All posts in leadership

A Letter to the Pastor Taking (un)Friendly Fire…

What story will be told ten years from today? Early this morning I read a long document from seven years ago journaling the turmoil of God’s disruptive will in my life. At the time, I was recovering from cancer, and God was plowing up my heart and calling me into a blurry, fearful future. That three-page document details deep…

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Eight Demons Pastors Fight…

To stay in the ministry any length of time, a pastor needs to learn to fight some predictable “demons.” For instance, Monday mornings for pastors and spiritual leaders are unique. They bring with them an adrenalin crash that feels like you got hit by a train (emotionally) during the night. Sunday’s expenditure of energy—physically, spiritually,…

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In The Gospel Podcast and Weekend

Today is exciting for our team at Emmanuel! When God brought my family to Connecticut six years ago, we were coming out of a battle with cancer, and were entering a difficult season of church revitalization. My health and the church’s health were both in a state of real question marks. At that time, I…

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How to Reclaim 40 Hours a Month

How would you like to find another 40 hours in your month? What could you accomplish with that time? Get an advanced degree? Read the books you’ve been wanting to get to? Develop an interest? Sharpen a skill set? Think about the impact of this. I’m late to the game on this, but still felt…

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“Pastor, I’m Just Struggling!”

Why we struggle. How to struggle. Finding Hope in Struggles. On average, probably more than twice a week, I hear from another pastor who, in a moment of painful transparency reaches out to me saying, “I’m struggling.” It’s so common, I believe pervasive is a more appropriate word. I hear the same from church family…

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Processing Tragedy God’s Way

“Something about this being a church just strikes deeper at the core of our hearts,” she said, searching for some way to process the tragic shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Her name is Jennifer, a reporter for channel 4 news in Hartford, and she came by the church this morning asking me for a short…

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Why I Struggle with “Subjective Separation”

What is subjective separation, and what is biblical separation? I believe in one and reject the other. Let’s break it down. Biblical separation is discerning and emphasizes what the Bible clearly says. Subjective separation is undiscerning, and creates issues where the Bible is silent or where God gives space for conscience. In this post, I’m…

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Lessons from Five Years at Emmanuel

Celebrating a Five-Year Journey… Five years ago yesterday, we officially began our journey of renewal and gospel ministry with the Emmanuel Baptist Church family. The months prior had been laced with many late-night wrestlings with God over His call and a lot of biblical counseling with godly, objective advisors. By May 2012, His word and…

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11 Questions to Diagnose Church Health

What does a healthy church look like? How does a healthy church function? Between examining the New Testament Church in God’s word, my personal experience in healthy church families, and then seeing/experiencing healthy churches—there are biblical qualities of health that clearly rise to the surface. In the list below, the operative words are: growing, increasing,…

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Develop Problem-Solvers — Leading Healthy Change Part 8

We’re talking about leading healthy change. In Part One we discussed discerning “good change” and “bad change.” In Part Two we discussed the starting point of appreciating “what is,” and managing the tension between “what is” and “what could be.” In Part Three we began discussing the first two of six steps in the process—building healthy relationships and communicating effectively. In Part…

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When You Don’t “Feel Like It…”

Do you ever have moments where your heart sort of just “crashes?” You hit a wall spiritually. Suddenly, you don’t feel like going to church. You don’t feel like reading God’s word. You don’t feel like caring. You don’t feel like exercising. The list goes on. What do you do in that moment? Do feelings…

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How Jesus Confronts My Leadership Heart

I’ve never had a conversation with God in which His voice was audible. But I’ve had many where His voice was clear. As a spiritual leader, my daily conversation with God is often drawn by His Spirit back to recurring themes. As Jesus asked His disciples “Who do you say that I am?” or “Will you also…

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Leading Healthy Change Part 7

We’re talking about leading healthy change. In Part One we discussed discerning “good change” and “bad change.” In Part Two we discussed the starting point of appreciating “what is” and managing the tension between “what is” and “what could be.” In Part Three we began discussing the first two of six steps in the process—building healthy relationships and communicating effectively. In Part…

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Why You Can be Thankful for Criticism

Do you ever face criticism? Some critics are compassionate and purely motivated—I’ve written about which ones I receive here. I’ve also written about qualities of unjust criticism, here, and why leaders should care about criticism, here. Today I want to take a different view—and not because I’m presently receiving any criticism. I have in the past,…

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Leading Healthy Change Part 6

We’re talking about leading healthy change. In Part One we discussed discerning “good change” and “bad change”—we essentially discovered that spiritual growth is change, and if you resist change, you’re resisting the work of what the power of the gospel actually does! In Part Two we discussed the starting point of appreciating “what is” and managing the tension between…

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Leading Healthy Change Part 5

We’re talking about leading healthy change. In Part One we discussed discerning “good change” and “bad change”—we essentially discovered that spiritual growth is change, and if you resist change, you’re resisting the work of what the power of the gospel actually does! In Part Two we discussed the starting point of appreciating “what is” and managing the tension between…

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The Most Powerful “THRIVE” Factor for 2017!

Are you ready to THRIVE into 2017? Have you considered recently the power of attitude—how much our attitude toward life and circumstances determines so many of our outcomes. I really believe my attitude toward a challenge is 90% of the battle of growing through that challenge. Attitude determines whether I see an obligation or an opportunity,…

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Leading Healthy Change Part 4

We’re talking about leading healthy change. In Part One we discussed discerning “good change” and “bad change”—we essentially discovered that spiritual growth is change, and if you resist change, you’re resisting the work of what the power of the gospel actually does! In Part Two we discussed the starting point of appreciating “what is” and…

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Leading Healthy Change Part 3

We’re talking about leading healthy change. In Part One we discussed discerning “good change” and “bad change.” In Part Two we discussed the starting point of appreciating “what is” and managing the tension between “what is” and “what could be.” Mismanaging that tension will dramatically affect your attitude as a leader—which dramatically impacts everything else….

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Live Lighter, Love Better is Available!

It is exciting to announce that Live Lighter, Love Better is available tomorrow morning! (Nov. 30) What a privilege it is to work with the Striving Together publications team to make this project available! I’m grateful for their excellent work. I received my advance copy this week and was excited to see the beautiful quality of…

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