Monday, January 30, 2012 • 5:00 am
How do you define a successful church?
How do we measure success as a pastor?
For that matter, how do we measure success in ______________?
As you read this post, I want to invite you to consider replacing ‘celebrity pastor‘ with ‘celebrity __________’. Insert your area of profession or focus and consider the content of this post.
I’m come to realize that part of my calling as a pastor and leader is to be an encouragement to other pastors – but especially to those that don’t “measure up” to how we in the church subculture often directly or indirectly elevate stories of successful pastors – aka ‘celebrity pastors.’
This post isn’t a criticism of celebrity pastors. Hardly at all. Instead, it’s a post to accentuate the importance of all those who serve and lead in the church – but especially those pastors you’ll never hear of; Those that are not part of the preaching circuit; Those that don’t have publishing deals, etc.
I am not a successful pastor. I don’t pastor a mega-church or a large church. I don’t facilitate astronomical budgets, earn a huge salary, travel with huge entourages, fly on private jets, and have thousands upon thousands of sermon subscribers.
But nevertheless, I have influence.
We all do.
I’m simply trying to be faithful to the things, to the people, to the city, Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: , celebrity pastors, church, influence, ministry
Sunday, July 11, 2010 • 12:01 am
Don’t read the full post yet. First, take look at the above piece of art and share your thoughts:
- What do you see?
- How do you interpret this art?
- How do you feel about this?
For me (as a “minister”), it is sobering to consider how we as “professional clergy” might – for various reasons – may have missed important aspects of what Christ desires us to see, know, and experience. I look at the art and wonder, “Are we the blind leading the seeking?”
The turning point for me came through an epiphany couple years ago.
I’ve come to realize – not in a self-deprecating way – that as much as I have tried NOT to be…
I AM a Pharisee.
The difference – from moi – and from the Pharisees of the Scriptures – is that Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: , church, ministry, pastor, pharisee, religion
Tuesday, January 26, 2010 • 12:04 am
I received this email from one of my blog readers a few weeks ago asking about my thoughts about the “Top 5 most challenging/convicting/mind-bending/face-melting books of all time.”
Do you take requests for posts on your blog? If so…. I know that from time to time you do top 5 stuff, like favorite movies or songs or artists, etc. This isn’t anything novel, but I’d be grateful for a “Top 5 most challenging/convicting/mind-bending/face-melting books of all time.” I guess I’m someone who learns a lot from books and I was just thinking about how I have roughly 5 books that I have read within the last few years that have truly changed the way I perceive myself and the world around me. It would be great to hear what others are reading -not their most favorite or enjoyable books (although this might be the case)- but books that have significantly reoriented the way they live. Maybe, you’ve done something like this before and I just missed it, but if not, something like this would be fun to be a part of.
Asides from the Bible, what would you be on your Top 5 List?
I can’t list 5…I don’t even know know where to begin so I’m just sharing my list of most influential Christians books again. There are so many excellent books that it’s really difficult to condense it into a list of 10. My recommendations are created with an attempt towards the larger picture of Christian discipleship – meaning that I want to balance my list with theology, discipleship, spirituality, bibilical studies, etc.
I hope 50 years from now, this list will change so that it also includes numerous female and non-Caucasian authors. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: , books, christianity, church, leadership, ministry, theology
Friday, January 22, 2010 • 12:01 am
This upcoming Saturday is our church’s annual meeting – an important meeting as we look back and dream forward. Inevitably, one of the questions you think about (and are asked by others) involves the “health of the church.”
I have my answers (which I’ll share later) but I’d love to hear your thoughts:
- How do you define success as a pastor or ministry leader?
- How do you define success as a church?
- What are the “metrics” we should consider?
Filed under: , church, ministry, pastor, success
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 • 12:01 am
Since everything is so current, I may be biased but 2009 has been one of the most (if not the most) difficult year of my life – and yet, incredibly formative for the reasons I share below.
How was this past year for you?
As part of our human inclination and disposition, we make plans and we do all that we can to pursue those plans. Things turn bad when some of those plans don’t come to pass. Things suck when everything feels it’s moving in the opposite trajectory of what you hoped for.
In their hearts human beings plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9
To list a few challenging things in 2009: Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: , 2009, family, marriage, ministry
Wednesday, August 12, 2009 • 12:50 am
The truth is that our church isn’t very glamourous or sexy. It’s not that we hadn’t tried but it’s just not us. I admit that via the internet, everything looks just a little more glitzy. I can’t tell you the number of visitors we’ve had over the year – locally or nationally – who trek to Quest on a Sunday and usually send me an email with a hint of disappointment saying:
Wow. Your church service was kinda plain…
Which is I guess another way of saying…”It wasn’t very sexy.” Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: , church, leadership, ministry
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 • 1:01 am
Soong Chan Rah isn’t a household name that rolls off your tongue like others in the larger Western evangelical world. But if you’re at all interested in Christianity and it’s engagement with Justice, Urbanism, and Multi-ethnicity, you’ll want to bookmark his website/blog and take a look at his new book entitled, The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church From Western Cultural Captivity.
