In their return to Saddleback Church after the death of their son, Pastor Rick and Kay Warren share the very personal story of Matthew and his battle with mental illness. They explore the stages of loss that they are walking through with honesty and transparency, teaching us how to do the same in the tough and tragic times of our lives; reminding us that through it all, God is with us and loves us; and urging us to follow Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians 1:4-6—to comfort others in their troubles as God comforts us.
It was 30 years ago that I began serving a small rural church in southern Indiana. I was so incredibly green then; I’m glad I didn’t always realize it.
I loved those people in that church and, for some reason, they loved me too. I had to be one of the most inept pastors in history, but they just continued to show me grace and love me even more.
Three decades later, I reflect back on what I’ve learned in ministry. Some lessons came rather naturally; others were very painful.
Imagine a church breathing fresh winds of the Holy Spirit’s presence and joy throughout its entire church family—winds generated by God’s grace but rising specifically from His working among the teens and college-agers within that body.
For many pastors, this vision of the Spirit igniting a church’s youth to affect the entire congregation is a “prophecy in waiting.” And as with all prophecies, discernment is essential—to receive truth and to reject confusion or error. To do both, let me recommend two things you, the lead pastor, must sign off on.
It’s funny. I don’t remember moving to Seattle.
To my friends in the Seattle area, those of us in East Tennessee are beginning to be able to relate to you. This year, we have been inundated with rain. While a normal summer for us is hot and fairly dry, our temperatures have hardly gotten over 90 degrees this summer, largely due to the overcast weather and almost daily showers that have kept the temperatures down and the humidity up.
All of this water reminds me of the lyrics of the Rich Mullins song "Screen Door":
Juggling is an art. And it’s fascinating to watch.
My role in ministry is a constant juggle. There are always projects, special events, team building, volunteer recruiting, personnel conversations, refining conversations, encouraging conversations and “I’m frustrated!” conversations. The plate is always full.
Should it always be this way? Great question. This is all I’ve ever known, so I’m going to say yes. The trick to navigating all of it is in the juggling.
Here are 3 things I do to juggle well:
Everyone knows what a pleasure is. A guilty pleasure is some activity that you enjoy but over which you feel a tiny pang of regret, as though perhaps you should not be enjoying it quite as much as you do.
Okay with that?
Most of my pleasures are completely unrelated to guilt. I love a good meal, a wonderful visit with a friend, an old 1940-ish black/white movie, a ball game, an hour on the patio enjoying watermelon with my grandchildren, and a social at church with two dozen freezers of home-made ice cream in every flavor imaginable.