Ministry Inside.1

For the next six weeks, each Thursday, “Ministry Inside” will appear on this blog. I am writing this post specifically for ministers. This doesn’t mean that others will not gain something from the post. Nevertheless, this particular series will focus on some of the needs and interests of ministers. (After six weeks, I plan to evaluate this and determine whether or not to continue.)

Again, you might enjoy reading this post whether you are a minister or not.


Several years ago, I heard Tim Keller speak of the value of good book reviews. As a result, I began subscribing to and reading The New York Times Book Review and The New York Review of Books. I generally find at least one nugget in every issue. For anything theological or biblical, Scot McKnight’s blog, Jesus Creed, is enormously helpful in this regard. One of the values of Scot’s blog is that a minister has the opportunity to at least be acquainted with some of the most significant books in the areas of ministry, theology, and biblical studies that have been recently published.

I was sad to see The National Pastor’s Conference come to an end. I attended this fine conference for a number of years. Any suggestions as to a conference that might be good to attend in its place?

Nearby are some great ministers. One ministry team that I follow and learn from is the group at the Western Hills Church in Temple (Texas). Scott Meyer, Scott Seela, and Brandon Baker all do a great job! These guys are very good ministers.

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Are you on Facebook? If not, you might consider doing so. Why? I have learned so much from my Facebook “friends” about what they are reading, what they are watching on television, and the movies they go to. I have found that sometimes I am not even aware of the conversation that is taking place regarding a certain television program, etc. Besides, it really is a nice way to re-connect with people who I have not seen in a long time. Consider that a significant part of your congregation already uses it.

I have a good friend who is an Episcopalian rector in the Waco area. We occasionally have coffee or lunch together. About a year ago, we were in conversation about our respective ministries. At one point I said to him, “You know, I really need something basic to help me understand your fellowship. In fact, I need something like Episcopalian for Dummies.” He laughed and then said, “I’ve got just the book.” A few days later, he delivered it to my office. He was right. The book is basic but did it ever answer some of the questions that I had.

One of my favorite New Testament scholars is Dr. David Garland, Dean of Truett Theological Seminary (Baylor University). For the past several years David has also served as Interim President of Baylor University. He has written a number of outstanding books. Recently, I have enjoyed his outstanding commentary on 2 Corinthians. After moving to Waco, I spent several years auditing as many of David Garland’s classes as I could. He is outstanding in the classroom.

What would you do at your church that really needs to be done? What is it that seems to stop us from doing the kind of ministry that needs to be done in our churches and in our communities? Could it be fear? Could it be the loss of control? What do you think?

At this moment I am at the Pepperdine Lectures. This has to be the best event that I go to each year. Not only are the speakers outstanding but it is an opportunity to see friends and meet new people. For information regarding cd’s, dvd’s, or mp3’s, go to Pure Logic Video.

Are you intentional about learning from others? I have been a minister for a number of years. On a regular basis, a number of younger ministers honor me by asking for my input on some ministry concern. They will sometimes ask me questions. Yet, I believe that not only can younger ministers learn but ministers with much experience can also learn from younger ministers. I am thinking about how to be more intentional in this regard. I would love to get your input regarding this.

Have you seen the website, Pooped Pastors? (You can find it here.) Do you relate to the words below?

I’m no longer a pastor but I haven’t been away from it for so long that I’ve forgotten…

The discouragement,
The battles that I sometimes won and sometimes lost,
The hypocrisy I often felt in thinking that my being a pastor was insane,
The times when I didn’t know what I was doing and pretended that I did,
The criticism that often came from those who I thought were friends,
The 24/7 schedule with work that was never done,
The people who left my church because they “weren’t being fed,”
The blank page late Saturday night and my reminding God about the sermon,
The incredible guilt over my family and my ministry,
The loneliness,
The fear of discovery,
The neurotics who hated me,
The congregational meetings when I was sure it was coming apart,
The hard road of authenticity when everything I did worked against it,
The efforts at humility when people thought more of me than was justified,
The questions about whether I and what I did even mattered…

Well, you know. It goes on and on.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “Ministry Inside.1

  1. I, for one, hope that Ministry Inside will continue. I appreciate what you’ve said about facebook. I don’t take much time to post there, but it has helped me keep up with a lot of people both in and out of my congregation and to keep my finger on the pulse of “popular level” culture.