Do’s and Don’t for a New Pastor

Must reading for every new pastor coming into an established church.

Do’s and Don’ts on
Leading Change
Relating to other leaders
Member Care
General Counsel

This article deserves higher prominence than it has!

Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

Boy does this subject come up a lot!

Justin Taylor summarizes Jay Adams book here.

Print down, discuss the whole thing.

Six Faithful Pastors and Their Sermon Routine

The Peacemaker’s Pledge

To be human is to have conflict. To shepherd a church is to have conflict among them and with others. How we handle conflict is important! Our church needs to be trained in handling conflict. Our church members are watching us and learning to obey the Lord even as they watch us.

The definitive book is The Peacemaker by Ken Sande. The following is a helpful summary from this book. I believe I saw this summary with a speech organization I am affiliated with.


A Commitment to Biblical Conflict Resolution

As people reconciled to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are called to respond to conflict in a way that is remarkably different from the way the world deals with conflict (Luke 6:27-36; Gal 5:19-26; Matt 5:9).

We also believe that conflict provides opportunities to glorify God, serve other people, and grow to be like Christ (1Cor 10:31-11:1; Rom 8:28-29; James 1:2-4).  Therefore, in response to God’s love and in reliance on His grace, we commit ourselves to   respond to conflict according to the following principles:


a. Instead of focusing on our own desires or dwelling on what others may do, we will seek to please and honor God-
b. by depending on His wisdom, power, and love;
c. by faithfully obeying His commands;
d. and by seeking to maintain a loving, merciful and forgiving attitude
(1Cor 10:31; James 4:1-3; Psa 37:1-6i; Phil 4:2-9; Col 3:1-4; 1Pet 2:12; Jn 14:15; James 3:17-18; Rom 12:17-21; Mk 11:25).


a. Instead of attacking others or dwelling on their wrongs,
b. we will take responsibility for our own contribution to conflicts-confessing our sins, asking God to help us change any attitudes and habits that lead to conflict,
c. and seeking to repair any harm we have caused
(Mt 7:3-5; 1Jn 1:8-9; Prov 28:13; Col 3:5-14; Lk19:8).


a. Instead of pretending that conflict doesn’t exist or talking about others behind their backs,
b. we will choose to overlook minor offenses, Proverbs 19:11
c. or we will talk directly and graciously with those whose offenses seem too serious to overlook.
d. When a conflict with another Christian cannot be resolved in private, we will ask others in the body of Christ to help us settle the matter in a biblical manner
(Mt 18:15-20; James 5:9; Gal 6:1-2; Eph 4:29; 2Tim 2:24-26; 1 Cor 6:1-8).


a. Instead of accepting premature compromise or allowing relationships to wither,
b.  we will actively pursue genuine peace and reconciliation-forgiving others as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven us, and seeking just and mutually beneficial solutions to our differences
(Mt 5:23-24; Mt 6:12; Eph 4:1-3, 32; Mt 7:12; Phil 2:3-4).

By God’s grace, we will apply these principles as a matter of stewardship, realizing that conflict is an opportunity, not an accident.

We will remember that success, in God’s eyes, is not a matter of specific results but of faithful, dependent obedience.

And we will pray that our service as peacemakers bring praise to our Lord and leads others to know His infinite love (Mt 25:14-21; 1Pet 2:19, 4:19; Rom 12:18; Jn 13:34-35).

Confessions of a Church Spy

Ways churches are not friendly to first time visitors.

Court of Elders

I have long thought that 1 Cor 6 argues for having the elders functions as a “court” to decide matters. Here is the first hint I have had that DA Carson and baptistic ecclesiology could support it.

He answers this question: To handle certain categories of
divorce and remarriage cases within the
congregation, some churches have established a kind of “ecclesiastical court.”
What biblical warrant, if any, exists for
this practice?

JI Packer on Numerical Growth

Good observations on growth here.

(1) numerical increase is what matters most;

(2) numerical increase will surely come if our techniques and procedures are right;

(3) numerical increase validates ministries as nothing else does;

(4) numerical increase must be everyone’s main goal.

I detect four unhappy consequences of this.

First, big and growing churches are viewed as far more significant than others.

Second, parachurch specialists who pull in large numbers are venerated, while hard-working pastors are treated as near-nonentities.

Third, lively laymen and clergy too are constantly being creamed off from the churches to run parachurch ministries, in which, just because they specialize on a relatively narrow front, quicker and more striking results can be expected.

Fourth, many ministers of not-so-bouncy temperament and not-so-flashy gifts return to secular employment in disillusionment and bitterness, concluding that the pastoral life of steady service is a game not worth playing.

In all of this I seem to see a great deal of unmortified pride, either massaged, indulged, and gratified, or wounded, nursed, and mollycoddled. Where quantifiable success is god, pride always grows strong and spreads through the soul as cancer sometimes gallops through the body.


More Links on Singing

Several articles on Singing and Songs and Worship

Dont Pack Too Much Into A Sermon

Good words hereabout packing too much into a sermon.

Having Hard Conversations

One skill a shepherd needs is knowing how to have hard conversations.

In Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud articulates a number of points that I have learned the hard way over the years. (See p. 199ff) I will integrate my thoughts with his.

1. Don’t put off the conversation because you dread the difficulty of it. But don’t rush in. Pray through it and have a plan. What should be in that plan?

2. Begin with the end in mind. Where will the conversation end? “I want to leave the conversation with the person knowing…..” My conversations have often called for repentance – a change of mind resulting in a change of direction. What will happen if there is no change of direction? Be ready for that.

3. Combine care and truth. Have a balance of both. Care about the person and care about the truth. Know your tendency. Do you tend to be too squishy? Do you tend to be too harsh? Be honest, clear, caring, authoritative.

4. Write out the wording. Cloud suggests role-playing. Though I have never done that, I have written out what the facts were or what I wanted to say. Saying something like, (his wording), “I have a list of things I wanted to make sure we covered,” is not strange.

5. Get the tone right. Have a gentle, caring, calm tone can keep the conflict at the lowest necessary point. Moving into a stressed, argumentative, louder, overbearing tone starts to heat the conversation up. It is not only what we say, but how we say it that counts.

6. Be ready for evasion and defensiveness. If we begin with the end in mind, then we will need to prepare for a lack of receptiveness. That often involves listening to the person well, and staying on track with the point of the conversation. “I understand….. but I want to make sure you understand what I am saying…”

7. Express your care for the other person. See #3.  God cares for him or her. You should also. Let him know that. Let him know how this sin is dishonoring God but that you are still committed to loving him biblically.

8. Call for repentance. If you are speaking as spiritual authority and sin is involved, then it is good and right to call for a decision. “In Christ’s name, I am calling on you to repent of….. Will you repent of this sin?

9. Bottom line: cultivate the fear of God, not the fear of man. Having hard conversations will not make you popular. But God will see, and bless it. Others will hear and respect you for it.

Hard conversations have to happen. They are a form of correction. The questions is do we have the courage to have those hard conversations. And when we do have them, are we speaking skillfully?