Abandoned? How do we square the difficult bits of Song of Songs?

I keep coming back to the question that Mike Ovey frequently asked his students at Oak Hill, “Will you let God disagree with you through his word?”   The point he would make was that we can tell the difference between an imaginary friend and a real friend by whether or not the friend disagreed with… Continue reading Abandoned? How do we square the difficult bits of Song of Songs?

Pastoring the grieving

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I’m continuing a little series on the day to day work of a pastor and so today we want to think about what happens when a member of the church or one of their family dies.  What should you be doing.  We cannot be over prescriptive here because every family will have different needs and… Continue reading Pastoring the grieving

On hospital visiting as a pastor

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This is prompted by a twitter discussion recently about whether non-conformist pastors opt to wear a clerical dog-collar when visiting the sick. Dog-collars tend to be part of the traditional uniform of the clergy, particularly though not exclusively among Anglicans.  A lot of us would tend to frown upon then  seeing them as emphasising a… Continue reading On hospital visiting as a pastor

The hard work of the pastor

I think we can fall into one of three traps if we are involved in church pastoral ministry.  At the one end of the spectrum are those who see pastors as basically chaplains, nice, homely sorts who are primarily employed to go round and visit the elderly church members and drink copious cups of tea.… Continue reading The hard work of the pastor

The danger of boxes

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The other day, I wrote two articles which, it later struck me, highlighted the problem with our tendency to think we can compartmentalise out lives, putting things in different boxes.  The first was a follow up on Stephen Sizer and antisemitism. I wrote about how it is possible to think that we couldn’t possibly be… Continue reading The danger of boxes

If you want to look after your pastor, just let him have a normal weekend off!

I’ve just read one of those Twitter threads which outlines how churches should look after the pastors.  This current one talks about things like using paying the pastor a decent wage, paying for any counselling they need, letting them have marriage enrichment weekends, praying for them, giving them sabbaticals and also giving then a “sabbath… Continue reading If you want to look after your pastor, just let him have a normal weekend off!

He’s the good good shepherd

I love Psalm 23 and it was really helpful to hear a speaker talking about this at a recent church leaders’ retreat.  On Sunday I shared my own attempt at a paraphrase of the Psalm. It’s been particularly on my mind over the past few days as it seems to link with a few particular… Continue reading He’s the good good shepherd

What does your pastor need to know?

Every so often I see comments about what pastors and church leaders need to have studied, to know and be reading now. At one end of the spectrum is the view that “all we need is the Bible” and we don’t need to make it complicated.  At the other end of the spectrum is the… Continue reading What does your pastor need to know?

God did not make you a pastor to keep you going to church

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I want to pause and think about a type of comment that I’ve heard a few times over the years.  It goes something along the lines of. “Perhaps the reason that God made me a pastor was to keep me in church.” Such comments are perhaps tongue in cheek but personally I’m not convinced they… Continue reading God did not make you a pastor to keep you going to church