Ten Novels Every Pastor Should Read

This post originally appeared at LeaderWorks on April 17, 2018.

You are not a robot.

When someone asks why they should bother to read novels, that’s my answer. And when I’m asked this question by someone in ministry, I bold and italicize it.

Because behind this question is an ugly utilitarianism: What will these books do for me? Reading fiction is reduced […]

By |2018-09-22T16:12:35-05:00September 24th, 2018|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , , |4 Comments

Ten Poets Every Pastor Should Read

From LeaderWorks. Make sure to register for their upcoming webinar on Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 10:30 AM CST.

I made you a mixtape. Let me explain.

“Yeah, I’d like to get into poetry.”

When I get to know someone in church ministry and it comes out at some point that I have a background in poetry, there’s usually just […]

By |2018-09-17T13:06:37-05:00September 17th, 2018|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , |1 Comment

The Zagginess of Holiness

When I was writing Giving Up, I discovered an unlikely source of insight in Zag: The Number One Strategy of High Performance Brands by Marty Neumeier.

The foundational principle is that successful brands don’t follow the crowd—they don’t look at the leaders in the marketplace and try to latch on and say “Me too!” Instead, when everyone else zigs, […]

By |2020-05-22T15:48:08-05:00September 10th, 2018|Categories: For Pastors, Generosity, Leadership|Tags: , , |0 Comments

How to Write an Appeal Letter for Summer Mission Trips

Don’t put them to sleep.

Here they come!  Support letters asking for prayer and/or financial support. For over 30 years I encouraged would-be missionaries to write them.  But now I am starting to receive them.  Heck! We all receive them…sometimes one a week.  They seem to come in endless supply […]

By |2019-03-01T14:32:13-06:00June 4th, 2018|Categories: Generosity|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

Giving Even When You Receive

Last week, I talked about how to encourage generosity at the end of the year by making  Growing generosity is a part of your teaching ministry, and teachers need to be creative. We’ve talked about getting creative by making a Christmas Wish List for your church. It’s a way to engage the people directly with the needs […]

Make a Christmas Wish List for Your Church

We’ve talked a lot about increasing generosity at the end of the year. As we’ve posted elsewhere, the end of the year brings challenges. You’ve got this year’s budget gaps, next year’s budget planning, end-of-the-year appeal letters—it’s a lot. On top of that, Christmas is fast approaching.

There are two temptations during seasons like this in ministry.


I’ve seen […]

House Calls: A Pastor’s Guide to Talking to Donors

It’s the time of year when church leaders are starting to see lots of red—and it isn’t always early Christmas decorations! Lots of churches have deficits they need to close by year’s end. I have been there many (MANY) times.

Sometimes, these gaps are relatively small. All you need is to remember to ‘double December’ and take a breath. (If you […]

Stop Casting Vision

Though we love talking about ‘casting vision’, but often our ‘vision’ is just too big for anyone to grasp. It’s too wide to take in and leaves people feeling overwhelmed and even paralyzed by possibilities.

Barry Schwartz has some remarkable (and terrifying!) research about “the paradox of choice.” When we are confronted by too many options, we become anxious and […]

By |2019-01-10T16:52:25-06:00November 9th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

What’s Wrong With My Letter?

Appeal Letter Writing an Appeal Letter is about saying “will you” and then “thank you”.

A few years ago I had to do what every Rector or Sr. Pastor should do about this time of year: write a year-end appeal letter. (If you need convincing that you should, read here.)

My church was […]

Don’t Give Up on Lent (Read this Great Book First)

For some, Lent still conjures only thoughts of Mardi Gras or cutting chocolate from your diet.

But many American evangelicals are discovering (or, in some cases, re-discovering) Lent. Many are entering into this time with some hesitations and questions. It creates a challenge for church leaders who are trying to teach the meaning […]

By |2019-02-19T22:00:09-06:00January 19th, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Leadership, Liturgy & Worship|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

How to Write A Year End Appeal Letter

As a ‘lame duck’ rector of the church I’d pastored for decades, I had an unusual experience writing my last year-end appeal letter. I had announced my resignation six months earlier. The entire congregation was waiting for some good news from the Search Committee.

And we had a significant financial need. HUGE! […]

By |2019-01-10T16:55:05-06:00November 17th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors, Generosity, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Should you Write an Appeal Letter

It is starting to happen on most afternoons now. I innocently walk to my mailbox hoping for a few letters or a favorite magazine.  I open the mailbox door, and it all starts to overflow into my arms and onto the street. Catalogs. More catalogs. Credit card offers. Direct mail solicitations. And of course, daily appeals for money and support […]

By |2019-01-10T16:55:07-06:00November 15th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors, Generosity, Leadership|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments
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