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


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


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


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


Solo servant leadership: Single and in ministry

A few days ago, I enjoyed lunch out with a friend after a Sunday worship service. My friend is a pastor. She is a woman. She is also single. Not surprisingly, as we talked about our lives and friendship, elements of these three life circumstances – single, woman, in ministry – appeared again and again. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about singles and ministry. Read more


A message to pastor husbands from a pastor’s wife

Dear pastor-husband,

As wives, we do understand that there are inopportune moments when you will be needed. But, not everything is critical. Use discernment and wisdom. A prayer meeting can be postponed or even better, someone else can lead it when your son is in the final game of the season. Read more


Anatomy of temptation

Don’t say it can never happen to you. It almost happened to me. I was in a particularly vulnerable time of my life, feeling emotionally distant from my family, betrayed and confused, without a safe place to unburden myself. Read more


Hello, anybody home?

How to listen to your family, even when you don’t feel like it

“You never listen to me!” The words came choking out through Andrea’s tears. I suddenly felt off balance. What was happening here? I’d been Andrea’s dad for 15 years and a psychiatrist for eight. I was a professional listener trained in reading nonverbal signals, hearing between the lines, giving undivided attention and offering empathetic responses. Read more


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


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