 12 Challenges of the Christmas Eve Service

Even if your shopping is complete and the gifts are wrapped, the pastor knows that there is one more thing to do before Christmas morning. Hold Christmas Eve Services. Whether you are preaching, celebrating the Eucharist, leading the prayers, singing the carols, handing out bulletins, or greeting people at the door, it is a big moment in the annual life cycle of a congregation. Has it become too big? It is a privilege to be sure. Leading worship or preaching the message on Christmas Eve is an honor. I always pray that our services and my sermon will honor my [...]

ABOUT LEADERWORKS

For such a time as this…

We all know how much the context and the culture for ministry has changed dramatically. The times have changed. The tools have changed.  But the truth remains the same.

And who knows if we were not called to ministry, for such a time as this! Let’s work together to faithfully answer God’s call upon our lives at this important season.

I am 35 year veteran of congregational life and leadership. I have got the joys…and some of the wounds…to prove it. I have stepped aside from my leadership position at Christ Church in Plano in order to focus full time on helping other leaders with their work of faith.

Here is Paul’s prayer that I am making my own: “…that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power…”

If that prayer resonates with you, please subscribe to this site; I’ll keep you informed.

Lots more to come.

In Christ,

The Rev. Canon David Roseberry

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