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Marriage & Family

Pastors parenting preacher's kids

by Stephen Johnson

Today, family relationships require so much more than the previous generation. The the lure of temptation is huge, and the evil one continues like a roaring lion looking for whom he can devour. Our children need us more than ever, especially “PKs” (Preacher’s Kids).

Parenting with a Biblical world view

by Stephen Johnson

As a pastor’s kid (PK), hitting my teenage years meant learning to live a dual life. I did, however, go on to follow Jesus Christ as Lord, become a pastor and eventually raise four PKs. I determined early on that I would not repeat history with my kids.

When the pastor has a prodigal

by Laird Crump

I heard someone jokingly say that there’s a great likelihood that the child of a teacher will become a dropout, the child of a police officer will become a delinquent, and the child of a pastor will become an atheist. But is that really true?

Hello . . . Anybody home?

by Louis McBurney

The most important steps toward good listening are becoming aware of the barriers and learning to create the most friendly environment possible.

Our battle for a porn-free marriage by Undisclosed
No one enters a marriage equipped to deal with addictions and betrayal. No one can navigate through so much hurt and destruction on their own. No one can see hope or a future when their world is caving in on itself.
Boundaries in marriage by Wendy Kittlitz
Last week, I had the privilege once again of going to hear one of my favourite speakers, pastor Peter Scazzero, author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. Peter shared a powerful mantra: "As goes the leader's marriage, so goes the church." That is at once both awe-inspiring and immensely frightening.
A message to pastor-husbands from a pastor's wife by Marilyn J. Carlaw
As wives, we do understand that there are inopportune moments when you will be needed. But, not everything is critical. Use discernment and wisdom.
How to affair-proof your marriage and protect ministry relationships by Dr. Simon Sheh
Did you know that extramarital affairs develop in a very predictable pattern? Check out these preventative measures and ensure that your marriage is protected.
Stress can make your marriage vulnerable by Wendy Kittlitz
You’ve probably heard similar stories on the news or on the grapevine: A seasoned pastor has an affair; a ministry leader leaves her husband for another man. How do some men and women in ministry end up in adulterous relationships?
Four reasons sabbaticals are helpful for church leaders
by Jerry Ritskes
Many of us are much more attuned to the subtleties of our congregation than we are to our own heart. A Sabbath is creating space to stop and listen. Here are six things we've learned over the years as pastors and church leaders have attended Kerith Retreats during their sabbaticals.
Ten top symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality
by Pete Scazzero

"I was a Christian for 22 years, but instead of being a 22-year-old Christian, I was a one-year-old Christian 22 times! I just kept doing the same things over and over and over again." Many Christians in your congregation may be suffering from a similar condition. Read about the ten top symptoms of an emotionally unhealthy spirituality.

Companionship through the spiritual dryness by Dan Heavenor

We have all had those times when God seems completely uninterested and uninvolved, when our prayer is dry, when our relationship with Him seems empty and one-sided. For the pastor, this reality can be especially worrisome.


Good leaders retreat

by Drew Leaver

Good leaders don't always advance; sometimes they retreat. Great leaders retreat really well. Escaping the pressure of leadership for a time of evaluation and recalibration is critical. Good leaders know this. In my context, the pastors I most respect who have done some of the most profound work for the kingdom are the ones who have learned the art of retreating well.

Pursuit of sexual integrity as a church leader

by Sam and Pauline Doerksen

How do we approach the pursuit of sexual integrity when we feel like we are risking everything by doing so? Unpacking this issue can feel like opening Pandora's box. The uncertainties of what the consequences may be can feel daunting, yet the inner cry for release from the gripping hold and bondage constantly war against each other.

Dealing with a wounded soul

by Wendy Kittlitz

Do you ever struggle with truly feeling loved? Loved by God? Loved by your spouse? Loved by those you love? In your head, maybe you know that people love you or God loves you, but it might not always translate into your heart or soul.

Why pastors need friends too

by Steve Witmer
We are more connected through our electronics than any generation in history. And yet, we have never been lonelier. Pastors and their spouses are not exempt from the inner ache - and even heartbreak - that emanates from shallow relationships.

The pastor’s need to rest and retreat by Jerry Ritskes
When you get asked how you are, do you find yourself proudly (but with some frustration) answering that you are “busy”? There is a world to win, programs to organize, people to train and a church to maintain.

