It is one of the most unpredictable jobs one could have. There will be weeks when there won’t be much taking place out of the ordinary, and the pastor will work a “mere” 40 to 45 hours. There will be other weeks filled with meetings, emergency hospital calls, a wedding, two funerals, and line of members waiting to see the pastor. That workweek could total 80 hours.
So we surveyed pastors on Twitter and asked them a simple question: How many average hours do you work a week, including sermon preparation? Though we asked for an average, most responded with a range. We thus took the midpoint of the range they submitted. We also asked this question only of fulltime vocational pastors.
Years ago, I realized that I was different than the rest of my staff. When they took vacation, they looked for a big church to celebrate at (and learn from).
I love learning from other churches. Every conference is a great opportunity for me to learn how other people communicate with their members, follow up with visitors, structure their services, etc.
But when I’m on vacation, I want to get alone with God and not hear another human being.
We affirm people when we treat them with dignity, knowing that they matter to God. If you want to stand out in your leadership, one secret puts you head and shoulders above everybody else—be an encourager.
Encouragement is very difficult to find today. The Bible says, “Encourage each other and build each other up.”
In America, we live in a very negative culture. Most people get far more jeers than cheers, far more pokes than strokes. We live in a society where the No. 1 form of humor is put-downs. People are put down, criticized, maligned.
For some time now, the ministry of Heal Your Servant has worked with ministers, their wives, elders, congregants and participants in a myriad of infidelity situations.
We have seen and heard multiple stories. Finding your way through spiritual landmines is seldom easy. We all desire to see God glorified in the midst of life’s most challenging situations.
I am continually asked, “What is the ideal way to navigate these situations in order to minimize casualties and bring about true healing and restoration?"
My wife Tammy and I first met while she and her family were missionaries in Germany. I later proposed to her in a little café just outside of Hamburg. Now 27 years later, we’ve been in full-time ministry together the entire time and have five kids. We’ve lived life—and ministry—together.
Just like any other married couple, we’ve had our ups and downs. But I can honestly say that other than my relationship with Jesus, my relationship with my wife continues to be the best part of my life. When others ask for our “secret sauce,” I give the credit to God, to Tammy and to the principles our parents taught and modeled in front of us. Amidst the many demands of ministry and family life, over the years five principles have become especially important in sustaining our relationship. On the next few pages, I share them, prayerfully hoping that these insights can help you make your marriage ministry-proof.
Many years ago I prayed a prayer that has changed me more than any other. It changed my vocation, location, orientation and just about every other “ation” in my life. What was the prayer?
“God, I don’t ask you for much today. I just ask that You give me Your heart for lost people.”
Twenty words. Twenty-one syllables. Seventy letters. One request.