September 26, 2016

On Pastors and Phone Calls

Interesting piece at Christianity Today, Karl Vater’s blog, called “Why Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls.” Vaters notes that ministers have a reputation for not being very good at answering or returning phone calls or communications from parishioners, missionaries, and others. He then says, “It’s not because we’re lazy, disorganized or uncaring – not most […]

The kind of preaching I hope to do

I wrote a post on preaching a couple of years ago. I ended that piece with a list of characteristics of the kind of sermons I hope I will be known for preaching. I’ve edited it a bit, and in the light of yesterday’s post, I thought I would run it again today for further discussion. […]

An imbalanced and woefully incomplete description of pastoral ministry

Sometimes the fruit just hangs so low. The target is so close and easy to hit. And Tim Challies provides such opportunities so regularly. When it comes to pastoral ministry, many of the neo-puritan and neo-reformed types revere John MacArthur. There were periods during my pastoral ministry when I read things he wrote, but even […]

Pastoral Care Week: It’s not just about the pastor

At their courageous best, clergy lead where people aren’t asking to go, because that’s how the range of issues that concern them expands, and how a holy community gets formed. – G. Jeffrey MacDonald • • • Over the years I have been critical of pastors, probably because I have been one and still am […]

Pastoral Care Week: A Funeral Rant

I have been officiating funeral services since I was 22 years old, a young know-nothing pastor in the hills of Vermont. My first funeral was for an infant who died of SIDS. That service was held on the coldest, rainiest and iciest day I can remember. Outside. At the cemetery. It was pure misery and […]

Pastoral Care Week: Walking the Neighborhood

When Eugene Peterson was in seminary in New York City, Dr. George A. Buttrick was pastor of the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, overseeing a large urban congregation. He was renowned for his preaching, and held his position in the church from 1927-1955. He then went on to Harvard and other universities and seminaries as a […]

Pastoral Care Week: Carl

His name was Carl. An old New Englander, he was strong and mostly silent. He was always pleasant to me, a young minister who had come to the mountains to take the pulpit in my first church. As with many of the men who lived in those hills, it was his wife who was actively […]

Pastoral Care Week: Curing Souls or Running Churches?

Pastoral Care Week Renewing Our Calling to the Cure of Souls This week I will be re-posting some of the material from the past six years that I’ve written on pastoral/chaplain ministry. I have been looking through it lately and reworking some of it for other purposes, and I thought it might be a good time […]

Church Changes

I have found myself in an interesting position lately. I’ve been preaching at a small, rural Lutheran church about fifteen miles from my home. It is a sweet, traditional congregation, a church that was founded in 1838. For some time now, they have had a semi-retired pastor serving them. They are too small to support […]

Mondays with Michael Spencer: March 7, 2016

On Mondays we’ve been looking at several things that Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, wrote on the subject of preaching. Today, an article about the relationship of public scripture reading to preaching, and a commendation of the former. Past posts: • Part 1: The sermon’s too long • Part 2: The sermon’s boring • Part 3: The sermon — I don’t understand it […]