How do churches end up with domineering bullies for pastors? (Sam Allberry): We are, sadly, familiar with pastors having to leave the ministry because of sexual impropriety. These incidents seem to occur with such frequency as to be barely newsworthy to a watching world. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
The five-hour challenge: Turning your church outwardly focused (Thom Rainer): Here is my simple challenge: Commit at least five hours a week to evangelism and outwardly focused ministries. Mark those five hours on your calendar like any other appointment. Make those five hours a priority. Do not come up with busyness and excuses that keep you from fulfilling your challenge. Read more at ThomRainer.com.
5 ways listening helps you become more gracious (Paul Tautges): Listening is a lost art and one that needs to be cultivated if we are to lead and shepherd effectively. Read more at Counseling One Another.
Self-control, the leader’s make-or-break virtue (Drew Dyck): Now more than ever, one moment can destroy—in one day—your life’s work. The essential virtue: self-control. You can have all the talent in the world, and draw a ton of attention for it, but if your ability is not matched by strong character, you are in a precarious place. Read more at Christianity Today.
Beg to be rebuked: Six habits for better accountability (Marshall Segal): What happens if we neglect to exhort one another every day? We may be hardened by sin’s lies, and led away from the living God. We may forfeit forgiveness, hope, and joy. By presuming on grace, we abandon it. Good accountability keeps us on the path to life, the life Christ gladly purchased for us with his own. Read more at Desiring God.
6 reasons God allows thorns in our lives (Chuck Lawless): The apostle Paul had one. That is, he had something he called a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7). Whatever that thorn was (and I suspect it was a physical ailment), it was a tool of the enemy who surely sought to discourage Paul. God, however, was sovereign over Paul’s life, and He had a purpose for allowing the thorn. Here are some reasons God chooses to leave “thorns” in our lives. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
Let God blow away your anxiety: 3 big promises for the fight (David Mathis): I found three clear texts where Jesus, Paul, and Peter each take anxiety head-on. I printed them out on blue card stock and pasted it next to my bed. I rehearsed the passages first thing each morning, and last thing each night. It didn’t take long to memorize them cold. Even now, fifteen years later, when anxiety rises to the level of my consciousness, I go back to these three tried and true passages. Read more at Desiring God.
God’s purposes for suffering in ministry, Part 1 (Pat Quinn): 2 Corinthians 4:6-18 gives us ten redemptive purposes for suffering in ministry. This is the first installment. Read more at Biblical Counseling Coalition.
12 stages of pastoral ministry (Chuck Lawless): Everyone’s story is different, but I’ve worked with enough students and pastors now over two decades to see some patterns in pastoral journeys. Here are some general “stages” I’ve seen. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
Conversations with someone not ready to change: rolling with resistance (Brad Hambrick): What is an effective strategy for early or initial conversations with someone who needs to change but is resistant to change? Read more at BradHambrick.com.