SURVIVING IN THE FISH BOWL

Lay people who love God often have romantic ideas about vocational ministry. They think it will be like getting paid to go to an endless church camp. The reality is that vocational ministry IS very much like church camp; WORKING at a church camp! Employees cook meals, wash dishes, mow the lawn, maintain the property,Continue reading “SURVIVING IN THE FISH BOWL”

Seven Post-COVID Questions for Churches (that need to be asked right now)

Louisville, Illinois. 1984. I was about half-way through my first year of teaching history at North Clay Jr. High School.  I was twenty-two.  It was time for parent-teacher conferences and I needed some advice.  I had never been on this side of things before.  I dropped by the room next door for some counsel fromContinue reading “Seven Post-COVID Questions for Churches (that need to be asked right now)”

Churches: Get Your Defense Off the Field!

COVID is like a bad headache that just won’t go away. Regardless of your opinion on why people have headaches, how to prevent headaches or how to properly treat headaches, one reality remains. We have a collective headache. Right about the time church leadership couldn’t get any harder; it got harder. About half of churchesContinue reading “Churches: Get Your Defense Off the Field!”

Another Look at Psalm 23 (Leadership, Ovis Aries, COVID-19 and the Great Shepherd)

Back in what my grandson the New One called the “back olden times” I often did music for summer church camps. A signature song was called, “I just want to be a sheep.”  The song was terrible so everyone loved it.  Every now and then, someone sends me a message and reminds me of thoseContinue reading “Another Look at Psalm 23 (Leadership, Ovis Aries, COVID-19 and the Great Shepherd)”

Navigating the Rapids (Never Quite Like This)

Some years ago when my kids were at home, we decided to go white water rafting on the Big Pigeon River in North Carolina.  In our orientation, the guide spoke of the dangers that lay ahead and how important it was to do what he said.  He mentioned three sets of rapids in particular thatContinue reading “Navigating the Rapids (Never Quite Like This)”

22 and ½ Things I have Learned in 22 and ½ Years (in one place)

I am a bit over half-way through year twenty-three as the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church.   On paper, the story of Christ Church’s growth from 200 to over 2,400 seems like a modern miracle but my mind today is on the people who represent those numbers.  Especially those who have been on this journeyContinue reading “22 and ½ Things I have Learned in 22 and ½ Years (in one place)”

Does Your Church Want a Future? (then “get” this!)

History will look upon the years that spanned our lifetimes and declare them to be a period of seismic cultural shift.  In the same way the Gutenberg Press changed the world in 1439, the advent of the personal computer and the internet has changed the world again.  We live in a time when the NormanContinue reading “Does Your Church Want a Future? (then “get” this!)”

My Constant Temptation (is to just check out)

My constant temptation is to simply check out. Cash it in, retire, unplug, disconnect, disappear into the Smoky Mountains with Melissa and a Bible and have no idea who becomes President in the next election. The troubled state of the world, our unsettled country and divisions within my denomination make me sad. Not mad, justContinue reading “My Constant Temptation (is to just check out)”

Pushing Back (on Pushback)

I have been the Senior Pastor at Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois since July 1, 1997. We are constantly engaged in the economy of change and have found that change brings with it both excitement and discontinuity. The secret to a long tenure (in anything) is not the avoidance of problems (that is impossibleContinue reading “Pushing Back (on Pushback)”