Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pastor Burnout web site of resources

Pastor Burnout - The Silent Ministry Killer
Pastor burnout is a weapon the enemy uses with great efficiency. It is surprising in its simplicity but brutal in its impact. Burnout begins by encouraging us to do what we do best – minister to people. But as we serve, subtle conflict infiltrates our minds.
At first, confidence leads us to some great expectations. But those very expectations are the seeds of our own downfall. Why is it that we develop such an idealistic portrait of ministry and our own abilities?
Failure to meet these expectations leads to disappointment and confusion: "Am I doing this right?" "Why am I not seeing the results I should be seeing?" "Why did he get so angry about this?" "Am I really prepared to do this?" "I never knew ministry was like this." "I am going to work harder." "Maybe I need to look for a different church." "This isn’t what I thought being a pastor would be like."
It’s very logical, when you think about it.
Peter states that Satan is prowling around looking for someone to have for lunch (1 Peter 5:8). As pastors, we know that many people in our congregations are vulnerable to these attacks. That’s why God put us in their lives. Hebrews 13:17 states that pastors keep watch over the souls of people in their congregations. And Peter teaches that we are to care for our congregation like a shepherd cares and protects his sheep (1 Peter 5:3).
So if you want to harm the flock, you first need to attack the shepherd.

The Pastor Burnout web author  tells his burnout story:
I remember the exact point I hit bottom. I was staring into a bathroom mirror with a bottle of sleeping pills in my hand. A voice of reason began to speak… but a second voice interrupted, "Don't think, just swallow. Don’t think, just swallow."
And I did.
I assumed one bottle of prescription sleeping pills would do it. But just in case, I pulled out a second bottle and gulped those down as well.
The next few hours are a blur. But I do recall my wife sitting next to me in the hospital. And I can see her face as she said through tears, "We're going to get through this."
Pastor burnout doesn't always lead to suicide, of course. But whoever and wherever it strikes, clergy burnout leaves a path of discouragement, disillusionment, and pain.
I burned out twice in ministry.
The first time, I didn't know what was happening.
The second time I knew what was happening but seemed powerless to stop it.
The first time, I denied that I had a problem.
The second time I thought I could control it.
Both instances led to problems in my marriage, challenges in my church, and clinical depression.
The major difference between the two experiences is that the second time I burned out, I left church ministry altogether.
I'm years removed from those experiences now, but I still struggle with the pain, shame, and grief of pastor burnout.

The pages on the Pastor Burnout web page are really a therapeutic labor of love. They come from a person who has been to the bottom and am making their way back to the surface. They are  not really sure that life will ever be like it was before. And they are not sure they would want it to be even if they had a choice. For as God promises, he took their misery and created something good out of it. They were broken, wounded, suffering in pain, but God is redeeming their hurts and using them for his glory.
That’s what the website Pastor Burnout is all about. They want to help pastors avoid if possible – or negotiate with hope the dark pathways of pastor burnout.
If you or someone you know wants to prevent burnout, or if you need help working through the darkness, this site is for you. This is a place where you can remain completely anonymous but still be part of a community.
This is a community of people who understand. We’ve been there. And while we don’t have all the answers, we are finding that God really does restore and redeem our pain for something greater than we can now imagine.
At the Pastor Burnout web page you will discover:
a Pastor Burnout Workbook
Pastor Burnout Stories
a Pastors Forum
a Pastor Burnout Blog
Pastor Burnout Statistics
Burnout Definition, information and symptoms including 53 Pastor Burnout Causes
information on overcoming Burnout and Burnout recovery
Clinical Depression, symptoms and responding to it?
Overcoming Pornography
Pastor Care
Career Change information for Pastors
Sermon Outlines
Pastor Burnout Jokes
Pastor Retreats
Pastor Burnout Books
and many Pastor Resources

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Here2stay ....

Current Australian research is shouting to us that our current ‘GIFT generation’ of young people (Google, iDevice, FaceBook, Twitter), which is more connected and more isolated than generations before them, is walking away from church and/or faith in their early adolescent years. A brief survey of some authors from across the Western world reveals that this concerning trend is not limited to our shores.

The Here2Stay initiative is the result of a collaborative approach by some of the major denominations and organisations serving families and children in Australia.  Our journey towards a solution begins with an acknowledgement that a large part of our discipling strategy has revolved around the imparting of INFORMATION.  While the content of our curricula and programs is important, this strategy alone is not producing mature disciples. To this equation we need to intentionally add experiences that focus on FORMATION so that faith goes deeper. The result will be TRANSFORMATION. The result will be followers of Jesus who are Here2Stay.

What are the formational ‘experiences’ that, if integrated into a long term journey with our children from their birth, will cause their faith to grow deeper, be more strongly rooted and grounded, and provide a foundation and stability for the turbulent years ahead? The Here2stay website explores further 10 foundational formational experiences that have largely been overlooked in our ministry programs with children, young people and young adults.

The beginning of the solution to see a reversal of this trend is at our fingertips – if we are prepared to take the journey?

