Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Beginning Ministry Suggestion from Tim Keller

I heartily recommend a reading of Tim Keller's advice for those aspiring to ministry: The Country Parson.

In short, he recommends trying to pastor as a solo pastor of a small, rural church.

His rationale includes limitations of experience gained as a mentored member of a pastoral staff in a larger church.

"You can't teach a younger pastor much about things they aren't actually doing. And in a large church they aren't a) bearing the burden of being the main leader, b) leading a board of elders, c) fund-raising and bearing the final responsibility of having enough money to do ministry, d) and doing the gamut of counseling, shepherding, teaching, preaching."

Conversely, when you're the only pastor ...
"In a smaller church as a solo pastor you and only you visit the elderly, do all the weddings and funerals, sit by the bedside of every dying parishioner, do all the marriage counseling, suspend and excommunicate, work with musicians, craft and lead worship, speak at every men's retreat, women's retreat, and youth retreat, write all the Bible studies and often Sunday School curriculum, train all the small group leaders, speak at the nursing home, work with your diaconate as they try to help families out of poverty, evangelize and welcome new visitors to the church, train volunteers to do some (but not all) of all of the above tasks, and deal with the once-a-month relational or financial crisis in the church. No amount of mentoring can teach you what you learn from doing all those things."

I may be rather biased, since my first pastorate was as the solo pastor in what was a rural church at the time. The experience was invaluable, though I found it to be a lonely experience as well.

I wondered at times about the alternative, serving on a larger staff. Yet, I avoided doing my seminary pastoral internship in such a church because I wanted to do more than carry around some associate pastor's clipboard ... uh ... not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'd be curious as to (1) your thoughts on Keller's article and (2) your reflections on your early pastoral experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Allocation of Pastoral Resources

An interesting quote:

Ministers pay far too much attention to people who do not come to services. Those people should, generally, be given exactly that disregard by the pastor that they give to Christ. The Christian leader has something much more important to do than pursue the godless. The leader’s task is to equip saints until they are like Christ.
-Dallas Willard

To what extent should a pastor pursue the AWOL? At what point is it inappropriately neglecting the faithful sheep?

Any "war" stories along these lines?

On a related note ... in your personal experience, have you seen much success in bring church members who have left back to the flock?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What to think of multi-site campuses?

Doubtless, you're familiar with a trend in church growth. Instead of planting new churches, churches are instead opening up another "campus," where those who assemble typically watch the preaching done at the main campus via live feed or rebroadcast.

What should we think of the practice?

There are obviously reasons to do it that way. For example, you can keep control over the doctrine and practice over the new group. You have name recognition that will draw a crowd.

But, aren't there drawbacks as well?

Why not take the 6 greatest preachers in a denomination and offer to broadcast them into each church, instead of having some 2nd rate pastor labor through sermon construction amid his other duties?

Seriously, can you imagine how much time would be available if a pastor didn't have to preach that Sunday morning sermon?

What is lost in that approach? You could say you lose the ability for the pastor to really shepherd those people, but I've long since held that's going to be the case in a mega church anyway, where the pastors/elders are not really able to effectively shepherd the masses.

Of course, in the typical mega church the folks are already watching the preacher on a screen, so does it matter if it's live or if he's really in the building?

Anyone have firsthand experience in the multisite church? Your thoughts? What were the pros? the cons?

Personally, I'm not a fan of the multisite church idea, but the more I think about it, the more I come to realize it's really the mega church approach that I don't like, not just the multisite approach.

Here's a Christianity Today link to various responses to the following question:
"Should Multisite Campuses Be Church Plants Instead?"

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pooped Pastors Dot Com!

Someone recommended this site to me since I am going through the resignation process at my church. It has not been an easy 2 weeks, but something that I feel I must do. At the site, Steve Brown talks about the resignation letter and how to go about it. I've already started the process and it is comforting to know that I'm in line with what he is saying.

But the site has so much more than just that. It is a site entirely for pastors, and to write on the forums, you have to be a credentialed pastor. In other words, no laymen allowed! Steve even says that in the video that I would like to embed, but he doesn't offer that. The site is NOT for laymen, but for pastors who are beat up and tired. Only those who are in the ministry can participate on the forums, and only those who have proved worthy, meaning they not only have the T-shirt, but the bloodies T-shirt, can contribute.

So to you fellow pastors (masculine plural), check out Pooped Pastor Dot Com!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blog of the Week: Surviving Seminary
Practical Wisdom to Help You Avoid Burnout and Finish Well

I just found this site this week and knew it would be a great blog to let you all know about. Maybe some of you could contribute some articles there.

Here are a few of the featured articles:

Your Seminary Isn’t Responsible For Your Education

Stumbling at Seminary: Laziness

Stumbling at Seminary: Cheating

A Little Seminary Is A Dangerous Thing

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Some Preaching Slooge

Read an interview of Mark Dever and C.J. Mahaney on sermon preparation and delivery.

Read John Piper's exhortation to preach what is true and precious.

Read about Paige Patterson's challenging chapel message (10/21/2008) at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, or listen to it.

Listen to John MacArthur's Q&A on "Keeping Preaching Fresh" at the Straight Up Conference.

Plus, watch Bryan Chapell on expository preaching.

Monday, September 8, 2008

DTS classes on iTunes

Just got this on my DTS Google Alert: The seminary is offering free classes on iTunes in video format. BE 102 w/ Allman, 107 w/ Toussaint, PM 103 w/ Warren, plus many more are available for free to download.

I wonder how much of our tuition is going for the hardware & manpower to run this feature. Does it matter to you?