I was listening to the Jimmy’s Table podcast this morning as he interviewed a local Charlotte, NC pastor. They discussed the recent wave of Facebook Live and other video/streaming church services and that brought up a few questions. Will church members go back to church when this is all over? Why send tithes to a church in your city when you could watch a live stream or listen to a podcast from a pastor anywhere?
I’ve written in the past about blog friends; people I’ve not met in real life but as the internet made the world a smaller place we were brought together by the Christian blogosphere. That was a few years ago and blogging is not what it used to be. Today Facebook is more popular but often less substantive but I have good news to report on that front.
After Expectations was posted another thought occurred to me about dress. Do you expect the pastor to wear a tie, coat and jacket to every church service? Some church members have been offended by a pastor in slacks and a Polo shirt after not clearly explaining their expectations beforehand. A person once felt so strongly about style of dress that he said “I don’t think I would attend a church if the pastor came out wearing a suit.” In an attempt to not make clothing too important, he made the issue of clothing too important. My take is that the pastor should dress according to the standards of the congregation. Some pastors insist on a coat and tie even though no one else is wearing one. That seems a little out of step to me. I have no problem wearing a button up shirt with a tie if that’s what the congregation expects but currently I wear black dress pants and either a button shirt (often times solid color or with a print) or a two button Polo. For about a year I wore black Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots. (They were solid black, very formal dress cowboy boots). The church congregation and I agreed on our expectations. Continue reading →
A friend in-real-life was listening to one of my sermons recently and had a question. He wanted to make it clear that I was not going over his head but wondered if everyone in my congregation was always able to follow. I told him that some of points in the case I was making were repeated from things we had either studied or I had preached before. I kind of figured they would remember some of it. The other thing I pointed out was that my particular audience had a lifetime of experience; some of those church members had been at that church since before I was born. I would tailor my presentation for a youth group or a congregation with many new believers. You gotta know your audience.
That conversation got me thinking. A speaker should know their audience but at the same time a church congregation, men’s meeting, conference organizers or Sunday School class should know what to expect from a speaker. Here is what to expect from me personally. Continue reading →
It has been a long time since I tried to put together a link list but I want to share just a couple. The first is about pastoral candidates. When Bobby Braswell is asked “Could this candidate be your pastor?” he may be willing to consider candidates you would not. His pastor doesn’t have to be young and good looking, for example. Churches often hire pastors that look like the church members they hope to attract. Then the mostly older folks that make up the church will not let him do the things the church needs to do to bring in and/or retain those 20 or 30 somethings with kids. That’s just one example. Check out Could This Candidate be Your Pastor at The Christian Index.
This one is a lot of fun, I thought about saving it for Saturday. Rhyne Putman was invited to preach at a KJV only church as a seminary student 15 years ago. He read from the wrong translation but that’s only one facet of this “bed time story” he shares. It’s a long thread of Tweets but worth your time. Click the tweet below.
The time I preached from the wrong translation at a rural KJV-only church: a bedtime story.
This is the second half of a two parter. Click here if you have not read Part I.
The Gordon County Christian Ministerial Alliance (formerly the Gordon County Ministers Association) is a collaborative effort of a few local church pastors. Some will automatically be offended by anything that suggests ecumenical but what I wrote yesterday applies; we can do more working together than against each other. Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian pastors feel the same pressures and isolation. While we may be able to function as individuals we can thrive as members of a society, an organization. Is your church not enough? It’s not about that. The church is something a pastor pours into. Being part of a collaborative effort allows ministry leaders the same connections and opportunities as church members have in the body. I don’t want to use a cliche like synergy but it conveys what I mean in this case. There are members on paper we don’t see very often but the core of the group is one Baptist pastor, two Methodist pastors, one Methodist minister of music, one Presbyterian pastor, one Seventh Day Adventist pastor, one hospital chaplain and currently two ladies that represent another Methodist church and the local Episcopal church. We differ in our theology in ways there are secondary to our main goal which is bringing the Gospel into our community. When we make more of Christ and less of ourselves we can work together in spite of our differences. Continue reading →
“We are stronger together than we are alone.” -Walter Payton
There’s a whole other story about researching that quote; maybe another post, maybe we can catch it on Saturday. We are stronger together than we are alone. There are multiple case studies that show people work better as part of a team (this article lists seven). I am blessed to take part in a couple of different groups outside of my church that directly relate to what we do as pastors and ministers. I often write in terms that are very general so that as many people can relate but in this case I will be oddly specific and share some personal details. The larger point, though, will still be made: We need to work together and be invested in others, for our benefit as well as theirs. Continue reading →
Start Studying, from the article So You Want to Be a Pastorby Dave Bruskas of Mars Hill Church. I particularly enjoyed this take on importance of scripture, just thought I’d share. His next piece of advice is to start evangelizing. There are many pastors but evangelistic pastors are few and far between.
Timothy was a young pastor being mentored by the Apostle Paul. Half the books of what we call the New Testament were letters written by Paul, many of them to specific churches (Ephesus, Corinth, Galatia, etc.) but some to individuals, such as Timothy, Titus and Philemon. 1 and 2 Timothy could almost be thought of as early “minister manuals” but there are also instructions for selecting deacons, supporting widows, and to all believers to practice godliness.
1 Timothy is a mere six chapters. Here is a link to 1 Timothy 1 at ESV Bible. If you click “listen” a disembodied voice will even read it to you. At the end of chp 1 simply click “1 Timothy 2” to go on. Bible Gateway has many different English versions. (I would rather folks read any version of the Bible than not read at all.) Below are some of my favorite passages, but I highly recommend the entire book, which can be read in a matter of minutes. *emphasis in bold are my own
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:15-17 ESV) Continue reading →