What Bill Hybels Wants Every Pastor To Know

June 24, 2012

…. how he got into counseling. Yes, you read that right! Bill Hybels really wants you to know that he’s in counseling, and he believes you should be too. I happen to agree with Bill.

Did you know they actually require counselors to be in therapy in order to become a counselor, because you can’t give away what you don’t have? Seems to make sense.

How much more important for pastors! We’re dealing with people’s eternity! And often the way we get there is helping them deal emotionally in healthy ways. Yet, most of us don’t know how either, and need just as much help as our people do.

I encourage you to watch, listen, pray, discern. Enjoy!

7 Ways to Deal with “Worcations”

August 23, 2011

Can you say “worcation”? Apparently, President Obama can! In this article from Fox News, President Obama’s current vacation to Martha’s Vineyard is referred to as a “worcation”.

The word is not new to our culture. UrbanDictionary.com has it in their list.

I didn’t need to look it up. My hunch is that you didn’t either. As Pastors, we are all too familiar with what a “worcation” is. Some of us disdain it, while others of us thrive on them.

Maybe it’s our need to feel like we’re not “wasting” time. Maybe it’s an effort to make a vacation financially feasible. We will sometimes even look for opportunities to preach at a friend’s church while the time is actually meant to be spent recharging with our family.

Some worcations are understandable. Denominational gatherings are often held in family-friendly cities where we would actually want to bring our spouse and kids and have them enjoy the locale. There is the occasional true emergency that takes place that may call you home from vacation for a day or two in order to deal with it.

But when your kids can’t remember the last vacation they’ve had that has not included time with you gone for whatever ministry-related reason, there’s a problem. When you haven’t taken your spouse away for a weekend (an actual weekend … you know, that Friday – Sunday string of days?) in “who knows how long”, you may be dealing with some self-expectations and potential insecurity issues.

I have two teenage boys whose schedules are “normal” (ie. their “weekend” is Friday – Sunday). I try to give them 2-3 of their weekends a year (outside of vacation time) where I am not preaching, so they have a “regular Dad” for a weekend.

Pastor, let me give you a few tips to help you keep from “worcations” becoming the norm instead of an exception:

  1. Think back to the last time you intentionally stayed away from work/ministry in order to really spend extended time with your spouse and kids
  2. Look at your current calendar … when is the next time you have already planned where that will happen? If the answer to that question is what I think it is, set a goal to get it planned with your spouse by one week from today.
  3. If your heart is feeling that tug to schedule it close to a friends church, resist the urge and plan for it to be as far away from a friends church as you can!
  4. If you’re concerned about who will take care of things when you’re gone, find someone you can begin addressing this with as soon as possible. A close friend who seems to have a handle on this or a therapist would be a good start. I have a list of some here that work with pastors.
  5. When you pack to leave for your vacation, leave the ministry-related reading behind. Bring some good novels or whatever reading you find fun. I know, I know … your ministry-related reading is fun to you. Trust me, leave it behind and bring some other fun.
  6. When you leave for your time away, turn off the email, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and any other alerts that are activated on your phone. Give one or two other people you trust the phone number of the place you’re staying. Remember the days when you actually had to be found when you were away? Enjoy some of them again.
  7. When you return, resist the urge to “hit the ground running”. Ease back in slowly. Do a half day your first day or two back in. Your kids will thank you for it, and believe me, so will the people who work with you.

Anything else you would add to the mix?

What Does Tiger Woods’ Apology Say To Pastors?

February 19, 2010

tiger

You’ve probably heard enough about Tiger Woods’ sordid lifestyle. I have too. And I have no interest in exploiting any of it.

However, I have a lot of interest, for myself and any other Pastor, in learning from it. I have no interest in analyzing Tiger’s actions or apology to the nth degree.

Regardless of what any of us think about Tiger’s words or motives, there remain a number of analogous issues between the persona of a famous person and the persona of a Pastor. As Pastors, we are tempted to live two lives, one in public and another in private.

It’s interesting that Tiger mentioned in his statement that he felt “entitled” to “enjoy the temptations around” him because he had worked so hard all his life.

Often, Pastors struggle with that same temptation. We work so hard and for so long that we can be tempted to feel that we are entitled to stretch the boundaries of our behavior, be it in the area of sexuality, financial indiscretions, or anything else.

