Do We Care for the Sheep or Do We Use the Sheep?

Some of my favorite and most challenging descriptions of pastoral ministry come from the twentieth chapter of Acts and Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders. Here Paul the planter and pastor is bidding a final farewell to the elders at a church he loves. And in verse 28 he comes to what I believe is his description of the heart of pastoral ministry. “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has …

The Bone-Lazy Pastor

One of my relatives, a great uncle, was a pastor—a clergyman for the Church of England who served in Canada’s province of Quebec. Family lore is that he was not a particularly good pastor. My mother was recently sorting through some old family papers and came across a letter that would seem to say that the lore is based on fact. This letter was sent to him in 1942 by the Right Reverend Philip Carrington, Bishop of Quebec. I don’t …

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The Care of Souls

Have you ever read an “if this is true…” book? An “if this is true…” book is one that challenges you so deeply that you realize that if what it’s saying is true, then you’ve got to make some major changes to your life. R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God is one of those books—many who read it suddenly realized they had never actually known God as he is, as the God who is three times holy. Nancy Pearcey’s Total …

The Pastor’s Job Isn’t To Fix Things

You don’t have to look far to find articles about how and why the pastor’s job is uniquely difficult. Having been a pastor for a number of years now (in both paid, full-time and unpaid, part-time capacities) I can attest there are ways in which it is unlike any other vocation. It really does come with unique challenges, though it certainly provides unique blessings as well. There is one realization about pastoring that came to me slowly but which finally …

6 Marks of a Faithful Ministry

God is good to give us pastors. The very fact that God calls certain men to “care for the church of God” (Acts 20:28) proves that the church is in need of care. God gives us pastors because we need pastoring. But what is this ministry? How does a pastor minister to his people in a way that expresses due care and concern for them? Last week I spent some time studying Paul’s charge to the elders/pastors in Ephesus (see …

An Intimidating Opportunity

A few months ago I was given an interesting and intimidating opportunity. My son is in tenth grade at a nearby public school and one of his classes last semester was Civics and Careers. For the second half of the semester the focus was on careers and his teacher put out the call to parents to ask if they would come in and talk about what they do. I was apparently the only parent who replied to the email. And …

The Problem with Pastor as Rock Star

Today’s guest blogger is Ed Stetzer. That’s a name that is familiar to most of you, I’m sure. I recently spoke at an event with Ed and, having enjoyed his company, asked if he’d be willing to put together a guest post. And, as you’re about to see, he was kind enough to do so. ***** A lot of kids grow up wanting to be a rock star. These days the term “rock star” is applied much more liberally than …

Quote: Forget His Feeling…

I recently encountered an interesting quote. It is from William Wordsworth’s The Prelude, considered to be the masterpiece of this English Poet who lived from April 7, 1770 to April 23, 1850. Though the poem is autobiographical, this portion is largely based on the experience of a well-known Christian. And I have read of one by shipwreck thrown With fellow sufferers whom the waves had spared Upon a region uninhabited, An island of the deep, who having brought To land …

Twin Lakes (II)

Ligon Duncan kicked things off with an explanation of this fellowship (they do not refer to it as a conference), the reason it exists and what they mean by continually referring to “the ordinary means of grace.” The Twin Lakes Fellowship is a ministerial fraternal committed to connecting gospel ministers and elders with one another. Duncan quoted Jonathan Edwards who said that when God prepares His church for a significant blessing, He brings together a brotherhood of ministers. These people …

Poetry

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about words. This must sound fascinating, I know, so congratulations if you have even made it to the second sentence of this article! With this being an unofficial holiday in the United States (and National Sleep-in Day, or something like that) I don’t expect too many people to visit my blog anyways. Still, for the benefit of myself and anyone else who cares to read it, here is a glimpse into something I have …