Dealing with criticism is a common challenge facing all pastors and an especially difficult one for many of them. If you are a pastor, you know what it is to be criticized. If are not a pastor but have one (or more), I can assure you that you are being shepherded by a man (or men) who has dealt with the challenge of criticism.
Last week I gave a message at a small pastors’ conference for the network our church is a part of (check them out!) on this very issue; dealing with the challenge of criticism. It was a good subject for me to work through, since for me personally, the steady flow of criticism has been the challenge that has most frequently led me to question whether I can endure as a pastor for the long haul, and whether I even want to do so. … Continue reading
“How, then, is true brotherly service performed in the Christian community?” German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer asks this very practical question near the outset of the fourth chapter in his relevant and helpful book Life Together. In an attempt to flesh out the ways Christians are to serve one another in the church, Bonoeffer begins with a ministry that many of us are prone to overlook – the ministry of listening.
“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to his Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them.
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Recently news broke that Andrew Stoecklein, pastor of Inland Hills Church in Chino California took his own life. It is heartbreaking news, and shocking, but I have to say not overwhelmingly surprising. I’ve heard and read some express sentiments along the lines of “how could a pastor do that?” Sadly, some have gone on to posit that no “truly called” man could possibly be depressed much less suicidal. While I don’t know anything about this man or the church he served, over the last several years, both through my own experiences and through relationships with other pastors, I have learned a thing or two about pastoral ministry. … Continue reading
On April 25, 2018, I was arrested. I was led away from the church in handcuffs. I was booked and charged with 3 counts of larceny and 2 counts of defacing a monument. I know, really shocking stuff. But what is even more shocking than a pastor being arrested, is what precipitated my arrest. I removed political signs that were posted on church property without permission. And because so many have asked me what happened, I thought I should take this opportunity to relate the events, and also a few of the lessons I learned.
I want to be clear and open.… Continue reading
Later this week a Christian man named Andrew will begin counseling with his pastor in a last stitched effort to overcome a sin that he has long struggled with. Andrew is 32, has been married for 8 years, is the father of 3-year-old twins, is an active member of his church, and is hooked on porn. He’s been viewing pornography since he was a teenager, and with exception of a month here and a few weeks there, has not yet found victory over his addiction. His wife has been living under the impression that Andrew’s struggle came to an end, at least as a daily struggle, several years ago. … Continue reading