How to properly process loss

The older I get, the more I understand about loss simply because I have experienced it more. If I had written this article when I was 20, I may have had a few valuable things to say, but I wouldn’t have really known what I was writing about.

Generally, when we speak of loss, we think of the physical death of someone we’ve loved. Most of us know the ache of saying goodbye to someone precious. I understand that kind of loss; I’ve lost my father, my mother, my brother and several dear friends. These were deep, life-changing losses for me.

But loss is so much broader than just physical death. Read more


The gift of a fresh start

When you create a fresh start or begin a new routine, do you like to be in control of when and how it happens? Or would you prefer being forced to change due to some outside pressure?

For most of us, I’m sure we’d rather be in control. But why do we so often wait until a crisis arises before we admit that change is necessary? Read more


Good leaders retreat

Good leaders don’t always advance, sometimes they retreat.

Great leaders retreat really well.

Escaping the pressure of leadership for a time of evaluation and recalibration is critical. Good leaders know this. In my context, the pastors I most respect who have done some of the most profound work for the kingdom are the ones who have learned the art of retreating well. They make it a habit and they don’t violate the practice. Read more


Pursuit of sexual integrity as a church leader

How do we approach the pursuit of sexual integrity when we feel like we are risking everything by doing so? Unpacking this issue can feel like opening Pandora’s box. The uncertainties of what the consequences may be can feel daunting, yet the inner cry for release from the gripping hold and bondage constantly war against each other. Read more


Depression: Who really understands it?

Over the last few years, we have become more informed about mental health concerns with a great deal of focus on depression. Some of our information has come from reading books, speaking to experts in this field and attending a couple of seminars. While that information is extremely important, it still leaves a broad measure of unknowns.

This, however, is what we know: a person can be diagnosed with clinical/endogenous depression or reactive depression. Read more


Dealing with a wounded soul

Do you ever struggle with truly feeling loved? Loved by God? Loved by your spouse? Loved by those you love? In your head, maybe you know that people love you or God loves you, but it might not always translate into your heart or soul.

Or maybe you are puzzling over why there are people in your church who, in spite of hearing for years how much God loves them, still find it difficult to internalize that truth? Read more


Knowing when it’s time to leave

“Is it time for me to leave my church?” Many pastors find themselves asking this question. The challenge is to make the decision based on solid Spirit-led discernment, not short-sighted impulse thinking. Read more


The purpose of burnout: An interview with Dr. Archibald Hart

Dr. Archibald Hart is dean emeritus in the department of clinical psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He has written close to 30 books, many which deal with stress, burnout and depression. His passion is to see healthy pastors in ministry. Over the years, he has participated in Focus on the Family’s clergy ministry.

Jerry Ritskes and his wife, Renee, are the past directors of our Clergy Care retreat centre at Kerith Creek near Calgary. Their passion is self/soul and marriage care in ministry.

Dr. Hart and Jerry sat down to discuss burnout. Here is their conversation. Read more


Ministering to people with mental health issues

By its very nature, ministry is people-intensive work. Some of the people we encounter, occasionally or regularly, will be dealing with significant mental health issues. Sometimes we will encounter these individuals in our own homes, and sometimes they will be us! Since most pastors are not professional counsellors, it might be helpful to know a few things about some of the common or stressful mental health conditions you may find yourself dealing with. Read more


Parenting with a biblical world view

As a pastor’s kid (PK), hitting my teenage years meant learning to live a dual life: my Christian life, which was pleasing to my parents and my church, and my high school life, which was pleasing to me. My greatest goal was, “May the two never meet.” Of course, neither life – one of hypocrisy and one of blatant sin – was pleasing to God. I did, however, emerge out of those troubling years and went on to follow Jesus Christ as Lord, become a pastor and eventually raise four PKs who live out a Biblical, Christian world view. I determined early on that, if at all possible, I would not repeat history with my kids. Read more