A strange phenomenon happened in the Pacific Northwest. Large patches of trees were dying in an Oregon forest. Scientists determined the problem was a single breed of mushroom that covered 2,384 acres, about the size of 1,600 soccer fields.
Apparently the white tentacles of the mushroom wrapped around root systems and tree trunks and robbed the trees of nutrients, carbohydrates, and water. In other words, the mushrooms choked the trees to death.
Is ministry your mushroom? I talk to ministers every week who relate to the trees. While everything looks okay on the surface, hidden stressors suck the life out of them. Left unchecked, the consequences are disastrous. For instance, according to multiple surveys … Continue reading “Is Ministry Your Mushroom?”→
It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of hockey catching on in the South was laughable. Well, nobody is laughing now. The hysteria surrounding the Nashville Predators has boiled beyond Middle Tennessee and it’s been interesting to hear comments and see Facebook posts from around the state supporting the Preds. No question about it; Nashville is definitely a hockey town.
There wasn’t an abundance of hockey to watch growing up on the Alabama Gulf Coast so needless to say; hockey really wasn’t on my radar until a few years ago when Jeanne and I were given tickets to attend a Predators game. We knew zilch, nada, nothing about the game, but we had a blast. The energy, excitement and the quickness were amazing. And the way those guys cross checked each other; I cringed with every hit. I was a little concerned by how much my sweet, godly wife loved hockey! Needless to say, we’ve been Preds fans ever since. Continue reading “Barely Making It, but Finishing Well”→
There are moments in life that are so obviously important that they need not scream to be recognized. The magnitude of their presence halts the daily hustle and quietly demands that we notice, and reflect, and determine that the nostalgic moment becomes a prelude to something greater.
I believe God has granted to Tennessee Baptists such a poignant moment and we must pause to understand its significance to our past, but more importantly, to our future.
Last Monday (May 22) the staff of your Tennessee Baptist Mission Board walked into the new Church Support Center, marking the end of what amounted to a 10-year pilgrimage. Relocation was an arduous process, but one in which God graciously led us to build a beautiful building in a strategic location in Franklin, repeating the grace we believe He extended to our Tennessee Baptist predecessors when He led them to building in Brentwood in the 1960s. The 45-year increase in the value of that property provided the possibility of Monday’s moment. Continue reading “Pausing for Poignant Moments”→
Wilkerson V. Jones would’ve turned 100 this coming July 4th. He was well known all over Mobile, Ala. It seemed as if he knew everybody and everybody knew him.
He is a member of the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame, was active in his church, and was tall, handsome and distinguished. A southern gentleman in every way, married to the same woman for well over half a century, and together with Ms. Juanita, they raised nine children.
I had few personal encouragers like Mr. Jones. It seemed as if no one was more interested in the church I was pastoring in Tennessee than this man in Alabama. He read everything I wrote and provided feedback, whether I asked for it or not. He examined every word of the church newsletter and even called me one day and asked what “bulk rate” meant. Continue reading “The Impact of an Orphan”→
Chances are you’ve heard that phrase from your pastor, or maybe from your momma or grandmother. We often share that verse with children when we teach them about stewardship. Well, last week I assume God was extremely pleased, and I was pleasantly surprised. No, actually I was pleasantly shocked.
It was my great pleasure to announce at the spring meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board that an unbelievably generous Tennessee Baptist gave nearly $1.6 million dollars to establish the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions Endowment. For years to come, approximately $50,000-plus in annual interest will funnel into the GOTM and be used for a variety of ministry opportunities. Continue reading “Grateful For All Cheerful Givers”→
It’s right there in the red letters: “That my joy may be in you …”
This is a statement of fact made by Jesus Himself, and yet I’ve encountered so many pastors who haven’t experienced joy in a long time. The man behind the pulpit carries both pastoral and personal burdens, and it can be overwhelming. What once was a thrill becomes drudgery, and one day, pastor, you realize you’ve lost your joy. I know the feeling. Been there.
While I was a pastor, I signed articles and letters with the salutation, “It is a joy to be your pastor.” Once, however, the slightest typo slipped through — a single letter — and communicated something completely different: “It is a job to be your pastor.” Continue reading “Pastor: Nine Steps To Recovering Your Joy”→
My family recently moved to Memphis. While moving is always stressful, the one aspect that my wife and I dread most about moves is “the church search.” We both hate visiting churches. We’re both introverted, a little guarded and, now, super protective of our daughter. All of those elements combined mean we like to learn as much about a church (as well as a ministry or person) as possible before we even consider attendance or involvement. Continue reading “Teaching Millennials: Be Online”→
I never expected of my ministry journey to take me into working with college students. I’ve found, however, that I really enjoy them!
One of the unexpected blessings has been the privilege of working closely with several folks who were well read on Millennials, education and the church’s response. As a result, I’ve become pretty well-read on the subject. It doesn’t hurt that I don’t mind trying new things, failing miserably, saying, “Welp, that didn’t go how I had hoped,” dusting myself off and moving on. Continue reading “Eight Principles for Teaching Millennials”→
Small groups and youth ministry are subjects of lively debate these days. Is a youth Sunday school class a real small group experience? Should they meet on the church campus or in homes? Should they be co-ed or same sex? Should they all study the same curriculum or be allowed to pick their own? Should they meet all year round or take the summer off?
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders ….” (Colossians 4:5 HCSB)
Few would debate that our culture is rapidly declining in its enthusiasm for church and biblical teaching. If you were to step back and take a really close objective look at your own congregations, you might understand why.