What did you hear Tiger say that could be helpful for Pastors as well?

Click here for video.

Click hear for transcript.

Creating a Culture of Balance

July 5, 2009

I recently read a great paper available from Leadership Network on how Pastors in their 20’s and 30’s are dealing with the stress and strain of ministry life. It was an excellent read and encouraging to hear that these guys are thinking much differently than I was trained. It gives me hope for the future of the Pastor and the future of the Church.

If you’d like your own copy to enjoy, click here.

I’d be very interested in your thoughts and comments if you end up reading it. Post them here below.

A Pastor or A Politician? The Unfolding of Governor Mark Sanford?

June 25, 2009

What’s the difference between a Pastor and a Politician? Both are highly public figures. Both represent something larger than themselves. There are similarities that are eerie and sometimes dangerous, and we could go on and on about them. But there are some important distinctions to make too.

When a Pastor fails morally, he or she most often loses everything, their job, their church, often their support system, kids often lose their friends from church or their school if a move is necessary; sometimes they even lose their marriage and family.

When a Politician fails morally, he or she may take a hit in their approval ratings, but rarely do they lose everything around them. Sometimes they do, but not often.

With this week’s news about the bizarre story of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford being on a secret trip to Argentina having been about an adulterous affair he was having with a woman who lives there, he joins the ranks of a few politicians who have failed morally.

  • Just last week, Nevada Senator John Ensign admitted to an affair with a campaign staffer.
  • This generation’s most visible political figure to fail morally is President Bill Clinton, who denied having an affair with a White House staffer for seven months before he finally admitted it, all while he was President
  • Presidential hopeful John Edwards admitted to an affair a few months ago and it’s still making news.
  • New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was tough on prostitution in his state, and then lost his job when it was discovered he had been hiring them personally.

There are more examples, but that’s enough for now. Please note that this is NOT a post about whether or not Pastors or even Politicians should resign or lose their jobs as a result of adultery. I am not saying here that they should or shouldn’t.

We don’t yet know what will happen with the situation for Mark Sanford. His wife’s statement clearly says she is ready for reconciliation should Mark want it. That’s a good thing, and I hope it happens for the sake of their entire family.

But back to the question … what’s the difference between a Pastor and a Politician? We can mark several differences:

  • Pastors “work” for God; Politicians “work” for the constituents who voted for them.
  • Pastors represent something sacred; most seem to believe Politicians represent something pretty secular.
  • For the sake of “political correctness”, Pastors stand for the Church, while Politicians stand for the State, two institutions in America that have a weird relationship.

Let me boil this down. The point of this post has been primarily about the differences between Pastors and Politicians. But the real answer to the question, “What’s the difference between a Pastor and a Politician?” is, bottom line, NOTHING.

Part of our problem is that we make them out to be MORE THAN HUMAN. Certainly, there is a greater standard for spiritual leaders biblically, but we still make them out to be something more than flawed humans.

The more we can see that we are ALL flawed, imperfect human beings, the greater our ability to actually HELP each other when we fall, and help each other to stand again.

Your thoughts?

Healthy Follow-Up to Gary Lamb Post

June 18, 2009

After last week’s post about the resignation of Pastor Gary Lamb due to an affair with his assistant, a good friend of mine, who is also a Pastor, suggested I look at a video teaching by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, called “The Heart of a Champion”.

Friends, this video is worth your time and note-taking. It is filled with rich wisdom on checking our own hearts in days like these. Situations like Gary’s are an unfortunate “dime a dozen”. It was Gary last week, who will it be next week? Not trying to be morbid or hopeless, just truthful.

Truth be known, we are ALL susceptible to failure, because we are human. Nothing more, nothing less. You might be living in the proverbial phone booth, thinking that your Superman cape and superpowers keep you from walking a road like Gary’s, but the bottom line is, you are only fooling yourself.

It takes intentionality and truth-telling that is hard and uneasy and awkward. Take the time to go through this video. Bring it to your Staff, Church Council, or whatever group of leaders you see fit. Whatever you do, do something intentional today to affair-proof your own marriage.

Redeeming the Secular

June 11, 2009

I know this post may cause some controversy, especially following my last post. However, when my wife encouraged me to read this column from the LA Times’ Chris Erskine, I immediately thought of how some of the things we lament in our culture can truly be redeemed. This is one of those things.