Pastor Joe's no good, so sad, very bad day by Wendy Kittlitz
Pastor Joe is burned out. For him, ministry has become painful, tiring and draining. He isn't sure how he got here and is even less sure of what to do next. There are three common reasons why Pastor Joe may be experiencing burnout.
The purpose of burnout: An interview with Dr. Archibald Hart
It's such a painful thing when the passion begins to fade and is replaced by a sense of depletion and discouragement. Here's a look at the correlation between stress and burnout.
Facing weakness by Jerry Ritskes
Jerry Ritskes, who served as director of our Kerith Retreats, reminds us of how God can use our weaknesses, fears and flaws.

How to properly process loss

by Merrie Eizenga
Loss is so much broader than just physical death. It's one of the topics we discuss with the pastors and church leaders who visit us at Kerith Retreats, and it is one of the topics that elicits the most response.

Ministry blues? by Wendy Kittlitz
While clinical depression is a condition that incapacitates the sufferer and often leads to a person needing to take time off from work, many pastors may experience a more common, but perhaps less recognized, condition called dysthymia.
Depression: Who really understands it? by Sam and Pauline Doerksen
A person can be diagnosed with clinical/endogenous depression or reactive depression. Reactive depression is like the common cold of our emotional health.

Facts on depression

We receive a lot of calls from pastors who struggle with depression. Here are some symptoms of depression and what to do if you suspect depression has invaded your life.

Four keys to tackling sexual sin

Do the only thing that will lead to significant, lasting transformation for your church: change your church's culture from the inside out. Intentionally make sexual integrity part of the fabric of your church.

Anatomy of temptation

I had been tempted before, but had been pulled back from the brink by circumstances. This time, I became attracted to a mature young woman in the church, eager to grow.

It's all about grace by Anonymous

Looking at porn increasingly became the place where I could feel good about myself, however briefly and deceptively. As the cycle started to escalate, I recognized that my sense of disconnection was increasing.


Tackling pornography in church

There was a time when we mostly heard from women who had discovered their husbands were using pornography. But increasingly now we are hearing from parents who are finding their children not only exposed but in many cases already addicted as teenagers! In order to help you tackle this issue in your church, we have a resource we believe could greatly benefit families.

Knowing when it's time to leave

by Cam Taylor

"Is it time for me to leave my church?" Many pastors find themselves asking this queston. Here are some factors to consider when deciding to stay or leave.

Lessons that help sustain ministry

by Jerry and Renee Ritskes

We often work with ministry people who, over time, have lost the excitement of ministry. Often, unresolved hurts or exhaustion drove them to the point of losing hope that the Lord is actually interested in their lives. We’ve experienced some of those hurtful things, too. Here are some of the lessons we have learned from almost 30 years of marriage and ministry.

The gift of a fresh start

by Sam and Pauline Doerksen

A healthy way to move into a new fresh start requires us to look ahead and recognize the need for change before it's a necessity - and this is best done proactively. But how can we start fresh before a crisis requires it?

Ministering to people with mental health issues by Wendy Kittlitz
Some of the people you encounter, occasionally or regularly, will be dealing with significant mental health issues. It might be helpful to know a few things about some of the common or stressful mental health conditions you may find yourself dealing with.
H.B. London Jr. on life, ministry and family
In an exclusive, candid interview with Focus on the Family Canada, H.B. London Jr. shares the wisdom he's gained from more than 50 years in the ministry and 20 years as the "pastor to pastors" at Focus on the Family in the U.S.

The 10 self-assessment questions pastors should ask

by Laird Crump
Hopefully you'll never lose the thrill of ministry, but a lack of enjoyment could be an indicator that you have outgrown your current setting and need another challenge. If you're wondering whether God is calling you to stay or go, these 10 self-assessment questions can help.

Transference and the pastorate by Michele Langmead
Transference reactions can occur in any relationship, but tend to occur more frequently and intensely in relationships with authority. Here's how to overcome some of the difficulties that can arise when intense feelings are transferred onto you, as a pastor.
Rethinking conflict in the local church setting by Alan Simpson
Congregational conflict is common but is often mishandled. It is important for pastors and church members to develop a healthy biblical understanding of conflict and conflict resolution.
12 steps church leaders can take to help domestic abuse victims by Lynette J. Hoy
U.S.-based domestic abuse counsellor Lynette J. Hoy shares specific steps church can leaders take to help domestic abuse victims.
Someone I know is gay or lesbian: A guide for relating to friends and congregation members who experience same-sex attraction by Bob Wilson
There are basic Christian guidelines for how to interact with homosexuals. Chiefly, God requires us to love all of our neighbours and to treat them with dignity, value, and respect. As a pastor, there are additional concrete ways that you can show Christ's love.
Live with your strength . . . visit your weakness by Randy Ritz
Tips on sermon presentation by Dr. Randy Ritz, head of the drama department at Concordia University College in Edmonton‚ Alberta. Dr. Ritz is also an actor and communications coach.
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