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Author Ron Sisk

Pastoral Ethics in Crisis Times

Some of us see ourselves as “good in a crisis.” Some of us don’t. For pastors, though, the real question is not, “How do you see yourself?” but rather, “How do your people experience you as a crisis leader?” Some of us see ourselves as “good in a crisis.” Some of us don’t. For pastors, […] Read More

As I entered one pastorate, the church’s chapel hadn’t been redecorated in nearly 40 years. It had fixed pews with dust-laden, deteriorating cushions, peeling green paint, poor lighting, a dilapidated organ, an old piano, an antiquated sound system and a carpet that had long since lost its original color. It was clear to me without […] Read More

On the one hand the recent spectacle of the choice of Benedict XVI as pope bears little resemblance to the work of a Baptist pulpit committee’s search for a new pastor. The dress is different, the pool of potential candidates is larger and your pulpit committee is far more likely to use e-mail than smoke […] Read More

Preaching Anger

It happened again just recently. I sat in church and listened as the morning’s preacher vented anger and frustration toward some unspecified complainers and troublemakers in the church. Reactions afterward were the usual mixture. Some said “We needed that!” Some said, “It’s too bad those who needed to hear it weren’t here!” Some asked, “What […] Read More

Congregations mean well when they hire associate ministers. But often they don’t do well. Here are some tips for how to do it better: –Establish personnel policies. Often congregations hire their first associate to meet an immediate need. “We’ve got to have help with the youth!” Too often, though, they haven’t established an adequate structure […] Read More

A Legacy

Henlee Barnette’s death at 93 silences one of the last great voices of a generation of Baptist ethicists in the South. They made Christian ethics a discipline both for Baptist seminarians and educators and for the churches their students would serve. As much as any of his generation, Henlee embodied the journey from personal salvation […] Read More

Into his 10th decade now, Baptist ethicist, author and preacher Henlee Barnette continues his unflinching call to Christian integrity in thought and action. His career spans seven decades of Baptist history in the South. From the time of his conversion as a teenager from the cotton mills of Kannapolis, N.C., Barnette has brought to the […] Read More

“Did you hear what happened at First Church? They have a new pastor coming in, so all the staff has had to resign!” Once upon a time custom in many churches dictated that the staff served at the pleasure of the senior pastor. Most churches have come to believe such a policy is too extreme. […] Read More

Ethics for Associate Ministers

When the senior pastors gather around the water cooler, it’s a favorite topic. “Have you heard what my associate (music, education, youth, you-name-it) has done now?” Unfortunately, that question is often followed by a tale of woe. As more and more churches become multi-staff, they’re also developing multi-problems, many of which mirror the personnel issues […] Read More

Telling the Truth

The first attack ads of the political season are airing now. Extravagant in their claims and vicious in their tone, they remind us that nothing is necessarily true just because somebody says it. They also provide an instructive analogy to the task of preaching. Too often those of us who preach find ourselves seduced by […] Read More