10 Signs of Life: Your Church Might Just Make It

flower in cracks

I once took a group of church leaders on a planning/visioning retreat. We read and discussed a great article, something to the effect of “10 Traits of a Healthy Church.” Or a growing church... Thriving church? Something like that. And it wasn’t the usual variation on a theme, this particular piece was insightful and inspired. And it was exactly the right mix of challenge and affirmation for where that congregation was at the time.In preparation for a similar gathering this week, I tried to fi … [Read more...]

Holy Week Survival Guide: 10 Life Hacks for Clergy

rabbit

Deep breath. Inward Ommmmmmmmmmmm. It is Holy Week! Lace up your sprinting shoes, get ready to stress eat and drink way too much coffee, and tell your family that you will see them next Monday. No wait—Monday, you hibernate. Tuesday, for sure!  You will be down for breakfast on Tuesday. Or at least lunch… Something about that pattern seems not-so-holy, though. Sure, it’s going to be busy. You will need caffeine and adrenaline and the Holy Spirit to power through. And yet… we clergy types often w … [Read more...]

Talking to Strangers

reading

It was Sunday morning. I stopped at my favorite, may or may not have chosen my new house based on proximity to this place, donut joint to buy a couple dozen for our new member class. (I win souls for the Lord with vanilla glazed and pumpkin spice varieties).It was early. Still dark out. There was one other person in the place, and I mean, she looked normal enough… She was being pretty chatty with the register girl, so I jumped into the conversation. Because hey, it’s Sunday morning, there’s a … [Read more...]

How to Do It All

Sometimes other clergy ask for advice on how to balance being a pastor and a parent. So here, I’m going to give you 10 never-fail secrets to getting it all right at church and at home, keeping up your self-care and personal appearance, while having a smile on your face at all times.Lol, people. L.O.L.The truth is, there is no such list, and if anybody tells you they have one, they’re a lying *#%&^$#@!. When people ask how I do it, I answer, “sometimes, not very well.” And that’s the d … [Read more...]

Mapping the Message: A Choose Your Own Adventure Tale for Preachers

When I write about pastoral life, I try to make it interesting and/or useful to readers who aren’t clergy. There is almost always a spiritual or practical truth that applies to a broader audience.That said—if you are not a vocational minister, the following might literally bore you TO DEATH, and I don’t want to be responsible for that. Read on if you wish. But I won’t be offended if you go cruise another blog and come back here tomorrow (or the next day).Meantime-- I’m going to share some … [Read more...]

Peach and Potato: A Parable

Listen: Yesterday I went to rural Missouri with some youth and other church folks. We spent the day working with Migrant Farmworkers Assistance Fund. This program connects workers arriving in late summer for harvest season with vital resources and services -- assistance with food, clothing, dental care, school registration and more. Our congregation has supported this organization for many years. Since we have a sister community in a small village in El Salvador, working with MFAF is our answer … [Read more...]

Dig In: 10 Ways to Find Your Feet in a New Place

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Hey. I haven’t had much to say lately. I’m not sure why that is, other than that when you write and talk and write and talk, all day long, then go home and talk some more, you will at some point run out of words. They always come back, eventually—usually as an assault to the senses, like an alien, animal thing trying to escape you all at once; a rush of words that literally burns itself into your brain (maybe while you’re asleep) and MUST BE FREED AT DAWN OR ELSE YOU’LL RUN MAD.However—this p … [Read more...]

Life Out There: Celebrating 5 Years of Patheos

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As a writer, I live 'in here,' in my head much of the time. As a faith leader, I live ‘out’ in the world, and up in front of a big community much of the time. ‘In here’ and ‘out there’ are two scary places to be sometimes.  This is why I started blogging.It is easy to feel isolated with one’s own thoughts. Especially if some of those thoughts are doubts about faith, or critiques of the Church, and one is supposed to be a leader in said faith/Church. But doubts and critiques are exactly what m … [Read more...]

A Doctor, A Pastor, and a Car Salesman…

No, they're not walking into a bar. But perhaps they should...Here's what I know about TMJ: well, I know a lot, and guess/infer a lot more--this is some of each. For starters 1) it affects more women than men; 2) it is a whole-person issue, encompassing physical, dental, and psychological factors--which means that no type of insurance coverage-- even if you have benefits for all three of these areas--wants to cover treatment. Some come right out and say in the fine print 'we do not cover … [Read more...]


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