Category - Pastoral Theology

1
Finding Greatness in Leadership
2
Leadership When the Maps Are Wrong
3
A Sermon Checklist for Pastors and Congregants
4
The Tension We Face
5
Serving Time in the Pew
6
The Life We Leave Behind
7
Here’s To Substantive Sermons
8
Will There be A Seminary Tomorrow?
9
THOSE ANNUAL IRRELEVANT AWARDS
10
THE LAST WORD

Finding Greatness in Leadership

More than once I have heard Bill Hybels say, “The hope of the world is the church.” If this is true, then the hope of the church has to be its future leaders. And any hope of future leadership depends upon those who will train them. This is what I have traveled to Kathmandu to[…]

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Leadership When the Maps Are Wrong

There are few challenges like taking an existing institution and bringing needed change. A transformative leader often faces strong headwinds. Plans get sabotaged. I learned this early on in my first church. In my youthful idealism, fresh out of my doctoral program at Dallas, I was ready to change the world. I soon discovered it[…]

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A Sermon Checklist for Pastors and Congregants

Here is an article I wrote this Spring that SermonSearch recently published. It brings together practices pastors devoted to preaching should consider–and parishioners should expect–   A Checklist For Setting Sermons to Flight by John E. Johnson In a chapter entitled, “The Checklist,” Atul Gawande recounts the 1935 test flight of the “flying fortress.” The[…]

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The Tension We Face

Every week, I get the pleasure of dialoguing with future leaders of the church, a.k.a. seminary students. I am confident in them, though I fear for the contemporary church and its waning influence. These students will enter a world that is losing both its mind and its soul. They will step into churches, some of[…]

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Serving Time in the Pew

Last night in class, one of my students asked me how many sermons I have preached over the course of 35 years. A brief calculation suggests approximately 1400 sermons. How many times I have spoken is another matter, given I typically preached 2-5 times per week.  That’s a lot of sermonizing—a lot of my life–a[…]

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The Life We Leave Behind

I have been on a long journey—a writing journey. It explains my absence from blogging, and a lot of other things. I have fallen into a few narcoleptic comas along the way, but now that the manuscript has been sent off to the publisher (Missing Voices, Langham Publishing), I have come out into the light[…]

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Here’s To Substantive Sermons

Monday mornings I sometimes compare notes with others who have survived the terrors of a Sunday pulpit to live another day. I ask how they are faring. A secondary question is whether or not our congregants survived. Did they hear a word from God? Did the Spirit show up? Were they rocked out of their[…]

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Will There be A Seminary Tomorrow?

It’s not an easy time to be a professor in theological education. I stare out my third story window on a campus that used to be abuzz with students– every day. Now it is a place of tranquility, a park interrupted only by the occasional bark of a dog or sound of a bird. Most[…]

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THOSE ANNUAL IRRELEVANT AWARDS

Every year in the Fall, evangelical theologians gather from around the world to present instructive and challenging papers on a variety of important topics. This week, it was fitting to meet in Providence, Rhode Island on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Here, Roger Williams (not to be confused with the sentimental songwriter) planted a[…]

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THE LAST WORD

Last summer, I watched the movie, “The Last Word.” Shirley MacLaine plays the character, Harriet Lauler. She lives in comfortable isolation, friendless and alone. She is aware that death is closing in on her, so she commissions a local obituary writer to do her story. She does not want to leave it to chance. Summing[…]

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