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Pastoral Ministry

With so many churches in decline, most pastors need to cultivate the skillset required to be turnaround leaders. They see a church’s potential and can bring them back from their downward spiral. Here are 4 of their core principles. […] Read More

When it comes to marriage, I chose wisely. I can readily identify with Winston Churchill’s assessment: “My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.” This week, my wife, Amanda, and I are celebrating our 30th anniversary. This journey has been an adventure with unexpected twists and […] Read More

Bill Wilson recently asked me to reflect on my transition last summer from denominational work back to the pastorate, when I became the pastor of First Baptist Church of Bristol, Virginia. Particularly, I reflected on the experience of joining a church that is dealing with concerns about decline in a changing downtown area. After helping […] Read More

“Breaking News: Pastor accepts call to a smaller church!” That’s not a headline you see very often. Most pastors nearly always are called to a larger church than the one they are leaving. Recently, I had lunch with one who accepted a call to a much smaller church than he has now pastored for the […] Read More

One day, I was engaging the work of a pastor – still, after 30 years or so, trying to figure it out week by week and sometimes day by day. Then, the next day, I was an expert. I moved from the parish ministry to the seminary classroom, the “Professor of Pastoral Leadership.” I pondered […] Read More


There are days when I feel absolutely certain I have the weirdest job on the planet. I know that is probably not technically true, but I do have some pretty strange experiences at work. Sunday before last was no exception. I was preaching, as I usually do on Sunday mornings. This was one sermon I […] Read More

This June 3 will make it 28 years since saying “I do,” “I will” and “I promise” to my wife, companion and partner, Angela. I know she could have done better but, thank God, she said, “I do,” too. I know I am better off in every way because of her. It’s a good thing […] Read More

There are days when we are heavily burdened with grief, fatigue and our own failures. We climb into the pulpit with great struggle, even to the point of asking ourselves at times, “Do I really believe what I am about to preach?” I had left a land of abundance and traveled to a land of […] Read More