Read on, for those who are married, please enjoy, and feel free to leave any comments you feel appropriate. Really, it’s OK, ….. you’re not gonna hurt my feelings. I just think this is funny, and we could all use a good chuckle. Some may even be brave enough to try it, but please, ONLY with your spouse!

Baring his soul . . . and more

OK, sexting his wife was a snap decision and maybe he’ll regret it later.
June 6, 2009

Keeping a relationship alive these days isn’t easy. So, in an effort to demonstrate my commitment, I just sexted my wife of 27 years — that is, I have sent her a revealing photo taken with my cellphone.

Love, says H.L. Mencken, is merely “a state of perceptual anesthesia.”

Now, I know my parents would never approve, but I don’t care anymore what they think. They’re not the boss of me.

And I don’t see what’s so wrong with sexting. It’s a declaration of love, much like a wedding ring or a ginormous dragon tattoo, from your hipbone to your neck. At least I didn’t do that.

In my case, I didn’t do anything bad to my body. I just lifted my Dodger T-shirt. Aim. Snap. Send.

Now, I know what you’re wondering. What happens when Posh eventually dumps you? Wonder if, out of spite, your wife distributes your sexy photo to her friends (the Yummy Mummies), and then the revealing photo makes its way all over the Internet and onto their Facebook pages, which they’ve suddenly flocked to like pigeons to popcorn? Facebook, the new merlot.

Anyway, suppose that happens, then what? You know how those Yummy Mummies are — they can’t keep a secret, especially not a sexy one.

You know, you just can’t worry about what other people think. I love Posh and she loves me. Besides, I’m tired of parents getting all judgmental over everything us kids do. My mom, she’s 84 now, won’t even let me get my tongue pierced. I said, “Mom, back off, OK? Gimme my space! I’m old enough to disgrace myself in any way I see fit!!!!”

Then I cried a little. Then I called Posh and we talked for, like, four hours.

::

If you’re not familiar with “sexting,” here’s the deal. Beginning a year or two ago, teenagers (usually girls) began sending naked or semi-naked cellphone photos of themselves to the loves of their lives.

At first blush — assuming anyone blushes anymore — this moronic gesture seemed mostly harmless. Sure, it compromised the poor girl’s dignity and any sense of self-worth. But that’s OK. Dignity and self-worth are now available at most major department stores and online.

The only permanent drawback to sexting is that a teenage girl can be a rather fickle creature. Sometimes, the love of her life turns out to be the love of her week.

So, in practice, when the girlfriends eventually dumped the boys, some of the jilted boys also forgot their sense of dignity and distributed the embarrassing shots to their friends, who sent it to their friends, till pretty much everyone in the world had it.

This, my friends, is how sexting got such a lousy, undeserved reputation.

This, I assure you, will never happen to me.

Aim. Snap. Send.

::

It’s not till now — yesterday morning, actually — that dads like me started sexting, meaning the trend may have run its course, who knows. That would be unfortunate. As with many things, once a dad does it, it’s never really cool again. Like when your old man started watching “Idol.”

Or Mom got her mitts on Facebook.

But let me just say this: Sexting rocks! Sexting is exciting! It made me feel all sexy again, and I didn’t even need to take any of those pills that can give you a big honkin’ headache and sometimes, occasionally kill you. All I had to do was act on impulse and lift my shirt.

I also included a little note: “YOU+ME 4-EVER!”

What did Posh do? Well, I sent the sext-message from the next room, and when Posh received it, she yelped a little, then gagged, then got all dizzy and passed out. It was like our honeymoon all over again. I kissed her to consciousness, then we went out for a nice lunch.

Aim. Snap. Delete.

Incredibly Powerful Marriage Material

April 30, 2009

If you’re looking for some marriage material that will preach, click here and check back throughout today and after today. The pre-conference is all on the marriage relationship being impacted by Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.

Help When You Hurt

Who ministers to the Minister when you're hurting? Many do, and they can be found on this listing. Please find a friend in your area and seek the help you need today.
Continue reading »

A Place For You

Many Pastors are not aware that all over the country are a number of places you can retreat to for a number of given reasons or purposes. Find some of them here, get there, and find your pace!
Continue reading »