6 Questions to Help Pastors Assess Their Spiritual Health

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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

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My Great Ministry Dream

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“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 Marriage)

“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

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Bonhoeffer on Disappointment with Church (Reprise)

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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

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Thinking Through A Theology Of Bad Weather

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A snowplow truck removing snow from a tree lined rural road on a cold winter day.

A few weeks ago we canceled Sunday worship at PBC. I absolutely hated doing it. We canceled because of weather, and I was raised to think that weather has no relationship to what must be done. Furthermore the amount of snow we got would have been characterized as an invalid excuse to be late for work amount of snow in Colorado, where I spent all of my adult life prior to moving to L.A. for seminary. It was hard, others didn’t like it, and it discolored to whole week.… Continue reading

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Reprise: Sunday Through A Pastor’s Eyes

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SundayFor believers the Lord’s Day worship service is the centerpiece of the week. It is the time when they gather with their church family to praise and worship their King. It is a time of sweet fellowship and of edification. The cares of the world are left behind, songs of praise are sung, prayer requests and praise reports are shared, and spiritual batteries are recharged. But there is one believer in the church who experiences Sundays much different from all of the rest, the preaching pastor. For a pastor it is equally a sweet time of worship and fellowship, but it feels much different.… Continue reading

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