Umm, I don’t think he got the memo that ‘happy titles’ sell more books.
Since he’s a professor at North Park Seminary in Chicago, he was one of my primary hosts when I visited and spoke at the seminary couple freezing winters ago. I recently had a chance to chat and interview (video below) Soong Chan about his new book, the changing face and supposed decline of Christianity and the Boston Red Sox, Cubs, and Seattle Mariners.
Listen to what he’s trying to say about the changing face of Christianity. If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, I’ve been saying that as well. Not to sound ominous, but getting this Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: , emerging church, justice, ministry, multiculturalism, multiethnicity, soong chan rah, the next evangelicalism, urban
Friday, April 24, 2009 • 1:08 am
You’ve been our children’s director and pastor for several years now. You’ve done an amazing job. I still remember the days of Quest when our (Minhee and I) – then 2 children – were the only kids at Quest. Through you and Christina, our amazing associate director, and other folks like Becky, Karis, Gordon, Stacy and on and on, God has immensely blessed our church community. When we “hired” you as our children’s pastor many years ago, you were just graduating from college and there were some concerns expressed by the interview committee but I remember sharing with them these words: Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: , children, kids, ministry, quest church, seattle
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 • 1:49 am
I ran into a fellow pastor/acquaintance at the Q Cafe yesterday. He’s a good guy. We ended up having a short but substantive talk since I haven’t seen him for several months. When I last chatted with him, he asked for some advice about churchplanting and so I did the good midrash thing and asked him a few questions which he said he really took to heart and got him thinking. Those questions led him down a road where he eventually left his denomination and go figure, joined the Mars Hill Church network. He’ll soon be pastoring one of their zillion “campuses.” That’s just kind of funny to me that my advice got another pastor to join Mars Hill.
Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill has been on the national news a lot recently. The NY Times published an article couple months ago entitled, Who Would Jesus Smack Down? The reporter called last year and asked me for some quotes but I said, “No thanks.” My ego was tempted since it would have been nice to be mentioned in the NY Times but not that way. I’ve got my differences with Mark but heck, we’re still Facebook friends. BFF KIT TTYL. Meme me.
In previous entries on this blog, I’ve shared both the concerns and respect I have for Mark here and here. But my conversation yesterday with this soon to be MH elder got me thinking [again] about the church video venue. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: , church, churchplanting, mark driscoll, mars hill church, ministry, seattle, video church
Monday, February 25, 2008 • 2:58 am
As the church moves into our seventh year, there is so much to be thankful for. God has been immensely gracious in helping Quest be a presence to Seattle and beyond. But I worry. I wonder how many people truly understand the heart of our church – and are committed to it.
The recent months have posed different challenges that have left me on occasions discouraged. It’s never my intent but it sucks when you discover that you’re the source of someone’s pain, departure, etc. It’s not what I had in mind as a pastor. Or you begin to question if your leadership or preaching really matters? Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: religion, church, ministry
Tuesday, January 8, 2008 • 1:36 am
About 7 or 8 months ago, I did an interview with Outreach Magazine about…umm…outreach but the article was just published for Jan/Feb 08. These people certainly plan in advance! I think I surprised them when I shared honestly that I don’t ever remember ever using the word “outreach” since we planted Quest Church. I wasn’t trying to be smart-arsy about it because I know the importance of the traditional language of ‘outreach’ but I was trying to convey that in my ecclesiology, outreach really wasn’t an event, a thing, or something that you necessarily do but rather a lifestyle, presence, and worldview; Not an accessory but something that is inside you and thus, it’s not outreach but the very expression of living it out daily. It’s incarnational. Outreaches are good…nothing wrong with them per se. Church do “outreaches” because it’s a platform to help people enage in outreaches but if we’re not careful, we end up teaching christians to be programatic and fragmented but not necessarily incarnational.
Remember I wrote couple months ago about a photo shoot where I had to take several hundred shots [for that one perfect picture]? Well, they didn’t quite find the perfect picture. When I showed my wife the article and picture, she actually busted out in laughter citing how big the dot on my nose looked! Here’s one quote from the article [you can also click on the pic below to view the entire article]: Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: religion, christianity, emerging church, ministry
Friday, November 30, 2007 • 2:35 am