"Ministry is demanding. Serving the Lord and others can be like a roller coaster with its ups and downs. Therefore, prioritizing personal time weekly and extended time seasonally to unplug from the demands for some personal soul care is not only important, but a necessity," writes Bill Goodwin.
In the overall life and ministry of a church, the gift of a pastoral sabbatical is a relatively small thing, and yet the benefits it reaps are abundant and lasting. Rev. Christian Ruch writes about who all benefits from a pastoral sabbatical.
"Sabbath is the only one of the Ten Commandments that we brush off as not really that important. But it’s the longest and most descriptive commandment, the hinge words between how we relate to God and how we relate to each other. It’s not a throw-away comment. One day in seven, God says, you stop all work, because you are not to be defined by your output. You are all simply and completely human beings, alongside one another, all beloved children of God," writes Rev. Kara Root, Lead Pastor at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis.
"Pastors, we need to recognize the importance of soul care in our own lives. If our souls are depleted and dry, chaotic and overwhelmed, this internal state will undoubtedly spill out upon all we encounter," writes Dr. Christine Osgood. In order for the soul to be well, Dr. Osgood suggests we need to care for and invest in six interrelated dimensions: your body (physical), your thoughts (cognitive), your feelings (emotional), the people (relational) you consistently engage, your calling, mission or purpose (meaning), and your spirit (spiritual).
“Several of the stops on our journey brought about an eerie, spiritual connection to my ancestors which was initially unsettling. As we continued, this sensation shifted from eeriness to empowerment as it gave me confidence that the strength of my people who endured these hardships still has the power to be a catalyst for true reflection,” wrote Elder Kyle Jeter, while reflecting on his 2019 Sankofa Journey.
“To assume I would have done differently is the height of arrogance or ignorance. The fact is that most of us are simply products of our culture and society, not independent actors. Most people simply will not act counter to our cultural environment. People do not think alone,” wrote Pastor Kory Kleinsasser, while reflecting on his 2019 Sankofa Journey.
"I was eager to find my place in history. Would I have had the bravery to march with Dr. King? Could I have been counted among those who sat bravely at Woolworth’s to protest the immorality of segregation?... (Later) I found myself in Birmingham, standing on the wrong side of love–and history," writes Pastor Mike Tong, while reflecting on his 2019 Sankofa Journey.
"I have always known that Klansmen were terrorists. I could easily identify their distinctive dress (white robes) and their symbol of terror (the cross). But sometimes the things you know fail to really hit home. It was not until I was face to face with those symbols at a museum in Birmingham, AL that I saw the true tragedy and tasted the true terror," writes Pastor Jason Meyer, while reflecting on his 2019 Sankofa Journey.
Sondra Samuels writes about how she believes pastors need to be sharing a more relevant message about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection that will resonate with teenagers. As teenagers in her life and work increasingly deal with anxiety and isolation, her hope is that pastors will teach how Jesus' life and message of love, power and hope can address all that is going on in their lives. Samuels is the President and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone, working to end the achievement gap in North Minneapolis.
In this month’s pastor’s column, Dr. Akin Adeniyi writes about what pastors need to be talking about these days. He encourages pastors to balance messages that promote salvation of souls and edification of saved souls. Dr. Adeniyi shares eight truths he believes pastors need to be reminding their congregations. And above all, that pastors should seek to talk about what Jesus would be talking about if he was physically ministering on earth right now.
Pastor Terry Parkman is the NextGen Pastor at River Valley Church. He writes about the importance of tying purity to God's will when mentoring teenagers. He writes how compromising purity, loses a bit of who God created us to be. Pastor Terry writes about the importance of pre-decision in a dating relationship; deciding beforehand what one's standards are, not in the midst of lust or emotion. He shares how guarding your heart begins with giving it to the One who crafted it in the first place.
Pastor Peter Haas writes a pastor's column on God's plan for sexual brokenness. He writes "all of us have sexual brokenness. Yet, God’s plan isn’t to oppress us but set us free." This blog also acts as a resource for various questions Substance Church has received about marriage and sexuality, along with Bible and research advice.
Churches of all shapes, sizes and flavors have one thing in common: they want to grow. The bigger question is: how willing are you to lead change? Growth and change are synonymous. As a ministry consultant and coach, Chad Hunt has seen many pastors sacrifice growth to keep people happy and avoid discomfort. They want results without change. Here Hunt shares three changes leaders avoid making, which can prevent church growth.
Woody Roland, a Transform Minnesota board member and the pastor of missions at Autumn Ridge Church in Rochester wrote this Op-Ed piece for the Rochester Post Bulletin on December 11, 2018.
Like a geyser of water finally breaking through the surface, suppressed for a variety of reasons, are the stories from brave women who have in some cases risked a lot to share their stories. Women need spaces where their voices are honored. We are all better and stronger when a variety of voices are invited to the table and honored. It helps us understand one another. To learn from one another. To step outside of ourselves and experience another’s story. To move forward in unity and love. To truly be the body of Christ.
Ten tips to consider as a springboard for conversations in your church on how to promote healthier relationships among men and women. Pastor Amy Rowell, the Community Life Pastor at City Church in Minneapolis longs to see the Church reflecting an accurate image of who God is by how we relate with one another as men and women. Read how we can empower our sisters in Christ to use their gifts in whatever capacity they can to serve the Church.
Rev. David Myles writes about the story of the three Hebrew boys (in Daniel 3) standing up to what they considered wrong in the face of the nationalistic, popular beliefs and practices. Rev. Myles likens the Hebrew boys' refusal to bow and worship the golden image King Nebuchadnezzar set up, to NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem. In the future, under a new national leader, Rev. Myles warns it could be Christians' religious fidelity and liberty that is being challenged based on similar arguments. "Is it possible that what you are supporting today will be used against you in the future in a similar or same manner?" "It might not only be kneeling in protest, but also kneeling in prayer that will be called into question," Rev. Myles argues.
Rev. Rick Chilton reveals, behind the barbed wire, the inside of God’s glorious model of prison restoration. Rev. Chilton is a high risk Minnesota Prison Chaplain working with the incarcerated Federal, State and local community focused on spiritual restoration with achieving a sustained, self-sufficient, grace-filled transition back into society.
Rev. Nicole Smith serves as a Chaplain at Hennepin County Medical Center - a level 1 trauma hospital. She shares about the powerful role of silence and listening when visiting patients in the hospital. And in a beautiful poem, Rev. Smith writes about the healing power of tears.