There have never been more tools for ministry than there are today. Online tools have created ministry opportunities we would have never dreamed of in the past. Who would have imagined 20 years ago the opportunities social media has given us to share our message and engage people outside the wall of our church? But with so many tools available, where do you start?
Here is a list of online tools I am currently using in pastoral ministry. Leave a comment below and share a resource you are using.
When I was six years old, my parents placed their faith in Christ as the result of a tragic, accidental death in our family. By God’s grace we were led to a wonderful small church with a pastor named Marvin Russell. Pastor Russell welcomed our family and faithfully discipled us as new believers. As I reflect on my childhood pastor, what stands out to me the most was his faithfulness. He spent his entire ministry at one church, serving for 42 years.
Inspired by my pastor’s longevity in ministry, I wrote my Master’s Degree thesis on pastoral tenure. During my research I learned the average pastor serves less than four years before transitioning to another church. There are many reasons the short-term pastorate exists. Perhaps, that’s an idea for another post. But, the benefits of serving long-term have many advantages.
A seasoned pastor once told me, “Every pastor has a difficult conversation, they are avoiding.” Is that true for you? Is there a necessary conversation you keep putting off?
Where there are honest relationships, there will be conflict. Churches are no exception. Our churches deal with misunderstandings, improper motives, a lack of clear expectations, failure, and even sin. Learning to be a good leader includes a willingness to have difficult conversations.
On Sunday mornings I sit on the front row of the church. I remember one Sunday, standing during praise and worship, I looked back at how small the crowd was in that particular service. Inwardly, I was so frustrated! “Where is everyone? Why aren’t our people more faithful and committed? What am I even doing here at this church?”
I distinctly remember God speaking to my heart. “If you are more concerned about the attendance than you are worshiping me, then you have turned the crowd size into idolatry. You are here because I have called you here.”
Last year at our minister’s retreat a pastor I hadn’t seen in a while came up to chat. During the course of our conversation the question came up? Why does this question always come up? “How many people are you guys running on Sundays?” I gave him our average number. He responded with a frown and “Really? I thought you guys were much bigger than that!”
I don’t know why, but for the remainder of the retreat I was discouraged. I couldn’t get his response out of my mind. In fact, I began to agree with his response…why aren’t we bigger than we are? Later that night I began to think about success. When does a pastor become a success?
It's the last week of 2016, and I'm reviewing all that has happened on my blog this year. I started blogging and coaching out of a great burden for pastors who are struggling. This year alone three of my pastor friends resigned from their churches and left the ministry. I wish there was some way I could have encouraged them to stay the course and finish strong. My goal this year has been to encourage, inspire, and resources pastors to find greater health and balance.
On a personal note, I end this year with gratitude for you, my blog readers. If you have been helped, encouraged, and strengthened in some way, I am very thankful.
This year my wife, Linda and I celebrated 23 years of marriage. We are watching our children grow up way too quickly. Our oldest daughter turns 21 after the first of the year. This month we also celebrated 11 years of pastoring here in Los Angeles, and I have completed another year in my denomination as the Executive Presbyter for the Los Angeles region. In this role God has given me the opportunity to love and serve 63 churches and 110 credentialed ministers.
Congratulations to Pastor Israel Cruz from Fresno, California for winning my survey drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. I want to thank each of you for participating in my 2016 reader survey.
In offering a survey I had hoped to get to know my readers a bit more, as well as your struggles and aspirations. The survey results gave me a lot of insight and feedback, which I will use to serve you better in 2017. Here's what the numbers say...
For several years I served as a bi-vocational pastor. I worked 50 hours a week building kitchen cabinets, and also pastored a small rural church.
Our church had a traditional service schedule, meaning I preached on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. Most of those sermons were prepared at the last minute. I had very little time to pray, study, and prepare. Somehow God blessed my feeble efforts, and our church was blessed.
Looking back now, I realize how helpful a preaching calendar would have been. It would have given me direction for my weekly ministry, and my preaching would have been more balanced.
Are you experiencing burnout? My desire is to encourage, inspire, and resource pastors who are struggling. I know what burnout feels like and if it wasn’t for the support of my wife, good friends, and a great counselor, I’m not sure if I would be in ministry today.
Very simply…burnout is emotional exhaustion. Perhaps you have experienced some of these symptoms: Fatigue... frequent illnesses... sleep problems... disillusionment... cynicism toward people and church... sense of hopelessness... feeling of powerless to change circumstances... anger towards family and staff...depression and isolation... detachment from others... isolation... harshness in dealing with colleagues... a desire to escape.
Many times I have told my wife that I do not love the church more than her. I endeavored to keep good boundaries in my life. My desire has been to manage my time in such a way that I am a good husband and father, and at the same time, a faithful pastor.
I have wanted to shield my family from the pain of ministry. It has been my hope that somehow I could protect them from church conflict, criticism, and unrealistic expectations.
I wish I could say ministry hasn’t negatively affected my family, but it has. Some of our deepest wounds have come from people we loved and served.
Hi! I'm Loren Hicks. I am follower of Jesus, a husband, a father, a friend, and for the past