Later this month by God’s grace, I will reach my six-year anniversary as the preaching pastor of my local church. I realize that this is not an incredibly long time and that compared to many faithful pastors, I’m still a snot-nosed kid with all kinds of things yet to learn. Yet, I actually find it astonishing that I’ve made it this far. Truly, this is all of grace. I say that because I’ve come to realize that being in ministry poses a myriad of threats to a man’s spiritual health.
I remember hearing it said somewhere that ministry will either make you a better man, or a far worse one. Like Paul discusses in 2 Corinthians 12, the privilege of knowing the Lord and the riches of his revelation, can easily become a source of pride and puff a man up with great conceit. There is no guarantee that your soul will thrive in ministry; despite the hours you may spend in the serious study and proclamation of Scripture, and the number of people you counsel with the Word, and even the effectiveness of your ministry. You can actually be a very effective pastor while your spiritual health is failing miserably. That’s just the way the cookie of God’s mysterious Providence sometimes crumbles. It is very easy for pastors to do ministry in a way that does not cultivate their spiritual health, and in fact hinders it. Mining Scripture exclusively for teaching material, giving counsel to others that you do not personally live by, putting in extra hours at the office to escape from other responsibilities, ministering to the church to the neglect of your family; these are just some of the ways you can be very busy as pastor and very unhealthy as a Christian.… Continue reading
“We speak often of the wonder of being married till one of us
dies. It has not been trouble-free. So we imagine ourselves in our seventies or
eighties – when divorce is not only sin, but socially silly – sitting across
from each other, perhaps at Old Country Buffet, and smiling at each other’s
wrinkled faces, and saying with the deepest gratitude for God’s grace: ‘We made
it.’” (John Piper, This Momentary
“We made it.” Three simple
words that summarize the dream that one brother in Christ has for his
marriage. I confess that I have a
similar dream for my ministry as a pastor.… Continue reading
Every church has its flaws. Significant ones, in fact, since even the best of churches are made up of and led by exclusively by sinners. As a result, if you are a member of a local church, you are bound to be regularly disappointed by something going on within it.
In the local church it doesn’t take long before you encounter people who don’t share your excitement for the particulars of your theology, or who don’t seem to be very zealous in evangelism or very excited about living in “community,” or who are just remarkably ordinary (unlike you, of course). Every Christian comes into the church with expectations regarding what church life should be like, and every Christian who has spent any period of time in the church has experienced some level of disappointment with his/her church from those expectations going unmet.… Continue reading
have been on my heart for some time, which is likely because I am one of
you. I am a relatively young man (i.e.
under 40), who is also a Christian, a husband, and a father. You are my peers. And I am writing to you today, because seldom
a day goes by where I am not reminded that we all have a whole lot to learn.
Let me share a little more about myself before I get to the reason for this letter. I am fast-approaching 39 years of age and have been married for nearly 19 years. Yes, I married young. Too young, in fact. But God is sovereign and good, and so despite “many dangers, toils, and snares” in our marriage we are pressing on by grace toward another nineteen years and then some. I have made many mistakes along those 19 years as a husband (which I’ve written about in years past), some of them I’m still coming to understand and still trying to correct. You would think that there would be little grace left for a husband like me, but God is an infinite God and his grace is an infinite grace. For that I am most grateful.… Continue reading
Hello, my name is Zach, and I am a nobody. I am a pastor of a church of about 150 people. I have not written any books. I don’t have a podcast. You won’t hear me on the radio. I don’t preach at conferences. I am quite certain that if you are reading this blog and 1) are not a member of my family, 2) a member of my church, 3) a personal friend, nor 4) one of the other writers of this blog – you do not know me from Adam. A high-profile pastor or ministry leader, I am not. I observe the happenings of high-profile Christians and Christian ministries from afar; from the “cheap seats,” as they say. And in recent days, there has been quite the abundance of noteworthy happenings to observe, many of them rather troubling, at least from where I’m sitting.
I have no desire to dive into any of the particular happenings I’m referring to. You likely know what kinds of things I’m talking about. Sex scandals. Firings. Debates about the value of third-party reviews. Apologies for public statements. And things like these. I have no inside track perspective about any of these things, and I am woefully under-qualified to wade into public debate about who should’ve done what, and when, and why. But, watching a number of recent situations involving high-profile pastors and Christian leaders unfold, is leading me to a number of conclusions. And I thought there may be some value in sharing those thoughts here. So, here goes…
The spiritual dangers that
attend wide visibility & influence are myriad.… Continue reading