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


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


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


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