All posts from “Ministry”

Leading from the Pit (of Depression)

December 30, 2013 12:04 PM

Depression is all too common for Christian leaders. Research from the Clergy Health Initiative at Duke Divinity School indicates that clergy members are (by rather conservative figures) over 1.5 times more likely to experience depression than members of the...

Fighting Christians: We Need a Christmas Truce

December 23, 2013 11:49 AM

Most of us have heard of the famous Christmas Truce of 1914. For roughly a week before Christmas, the shooting of the First World War ceased, and carols were sung from the trenches and even together across no man’s...

Ted Haggard, Isaac Hunter, and Snakes in the Desert

December 13, 2013 12:08 PM

“Fallen” former mega-church pastor Ted Haggard blogs about the apparent suicide of former mega-church pastor Isaac Hunter: There are more grays in life than many of our modern theological positions allow... I can only image what many Christians must...

Leading for Someone Else

December 12, 2013 7:00 AM

Here in Chicago we have a quarterback controversy on our hands. Let me get you up to speed. Several weeks ago, the Bears’ starting quarterback (Jay Cutler) went down with a groin injury. It spelled doom for our playoff...

Serving the Suburban Poor

December 11, 2013 12:34 PM

Each week, my church family serves a free meal after our 11 a.m. service. The meal is open to any one who would like it. Afterwards, a market is set up where patrons can receive a number and "shop"...

Pitchfork and Pentecostals

November 21, 2013 9:18 AM

"It would be awesome if this band just ditched their set list and played Bowie's “Hunky Dory” instead." That was my suggestion. I was standing in a crowd of thousands at the Mecca of indie music, the Pitchfork Festival....

Wednesday Link List: John Piper on Charismatic "Abuse," Duck Dynasty Wines Prompt Whines, And More

November 20, 2013 7:00 AM

If your work week runs Monday to Friday, by noon on Wednesday you're 'over the hump,' but the Baptist in me still blushes when someone says, "Happy Hump Day!" With that, I think we'd better quickly move on to...

Does “All Things to All People” mean “Conforming to the World”?

November 12, 2013 10:24 AM

I was recently interviewed by Skye Jethani on the subject of authenticity for Leadership Journal. During our conversation, Skye made a comment that continues to linger in my mind. He contrasted one pastor wearing “torn jeans and an untucked...

My Time at the Mosaix Multi-Ethnic Church Conference

November 11, 2013 10:52 AM

At the Mosaix Multi-Ethnic Conference in Long Beach last week several main stage speakers and workshop presenters referenced the massive demographic shifts impacting the U.S. According to the Brookings Institute, by 2043 the country will be a “minority-majority” population,...

Wednesday Link List: Choosing a Church, Childhood Lost, and More

November 6, 2013 8:00 AM

I've checked this week and nobody in the Pentecostal community is organizing a Strange Ice Conference. So far. Here's the rest of my research: On Monday, the news about American pastor Saeed Abedini, imprisoned in Iran, was not good....

One Faith, One Baptism, One ... Craft Brew?

November 4, 2013 10:03 AM

Martin Luther famously said “I’d rather my people were in the alehouse thinking of church, than in church thinking of the alehouse.” NPR’s John Burnett shares the story of a couple modern intersections of beer and church. "I'm not...

Scary Stories of Ministry

October 31, 2013 1:34 PM

As promised, here are your responses to our request for scary ministry tales. Have a safe and happy Halloween, in celebration of our real holiday tomorrow! From K.W. Leslie: Back in high school, during youth group night, the youth...

Have We Forgotten the “Foolishness of Preaching?”

October 28, 2013 9:19 AM

I sat over espresso with a friend this summer. Being passionate about such things, we talked about churches. He’d just come from a conversation with a mutual friend, the lead pastor of a rural Midwest congregation. The topic of...

Tell Us Your Scariest Ministry Stories

October 25, 2013 9:28 AM

October. The harvest is in, fresh cider steams on the woodstove, and Jack-O’-Lanterns flicker out grins on the front porch. The lights seem dimmer. It’s time for some scary stories. Scary ministry stories, that is, and we want you...

Wednesday Link List: Strange Fire, Asperger's Syndrome, and More

October 23, 2013 8:00 AM

Time to take another look at the best of Christian blogs and internet news you may have missed. Not many weird religious news stories this week; try to do something stupid over the next few days, okay? According to...

