Posts tagged “Pastors

Sermo Dei: Easter Wednesday 2014

Posted on May 12th, 2014

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! [Note: This sermon was preached at the SED-LCMS joint Circuit 9A/B Pastors Conference on Easter Thursday, using the lessons and propers for Easter Wednesday.] The Easter acclamation is not quite as vigorous in the days following. The crowds have gone away. Some people we know with sadness will not be back for some time, if ever. Our musicians and other key people are tired. Coming back in to an office strewn with paper and realizing you have to catch up on whatever you let go the previous weeks so you could get through the end of Lent, I tend to get a bit melancholy. “Now what? Will the message of resurrection change anything for my…

Sermo Dei: St. Titus

Posted on February 6th, 2014

Who is a human being? In America’s terrible history of slavery, some people were judged as less than human, and not accorded the basic dignity and rights that belong by nature to every member of our species, homo sapiens, man made in God’s image. Who is a human being? In Germany’s terrible history of the holocaust, some people were judged as less than human, and not accorded the basic dignity and rights that belong by nature to every member of our species, homo sapiens, man made in God’s image. Who is a human being? In modern America’s obsession with sexual excess, some children who naturally result from these unions are judged as less than human, and not accorded the basic dignity and rights that…

When I fail as a pastor…

Posted on December 10th, 2012

As I resume the tasks of my pastoral vocation after sabbatical, I make these words my own, and their appeal to my congregation: When I fail as a pastor, I don’t need your condemnation or your indulgence. What I need is your support, and you can give it best through your prayers. -John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace

Pastor Abusers: When Sheep Attack Their Shepherd [Brief Review]

Posted on November 26th, 2012

Pastor Abusers: When Sheep Attack Their Shepherd presents itself as a “how-to” book for clergy facing challenges from difficult members or factions within their congregations. Author Kent Crockett conducted extensive interviews with pastors and families who were mistreated—and often fired or driven to resign—by usually a small group of power-brokers in the congregation.   Pastor Abusers contains many heart-breaking accounts of lies, slander, manipulation, and controlling behavior that every pastor has faced, even if it hasn’t driven him to quit. Crockett cites quite a few statistics that relate to his topic, e.g., 1,600 pastors leave the ministry each month; 25% of current pastors have been fired before; 33% of churches fired their last pastor or forced him to resign; 80% of pastors say the ministry…

The Collar and the Church

Posted on July 27th, 2012

Every pastor wearing the uniform (i.e., black suit and clerical shirt) has experienced it. Happy smiles on the part of some. Scorn and derision in the eyes of others. The doctor who looks at you like you are dirt. The kind nurse who gives you every courtesy. The parking garage attendant who waves you through without payment, saying nothing more than, “Have a good day, Father.” The strung-out prostitute outside the emergency room late at night hoping you’ll solve a lifetime of abuse for her with a prayer. The man in the airport with time to kill (and always when you’re in a hurry to catch your flight), “Father, can I ask you a question?” Two particular memories stand out among the many encounters.…

Idealism, ministry, and baseball

Posted on July 23rd, 2012

All pastors began as idealists. No one goes to seminary to be a role player, a cog in the machine, just as no baseball player while he’s playing high school ball dreams of someday being a minor league batting coach. When a young man goes to seminary, he goes to change the world. He really believes that his ministry is going to make a noticeable difference. He’s not just convinced that he’ll be better than his field work pastor or vicarage supervisor; no, make him District President, Synod President, or seminary professor, and he’d bring about a great reformation. He believes this. When a young man goes to seminary, he goes to change the world. You have to hold on to your ideals. Especially as a…

Superstar preachers and the liturgical safeguard

Posted on May 30th, 2011

Anthony Sacramone at First Thoughts (“Promises, Promises”) addresses the problem of people falling for the Harold Camping cult and then having to deal with the consequences of their idolatry. Yet it is possible to be prone to the same kind of idolatry, the idolatry of the perfect pastor. But ask yourself something: If your pastor, preacher, teacher, elder, priest were to walk into an open manhole tomorrow, only to be replaced by some less-winsome personality, would you leave your church? If so, leave now. Better yet: if your pastor, preacher, teacher, elder, priest were to be led out in handcuffs tomorrow, or discovered to have run off to Acapulco with the 16-year-old daughter of the youth minister, would you consider leaving the Church, full…

The Pastor Draft

Posted on May 9th, 2011

I learned on Sunday that our choir had blown off their rehearsal the previous week to watch the Placement Service at CTS. Apparently as names were called and assignments given, info popped up beneath the video, reminding them of the NFL Draft; thus the term “Pastor Draft” was coined. What if we did it that way? Any good ideas for how to rank the churches for who picks first? Or would you go Naval Academy style, and let the top seminarians take their pick of the postings?