Here2stay is a collaboration of Bible Society, Compassion Australia, Focus on the Family, SU Queensland and Willow Creek...

for more information visit

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Article: Make sure the children actually hear the Gospel and not just a bunch of bible stories

Make sure the children actually hear the Gospel and not just a bunch of bible stories appeared in Christianity Today - The Exchange Blog a by Ed

Children have a faith that is ready to go. Let’s not waste that opportunity by delivering a humanistic Gospel.
We talk a lot about contextualization Gospel communication. How do we share the eternal truth of God in specific locations for specific people who have a specific shared experience?
The Gospel does not change. So the message should remain the same, even as the methods are adjusted for effectiveness.
But how well do we proclaim the Gospel to children? I’m not asking how well we teach children Bible stories, or how well we have taught the moral truths of Scripture.
Are we contextualizing our Gospel communication for children as well as we are for the hipsters in Brooklyn or the tribes in Tanzania?

The Bible as a Collection of Good Stories
Too often we teach the Bible as a series of isolated morality tales, like Aesop’s Fables. We want our children to learn how to live well, so we draw from the Bible stories of people who did the right thing and those who did the wrong thing.
We hope they are getting the idea that good is of God, leading to success, and bad is of Satan, leading to failure. If the kiddos can then live out and retell the story with the right names and main points, we feel like they have a grasp on the Gospel.
Churches have told children tons of good stories, but have we told them the Story?
It is easy to tell the stories within the story, but there is a big picture here. We miss some important points when we offer a slice of the Gospel as if it is the whole pie.
I think about it this way.
There’s this huge story with basically four major acts.
Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. I teach these at my church. You might as well. But how do you teach this to children?
I’m a father of three daughters. The reality is I just don’t want them to know one part of God’s big story. He’s given us His Word that tells the story of His grand and awesome plan, from the first verse to the last. I want them to know the Truth, not just a truth or two.

The Gospel is About What God is Doing
We miss the flow of God if we just take the Bible in isolated parts. And the flow is important to understanding that the Gospel is not just a group of ideas, but rather a plan that has been designed and implemented by a loving God for the saving of humans.
Ideas aren’t as personal as a plan. The plan runs the length of Scripture. So for example, we hear Jesus say in 1 Corinthians 11, “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me.”
But we don’t remember that Moses said, “This blood is a symbol of the covenant” in the Old Testament. We don’t understand why Abraham would be called to sacrifice Isaac if we don’t understand what would happen as God the Son is sent by God the Father to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. This interconnectedness happens all through Scripture.
When we take the Bible as a series of isolated morality tales, we think about 66 books with hundreds, if not thousands, of stories contained within them. In actuality, there are not thousands of stories. There are not 66 stories. There aren’t even two stories with the Old and New Testament. There is one story and that is the story of what God is doing—redemptive history.
We want to teach morals to kids, but we don’t want them to become moralists.

The Gospel is Not a Self-help Program
Part of the challenge is in the midst of sharing the Gospel. We want to teach morals to kids, but we don’t want them to become moralists. Yet that is a facet of the predominant religion of our culture today—moralistic therapeutic deism.
Christian Smith coined this phrase.
Moralism is the idea that whatever God is out there wants you to be a good person. It’s also therapeutic. It makes you a better person. It’s actually good for you to have some spirituality in your life. And deism is merely the belief in some God doing something up/out there.
While many people would not self-identify as moralistic therapeutic deists, that is exactly what they are, practically speaking.
They often draw their theology from various sources, including the Bible. But they cherry pick Bible stories that work well with their worldview and adopt the morality found in the story. This will make them feel better and pleasing to God. Mission accomplished.
But that isn’t our mission. That’s not our desire.
The Gospel is that sinners have been saved and are part of a family of believers who edify and equip one another to go out to other sinners and tell them about the Savior. Scripture tells us how God has been searching for and saving people from the first Garden to the Eternal City. We have the privilege of telling that to others, including kids.

Contextualization for Children is Essential
I'm not a children's pastor and do not have a Ph.D. in educational pedagogy.
Yet, I can tell that that we should not let the fact that children are still learning how to learn keep us from sharing the whole counsel of God with them. When Jesus taught about our acceptance of the Gospel, He said that we must become as children.
Children were designed to hear about the things of God and have faith in them with few hurdles. So let’s be honest with them about the Gospel. It will make more sense if it is delivered holistically, and it will have a greater effect in their lives.
Definitely contextualize, as you would anywhere to anyone else. But do not strip the Gospel of its power in your delivery. God has a Story, and they are in it.
How can we more effectively teach stories without extracting them from the Story? What have you found as you teach children about the bigger story? What part of the Gospel is the most difficult to contextualize for children?

Some Resources
Thankfully, many gifted people see the need to teach the whole Story of Scripture to children. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of great resources available to the Church today to teach children about Jesus, the Gospel, and God's Word. There are some links to some below. Feel free to suggest your tools in the comments below as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book: Worship as Repentance -Lutheran liturgical tradition and Catholic consesus

Against contemporary trends that conceive of Christian worship primarily as entertainment or sheer celebration, Walter Sundberg argues that repentance is the heart of authentic worship.  In Worship as Repentance Sundberg outlines the history of repentance and confession within liturgical practice from the early church to mid-twentieth-century Protestantism, advocating movement away from the "eucharistic piety" common in mainline worship today and toward the "penitential piety" of older traditions of Protestant worship.


