Transforming Pastoral Ministry Puts Transformation Over Success

Rhythms of Life and Ministry: Transformation Over Success

For the past few months, I’ve focused on what I call Transforming Pastoral Ministry.

In this specific series of post, I am attempting to propose a new way for pastors and leaders to serve and minister to the church.

It’s a way that’s built around a host of Pillars tethered to a particular cluster of Rhythms!

Remember, these Pillars are the what of pastoral ministry.

By that, I mean that these five areas are the principal areas of concern for any ministry. They are:

  1. Calling: I define calling as signature convictions around who we are and why we are here. This applies to both the individual minister as well as the congregational identity.
  2. Congregational Care
  3. Congregational Leadership
  4. Preaching and Worship
  5. Soul-Care, Spiritual Formation and Discipleship

I can pretty much assure you that if you demonstrate some level of competency in three or more of these areas, you will likely have what most would consider a successful ministry.

Success, however, is not the target when I aim what it means to shepherd and lead a congregation.

As a minister, I don’t aim, shoot, or strive for success, per se.  Congregationally speaking, we seek a bit deeper at Pillar!

We aim for transformation.

Continue reading “Transforming Pastoral Ministry Puts Transformation Over Success”

Arranging Sunday’s Sermon All Week Long

The past couple of weeks, I have been addressing the role of preaching within the local church.  Specifically about the how and why of preaching more than the what of preaching.

This preaching-focus is connected to one of the primary roles (or Pillars) pastors must fulfill to be effective in ministry.  In the Transforming Pastoral Ministry and Leadership model I am offering, this is Pillar #4: Preaching, Teaching, and Worship.

I am also suggesting that we learn to practice the art/craft of preaching much like a Curator practice the art/craft of creating an environment within a museum.

A Curator’s goal is to create an environment that is conducive to a transcendent experience.  If you’ve ever walked through a thoughtfully crafted art display, then you know what I am talking about.

You often find yourself lingering, caught up in the experience.  When you do leave, you feel like you’ve experienced a larger story.  A story the artist him or herself has created.

You’ve been a part of the experience in a way that has left you wanting more.

Continue reading “Arranging Sunday’s Sermon All Week Long”

Preach What Pours Forth!

I have the privilege of preaching every Sunday.

Yes.

It is a privilege!

After all, I get to present ideas on a wide range of topics lifted from the most popular book in the history of humankind.

That book, of course, is the Bible.

Two years ago, I was encouraged by a mentor to try preaching one Sunday without notes.  I still remember shuddering when he recommended it.

Continue reading “Preach What Pours Forth!”

Transforming Pastoral Ministry: When Resistance Isn’t Rejection

One of my favorite holiday movies, that I often watch right smack in the middle of the Christmas season, is The Family Man.

I’m a big fan of the cast, which includes Nicholas Cage, Tea Leoni, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Piven, and Saul Rubinek.

But more than the cast, it’s the storyline that gets me.

Every.

Single.

Time.

A Glimpse of What’s Possible

Here is the gist: single, billionaire playboy (Cage) falls asleep one lonely Christmas Eve night in his upscale NYC apartment.  The next morning (Christmas Day) he wakes up in the Jersey suburbs.  Happily married to Tea (who wouldn’t be) with two incredible kids.

There is only one problem; this isn’t his life.  It’s the life he said no to a decade earlier in pursuit of the American dream.

Now he is getting a “glimpse” of the life that slipped away!

Continue reading “Transforming Pastoral Ministry: When Resistance Isn’t Rejection”

Transforming Pastoral Ministry: Calling!

For decades I was confused about calling.

I believe most of us are.

Rightly so.

After all, our calling, vocation or mission in life is often tied tightly to doing something.

In fact, when you ask someone about calling or personal mission, they will likely list off a host of things they are doing.

Ruth Haley Barton notes our rampant confusion regarding calling when she says,

“We set young leaders up for a fall if we encourage them to envision what they can do before they consider the kind of person they should be.” —Ruth Haley Barton

In the church, where we should know better, this misapprehension of calling takes on cosmic proportions.  Primarily because we spiritualize everything and thereby make it far more urgent than callings in other areas of life.

Here, for example, is a personal vision statement I lived by as recently as ten years ago.

Continue reading “Transforming Pastoral Ministry: Calling!”