Pastor: Best Job Ever

Carol Howard Merritt, a Presbyterian pastor and the author of Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation (2007 – read my review here) and Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation (2010 – read my review here), recently shared her list of 10 reasons why being a pastor is the best job ever.  It included relating to anyone, writing, and variety. So What? Pastoral ministry is one of the more diverse professional pursuits.  While many immediately think of a pastor Read More …

So Many Pastoral Stunts

David Gibson's recent Religion News Service article listed 12 stunts performed by pastors that received significant publicity, including  bishops pretending to be homeless, a week of congregational copulation (followed up with a bed in), living the bible as literally as possible (including Rachel Held Evans' A Year of Biblical Womanhood), eating foods that can be purchased on a "food stamp" budget, and losing weight for the Lord. So What? Each of these stunts was designed to Read More …

Top Posts of 2013

According to the number of page visits during this calendar year, the most popular posts I wrote in 2013 are  Top 10 Books of 2012 1,000 Posts Pastor of Innovation Social Media Shortcomings Review of When Spiritual but Not Religious is Not Enough So What? I truly appreciate the feedback readers provide.  You vote by clicking, and your interest in posts and topics is confirmed by the time you linger on my site.  While this data is helpful, it tells only part of the story.  If Read More …

Common Pastoral Struggles

Philip Wagner knows that "being a pastor is hard work." With this in mind,  he recently wrote about the six most common struggles pastors face: criticism, rejection, betrayal, loneliness, weariness, and frustrations and disappointments. So What? Wagner encourages pastors to stay the course, reminding his readers that "persistence is powerful."  The reality of these struggles also suggests that pastors should establish (and keep!) healthy boundaries, and maintain healthy Read More …

Growing Beyond 200

Most congregations are relatively small.  While small is not bad, small and plateaued or small and declining are.  In reality, churches of any size are either growing or declining.  Healthy congregations should be growing congregations. Carey Nieuwhof, lead pastor of Connexus Community Church, recently wrote about many of the reasons why churches can grow to a certain size, but not beyond such. In a great deal of the literature on the topic of church size, the number 200 is deemed Read More …

What Should Pastors Wear?

What should pastors wear during worship? Joseph Yoo, pastor of St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Santa Barbara (CA), recently addressed this question in a post titled "Pastor Dress Code."  He writes: What is the appropriate attire that a pastor should wear on Sunday mornings? And, is it really that important? Apparently, the issue is much, much bigger than I had ever thought it would be. So What? I found myself spending more time reading the comments than the original article.  I Read More …

The Value of a Blog Post

Rob Jenkins, a community college professor, recently wrote a blog post for the Chronicle of Higher Education in which he questioned the value of blogging.  Most who teach in higher education are involved in a world that requires them to publish in order to retain their livelihood, yet blog posts are often not counted as published material.  Since blogs have the power to shape how people think about issues, Jenkins asks important questions: Which ultimately does more good—an article or monograph Read More …

Pastors & Member Giving

The May 2013 edition of Christianity Today includes a conversation about whether or not pastors should know how much church members give (p.16).  The piece features six perspectives placed on a continuum from yes to no. So What? Over the years, I have been involved in many conversations about this topic.  It is one about which many people have very strong feelings. Which of the following best describes what you believe is appropriate? Which best describes your local congregation's Read More …

Pastoral Selling

Clergy obviously need more than spirituality, academic preparation, and field education to become great bishops, deans, rectors, and vicars. Retired Navy chaplain George Clifford recently included the above quote in a blog post emphasizing the importance of the skill of selling within the framework of leadership.  He writes: Spend a day with the bishop, dean, rector, or vicar of one our relatively few growing, thriving dioceses or congregations and you will observe a leader who is a highly Read More …

Pastor of Innovation

When I was a seminary student, it was understood that the vast majority of students would go on to pastoral ministry in a parish setting.  Most of these individuals would spend all of their years in ministry as solo pastors serving smaller congregations.  In recent years, the expectations have shifted significantly.  Only about half of all recent seminary graduates enter parish ministry.  For those who do enter this form of ministry, increasing numbers serve in large, mega, and/or multi-site Read More …