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Part Time Ministry – It’s a Tough Call

Paul’s tent making business represents one of the earliest examples of bi-vocational ministry.  Churches with limited resources will continue to opt for part time ministry. There are some significant implications for pastors which need to be tabled and pondered: The Reality! A congregation of fewer than around, say, 75 committed worshippers will find it difficult […]

Lazy Leadership?

With thanks for responses from the BUV Ordinands’ Retreat, February 2000 Effective pastoral leadership can be demonstrated in as many ways as there are the pastors who respond to the divine call to serve a congregation.  But there is one congregational perception which is extremely hard to put to rest without a great deal of […]

About Christian Leadership

Christian leadership is about: Presence not power Stature not status Character not charm An effective leader is one who is more concerned about: Relationships than outcomes Patience than progress Grace than guilt Inspiring leadership requires: Internal security A freedom from having to prove anything to anybody An active willingness to help others achieve and receive […]

The Church as a Camp Fire

Any mention of “boiling the billy” quickly recalls the image of the camp fire, of the drovers and their dogs, of great herds of cattle toiling along the endless stock routes of the inland, of an era which is almost past. See the curling smoke drifting carelessly skyward into the orange glow of another day […]

Yes, But Do You Love Them?

The meeting was a tough one. The pastor and elders met to reflect on the growing unrest in the church. Harmony just now was eluding everyone. After the elders left, the pastor said quietly, “I think I know the real problem. It has just struck me. I do not love these people.” Despite several years […]

In Defence of Little Old Ladies

Uncertainties about the value of pastoral visitation are sometimes expressed by busy ministers in the well-worn declaration, “I do not have the time to have cups of tea with little old ladies.” Now what’s wrong with cups of tea and, more particularly, with little old ladies who apparently do not need active pastoral interest? The […]

Keeping Those Confidences

From time to time difficult moments arise for pastors because they know too much rather than too little. The trusted pastor will be the listener to many conversations where personal secrets, disappointments, failures and traumas are shared by the needy, the lonely, the hurting. These confidences are often unveiled as part of a desperate search […]

Pastoring the Powerful

Most congregations include a few people who love to exercise their own personal power. They are genuine control freaks. Many a pastor will quietly disclose their own struggles with powerful people (PP) whose special calling appears to be the total unsettlement of the congregation. Are PP a recent addition to the community of faith?  Hardly! […]

Coping with the Damaged People

The more effective the congregation is in reaching and welcoming all comers, the greater the likelihood of embracing a growing battalion of broken people all needing help of one kind or another. There is one group which is proving to be a genuine headache: they are the damaged people.  This description is offered with love, […]

Are We Fracturing The Fellowship?

Good strategies for ministry are a bit like new drugs: they offer excellent outcomes initially but you can never predict the side effects. It is so easy to try new angles in the Lord’s service with all good intention not realising that there may be some very real down sides. The old formula of three […]

Macro Faith – At a Store Near You!

If only Paul had known about Macro Faith! It could have transformed his ministry. MF (especially designed for caring pastors with moderate computer skills) is a windows wonder. At long last the intricacies of pastoral leadership have been simplified to maximise your day. User friendly MF will alleviate all the headaches which go with Christian […]


Harry attended church for the last time on Sunday.  A frail but independent 83 years, given to unexpected fainting and on heavy medication, the doctor decreed it was time to call it quits.  No more would Harry leave his ill wife, board a tram and travel to church.  It was the end of an era […]

Where Are Your Emerging Leaders?

No doubt about it, Paul set a great model with his enthusiastic investment in young Timothy. This was mentoring par excellence. But are we creating space for today’s young adults? Are today’s Timothys and Tinas being given a chance to learn the leadership ropes and participate meaningfully in congregational life as lay leaders? The “unemployed” […]

Minorities – They Are Alive And Well In The Church!

As we all know, well-organised minorities and interest groups are part of our community’s landscape. These are committed people passionately addressing their chosen agendas and often being very effective in the process.  And, they work hard to make their point. Some minority groups are a blessing in the congregation Minorities in our churches can be […]

Where Two Or Three Come Together…

“Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”[1] How often over the centuries has this remarkable promise of Jesus encouraged the faithful of all generations and cultures? How many times have seemingly very ordinary opportunities for fellowship been transformed by the thought that the Lord of the Church is […]