An Unfortunately True Story

A recent conversation with a hurting pastor prompts me to share this story from my experience… Almost a decade ago, I was an associate pastor with a lot of responsibility at a large and very fast growing church, and at the same time my marriage was in a bad place. For my part, I was trying squeeze out of my marital relationship a sense of affirmation and worth. For my wife’s part, she was struggling with issues of trust, responding to masculinity, and a general apathy to the idea of being married. Due to my need to prove my worth, I was working very hard to right the course of the relationship. The lie that I was believing was that if I just tried harder, the results would be different. So I set up opportunities to pray, do Bible studies, go to a conference, and offered to see a counselor. All with no response. I was frustrated, angry, miserable, and feeling rejected. My wife, too, was not in a good place through all this. It is in this context that I reached out to one of the elders at the church in which I served. Because of my people pleaser tendencies, this was a level of vulnerability that was unusual for me. I was desperate. This man was someone I considered a friend, so I told him some of what was going on, how I needed help as a husband, and I also asked if his wife would consider being more intentional in her relationship with my wife to help her process what was going on in her personal...

The Empty Inner Circle

Note: This is a post originally from my writing blog from 2010, when I was coming to understand what an identity in Christ meant. My wife and I were learning what it meant to develop a healthy marriage, one not based on each other’s performance but on our relationship with Christ. At this time I was beginning to discern how God was going to use my experience to help others. ————————————————— One of the things that I think God is directing me toward is working with church staffs. This is probably a long range plan, but I feel like I have learned an amazing amount about leadership and relationship systems that can be of help to those who maybe have not stepped back to examine themselves, their position in the leadership structure, and the stresses they endure and cause. So just one element that I have to offer is a relational systems evaluation. My first question would be for each staff member/leader to tell me about their closest relationships. The quality of our inner circle relationships is a key foundation for successfully enduring the unique rigors of church leadership and pastoring. We need connection. An outlet. Support and comfort. Sadly, by the time all was said and done with regard to the collapse of my world, my inner circle was completely empty and that hastened the fall. Some of the emptying was done for me. My wife and I had no connection. She had distanced herself from me and I had stopped trying. The person in the world that I would want to describe as my best friend, my...

Creating Partnerships

From my observations and experience, I’ve never been a big fan of a program like Vacation Bible School (VBS). For most churches, the intended mission of community outreach does not match the results. Parents seem to use VBS as summer daycare, with kids being placed in next week’s program at the church down the road. And churches enable this behavior, making sure that their own dates for VBS do not interfere with other churches close by. Here is why VBS is not a great vehicle for community outreach… The community has to come to us. They must come to our turf. They must adjust to our schedule. They must trust new people. All of these are hurdles to effective outreach. I just came across a church that had a genius idea. It was simple and it was effective. They created a partnership with a local organization and went to where the people were. Specifically, they built a relationship with a local Boys & Girls Club, and spent the week doing a Christian science camp with the kids. They sang songs. They performed experiments. They talked about God and the Bible. And this simple step overcame all the hurdles that a traditional VBS program offers. Parents were already leaving their kids at the club. It was already part of their schedule. It was already known and familiar. Kids from the church, who would have gone to VBS anyways, were in attendance and could talk to new peers. Hurdles to hearing the gospel were removed. Those hurdles were removed by creating a partnership and going into the community to be reached....

Gain Perspective. Live Well.

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