Ministry in the Time of COVID-19

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Welcome to the unknown—the one place we are most afraid of.

We all cope with anxiety in our own way—some of us by getting angry, some by withdrawing, and some, apparently, by hoarding toilet paper! Fortunately, some of us, including many of my colleagues in ministry, are coping by moving toward the danger and figuring out new ways to worship and serve in the midst of a pandemic. I am so impressed with the way you imagine new things and learn from each other in these difficult times!

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What Are Ministers Looking For?

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I was asked recently to speak to a smallish, bedroom-community congregation about what ministers are looking for when considering a new call. The answer is complex, and often has to do with circumstances over which the congregation has no control—cost of living, cultural opportunities, athletic facilities—but I believe that virtually all candidates for ministry are hoping to serve a healthy congregation.

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Relocating the Clergy Ego

As a young minister, I often wondered, “How am I doing?” It was a good question! But at midlife I began to ask, “How am I helping others to succeed?”

Top Five Ways Ministers Get in Trouble

It’s not easy being a pastor, priest, or rabbi. People come to congregations bearing an incredible variety of hopes and aspirations. When reality falls short—as it inevitably does—the clergy leader often takes the fall. That process is almost always painful, even when it turns out to be a good thing for all concerned. A lot of clergy fail, but others manage to avoid the pitfalls and succeed despite the odds. A key to success is to remember that the congregation’s mission, not its minister, is the central issue.

Recovering from Trauma in Congregations

In the last 50 years, not a single minister had survived at First Community Church for more than five. There were many theories as to why. The generally accepted rationale was simply that “First Community chews up its pastors.” Pastor Bethany, who had received plenty of warnings before accepting the lead minister role at First Community, was determined to unearth the reasons for this phenomenon.

Letting Go of This Pastor and Preparing for the Next

A pastoral transition is announced. One era of leadership winds down as the promise of a new one beckons. People are naturally drawn to the excitement of beginnings; however, a healthy beginning with a new pastor depends on a good ending with the exiting pastor. The problem is, people avoid and minimize the losses associated with endings.