Pastoring Is So Much More Than Preaching

A few days ago I asked “Do We Care for the Sheep or Do We Use the Sheep?,” and expressed concern that pastors may be prone to neglect caring for the people in their churches in favor of using the people in their churches to fulfill personal ambition. The pastor’s calling is to care for God’s own church, to labor on behalf of God to care for what God loves most. But how? How does the pastor heed this call? …

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 …

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On Being an Inflatable Tank

It’s one of my favorite tales from a war that was packed full of stranger-than-fiction moments. During the Second World War, the Allied forces created a dummy army. Eager to deceive the Germans into thinking they were stronger than they actually were, the Allies hired a team of artists and designers to create a fake army—one that would look just real enough to deceive spies snooping around nearby or surveillance flights flying far overhead. So they built planes that were …

What Not To Say at the Beginning of a Worship Service

A few weeks ago Jared Wilson wrote an article titled “3 Things to Be Careful About Saying at the Start of Your Service.” In his article he offered some common service-starting cliches that are “worth weighing in terms of their helpfulness to the congregation’s worship.” They were, “How’s everybody doing this morning?”; “I can’t hear you. I said, How’s everybody doing?”; and “Where is everybody?” I’ve heard all three of these many times and expect you have as well. And …

A Pastoral Prayer

From time to time, probably every month or so, I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer that was prayed at Grace Fellowship Church. The pastoral prayer is a time for one of the pastors or elders to pray on behalf of the congregation and to intercede on their behalf. It’s a precious element of a service. This particular prayer was prayed by Dwight, one of our pastors. *** O, great God, your word is true when it …

A Pastoral Prayer

From time to time I like to share an example of a Pastoral prayer that was prayed during a Sunday morning service at Grace Fellowship Church. This one comes from pastor Paul Martin. *** Lord, it is true. We faint for your salvation, and long for your help, because sin has messed up our lives. Our desires are out of line. We value what we shouldn’t. Our words are stained with anger, coarseness, stabbing at others. Some of us are only here to impress others, to get a …

How I Prepare a Sermon

I have enjoyed reading articles by various Aussies as they tell how they prepare their weekly sermons. I always find it beneficial to hear how others set about the task and thought I’d add my voice to the mix. The point in this article and the others is not to suggest that one method is superior to any other or to suggest any of them is worthy of total imitation. Rather, it’s to provide a smorgasbord of options other preachers …

How We Worshipped One Sunday in May

Every few weeks I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do so hoping they serve as a model of how one church attempts to worship the Lord in a distinctly biblical way. In this case I’m sharing a service in which we baptized four new believers. This service’s cast of characters included Paul as our service leader and preacher and Josh as our lead worshipper. Steve, our associate pastor, closed …

The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read (But Is Too Embarrassed to Ask)

I’ve seen churches where the pastor has been treated terribly—a slave forced to cede to the congregation’s every whim. I’ve seen churches where the pastor has been treated heroically—a superstar who exists above all critique and accountability. Surely the biblical position avoids both extremes and treats the pastor far better than either a slave or a celebrity. It treats him as a shepherd or, better still, an under-shepherd who serves on behalf of the great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus …

How We Worshipped One Sunday in April

Every few weeks I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this simply to provide an example of how one church structures our time of worship, hoping it will prove a helpful resource to others. This service’s cast of characters included Paul as the preacher, Brian as the lead worshipper, and Steve as the service leader.  The various elements of the service are in bold with the name of the …