Archives For Personal Development

I read an article by Jen Hatmaker in the Washington Post titled, “How a Consumer Culture Threatens to Destroy Pastors.” While I agree that our culture is a threat to pastors, I wondered whether we place too much emphasis on culture and not enough on our need to create boundaries and realistic expectations. (This spoken from a minister.)  What if we looked at ourselves and asked, “How do I make ministry harder than it needs to be?”  Below are five ways:


1. It Feels Good to Be Needed

Ministers love to be loved. And one of the best ways to be loved is to feel needed. Yes, I’ll teach Bible study; yes, I’ll preach 45+ Sundays a year; yes, I’ll visit everyone in the church every month. Congregants love these ideas and pastors (myself included) love to be needed.

2. We Think Ministry Only Happens When We Are Present

It is a hard pill to swallow when a minister sees a successful ministry that s/he isn’t leading/creating/nurturing. This speaks to our need to be needed and how we often assume (we all know what that word means) we need to be the leaders/facilitators/guides for every ministry. Continue Reading…

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8, NRSV).

Keeping Sabbath has become an important part of my own life’s rhythm and one that truly sustains me for the journey… of being a pastor, of facing challenges with grace, and of life in general. There is a reason God rested after six days of creating. When Jesus went off by himself to pray, I believe it was so that he could rest in God’s presence, center himself on the Father, and be nourished spiritually so that he was ready to teach, heal, and give peace. We all need sustenance for the journey, and God will provide… if we will only receive.image2

In recent years, a lot has been written on Sabbath-keeping and reclaiming this particular commandment in our 21st century lives. I’ve attended workshops and read books about what it means to remember the Sabbath… and it can take on different forms. Setting aside one day a week is part of it, but many talk about making “Sabbath time” every day, mini-Sabbaths throughout the week. How are we spending time with God and resting in God’s presence each day?

There are times that I get really excited over Presbyterian theology and language. Continue Reading…

Photo Sep 27, 11 19 23 AMAs the pastor of Howard Memorial I’m the new guy in Tarboro, NC; with that comes a constant refrain folks share with me: I’m young.   Two statements, spoken often, encapsulate this reality: “I heard you were young, but I didn’t realize you were a baby!” or “You look like you are still a teenager.”  As I sit here writing I’m realizing they are both wrong; I’m actually a toddler.  Let me explain.

My wife and I are rearing a two-year old and we spend time reading about childhood development.  The stages of childhood are infant, toddler, school age, and teenager; every parent (or person who’s been around young people) doesn’t need a website to explain to them that each stage represents distinct emotional, physical, social and behavioral nuances.  As my wife and I wake up each day to the ever-changing-ness of a two-year old while I continue to experience life as a new pastor in a new context I’m realizing that pastors live through similar stages to those of childhood development.  Thus why I’d call myself a toddler. Continue Reading…