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 […]

Trellises and Vines

The Church is a tended vine. The metaphor runs through all of scripture, from Isaiah 5 to John 15. It’s our model for making disciples. But have we taken a moment to ask what we know about the plants themselves? Consider:

  • Vines offer less to look at than perhaps any other plant. There’s just no […]

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 […]

Hack Next Year’s Budget

It is that time of year again. Budget time! As pastors, leaders, vestries, and boards are wringing their hands about the close of this year, plans for next year are being drawn up.

Over the years I developed a few ‘hacks’ for church leaders. I’ve collected a few […]

Discover Israel: Behold the Man

Every week or so, we will post about one of the sites on our upcoming Israel tours for pastors and everyone. The stories of these people and places in the Bible have the power to form us, first as humans made in the image of God, but also as servant leaders who have been called to join the […]

By |2019-01-08T17:30:26-06:00September 14th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

The Vital Role of the Small Church Leader

The mission of LeaderWorks is to help church leaders do their work. In that effort, James K.A. Smith and Tim Keller have blessed us richly with their recent conversation in Comment Magazine.

Church leaders who have just begun their ministries, whether planting a church […]

By |2019-01-08T17:30:28-06:00September 5th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Announcement: Giving Up is Coming Soon!

It’s Ready

After years of gathering ideas, studying Scripture, preaching “The Money Talk”, collecting three decades worth of wisdom…and months of writing and re-writing, the book is finished. 

We took our final pass at it with our red pens and now it lives with the publisher and then onto the printer…and then I […]

Introducing Our New Assistant Director

Thanks to a generous supporter of LeaderWorks, we would like to announce our new Assistant Director, the Rev. Kolby Kerr. Kolby is a fantastic young priest in our ACNA and will add greatly to what LeaderWorks is able to offer. You’ll be hearing a lot from him on the blog, so I wanted to give him a chance to […]

By |2019-01-08T17:30:39-06:00July 13th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , , |1 Comment

The Reformation Anglicanism Essential Library

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, The Rev. Dr. Jensen, The Rev. Dr. John Yates, III, Dr. Ashley Null, and Bishop Ben Kwashi–these are the modern-day Anglican scholars and bishops that are teaming together to write a 6-volume work on Reformation Anglicanism. The first edition is out (The Reformation Anglicanism Essential Library, Volume 1). And it is great!

An Interview with an Editor

A […]

By |2020-07-07T16:06:46-05:00May 23rd, 2017|Categories: Anglicanism, Leadership, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching|Tags: , |0 Comments

Two Rectors Past and Present

Christ Church

March marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the transition process at Christ Church. I remember it well.  I had asked the Vestry 9 months earlier to begin a search process for a new Rector. I was so thankful for their diligence and care throughout the process. Fran and I were very excited to see the process narrow […]

By |2019-01-10T16:53:53-06:00March 28th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

WATCH: Part 2 – A Call to Plant a Church

A week ago I added a blog post featuring Shawn McCain and his church plant in Austin. He spoke about the vision he has for RezAustin and what it is like to work in a start-up church plant. As I mentioned in the post, Shawn is a great thinker. He is also, humble and clear in his views.

Part 2:

WATCH: A Call to Plant a Church

A week or so ago I had the chance to sit with one of the church planters in our diocese (C4SO) from the Austin area. Shawn is one of a growing number of young leaders that have sensed a strong call to ministry in the Anglican Church in North America. However, […]

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

Voting like a Serpent, Living like a Dove

A few thoughts about the election and the solemn duty we have as citizens of our country.

  1. Vote:
    Voting (as we know it) is not mandated or commanded in the Bible. However, we are called to ‘render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God, the things that are God’s.’ (Mark 12:17)  This is a remarkable […]
By |2019-01-10T16:55:09-06:00November 7th, 2016|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

How Church Leaders Lead in Election Year Tensions

In the United States, we are enduring one of the longest (it seems) and mean-spirited (it is sure) election seasons imaginable. Politics is on everyone’s mind.  I listened to a news story about a Dallas firm that had asked its employees to NOT discuss politics anymore around the ‘water cooler’. They were not trying to infringe on freedom of speech; […]

By |2019-01-10T16:55:14-06:00October 27th, 2016|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments


Thanks to my friend and colleague, The Rev. Dr. Tony Baron, for this insightful and sobering article.

by Tony Baron, Psy.D., D.Min., Director

Breaking Bad, is a universally acclaimed award-winning drama built on chemistry, cancer, and crime. It’s also the story of the erosion of a man’s […]

By |2019-01-10T16:55:17-06:00October 12th, 2016|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

The Stewardship Digest: Everything in One Place

I decided to gather these ‘greatest hits’ in a single Stewardship digest. These posts distill some of the most practical applications of the issues raised in Giving Up. Here they are…up-to-date.

  1. Stewardship, Giving, & the Third Rail

    Even though money and giving empowers and enables so much good to happen,  many church leaders don’t feel comfortable talking about […]

By |2019-01-10T16:55:19-06:00October 11th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors, Generosity, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Prayer for Race and our Communities

Foley Beach, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America has called us to prayer over the racial tensions in our communities.

He includes these wise observations: “the events in Tulsa and Charlotte continue to foster and deepen fear, mistrust, anxiety, and a simmering frustration in our cities here in the States.  African-Americans are becoming more and more fearful of […]

By |2019-01-10T16:55:23-06:00September 25th, 2016|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Ash Wednesday: Are You Really Only Dust in the Wind?

On Ash Wednesday, clergy around the world will draw a cross-shaped smudge of dark black ashes on the foreheads of millions of people. It is the ancient rite of The Imposition of Ashes which signals the start of Lent. The words that accompany the ‘imposition’ on Ash Wednesday are simple, sober, and true.  Over the years I have said them to […]

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…

In just a few days time I will leave for my annual Covenant Group Meeting. There are a few more than a dozen of us, give or take, that have been meeting for nearly three decades. We were all Episcopal priests and rectors of multi-staff congregations. We came from different cities across the US and Canada; no two of us came […]

By |2019-03-08T14:35:20-06:00January 3rd, 2016|Categories: Pastoral Ministry|Tags: |0 Comments

Where is God when Bad Things Happen? 

by Winfield Bevins.

With the rise of persecution against Christians in the Middle East, we are reminded that we live in a world full of pain and suffering. In the midst of a bad economy, natural disasters, and the growing risk of international terrorism people are seeking real answers to tough questions. Many people feel alone […]

By |2019-01-07T10:18:36-06:00September 10th, 2014|Categories: Anglicanism, For Pastors, History, Pastoral Ministry|0 Comments