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Faithful Friendship And A Life Marked By Jesus And Redemption – A Songwriter’s Spirit, A Pastor’s Heart

This is from a review of Everything As It Should Be, a new album by singer/songwriter Andy Gullahorn.
Fellow song-writer Andrew Osenga muses about Gullahorn’s capacity to keep producing album after album of personal and poignant vignettes that resonate with real life.
To keep doing so requires life lived well with others.
It resonates closely with what a pastor does.
From Osenga about Gullahorn’s songs:

Well, you have to live them. That’s how. You have to actually love people. And be the kind of person they turn to when life falls apart. You have to know how to listen more than you speak, and then not try to fix them when you do.
You have to know people for years. You have to forgive them when they let you down. You have to let them forgive you, too (which is, of course, the hardest thing. Until you’ve done it).
You have to walk closely for a long, long time with your spouse, your kids, your friends. With people in your congregation and your neighborhood and your bowling alley and some other church’s basement with old carpet and hard plastic chairs.
You have to ask hard questions without judgment. And ask them again when you’ve been shut down the first dozen times. You have to hold your friends when they’re crying and not look away when it’s uncomfortable.
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But beneath all of that wonderfulness there is faithful friendship and a life marked by Jesus and redemption.

Read the review of Everything As It Should Be at the Rabbit Room, where you’ll find more information about the album.


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Zack Eswine on The Busy Pastor (via Jared C. Wilson)

If you can find time, this podcast featuring Zack Eswine on The Busy Pastor would be worth listening to.
It can be found at For The Church.


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Silence Teaches Us to Listen (via Brian Croft)

Brian Croft writes about the virtues of silence in a noisy and distracted world.
It is a practice that Christians exercise before God, and one that we then exercise toward one another, so that we might truly listen.
Croft explains how silence enables us to listen, not just wait for our turn to make noise.

Silence Teaches Us to Listen
I was deeply troubled to learn that I had been a pastor for so long, and yet remained a poor listener. Sure, I listened, but it was mostly to prepare a response. I needed to learn to listen without needing to respond—just to listen and empathize.
As I embraced silence, I realized I was learning to listen. I heard sounds around me I never noticed before. I felt more receptive to God’s Word. It’s amazing what happens when you’re not preoccupied with trying to figure out what to say or do next.

Read the rest of Croft’s post here.


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Stop Solving The Wrong Problem (via Dan Rockwell at Leadership Freak)

It was mostly this quote from Peter Drucker that pulled me up:
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Dan Rockwell always value adds though and points out some helpful ways of identifying what the problem actually is, so that you can then invest time and energy into trying to create effective solutions.

Read more at Leadership Freak.


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‘Developing A Good Pause Tolerance’ a.k.a. Leading Quiet Bible Study Groups (via Richard Sweatman at GoThereFor)

Dealing with Bible studies or Growth Group studies where people are reticent about sharing their answers can seem awkward.
This article on GoThereFor provides some encouragement and practical strategies to encourage the sort of participation through which the group will help each other learn from God’s word.
This paragraph is about ‘developing a good pause tolerance’.

As you get into more questions, work hard at developing a good pause tolerance. By this I mean the ability to withstand silence. Ask your question clearly and with confidence and then pause. Count to fifteen slowly in your head and commit to not speaking. Look calm, smile, and make eye contact briefly with people around the room. If it helps, visualize the petals of a flower slowly unfolding, as an illustration of peoples’ thought processes at work. If someone speaks, respond with as much positive affirmation as you can. If your silence count reaches fifteen (or longer), invite one of your more confident members to share what they think. Encourage them that whatever they say will likely be helpful. Your coleader might break the silence once or twice during the study, but doing so more often will signal to group members that if they wait long enough the coleader will provide the correct answer. Both of you need to learn to wait—it will make a huge difference in leading a quiet group.

Read the rest of Richard Sweatman’s article at GoThereFor


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Fighting Pastoral Covetousness (via Darryl Dash)

Darryl Dash offers some counsel by which pastors can not only avoid covetousness, but nurture satisfaction and joy.

We can fight pastoral covetousness in two ways.
Positively: cultivate contentment. Find satisfaction in your work and your place. Pray for joy. Base your identity not on how well your ministry is going, but who you are in Jesus.
After all, one day you’ll long for what you have now. Besides, I hear those who have larger ministries who long for a church like yours. Don’t miss the blessings that are yours that would be absent if your ministry was larger.
Second: love fellow pastors and churches. Pick one you’re tempted to envy, and pray for them. Ask God to give you joy when other ministries succeed. Ask God to free you from coveting their success. See their success as kingdom success, and remind yourself that we all work for the same master.
“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot” (Ecclesiastes 5:18). What God has given is enough. We can enjoy it and praise God for what he’s given others.

Read the whole post here.


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Running Good Meetings (via Michael Kruger)

A helpful post by Michael Kruger about what may seem a mundane subject: chairing effective meetings.
Pitched to meeting leaders, everyone who attends meetings (and hopefully they’re being led by someone) would benefit from knowing what effective meetings are working towards and how effective leadership can increase their productivity while minimising the amount of time needing to be spent participating in them.
From Kruger:

What’s the most important skill you need to be successful in ministry? Knowing how to run a good meeting.
Ok, that’s not really true. Many other things matter more (a lot more!). But, running a good meeting still matters. And more than you think.
Even those who’ve only been in ministry a short time know that meetings dominate your weekly schedule. Sometimes, it seems that half your week is spent in some sort of meeting. During meals. Over coffee. In a conference room. With the elders. With ministry leaders. With support staff.
And here’s the other reality we all know. Meetings vary widely in their effectiveness. Some meetings produce real progress and fruit. Those can be exhilarating, even fun. And other are a tedious and frustrating waste of time. Those can be exhausting and even debilitating.
So, how can we make our meetings better? Here I offer just a few quick thoughts for meeting leaders.

Read Kruger’s suggestions here at his blog, canon fodder.