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Comfort for Weary, Bruised and Broken Gospel Servants

You could never know what it’s like Your blood, like winter, freezes just like ice And there’s a cold, lonely light that shines from you You’ll wind up like the wreck you hide behind that mask you use And did you think this fool could never win? Well look at me, I’m a-coming back again I got a taste of love in a simple way. Elton John and Bernie Taupin, “I’m still standing” Over the past month I caught up with peers with whom I studied and who started vocational ministry the same time as I did. Some aspired to...

The Testing of Pastoral Praise

Getting a compliment or two seems like the least of my worries as a pastor. If criticism is one of ministry’s pernicious pains, then it’s a relief to occasionally receive some recognition. Yet congregational esteem can rattle a weak pastor’s reliance on the strong Christ. The Problem of Esteem Congregational esteem can rattle a weak pastor’s reliance on the strong Christ … pride is ever-lurking. What is this threat of compliments? In my years of ministry, I have learned that pride is ever-lurking. Any acclaim for my efforts, abilities, or accomplishments, brings with it a real temptation to glory in...

Leading like Nehemiah: Can we read Nehemiah like Driscoll Did?

In a recent episode of the podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll is heard using Nehemiah as an example and justification for an aggressive approach to church leadership. Driscoll teaches the book of Nehemiah as a spiritual metaphor for how their church should look in Seattle—God’s city in a secular city. As pastor, Driscoll casts himself as Nehemiah, God’s forthright leader who worked to restore the city. Is Nehemiah really a good model to follow? Or are Driscoll and others using his example to wrongly justify violent and intimidating ways of leading God’s people? This kind...

The Rise and Fall of Biblical Complementarity (2/2): In Marriage and in the Church

This is the second of Stephanie Judd’s two-part contribution to the discussion surrounding the “Fall of Mars Hill” podcast. See part 1 here The Ordering of Relationships in the Home A number of years ago I attended the baptism of my niece at a Catholic church in Sydney. For the reading, the priest selected Ephesians chapter 6 which he obviously felt connected well to the event: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Of course, chapter 6 of Ephesians is also attached to chapter 5, which has this section on wives submitting to their husbands, and...

Starting and Finishing Church Ministry – The Cost of Investment and Extraction.

Both starting and ending church ministries are costly activities. Here are some of the things ministers can expect to gain and endure as they serve in established churches and new churches. 1. Starting your ministry in an already existing church is costly … Over time you will: Build relationships with people, with fellow-workers, with the leaders, and with the wider range of contacts of the ministry, and neighbours. Learn what cross-cultural gaps you need to deal with. Learn how things work: how ministry is done; how decisions are made; how responsibility is allocated and shared; what delegations of responsibility are...

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