Episode 061: The Post Easter Blues

In this episode Pastor Brady and Andrew sit down to talk about some “do’s” and “don’ts” for pastors in the week following Easter.

The first thing is to celebrate the wins… that should be the focus of this week… so many great things happened… you need to fixate on that… 

You need to take some time this week to celebrate each other… this is the week to pat people on the back and tell them how great it all was… celebrate the big wins and the little wins…

Another thing to do this week, after all the celebrations – this is a great week to evaluate systems and processes… how did we do? were we prepared? what can we learn?… find some things to improve upon… 

Comparison is the thief of our joy… one of the things I will not do is that I will not post our Easter numbers publicly… I remember what it was like when I was pastoring a church of 150 and churches down the street had 500 or 15,000 or twelve million or whatever [on Easter Sunday]… social media can drain the life of out you… we need to be content… 

This week is a time to ease up on your schedule a bit… recharge your batteries… we need to remember that we just put out a lot of spiritual energy…

Work out… go on a long walk… spend some time with your spouse… eat well… don’t medicate… sometimes when we’re depleted, we eat improperly or drink too much alcohol or eat too much sugar… don’t do that… we need to replenish… take a deep breath and detox a bit… 

I do think we can see residual growth from Easter Sunday, if we do it well… but we also need to know that Easter came late this year and that some of the rhythms of our culture are going to impact attendance… 

This Sunday might be a good one to let someone else preach… I’ve always tried to be present the Sunday after Easter, but for some of you, if you put in multiple services – it is okay to take this Sunday off, and not to feel guilty about it… 

If you’re a congregation member, this is a really good week to drop your pastor a note… there’s a lot of discouraged pastors out there this week… a phone call or a gift card will go a long way… 

Episode 060: The Old Testament and the Church (Pt 1)

In this episode (part 1 of 2) we sit down to talk about the challenge of preaching and teaching Christ in and from the Old Testament.

When I first started reading the Bible I was drawn to the Old Testament because the stories seemed more colorful… but admittedly I read it more like Aesop’s fables…

For me the starting place is that the Old Testament is Christian Scripture… the Church has always regarded it that way… it is the story of the kingdom, which just doesn’t suddenly appear with Jesus… to understand that, you have to go back to the Old Testament…

You begin to learn to read the Bible with Jesus at the center… you see how much of the OT anticipates the Messiah, Jesus, who is and is to come… he is where the story was headed…

Ideas like kingdom, covenant, and temple are motifs that are summed up in Jesus… the OT is not just a preamble but a prelude, where the motifs of the “song” are first laid down… 

We can really only understand the Old Testament fully in light of Jesus… but we can also only understand Jesus fully in light of the Old Testament… 

One of the things that is sometimes lost on people is that the Early Church’s “Bible” WAS the Old Testament… the New Testament is really a running commentary on the Old Testament in light of the Christ event… 

Robert Jenson says “the Old Testament was there before the Church was; the question was never about whether the Church could accept the Old Testament but whether the Old Testament could accept the Church…”

Sometimes we “heroize” Old Testament characters… but really, guys like David aren’t the heroes… Yahweh is the hero… the God who is the Father of Jesus is the hero… 

The question is whether God changes or not… and God is always the Father of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit… he’s always the “Three in One…”

Augustine’s phrase was “vestigia trinitate”… that God had left signatures of himself in the created world, and the Old Testament supremely… if we read the Old Testament that way, we’ll see that the God revealed in Jesus is the deep reality of these texts… 

Episode 059: Why Pastors Want to Quit

In this episode we sit down to talk about some of the things that make pastors want to quit the ministry, and what we can do about it.

One of the things I’ve seen is that pastors are discouraged… social media gives people the ability to give immediate feedback, and hardly ever is it positive…

 Another reason I hear more and more is that pastors are under financial pressure… they’re asked to do an enormous task, and many of them are underpaid… 

The onus is really on the board or eldership to figure out what is fair compensation for your pastor, because you want to keep them around…

There’s a great amount of comparison that happens with pastors… “Why aren’t you more like the famous pastor [I just watched on the internet]?”

The competitive spirit is ruining a lot of pastor’s souls… if you’re not careful to manage that in your heart, if it is the dominant voice you hear in the morning, you will drive yourself off a cliff…

The amount of family pressure pastors feel is another factor… oftentimes the church does not allow the pastor a place to openly confess brokenness… so pastors begin to go underground, to alcohol or drugs to medicate the pain…

It takes something like 200 leisure hours to form a close friendship… a lot of time as pastors what we have are ministry friends… and that’s good… but what we need are friendships that exist beyond the church…

We need to have robust interests in other things… I have a group of guys I go away with each summer for a week, where we play golf, eat, and catch up with one another… talking about things that detox all of our souls… 

It’s important not to over-invest meaning into this calling… if something overly encourages or overly discourages us about the church, it is an indication we are getting too much of our identity from it…

UNCUT: An Interview with Jimmy Mellado (Extended Version)

In this UNCUT and EXTENDED episode, Pastor Brady sits down with Jimmy Mellado, the president of Compassion International, for a wide-ranging interview on his background, the sources of poverty, and the challenges of leadership.

 

Episode 058: An Interview with Jimmy Mellado

In this episode Pastor Brady sits down with Jimmy Mellado, the president of Compassion International, for a wide-ranging interview on his background, the sources of poverty, and the challenges of leadership.

 

 

My mom said to me, “When someone grows up in poverty, they never think it is going to be a benefit to their children… and yet I can see how my growing up in poverty impacted not only you in a positive way, but is using it to be central to your life’s calling [to serve the poor]…”

 

We [at Compassion] are a church-equipping ministry… we believe that the strategy that Jesus invented of discipleship through a local church is in fact the best strategy to release anyone in any circumstance from poverty…

 

When we talk to pastors [in central American countries], we’ve learned that they’ve earned the respect of gang leaders, because the gang leaders don’t want their kids doing what they’re doing… so they’ve declared Compassion sites “no violence” zones…

 

Life in leadership is hard; life in leadership alone is impossible… I have to do life in community… I used to do mentoring groups with pastors, and on average 70% of them would say they didn’t have one friend that they could be fully disclosing with…

 

In my experience, as you lead over the long haul, you’ll either end up with a cynical heart, a hard heart, or a soft heart, and how you design your life will take you down one of those three paths…

 

The most important contribution you will make to the kingdom of heaven is not anything you do, but who you are becoming… I can’t stress that enough… that doesn’t mean we don’t care about results… “doing” matters a lot… but it is not more important than “being” in Christ…

 

A spiritual discipline can be any activity that you have dedicated to the Lord to either stop the natural flow of sin in your life, or increase the flow of the fruit of the Spirit in your life… spiritual disciplines help you do what you cannot do by “trying” alone…

 

Life will give you a lot of pop quizzes, and if you try to make the right decision when you get a character pop quiz, you’ll probably fail… you need to try to pre-decide how you’re going to handle the character pop quizzes that come your way…