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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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The blessing of permission: Clergy Appreciation 2020

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:3-6)

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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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Friendships in ministry

It’s been four years now since we got in our car and drove away from the city we loved and the church we had pastored for over 28 years. We moved to a new province, a new job and pretty much an entirely new life. The opportunities ahead were exciting. The future was bright. Everything on my “to-do” list had been checked off. The house was sold, the boxes were packed, the moving van was booked – I was ready to go. Or at least I thought I was ready.

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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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“In a little while”: Waiting with anticipation

“In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me . . . because I’m going to the Father.” (John 16:16-17)

The phrase “in a little while” invokes childhood memories of anticipated but delayed celebrations or events.

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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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Purposeful waiting for a prodigal

“Purposeful waiting.” It sounds like a nice title for a fictional story. A little bit like a Hallmark movie. We can most likely dictate what will happen at the end when we’re only ten minutes into the movie.

There is a child that runs away, physically, mentally or spiritually – or perhaps all the above. They may not just run away but also run into a life of sin, self-pleasing and rebellion against God.

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20 things I’d tell my younger self in 2020

Well January is upon us, and it’s not just a new year but an entirely new decade! I’m not sure how that happened so fast. I woke up one morning and discovered, to my shock, that I was approaching my mid-60s with almost 40 years of pastoring behind me.

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