Leadership & Church Size Dynamics

One of the most common reasons for pastoral leadership mistakes is blindness to the significance of church size. Size has an enormous impact on how a church functions. There is a “size culture” that profoundly affects how decisions are made, how relationships flow, how effectiveness is evaluated, and what ministers, staff, and lay leaders do. We tend to think of the chief differences between churches mainly in denominational or theological terms, but that underestimates the impact of size on how a church operates. The difference between how churches of 100 and 1,000 function may be much...
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Pastors: How much (confidential) information do you share with your spouse?

How much ‘confidential’ church information do you share with you spouse? You know… board meeting stuff… who says what… who you’re counseling and what the issues are. Do you share stuff like that with your wife or not? It seems that most of the time, there are two different types of people… those that share everything, and those that share nothing. I’m one of the ‘I share almost everything’ types of guys.  My wife is my confidant.  She encourages me, and she talks me off the cliff at times. But I couldn’t keep a sane head if I...
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I Don’t Trust Pastors

Elizabeth Esther writes: I don’t trust pastors. I want to trust them – but I’ve experienced so much church-related devastation that I doubt if I can ever again believe the best about their motives, preaching or how they conduct their lives. My trust is utterly broken. Still, the last thing I want to do is pass that disillusionment on to my children. I don’t want to cheat them of having a solid faith identity simply because Mommy can barely sit through a sermon without having a panic attack. I know of families who drop their kids at church while they go have coffee or run...
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Should we allow our staff to use 20% of their time on side projects to help eliminate burnout?

Here’s an interesting commentary… what do you think?  Great idea, or horrible one? Many church staff in congregations perform several ministry functions even though they are not officially a “pastor”. Special attention to church staff (youth directors, associate ministers, musicians, office assistants, interns, educators, etc…) and their work wellness. Appreciating their work is not enough (a raise wouldn’t hurt). Pastors and church leadership need give more time off in a world where church staff have to do “more with less”. Micromanaging, low pay, unreasonable expectations,...
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Nine Stereotypes for Pastors

As a pastor, do you ever feel stereotyped?  Mark D. Roberts shares nine different pastoral stereotypes that he’s identified over the years: Ideal Pastor Perhaps the most obvious stereotype by which we are measured is the ideal pastor, the omniscient, omnipresent, omniloving clergyperson who lives only in fiction and in nostalgia. I am thinking, for example, of Father Tim in Jan Karon’s Mitford Years Series. He is the sort of compassionate, always-present pastor that everyone wants to have, and that never can be found outside of Karon’s magical Mitford. Doctor Many people think of...
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Stuff people say to pastors

Christopher Keating is a PCUSA pastor who wrote this piece for a St. Louis newspaper.  He writes about the most common things people tell him as a pastor.  Take a look at the list and see if this rings true in your ministry: I don’t know how to pray. In my experience, this is hinted at more than it is clearly stated. A family is going through a difficult time, or a protracted illness. The person feels detached from their spiritual moorings, isolated, exhausted, lonely. Their experience of God has gone stale, and yet, they still long for God’s presence. I’m angry at God. It is...
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Pastoral Burnout

“You’re a high-risk candidate for career burnout, warns the Mayo Clinic, if you are in a helping profession; identify so strongly with your work that you lack a reasonable balance between your work life and personal life; and try to be everything to everyone. Hmm … sounds a like lot pastoring.” Read more: Ministry Burnout (Part 1): Examining the Threat Read more: Ministry Burnout (Part 2): The Signs and the Cure Read more: Ministry Burnout (Part 3): An Ounce of...
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Pastors, Stop complaining about all the other things scheduled on Sunday mornings

Pastor Keith Anderson shoots straight. And he responds to pastors who complain that there are too many activities (particularly kids sporting events) being scheduled on Sunday mornings these days: It’s a common complaint among clergy types, “Sunday morning sports is taking people away from worship!” This lament and the exasperation that accompanies it goes deeper than just whether a family shows up on a particular Sunday. It is the lament of the loss of the privileged place that the Church—and clergy—once enjoyed in our culture. And in our lament we risk alienating the very young families we...
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Monday Gut Check for Pastors

Paul Tripp writes: Let’s be honest, pastors. We are tempted to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. At times, we chafe against things that we think are beneath our pay grade. We are not always willing to do the dirty work of the ministry. I know I’m not always ready and willing. We are too oriented to reputation, position, and power. We desire to be recognized and to be prominent. We are not attracted to redemptive servitude. We want our ministries to be clean and comfortable.  We tend to think of ourselves as more movers and shakers than servants. This doesn’t...
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Three areas you can’t neglect as a pastor (but you probably are)

Brian Croft offers these three things that you really shouldn’t neglect as a pastor… but if you’re like most, you probably are more than you should: 1)  Lack of sleep.  As wise and discerning as many pastors are, it is amazing the amount of us who think we can function at a high level getting 1-2 hours of sleep less each night than we really need.  There can be a sinful pride at work as we share “4-5 hours of sleep and I’m good.”  All the while, we are grumpy by 6 pm, we are getting sick on a regular basis, and regularly give our families the leftovers in the evenings. ...
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