Contrarian’s Guide #2

con-trar-i-an (noun): a person who opposes or rejects popular opinion; a person who goes against current practices.

Not to long ago, while I was reflecting on my ministry and my years of being pastor, I had the following thought: What if I took everything I learned about church growth and turned it on its head? (In actuality, that is what I did 11 years ago when I returned to Franklin, TN to restart a church I had previously pastored. To be honest it goes back even farther than that. I have always “pushed the envelope” and thought outside the box. It’s both a blessing and a curse.)  Continue reading

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Contrarian’s Guide #1

con-trar-i-an (noun): a person who opposes or rejects popular opinion; a person who goes against current practices.

Next August, 2019, I will celebrate (or lament) 30 years in pastoral ministry. That’s a long time! I don’t feel like I am that old, but I guess the years don’t lie. Over the years I have read and studied and applied countless “church-growth” techniques. Most of them have left me feeling frustrated and depressed.

Years ago I read a book called, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership. Ironically enough, I heard the author talk at a church growth conference. I was impressed, so I bought the book. It is one of the best books on leadership I have ever read. I liked the idea of taking everything I had learned about leadership and turning it on its head. Continue reading

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An Emotional Week

Last Thursday, November 1, 2018, the State of Tennessee executed Edmond Zagorski. He was originally scheduled to die in October, but he received a stay. The reason for the stay is that Edmond (his friends called him Diamond Jim) requested to be electrocuted instead of lethal injection. The State was not ready for that request. Diamond Jim was convinced electrocution would hurt less then lethal injection. Also, when he was sentenced to death back in 1984, his death sentence said “by electrocution.” He told me he thought the State should keep its word. Continue reading

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Just When I Thought It Couldn’t Get Worse

Well, I didn’t think it could get any worse. But I was wrong.

Recently two articles have come out, based on legitimate research, that puts the white evangelical church in the United States at odds with the teachings of Jesus. It’s not that the research discovered anything new. Rather, I have misunderstood the reason so many white evangelicals supported, and still support, an amoral president. Continue reading

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Dark Times

We are in a very dark time in our history as a country. I was a baby at the end of the Civil Rights movement. Thus, I did not experience the difficulty of that day. What I know of then, I have learned through history books and talking with people who did live through it. No doubt, those were dark days. The difference between now and then maybe what we are moving toward. During the 1960s we were moving toward better equality and a brighter future. Now, I don’t sense that optimism as all. It feels like we are moving toward a cliff that will throw our country into complete and utter chaos, maybe even another Civil War. The hatred and divisiveness all around us is palatable. It is truly a scary time.

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Burnout

In an attempt at being completely vulnerable and transparent, I want to confess that I have been struggling with burnout for the last few weeks–very little motivation, discouragement, and at times, extreme anxiety. In the middle of my struggle, I was looking through some old files on my computer and came across this article I wrote for a “Pastoral Ministry Handbook.” I wrote this article at least 10 years ago. God works in mysterious ways. I needed to read this article. Maybe you do as well. Continue reading

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Allegiance to Christ, Citizenship in Heaven

Much to the dismay, and disappointment, of some of my friends and family, I screamed during the 2016 primaries and election that if the evangelical church backed, supported, and voted for Donald Trump, we would lose our moral authority to speak on any social/moral issue facing our country. I am not proud to say I was right. Continue reading

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