Ministry Life

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When Church Leaders Mistreat You

It takes courage and strength to replace anger with love
When Church Leaders Mistreat You

The words mistreatment and church leader shouldn't be in the same sentence, but unfortunately sometimes they are. The fact is, many people on staff, as well as members of the church, are mistreated by their leaders.

My husband and I were mistreated by our pastor, and we witnessed his mistreatment of others. In a leadership meeting one evening the senior pastor embarrassingly ...

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Stilling the Storm

A book review
Stilling the Storm

“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” the disciples asked Jesus, waking him, during a storm. Perhaps this question is one we’ve asked Jesus, too, during difficult times in our own congregation. Many of us have asked questions like these:

• Jesus, don’t you care if we drown in financial troubles since we didn’t meet our budget ...

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Premenstrual Ministry

Maybe this curse is also a blessing
Premenstrual Ministry

I was scrolling through headlines when the story caught my attention: yet another school shooting had resulted in yet another fatality. A young girl was dead at the hands of a classmate, her parents shattered by grief, her community forever changed. I felt undone. It was only 8:00 but I put myself to bed immediately, where I commenced with sobbing.

The next morning I ...

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Go Ahead and Grin—Church Is Hilarious

Ministry is a lot more fun if you laugh at just about everything.
Go Ahead and Grin—Church Is Hilarious

Somewhere along the line, I decided that it was better to laugh at all the craziness that goes on in churches instead of feel complete and total angst. This state of mind came about after our family’s visit to a friend’s first pastorate. We wrote down careful directions on how to get to his country church. He said there would be a welcome sign at a crossroads ...

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Can We Stop the Fall from Grace?

It’s unwise to believe we can fight temptation in our own power.
Can We Stop the Fall from Grace?

Three days after I read an article by a church leader who had fallen into sexual sin with someone in the church, my husband asked me to pray with him because he felt he was being tempted by women at his job. He said the attacks happened quite suddenly and wanted me to know what he was dealing with so I could stand in prayer with him.

My husband is on the board of trustees ...

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Tips for Preventing Suicide

Take action based on the level of risk
Tips for Preventing Suicide
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Unfortunately, there is no miraculous human intervention that resolves suicide risk. But there are specific actions you can take to prevent suicide, actions that become more extensive with increasing risk. Following are several ideas for pastoral care, which is different from mental health counseling, an important distinction that argues for referral to mental health services. ...

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3 Ways to Fight Back with Joy as You Lead

It’s a potent weapon for life’s battles
3 Ways to Fight Back with Joy as You Lead
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What begins as a gift soon becomes a grind.

Endless demands. Pressing deadlines. Unexpected interruptions.

The pressure to perform and produce can leave us feeling weary in the marrow of our being. The joy designed to grow into sweet plumpness soon shrivels. Smiles become forced. Sparkling eyes grow dim.

Those closest to us see the shift long before we recognize it ...

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Top 10 in 2014

A list of our most popular reads last year
Top 10 in 2014
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Happy New Year!

Let me be among the first to welcome you to 2015! None of us can know what this year holds in store, but we can all know that God has gone before us and has good plans for all of us. Today I pray that you are walking forward in the confidence and hope that comes from knowing the one who holds the future.

In keeping with our custom at this time of year, ...

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When Pastors Pray, Part 2

God called me to minister to desperate ministers
When Pastors Pray, Part 2
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Pastors now wear so many hats, they have only small “windows” of time to pray, give attention to the ministry of the word, and tend to the sheep.

When pastors are spread paper-thin, the place we think they would go for help is to their knees. But sometimes they feel this response is insufficient. Therefore, they spend enormous amounts of time trying to resolve ...

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When Pastors Pray, Part 1

God called me to minister to desperate ministers
When Pastors Pray, Part 1
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During the fall of 2013, the church witnessed a devastating travesty. A Georgia pastor, Teddy Parker, was one of 12 pastors to die by suicide. In a sermon that aired during the investigation around his death, Parker made the following statement: “I try to pray, but God is not hearing me.” I personally identified with his statement and was quite disturbed. After ...

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