3 Things to Know About Managing Motivation…

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Somedays, I wake up with enough energy and motivation to run a half marathon, write a book, and build a bookcase by hand. Other days, I wake up and just wish I could move my fridge into my living room so I could watch ten hours of tv without getting up for food or drinks. Some days I have more “Go” than “To Do”, but most days, I’m running behind on motivation and energy (what I call “Go”).

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I imagine I’m not the only person who struggles with balancing the things that need to get done with the energy to do them.

Here’s how I try to manage my “Go” Continue reading

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6 Things Pastors Should Look For In Their Community…

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Every community, from the smallest village to the largest city, has a character all its own. One of the most important things a pastor or ministry leader can do is understand that character. It will tell you what ministries are needed and how your church could go about initiating them. And with so many United Methodist pastors settling into their new appointments, I thought this would be a good time to share 6 things to help you learn about your community. (For the record, you can be in year twenty of your ministry at a church and still benefit from these.)

As a point of citation, the points (in bold) are the work of Michael Mata, and the questions are the work of Michael Frost, who is a professor of Missiology and my additions.

So here are six things you should look at to understand your community: Continue reading

3 Ways to Get to Know Your Congregation…

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For many United Methodist pastors, you’ve just survived your first Sunday at your new church, and are still swimming in boxes as you unpack. Now, you have months and months of getting to know the new congregation you have been appointed to care for. Even if you’re not United Methodist, the process of getting to know a new congregation is daunting.

I want to offer a few insights I’ve learned through getting to know two different congregations. Here are three things for getting to know your congregation better: Continue reading

Care 101

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One of the core skills of being a church member is being able to offer care and comfort to others. And contrary to cultural precedent, this is not the sole responsibility of the pastor. In fact, most “pastoral” care can be offered by non-clergy or laity.

The problem is that many church goers feel under equipped or ill-prepared for those conversations. (As a side note, so do I, despite having literally hundreds of hours of pastoral care visits). So I wanted to offer a few basic steps to offering care to someone you know in your church. These won’t make you a counselor or therapist, but they should help you be a better friend and church member. Some of them are fairly obvious, but worth restating.  Continue reading

That old suit…

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There are a lot of people who live in fear of their phones. Doctors, EMT’s, firefighters, and pastors all know that in a moment, their phone could change their day or week. Maybe it’s a car accident they need to get to quickly. Maybe it’s the hospital calling them in for an urgent case. Or maybe it’s a family member calling to let you know that someone died. I received one of those phone calls on Memorial Day, laced with tragic irony – a soldier had killed themselves, and now I, as the chaplain have to “do my thing”.

The thing that frightens me, the thing that I want to process “out loud”, is just how comfortable I am with these situations. People tell me all the time that they have no idea what to do or say in these moments. That’s not my problem. My problem is that it begins to feel scripted or rote. My problem seems to be how comfortable I am talking about death, grief, and suicide. It feels strangely familiar. Continue reading