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The second half of ministry life

My 60th birthday is fast approaching. I’m not sure how this happened. I’m still kind of in shock. But if I’m being honest, my first real tangle with aging was well over two decades ago. I was booked as a workshop speaker at a large conference and it was my fifth year of being part of that speaking team. Read more

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Understanding compassion fatigue

Are there risks and pitfalls that we need to be aware of when it comes to providing care and compassion? Can a person who naturally has a heart of compassion come to a place of no longer being able to be compassionate? Is it sinful for me to step back and allow others to help provide care? As a pastor, am I shirking my responsibilities by doing so? Read more

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Conflicted by conflict?

“I am at peace with God. My conflict is with Man.” It is likely most of us understand both the joy and the tension of Charlie Chaplin’s statement. Chaplin’s declaration became real to me when I was just nine years old. The memory is so vivid, so locked in my memory, that I could take you to the very spot – about a block from the public school that I attended in London, ON. It was the first and the last physical altercation that I have been in. Read more

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A pastor looks back on dealing with difficult issues

I was the pastor of a good church, a growing church, a vibrant church. We had new converts, had just completed our first building project without going into debt, and our worship services were like being in the Holy of Holies. I thanked God I served a congregation who genuinely loved and appreciated me, my ministry, and my family. However, it all began to unravel when it became evident that a couple who were a cornerstone of our church were having marital struggles. Read more

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Live with your strength, visit your weakness

Tips on sermon presentation

To become a confident communicator, you would be wise to accept the following statements:

  1. Not everyone has the same presentation style.
  2. No single presentation style should be elevated above another.

Your presentation style is directly influenced by your temperament and personality. Read more

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Someone I know is gay or lesbian

A guide for relating to friends and congregation members who experience same-sex attraction

Our society and its view of sexuality has rapidly changed in the past 50 years. We live in a country that is struggling to determine the legal definition of marriage. Parents are wondering how to explain to their children why a playmate has two mommies or two daddies. Prime-time television shows feature homosexual characters. God’s plan for sexuality is no longer the prevailing world view. The church is being challenged and pastors are being called to answer questions. Pastors cannot escape the question of how to deal with homosexuality within God’s framework. Read more

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Rethinking conflict in the local church setting

“One of the first steps leaders can take to develop a safe environment in the midst of change is to recognize the value that conflict holds for them.” – Rendle, G. R

The tendency towards forced termination of church leaders is epidemic in North American. Ken Sande (2003) declared that all the reasons for forced exits can be summarized in one word: conflict. Read more

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Transference and the pastorate

We have an unofficial open door policy at work. One day, excited about a project idea, I went to my supervisor’s office only to find her door closed. Dejected, I returned to my office thinking, I don’t want to share Mommy with anybody else. What? I suddenly asked myself. Share who? Mommy? I laughed out loud! Here I go again, I thought, turning my boss into my mother!

My reaction is a common phenomenon known in psychology as transference. Read more

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The 10 self-assessment questions pastors should ask

“When it stops being fun, find another sport.” That was the advice my wife and I gave our two sons when they played hockey. They looked at us with incredulity when we first gave them this advice. They couldn’t fathom not enjoying hockey. In fact, our words of caution were almost offensive to them. But as time went on, we could see their interest in playing hockey begin to wane. Read more

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Four keys to tackling sexual sin

You can occasionally mention Christ-like “purity” in your sermons. You can very carefully, in the most gentle manner possible, say the four letter word “PORN”, but please make sure you come up with words that sound like PORN, such as “born” or “torn” so that you can play dumb when approached after the service. Read more