Skills

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When You Feel Like a Failure

Whether you've truly failed―or you just feel like a failure―the experience can actually be a blessing.
When You Feel Like a Failure
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“Well, Cara, I’m not really sure what to say, but you failed to do what we hired you to do.” The chairperson folded her hands on her lap, and looked at me blankly. I stared back at her, numb to the world around me.

Glancing at the paper in front of her, she went on to list all of the many ways she believed I had failed at in my first two years of ministry. ...

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Find Your Prophetic Voice

First steps you can take to learn to speak out against injustice
Find Your Prophetic Voice
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A few years ago I had a chance to watch a movie entitled, Blood Done Sign My Name. In this movie, viewers get to know two leaders who are faced with civil unrest during the Civil Rights Era. In one scene a young white pastor is having a discussion with his predecessor over how, or if, the church should get involved in the Civil Rights Movement. His predecessor tells him to ...

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How to Keep Leading When You Feel Like Falling Apart

5 things to do when you face tragedy and turmoil
How to Keep Leading When You Feel Like Falling Apart
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I just can’t do this without her. The defeating thought came without warning and forced its way into my heart. I could barely breathe. We had worked side by side in ministry for years, and now she was gone. I’d lost her—my confidante, prayer partner, and best friend.

We sat on the front row at church before Sunday morning service when she gave me the news: ...

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Share, Listen, and Listen Some More

Every woman knows how to minimize herself, and we need to put a stop to it—here’s how.
Share, Listen, and Listen Some More
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“I am not a woman, so I don’t have bad days,” Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said in an interview. Like you, I read that statement and balk. What right does he have to make such blanket statements about an entire gender, let alone debilitate women to mere stereotype?

Nevertheless, an interesting phenomenon happens when I enter church territory―I ...

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Making the Leap from Marketplace to Ministry

Five truths to keep in mind when God calls you to a big career change
Making the Leap from Marketplace to Ministry
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My move from business to full-time ministry happened so fast, I probably should have seen a chiropractor for whiplash. I had held a litany of diverse jobs over the years―everything from fast food cashier to customer service representative, wardrobe coordinator on a Christian nativity musical tour to a very brief stint in the technical department of a major city’s opera ...

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3 Ways to Maximize Co-Pastoring

Effective co-pastoring requires more than just dividing up tasks.
3 Ways to Maximize Co-Pastoring
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It was official. We were co-pastors, elected by our church to serve as a husband and wife team. Now what?

As the bright light of excitement from starting our new co-pastoring journey dimmed, and we settled into the daily grind of parish ministry, we were dismayed to discover we had no idea how to co-pastor. None at all. We both had degrees in ministry and were pursuing master’s ...

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Sabbath Is More than Rest

Everyone wants a break and more time off, but Sabbath offers more.
Sabbath Is More than Rest
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I have struggled over the years as I’ve tried to find balance in practicing Sabbath. As a new believer, I took the Ten Commandments as gospel and thought a lot about what it means to keep it holy. For me, that easily translated into going to church, and then coming home to investigate the passage that was preached. I spent the afternoon combing the verses that came before ...

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Disillusioned by the Church

When organizational culture makes you wonder if you belong
Disillusioned by the Church
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Lisa could not believe what she was hearing.

The worship pastor at her church was clearly a very gifted musician. On Sundays, he consistently produced the highest quality worship program she ever experienced. Unfortunately, it was evident his quest for musical perfection came at a high relational price. Simply put, Peter was a jerk. He unapologetically bullied people, using ...

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Break Your Day into Thirds

A creative way to avoid burnout in ministry
Break Your Day into Thirds
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I was only a couple of years into ministry and already on the verge of burn out. As the director of a youth outreach organization, my job often involved early morning breakfast meetings with donors, followed by administrative duties throughout the morning and early afternoon. Most of my direct time with high school and middle school students started in the late afternoon, ...

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8 Guidelines for Ministering to Men

A nuanced alternative to the Billy Graham Rule that views men—and ourselves—first as being in the image of God.
8 Guidelines for Ministering to Men
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My cell phone gets me. If I type the letter “B,” it knows I probably want to text my husband. If I enter the word “World,” it suggests “Relief,” knowing I’m probably headed in that direction. My phone knows how to read the room and respond accordingly. It’s a skill much of evangelical Christianity has not cultivated, particularly ...

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