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Archive of posts tagged defining ministry

Counsel to the Hot-Headed

In general, the church in America today is in great need of renewal. There is plenty to lament, and there is much work or reformation to be done. However, one major hindrance to such renewal work is well-meaning but hot-headed laborers who too easily think that offending church members is the primary mark of faithfulness. […]

Herbert’s Poetic Portrayal of Pastoral Ministry

I’m continuing to glean from the reading of George Herbert’s The Temple, an amazing collection of poems describing the Christian life.  His poem, “Aaron,” is a compelling, honest portrayal of the challenge of pastoral ministry. Herbert poses the problem of the reality of the preacher’s sinfulness and the holiness of God. How can a sinful […]

When Shepherds Play the Part of Wolves

 “When those who have the title of shepherd play the part of wolves, heresy grows in the garden of the Church.” - Lothar of Saxony, 12th century (cited in Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, 123).                 [Illustration, "Shepherd Wolf," by Gustave Dore]

“No Pastor can afford to major on preaching to the exclusion of all else”

Justin Wainscott passed along to me the great quote below from Murray Capill’s book, The Heart Is the Target: Preaching Practical Application from Every Text. Capill’s point has been a theme of this site.             Amen!

Pastors, Believe!

This column by Peter Leithart is a powerful call for pastors to believe in the effectiveness of God’s word, to be reminded of the spiritual realities at work in what they do. Leithart specifically is saying pastors need not entering the realm of politics in order to impact the world. This is true, but don’t […]

“Your souls, more precious than thousands of worlds”

How should a pastor think of the members of the church he serves? Too often today church members are thought of as customers or potential workers. This is not the scriptural pattern; nor is it the practice of our forebears. Just today I came back to “The Glory and Ornament of a True Gospel‐constituted Church” […]

No “Safe Distance” Ministry

A main theme of this blog is the necessity of pastors knowing their people in order to be able really to pastor them. A colleague of mine, Justin Barnard, recently pointed me to Henri Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus as a source making a similar point. The following excerpt is a powerful summary of ministry […]

Pastor of a Church vs. Just a Preacher

“He who can only generalize in the pulpit, but has not ability to individualize out of it; who cannot in some measure meet the varieties of religious perplexity, and deal with the various modifications of awakened solicitude; who finds himself disinclined or disabled to guide the troubled conscience through the labyrinths which sometimes meet the […]

Praying for a New Pastor in Light of the Lord’s Prayer

This was originally published in our state Baptist paper back in 2005. I’m currently discussing Martin Luther’s booklet, A Simple Way to Pray, with some colleagues and the discussion of praying through the Lord’s Prayer reminded me of this. One of the most important decisions a church makes is the calling of a new pastor.  The […]

Beza, A Pastor Must Know Each of His People by Name

I have made the point often here that the New Testament portrays pastors knowing their people well, and not just speaking to crowds of unknown people. The command to watch over their souls, knowing God will hold us accountable for this (Heb 13:17), requires this as does a ministry in which we “warn everyone” and […]