• sheep

    Am I Called?

    The Gospel reading for Matins this Sunday answers the question "Am I Called?" When you have understood this, you know what to do next. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I Read more…

  • welding

    10 Reasons Bivocational Ministry Matters

    By Chuck Lawless “I didn’t come to seminary to be a bivocational minister, to have to get another kind of job,” my student told me. I may not have agreed with my student, but I did understand his thinking. Back then (almost 15 years ago), we weren’t talking much about bivocational Read more…

  • Flickr/Scallop Holden

    Autopsy of a Burned-Out Pastor: 13 Lessons

    Another short gem from Thom Rainer, this one based on his "autopsies" of pastors whose ministries - and persons - were rendered "mission incapable" by their inability to cope with the cumulative pressures of parish life.  Please note that only two of the factors: serving dysfunctional parishes and Read more…

  • A lame duck president finds it hard to lead - mores the pastor!  Image from http://accentoninterpreting.blogspot.com

    The One-Term Curse (and how to avoid it)

    In this essay, Thom Rainer describes a parish phenomenon that is all too common among pastors: the three year tenure.  I grew up in a tradition - Methodism - that had institutionalized a four year rotational schedule for its ministers.  While short tenures have some benefits, they do not allow for Read more…

  • Slide1

    Priests, you don’t have to like your parish either

    In my post, “You Don’t Have to Like Your Priest”, I built on Brother Patrick’s essay to describe some of the reasons that people don’t like their Orthodox priests, making the general point that all of his foibles pale in comparison to the One Thing Needful which He serves and shares. Another dynamic Read more…

  • Chapter Seven of Fr. David's book has a chapter on how to relate to your priest: he uses the models of Lawyer, Doctor, Teacher, Artist, and Manager to help.

    You Don’t Have to Like Your Priest

    A reader recommended Brother Patrick Mary Briscoe's article "You Don't have to Like Your priest" (published on March 7, 2014 at Dominicana)   It is an excellent article and I recommend it, too.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery.  The following is patterned on Brother Patrick's essay.  Why Read more…

  • Burns

    Signs in a Congregation That a Leader Has Covert Narcissistic Personality Disorder

    Having experienced leaders like this in parishes like this, and grown them anyway, I believe this describes too many Orthodox parishes in North America today. Read and learn. Let the pastor beware. Taking steps to solve these pernicious and destructive issues has gotten me bounced from more than one Read more…

Aug
21

Am I Called?

sheep

The Gospel reading for Matins this Sunday answers the question "Am I Called?" When you have understood this, you know what to do next. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Read more…

Aug
16

10 Reasons Bivocational Ministry Matters

welding

By Chuck Lawless “I didn’t come to seminary to be a bivocational minister, to have to get another kind of job,” my student told me. I may not have agreed with my student, but I did understand his thinking. Back then (almost 15 years ago), we weren’t talking much about bivocational ministries. Now, that conversation has shifted. Pastors are beginning to embrace as their primary calling the role of bivocational minister. Some Read more…

Jul
09

Autopsy of a Burned-Out Pastor: 13 Lessons

Flickr/Scallop Holden

Another short gem from Thom Rainer, this one based on his "autopsies" of pastors whose ministries - and persons - were rendered "mission incapable" by their inability to cope with the cumulative pressures of parish life.  Please note that only two of the factors: serving dysfunctional parishes and being poorly remunerated (and possibly #9, failure to take a sabbatical) are under the direct control OF THE PASTOR.  This is not to say that Read more…

Jul
01

The One-Term Curse (and how to avoid it)

A lame duck president finds it hard to lead - mores the pastor!  Image from http://accentoninterpreting.blogspot.com

In this essay, Thom Rainer describes a parish phenomenon that is all too common among pastors: the three year tenure.  I grew up in a tradition - Methodism - that had institutionalized a four year rotational schedule for its ministers.  While short tenures have some benefits, they do not allow for the development of the kind of relationships and trust that should exist between Orthodox priests and the people they serve.  One of my Read more…

Mar
30

Priests, you don’t have to like your parish either

Slide1

In my post, “You Don’t Have to Like Your Priest”, I built on Brother Patrick’s essay to describe some of the reasons that people don’t like their Orthodox priests, making the general point that all of his foibles pale in comparison to the One Thing Needful which He serves and shares. Another dynamic of this relationship is the attitude of the priest towards the people he serves. Sometimes priests have a hard time liking them, Read more…

Mar
19

You Don’t Have to Like Your Priest

Chapter Seven of Fr. David's book has a chapter on how to relate to your priest: he uses the models of Lawyer, Doctor, Teacher, Artist, and Manager to help.

A reader recommended Brother Patrick Mary Briscoe's article "You Don't have to Like Your priest" (published on March 7, 2014 at Dominicana)   It is an excellent article and I recommend it, too.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery.  The following is patterned on Brother Patrick's essay.  Why do I like it?  I know that my parishioners struggle with this; not only have they benefitted from the service of saintly priests, their own Read more…

Feb
19

Some Good Advice on (NOT) Taking Offense

Joseph kissing Benjamin (source; wikipedia commons)

If you aren't following Dn. Michael Hyatt (blog, Twitter, podcast, Facebook), then you have a wealth of practical wisdom waiting for you!  In this episode of his podcast, he takes on a critical skill: avoiding taking offense.  Let's face it: clergy have plenty of opportunity to get upset: they hear all kinds of criticism being directed against them, their parish, their bishop, their families, even Orthodoxy itself.   Dn. Michael argues Read more…