I Need the Church and the Church Needs Me


“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” -Mary Oliver  After I left my position as pastor in December of 2012 to follow Kevin to Oklahoma and his work with Feed the Children, I thought I might never hold an official position at a church again. Much like I’d given up
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Why Do People Leave the Church?

When you go from being the associate pastor to the lead pastor in a congregation, there’s one huge dynamic that changes. You pay close attention to the numbers on the membership roles. Everybody wants to know is the church growing or isn’t it?  Everybody wants to know why so and so hasn’t been to church
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4 Things Congregations Need from their Pastor

In my life, I’ve seen the pastor/ congregational relationship from many different angles: Growing up as the child of pastor from birth Serving several congregations as a student intern Leading a congregation as both an associate and senior minister Visiting congregations as an ordained pastor without a church In these situations, I’ve heard a lot
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Saint Stories– Amy Butler


If you missed this week’s first saint story, click here. Continuing with the series today, I want to introduce you to my friend Amy– a living colleague who has walked the journey with me for almost 10 years. It’s hard to describe my journey in ministry without talking about her presence in my life. Many
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Preaching on a New Plaza


I wasn’t sure I’d ever do it again. I wasn’t sure if it was ever possible in Oklahoma. I wasn’t sure how all the duel state life would come together. Too many people laughed at me when I asked them if they would hire me. Too much crazy travel has become the norm in our
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“Life Will Get Better, I Promise!”


If you could go back and have a conversation with yourself, 10, 20 or 30 years ago, what would you talk about? I know I’d have much to say. When I was in high school, I was extremely lonely. I felt like no one really knew who I was. I was words like “too serious”
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Jesus Doesn’t Celebrate the 4th of July

On this 4th of July weekend, I exhort you, American preachers, do not take Uncle Sam into the pulpit. Carefully consider how you plan worship for this Sunday. A good place to start would be: do not sing “America the Beautiful” or “My Country Tis of Thee” Do not put more flags around the pulpit
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Ash Wednesday Gone Bad

Back by popular demand is a blog post that I wrote in February of 2007 about an experience during my first year as a full-time pastor. Please laugh along with me (though it wasn’t funny at the time). By means of background, Ash Wednesday fell on my birthday this year: a day which should be a
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So This Is It


It’s been over one year now since I left traditional ministry. And folks say to me all the time, “When are you going back to the church?” I don’t know how to answer other than to say that we need to think about the church in new ways. Why do we always think about church
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Getting Married to God

On Monday, November 4th, I celebrated the 7th anniversary of my ordination. Seven years ago this week, I stood at the front of a church– Calvary Baptist Church in Washington DC and said to the congregation gathered of family, friends and congregation members that I would serve God in my vocational pursuits. I said I
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