August 22, 2013
Reflections on a pastor's day off.
Monday has been my off day for years, ever since I started working in a church, with the long exception of having to be on-call at Sweet Holy Spirit for administrative matters. Back then, it wasn’t strange to get a minutes long call from our accountant or from a co-worker that changed the direction of the week. Those Mondays are distant, though I hardly forget them.
Usually by Monday, since Sunday is traditionally a longer work day for pastors, I’ve lived through the equivalent of a work week with the compressed emotions of half a second one. There has been the previous week itself. It will bring with it conversations that stop me, meetings that unsettle me, group chats where someone is inevitably struggling with faith, offered counsel that helps or hurts people, conflicts left open for too long. There are projections about the future of the church, potential partnerships or courses of action. Quiet is seldom found without effort. There is the loneliness that feels like a heavy blanket in summer. There is the balancing of my own soul.
Continue reading Sabbath and Soul Junk...
July 13, 2010
A call for boundaries and the danger of rooting our identity in our ministry.
If there’s one issue that all pastors must wrestle with, beyond how the Gospel applies to their own lives and ministry, it’s the issue of rest and Sabbath.
Wait—scratch that. Those are actually the same issue.
There was a time a few years back when I was working in a support staff role doing media design for a local church. It also happened to be the first year of my marriage, and as far as first-year-of-marriage jobs go, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. I came in the morning, did my work, went home and didn’t think about it again until the next day. The computers I worked on were there at the church office—I couldn’t take work home with me, and I was very, very okay with that. When I was off, I was off.
Fast forward a couple of years and to when we planted a church. Suddenly, that’s all I could think about. Early morning, late night—I was working on the website, writing posts on our forum, answering emails. I was always on.
What was the difference? I was working at a church in both situations. Both were “ministry.” The difference was that one was a job, and the other was my identity.
Continue reading Brothers and Sisters, We Kinda Sorta Are Professionals...
October 8, 2009
Soul sickness comes from coveting someone else's life. Accepting God's gift of you is the cure.
Rob Bell warned the crowd before he began: “I’ve never talked about some of this publicly but I have a sense that we need to.” So we buckled our seatbelts.
He talked about the pastor he met who wanted to quit. Because he could never get away from the responsibilities. Another who felt his ministry was insignificant because it wasn’t large. What drives these soul-shaping forces?
Continue reading Rob Bell on the Reward of the Tenth Commandment...