Four Creative Constraints of the Preaching Life

This post originally appeared at LeaderWorks on January 23, 2018. Preaching may be more than art, but it is certainly not less. It is a craft and a skill. An individual may have certain gifts given by God, but those gifts are diminished if not stewarded by effort and practice. Excellence deceives us. When we see a baseball player effortlessly [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:29:40-06:00October 2nd, 2018|Categories: For Pastors, Leadership, Preaching|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

What are the Anglican Vestments?

This post about Anglican vestments first appeared on June 29, 2016. Updated on August 21, 2018. Anglican Vestments Can Be Confusing I knew almost nothing about Anglican vestments when I first visited an Anglican church. My only experience of robes was graduations—and that one time my dad wore a hilarious robe with colorful puffies glued onto it by a friend, [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:39:32-06:00August 21st, 2018|Categories: Anglicanism, Liturgy & Worship|Tags: , , , , |29 Comments

Five Awkward Questions Your Church Needs to Answer (Part Four)

So far, we’ve talked about awkward questions that boil down to money. And surely, money can be an uncomfortable topic to tackle. Who should have access to the giving records? How much should we pay the pastor? Does the pastor need a retirement fund? Toss those questions out in your next board or Vestry meeting and you’ll be met with [...]

By |2019-10-24T08:02:42-05:00March 12th, 2018|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Interview: Matt Canlis of Godspeed

Matt Canlis wasn’t too different from most young ministers at the tail end of seminary. He was full of big ideas for big churches. But unlike most young ministers, he benefited from a mentoring word from Eugene Peterson, who counseled him to put off being swallowed up by the “American Church Machine” and discover a different, older form of pastoral [...]

People of the Book

We’ve made two wrong turns so far, and that’s my fault. I keep looking up from the map on my phone at the mountains surrounding us here in northern Washington state. We are looking for a retreat center in Sumas, a town that seems to be mostly small farms patched in among the forested hills. I am here with David [...]

Giving Up: More than Money

David Roseberry’s book, Giving Up, provides concrete ways to jumpstart financial giving in churches. His wisdom, gleaned from decades in ministry, gives church leaders applicable tools to do the work they need to do, which requires members of churches to be generous with their resources. So, yes, the book is about money, much as Jesus’ teachings were filled with advice [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:30:24-06:00October 3rd, 2017|Categories: For Pastors, Generosity, Leadership|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

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 work of [...]

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 or leading a small congregation, often feel frustrated by a lack of growth. No matter how [...]

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

Tourism in Israel on the Rise

I received a note yesterday that tourism from the United States to Israel is growing—and not just by a little bit. Compared to 2015 and 2016, tourism to Israel is up 20% from January to June. So far this year, 400,000 Americans have travelled to Israel—90,000 in the month of June alone. What is it that continues to draw people [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:23:41-06:00July 14th, 2017|Categories: For Pastors, Leadership|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

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 introduce himself. [...]

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

Clergy Political Activism: When should we get involved?

Churches and clergy are supposed to be politically non-partisan. Sometimes clergy are able to participate in politics as individuals (such as voting), but for the most part, they are to refrain from partisan politics. We serve the King of Kings, and represent his Church, not a particular party. Our mission and calling is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ [...]

By |2017-11-10T13:31:57-06:00February 2nd, 2017|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , |14 Comments

What does the Rector do?

(Recently, I published a blog post on the Role of the Vestry or Church Board here. This is its companion piece on the role of the Rector or Sr. Pastor.) Over the years, I have been through many different periods of growth and development as the Rector and Sr. Pastor of Christ Church. I have made mistakes along the way; I've had some blessed moments [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:56:28-06:00April 27th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Pastoral Prayer

A priest is asked to pray – a lot. Sometimes it is as designated or honorary pray-er, as at a church dinner. “Father N., will you bless the food, please?”  Anyone could do this, of course, but it often falls to the priest.  While it is a token moment, it is also an important one, a public acknowledgment of our [...]

Eucharist and Forgetfulness

The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for everyone else the proper pleasure of the rite (C. S. Lewis). One of the greatest of the abundant joys of celebrating the Eucharistic Liturgy is the sure knowledge that [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:36:21-06:00October 24th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors, Sacraments|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Wearing the Collar

In my diocese there are no policies, no rubrics, no real guidelines on when and where a priest is to wear the clerical collar.  The decision is informed by a troika of local custom (what your fellow priests do), common sense (church services but not church picnics), and personal preference.  For a  new priest, there is a trial-and-error feel to [...]

By |2020-05-22T14:26:55-05:00October 23rd, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , |7 Comments

Healing and Wholeness

As you are outwardly anointed with this holy oil, so may our heavenly Father grant you the inward anointing of the Holy Spirit.  Of his great mercy, may he forgive you your sins, release you from suffering, and restore you to wholeness and strength.  May he deliver you from all evil, preserve you in all goodness, and bring you to [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:45-05:00October 22nd, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

A Baptismal Affront

The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ (Article XXVII). For several reasons -- Clara and James prominent among them -- I've been thinking much about baptism lately.  These two beautiful children recently became my sister and brother in Christ:  a little water, a little [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:34:33-06:00October 21st, 2015|Categories: For Pastors, Sacraments|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

That’s Not the Gospel

My parish hosts a monthly Eucharist at a local residential care facility.  This month I offered the following reflections on Mark 9:14-29. Priests spend a fair amount of time in hospitals visiting the sick and praying with them and for them.  Some of those we visit are young and generally very healthy and are expected to make quick and full [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:45-05:00October 20th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Ministry, Not Magic

So now, Father, we ask you to bless and sanctify, with your Word and Holy Spirit, these gifts of bread and wine, that we may partake of his most blessed Body and Blood. What happens to the bread and wine in and through this prayer of epiclesis, when the priest invokes the Word and Holy Spirit and signs the elements [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 19th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

First Among Equals?

Just had a profound insight in my seminary class...The insight is this:  I believe in the validity of the ordained priests AND the priesthood of the believer.   The principles are held in tension.   How?   By seeing the ordained priest as merely the first among equals among a congregation  of lay priests.  This is a very different view [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 18th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

A Tale of Two Nursing Homes

Last evening my family stopped by Walgreen's for soft drinks, chips and candy.  Another family -- dear friends -- visited Dollar Tree to purchase a variety of inexpensive gifts.  A few minutes later we met at Peaceful Haven, a local nursing home, one that provides services for those at the lower end of the economic spectrum.  The facility is dated, [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 17th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Words, Words, Words

In the beginning was the Word. The preachers' dilemma:  words used to communicate the deep mysteries of God are like mallets used for brain surgery -- blunt and clumsy instruments, ill-suited for the task.  Yet, they are what we have in that brief liturgical window allotted the sermon each Sunday.  So, we struggle to make them work, to make them [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:47-05:00October 16th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Speech Acts

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  God spoke and called worlds into being:  "Let there be," God said, and there was, and it was good -- creation by speech act.  A speech act consists of words, and sometimes gestures, which not only express but create that which is expressed. Speech acts are so common, so "ordinary" in [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:47-05:00October 15th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Marriage and Mystery

Tomorrow, in new cassock and surplice and for the first time as priest, I will read the Gospel and lead the matrimonial prayers in The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage.  The couple is young and dear and in love (with Christ and with one another) and is, I feel confident, about as ready for marriage as is humanly possible, [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:47-05:00October 14th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments
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