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 […]

Discover Israel: King Saul, Tragic Leader

Every week or so, we’ll highlight one of the sites we’ll visit on our upcoming Israel tours for pastors or for 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 […]

By |2019-01-10T15:40:53-06:00August 16th, 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 […]

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

LeaderWorks Update

There are a few important updates for you over at LeaderWorks.

  1. Deadline Cometh:

    If you ever have imagined yourself in the Holy Land walking in the footsteps of the Lord, there is no better time to go than in January of next year. The Pastor’s Tour that I lead is only $1,599 and that is […]

By |2019-01-10T16:53:39-06:00May 4th, 2017|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Holy Week and the Cross of Christ: Notes and Quotes

Here is a small collection of quotes and comments about the Cross and Holy Week that I have collected over the years. They are sermon starters, devotional nudges, and deep expressions of our faith and love of Jesus Christ and the Cross He endured. May the Lord richly bless you all in the Holy Week. 

I am praying with and for […]

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, […]

For the Beauty of The Year: The Liturgical Calendar

Our culture has its own calendar for the next month or so. We can mark off these days: Door-busters, Black Friday, Parties, Winter breaks, Holiday cheer, Family dinners (and political arguments) and ending with a Ball-dropping champagne toast. That is the liturgy of the world at the end of a year. But what about the Liturgical Calendar?

By |2019-01-10T16:55:02-06:00November 22nd, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism, 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

Pokémon Yes or Pokémon No?

Guest post by Canon Don Shepson, Associate Professor of Youth & Family, Montreat College

My first experience with the game Pokémon Go! came over the past summer, about a week after the game was launched. I found myself reading a news article about it on vacation at a state park while my family swam in the lake. As I downloaded and opened the […]

By |2020-05-18T11:11:08-05:00October 6th, 2016|Categories: Miscellaneous|Tags: , |1 Comment

The Anglican Pastor’s Guide to Email Sanity

Here’s a statement I’ve never heard from anyone serving in ministry: “I love email!” Pastors commit their lives to serve God and his church for numerous reasons. Some love preaching the Gospel; some love offering pastoral care in nursing homes, hospitals, or prisons; others walk alongside students through teenage and college years. No matter the vocation in ministry, communication with […]

By |2016-09-22T11:18:46-05:00September 22nd, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , |1 Comment

Stewardship for the Last 100 Days of the Year

Over at LeaderWorks, I have written a few posts on stewardship over the last month. The Digest is here.  But this last post will pull everything together in a sample ‘Stewardship Emphasis Program’ for your church this Fall.

It is not too late to do something specific and practical. So here are ten things to make happen between […]

By |2019-01-10T16:55:28-06:00September 1st, 2016|Categories: For Pastors, Generosity|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Why Common Sense Fails Us in Leading a Church or Church Plant

Someone is starting a church plant, but has no special training, experience or study in church planting. They’re planning to just gather a group for prayer and worship, and see what happens. Often that’s exactly what they’ve been told to do.

These are priests who have been trained in the Bible, theology, preaching, pastoral ministry –but not church planting. They are trusting […]

By |2022-03-21T11:45:17-05:00August 16th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors, Leadership|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

The Merry-Go-Round Emotion of Change

(The Author Blogs at LeaderWorks)

Change is hard. Sometimes very hard. I’m going through one right now…from one ministry assignment (that I love) to another (that is new). Change is happening!  As I have listened to my heart and thought and prayed deeply about this, I discovered that there are three parts to change.  And they keep inter-changing too.  Like a […]

By |2019-01-10T16:55:55-06:00June 24th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Know Your Community Resources

Interacting with your local community and meeting practical needs.

Sometimes there is a huge disconnect between the church and its local community. How often will people come to the church seeking help of many sorts only to find none? At best we may half-heartedly make a referral for them to contact United Way, or some vague community help-line number, if that. […]

By |2016-08-08T14:12:11-05:00June 22nd, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , |2 Comments

A Year of First Blessings

070So, you now know the origin of this blog title: First Blessing. It is also traditional that first blessings are too special to be restricted to one day; the new priest gives first blessings for an entire year. So, I have set my heart and hand to writing these public reflections of […]

By |2016-05-13T09:35:29-05:00May 17th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

We Can’t Do it

In the 17th century, pastor and poet George Herbert wrote the book The Country Parson, one of the first manuals for pastors written in English.  He starts his book by acknowledging that he feels inadequate:

the way to please [God], is to feed my Flock diligently and faithfully, since our Savior has made that the [focus] of a Pastor’s love, I […]

By |2022-03-21T11:45:23-05:00May 5th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

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 […]

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

Call Me Mother

Since I was ordained as a priest two years ago, the question I’m most asked is, “What do we call you?”

In Anglicanism, people often refer to priests as “Father,” following Roman Catholic and Orthodox tradition. I have no intention to argue here about the use of that term, which can be controversial among lower church folks, but the practice is […]

By |2019-01-04T22:39:25-06:00April 26th, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism|Tags: , , , , |14 Comments

From the Priest’s Wife

from a priest’s wife…published anonymously…

“So,” they ask, “what is it like to be the pastor’s wife?”

I usually smile and say something super-spiritual like, “It’s like a front row seat to the Work of God in people’s lives.” Yep, sounds good. Because, honestly, do you really want to know? That might take some more time.

Our family has few dinners together when the […]

By |2020-05-18T11:11:08-05:00April 21st, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|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 […]

What Do I Call You?

firstblessingsBanner“What do I call you?” the bank teller asked as we conducted some routine financial transaction – a question prompted by the collar I was wearing.

“I am an Anglican priest. Sometimes we are called Father and sometimes simply by first name. Whichever you please is fine.” This is what I wish […]

By |2016-01-21T08:54:44-06:00January 21st, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |2 Comments