Holy Uncertainty

October 15, 2013 8:00 AM

As a kind of liturgy, I stand before our five-year-old church every September and ask a question: “Should we continue to exist as a church for another year?” You can hear pins drop every time. The entire community—new comers,...

Ganja Love

October 12, 2013 8:00 AM

Any Christians out there want to puff some heady nuggets? Don’t worry, we’ll toke in moderation. Let’s score some of that sticky, stinky, skunky, outdoor, organic Kush and spark one up! Can’t afford 50 bucks an eighth? No prob....

The Polyglot Gospel

October 10, 2013 7:34 AM

I grew up listening to National Public Radio. With that awakened an early love for the modern, progressive, thoughtful existence that Democrats dream and preach about. My old man, more than any, instilled a handful of progressive ideals into...

To Change, Or Not To Change

October 8, 2013 9:00 AM

The future of seminary education (“Does the M.Div. have a future?”) was much discussed last week here on Ur. Here are some relevant selections from the comments for your viewing pleasure ... or displeasure, depending on your educational views....

Does the M.Div. Have a Future?

October 1, 2013 2:43 PM

Ur's been talking about the changing nature of theological education for a long time. Today, Jim Miller zooms in on the state of the benchmark M.Div. degree. -Paul Long the gold standard of seminary education, the Masters of Divinity...

Sabbath and Soul Junk

August 22, 2013 4:10 PM

Monday has been my off day for years, ever since I started working in a church, with the long exception of having to be on-call at Sweet Holy Spirit for administrative matters. Back then, it wasn’t strange to get...

Four Takeaways from the 2013 Global Leadership Summit

August 20, 2013 4:01 PM

This piece is adapted from Dave’s full review of the Willow Creek Association's Global Leadership Summit at our sister site, BuildingChurchLeaders.com. Be sure to read the full version if you like what’s here. Or if you like Taylor Swift,...

The Quantum Pope

August 5, 2013 11:17 AM

I love quantum physics and I love popes. While I was a physics major in college, I created a Facebook group called “Baptists Who Like Catholic Things.” When Pope Francis began making some unusual headlines a few months ago,...

Bigger Chunks of Bread

July 25, 2013 7:00 AM

I grew up as a preacher’s kid. My father was a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force before he pastored churches in the United Methodist Church and the American Baptist Association. During my college years at the University of...

Wednesday Links: Gender Benders, Positive Prophets, and More

July 3, 2013 8:00 AM

For those of you joining us for the first time, welcome to Random Acts of Linking, AKA the Wednesday Link List from Thinking Out Loud. Links included here may not be new, but they're new to us. We aim...

Love Closed Down Exodus International

June 20, 2013 9:45 AM

Late yesterday, Exodus International, the 37-year-old benchmark for Christian “ex-gay” ministry, apologized to people it had hurt and announced its closing (and transformation to a new ministry). The official statements (apology and announcement of closing) are national news. In his...

Yes Church, We Still Need Seminaries

June 20, 2013 8:06 AM

Here on Ur a couple months ago, Skye asked "Do We Still Need Seminaries?" He described how on one hand enrollment in seminaries is dropping and on the other many of his peers are not formally trained in the...

Superman: Sermon Notes from Exile

June 18, 2013 10:54 AM

I wrote the Sermon Notes for the recent Man of Steel blockbuster film. Thousands of pastors took the time to visit a website, enter their address, and download the notes. I am glad that many have found the parallels...

The Fishbowl, My Friend

June 17, 2013 10:13 AM

As a young pastor I hated the “fishbowl effect” of ministry. You know—that feeling that everyone's watching you, and that your mistakes count more. It seemed unfair to my young mind that my personal shortcomings (which would never be...

Jesus Is the Worst Superhero Ever

May 14, 2013 8:06 AM

If you woke up and the world had been transformed into a super-nerd dystopia where a demigod-Patton Oswalt forced you to choose only the best superhero to preserve from 100 years of American comics, you would choose Superman. Sure,...

Ninety Percent Obscurity

April 11, 2013 8:30 AM

Nobody knows better than New England Baptists how ministry is changing in America. And that shouldn’t surprise us. They’ve been at least a generation ahead of the rest of us for a couple hundred years. They practically invented evangelicalism...

The New Ministry Dictionary (#1)

March 15, 2013 9:33 AM

The ministry world is evolving rapidly, and the folks at Merriam-Webster can’t seem to keep up. Crack open the latest edition of your dictionary and you’ll see what we mean. Concepts essential to Christian leadership are conspicuously absent from its...

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