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Insights for working with struggling couples

Pastors, we are certain that you are hearing many of the same stories we are hearing: the pandemic has been very hard on stressed marriages. Couples who had a good foundation have done quite well, some even reporting strengthened relationships from increased togetherness over the past 10 months or so, but those whose marriages were already distressed have found life even more challenging.

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Don’t give up

Dear Fellow Servants of the Lord Jesus:

A couple of days ago, on two different occasions, trusted ministry partners shared with me that a significant portion of pastors in North America are discouraged, and even considering leaving pastoral ministry. I woke up this morning with this fact, or observation, on my mind and heart, and during morning devotions wondered if I could speak a word to any of you wrestling along such lines.

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Book review: When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom from Toxic People by Gary Thomas

“If someone is getting in the way of you becoming the person God created you to be or is frustrating the work God has called you to do, for you that person is toxic.”

This quote is taken from Gary Thomas’ book When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom from Toxic People. He wrote this book to help the reader understand the impact of toxic people in their lives. He underscores this by adding, “This book is about protecting our mission from toxic attacks even more than it’s about protecting ourselves from toxic people.”

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Anxiety and the pastor

  • First time in a lead pastor role
  • Labouring to coax a stiff church to lean outward, seek renewal and step up in faith
  • Woman, pastor, wife and mom
  • Younger than all the board members and reminded of it, frequently
  • Life anxiety that just won’t end, even after prayer and a Bible verse
  • Taking up a pastorate in a congregation that “has history”
  • Serving, and suffering, under a bullying board or senior leader

It is quite likely that at least one, and perhaps several, of these situations sound familiar to you. Perhaps it was a time of life or ministry that was particularly challenging, stirring up an inner distress that you couldn’t shake. Perhaps it is that unwelcome, uninvited, but constant companion of anxiety that has long been part of your life.

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Ministry leadership during a pandemic

Who would have known that words like “self-isolate” and “social distancing” would become part of our vocabulary in the way that they have? It has not only become part of our vocabulary; we are living it out. I couldn’t have imagined that it would have felt wrong to shake a person’s hand while standing close enough to touch them. Even more so, that it would be a global experience!

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Navigating gender identity and sexuality in your ministry

One of the very complex and difficult topics that we are increasingly hearing about on our call-in line concerns the subject of homosexuality, same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria.

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Stories of Clergy Appreciation

Our dear friend, H.B. London, who has now gone home to be with the Lord, initiated Clergy Appreciation Month through Focus on the Family many years ago.

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Book review: The Emotionally Destructive Relationship

Over the last while, Focus on the Family Canada’s Clergy Care counselling ministry has had more frequent calls on the topic of destructive or abusive relationships.

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When is it time to leave?

Goodbyes are difficult. Typically we prefer the joyous times of greeting, rather than experiencing the challenging emotions associated with leaving, even if the parting is graced with love and meaningful relationship. Leaving, it seems, is an occupational hazard for all clergy, ministers and missionaries, and seldom do we feel equipped to safely navigate the emotional whitewater rapids that accompany it. Read more

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Is a Kerith Retreat for me?

In 2017, ExPastors.com published the results of a pastoral survey they had done. They asked pastors two questions:

Do you feel overworked? Sixty-four per cent of pastors replied yes.

Do you feel you are unable to meet the demands of ministry? Eighty-six per cent of respondents answered yes.

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