Sometimes, the most important things are the most obvious things. I learned a lot in seminary – how to interpret the Bible, how to preach and teach, loads of theology. I even learned some counseling skills and paradigms for youth ministry that have served me well. But the past few years, in the midst of…

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Over the past several months I have had the pleasure of meeting with a young church leader. Just a few months ago his home church tapped him to step into a full-time role for which he was not prepared. They knew him well, watched his life and considered him worthy of the position. The problem for…

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CAPTAIN OBVIOUS Pastoring has changed in many ways from the way I entered it 33 years ago. The expectations are now so different. Not just the expectations of others, but the expectations we have for ourselves. As podcasts have become available, the obvious challenge is: Can I keep up with the quality/level of preaching of…

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One of the ongoing challenges of ministry, particularly occupational ministry, is taking up the work God gives us to do without allowing it to become the primary driver of our identity. We all know the temptation, and gravitational pull on our hearts, to feel less valuable when things are going poorly and more valuable when…

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SAM, A PASTOR Let me tell you a story about a friend of mine.  Let’s call him “Sam.” Sam, a pastor with 30 years of service said to me one day, “John, I’m so tired.” I understood him completely in that moment, and I knew he needed deep rest. My response to Sam? “Listen to…

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