Book: Rural Evangelism

Pastor Kevin Ruffcorn's book Rural Evangelism explores how evangelism can be undertaken in a rural setting.
Chapters of the book include:

  • Square peg Round holes
  • Wounded healer Walking Wounded
  • The Frangrance of life
  • Shaking the pillars
  • Back to basics
  • Living in the past or striving for the future
  • Just down the road

Devotions for Narrative Lectionary Readings

Pastor Kevin Ruffcorn writes a weekly devotion related to the Narrative Lectionary readings called Toward a sane faith 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Christian Testimonies of 2 prominent scientists

Professor Graeme Clark and Professor Ross McKenzie are two prominent scientists who are willing to also talk about their faith in Jesus...check out their stories at 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book: The Gospel in Miniature - a Lutheran guide for sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ

The Gospel in Miniature is a Lutheran Guide for Sharing the Good News of Christ based on the Pattern of John 3:16.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have Eternal Life.  (John 3:16)
Martin Luther once called John 3:16: “The Gospel in Miniature,” saying that the very heart of Scripture and the message of Christ is found in this passage. 
This booklet uses John 3:16 as a biblical pattern to use in faith conversations, simple enough to remember, that can serve as a helpful tool for Christians to share their faith in Christ with others.
Written from a Lutheran faith-perspective, this booklet gives some practical advice on how believers can engage in the task of one-to-one evangelism. Combining the message of salvation in Christ with one’s own personal witness, the booklet provides a basic pattern and example, along with prayers and texts from Scripture, helping readers feel more comfortable and prepared to take up the call to be “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20) in their everyday life.

Gospel in Miniature is available from Sola Publishing

Monday, February 09, 2015

Book: Lenten Study - The God of Life

God is the God of Life. It is no accident that the great “I Am” sayings of Jesus include the very staples of living: bread and water. And it is not an idle thing that we are invited at Holy Communion to feed on Christ spiritually, in our hearts, by faith with thanksgiving. God desires us to live Christlike lives.
Lent has traditionally been a special season in the growth and development of a Christian’s life. Through looking carefully into our outer and inner lives, with reflection and repentance, we find renewal.
The Holy Spirit takes our prayers, thoughts, questions and study time, and shapes our lives to deeper discipleship.
A special focus on God’s work in us that enables us to experience life in its fullness is explored in each of these five studies:

The readings are based on the “Year B” lectionary readings ‘The Australian Lectionary’ 

Study One: Creator of Life 
Study Two: Promiser of Life
Study Three: Sustainer of Life 
Study Four: Rescuer of Life
Study Five: Renewer of Life
Study Six (Holy week) ‘Ruler of Life’ is published on the web site. 
May these Lenten studies be to you a life-changing event through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Written By Bishop John Harrower

available from:

Ash Wednesday Worship Service ideas

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday origins, meaning and purpose

Teaching videos on Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday worship service suggestions from:
Lutheran Church of Australia
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod


Intergenerational ideas from Building Faith

Christian Resource Institute

Liturgy - worship that works
Spacious Faith
Word to Worship -  contemporary song suggestions

United Methodist Church
Calvin Institute of Worship
Reformed Church in America
Reformed Worship

Book: A Doubter's Guide to the Bible: Inside History's Bestseller for Believers and Skeptics

A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible is a concise account of the whole biblical narrative and the lifestyle it inspires, representing a unique and engaging framework for those observing Christianity from the outside, especially those who think there are good reasons not to believe.

In this book, Dickson provides a readable and winsome Bible primer summarizing the main themes in scripture, and addresses tough questions such as “How can we read the creation account in Genesis in light of modern science? “ and, “how do we approach Old Testament law when it appears inconsistent and irrelevant?”

By presenting the whole of the Bible as an account of God’s promise to restore humanity to Himself, and humanity to one another and to creation, Dickson allows believers and skeptics alike to gain insight into why the Bible has been a compelling, life-changing, and magnetic force throughout the ages.

Table of contents
Chapter 1: How Everything is Good 
Chapter 2: Why So Much is Bad 
Chapter 3: Plan A, B, and C 
Chapter 4: The Good Life 
Chapter 5: Justice for All 
Chapter 6: Kingdom Come 
Chapter 7: The Wait is (Almost) Over 
Chapter 8: The Great Work 
Chapter 9: Concerning Life and Doctrine 
Chapter 10: How Everything is Good Again

An article on the book from Eternity Magazaine - Bible Society Australia 

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Lenten Devotions - 2015 for personal Lent devotions try the following:
Lent Devotions from Lutheran Hour - LCMS  they have a printable book
Redeemer Lutheran Church:
There in God's Garden:
North American Lutheran Church

11 Commandments for facebookers

11 Commandments for facebook users (and other social media users) are short reflections to help us use facebook and social media well and for the glory of God.....They are based on the 10 commandments of Luther's Small Catechism!!!