There’s too much war in the world – in fact, one war is too much, right? Where there are soldiers, from many countries, there are often Military Chaplains to minister to their spiritual well being.
I remember talking to my brother-in-law on Skype when he was serving in Afghanistan in 2008-2009. He told me about his relationship with his Chaplain. He told me about how hard Iraq had been, how he had felt so spiritually desolate, and how he did not want his time in Afghanistan to be similar.
Thanks to a great Chaplain, and some spiritual buddies, his time there was quite different than those desolate days in Iraq.
On episode 206, “An Army Chaplain’s Small Church Ministry in Afghanistan”, we talk with Jonny’s brother, David Craig, who is an Army Chaplain currently serving in Afghanistan. His experience has many similarities, and a few differences, with our own small church ministry experiences, here in the U.S., and around the world.
My big take-away was how important it is for people to gather together and worship, no matter the size of the group! This is a great reminder for all of us who do not serve in megachurches, or even large churches (about 80% of us!).
If you want to hear another military leader who knocked it out of the park on our podcast, head over to Episode 72 with Dave Ronan, a U.S. Air Force instructor in Strategic Guidance and Security Cooperation. He talks about crushing it in a new ministry.
With the New Year upon us, check out Episode 128 - Practical Tips For Managing Your Ministry Time with our friend from down under, John Finkelde.
Happy New Year! We love all of you pastors! Praise God that we get to love, lead, and shepherd the people of God - all over the place!
Jeff (& Jonny)
I was hurt. We had just finished a contentious meeting where I felt personally attacked. It came out of left field. It seemed like it wasn't just my ministry that was being questioned, but me as a pastor--me as a person.
I felt like my next steps were obvious: protect myself by not being too "real" with people anymore. Jeff likes to call it being a "plastic pastor." If I just acted how I thought people wanted me to act, maybe I'd be okay.
We've all been there, haven't we? Over time, you stop being yourself because it seems like when you're yourself, it makes it easy for people to hurt you. Maybe like me, you had the "great" idea to just act like someone else.
Looking back, that was a bad idea. Luckily for me, I wasn't too good at pretending, anyway.
On today's podcast, Bill Thrall joins us to talk about how TRUST can help a pastor withstand the wounds that ministry inflicts. Bill very patiently walks through what it looks like when pastors are lacking trust, and paints a picture of hope for pastors who can find spaces to be themselves and let others in.
For more with Bill, check out episode 112, and to dig deeper into trust-based relationships, listen to episode 131. Both of those episodes are a great resource for pastors who are isolated and searching for how to experience the love of God and others in their lives.
We hope you've been encouraged by this conversation and that you'll join us next week as we talk to some guests about the importance of differentiation and how it will help you as you minister and lead others.
Episodes 205 and 206 will be such important episodes for you as a pastor - we can't stress this enough. How you manage yourself, your leadership, your emotional and spiritual health - these are all consequential areas that will affect all of your life and ministry. We offer them to you for your personal and ministry health and encouragement!
Ray Brandon is a legit small church pastor! His auditorium only holds 200 people, and he has three services every weekend. Small groups, and small worship venues mark his ministry. Ray shares his journey and the lessons he's learned through planting his church, and then another church out of that one.
Ray shares with Jeff his failures and successes. He counts his informal yet powerful coaching opportunities from others as some of those successes.
The cool thing about this episode is that Jeff and Ray worked together five days a week... more than 25 years ago! They have not met in person in all those years, but connect so well in this episode.
Practical and encouraging - we hope you enjoy it!
Ray pastors Northbridge Church in Kalamazoo MI.
It was a dark and stormy night... or at least if felt like one. In reality, it was just an everyday average Thursday. But there was something lurking, and that something was about to rear it's big ugly head.
As weird as it may seem to you, our beloved listeners, there are times when Jeff and I enter the CONFLICT ZONE. Something happens: some difference of opinion or situation that we're split on handling, or a disagreement on something one (or both) of us holds dear, and conflict ensues.
But here's the thing... we're not alone. Today, I can say with all confidence, YOU are experiencing conflict in your 200 church. It's inevitable. When people get together, conflict isn't far behind, and you've got some on your hands Right. Now. And that's why today's podcast episode is for you. We take a close look at conflict, how to think about it, and how to resolve it. No matter the size of your church or how long you've been pastoring, today's episode is for you.
If you want more on the topic of conflict, check out this throwback episode about encouraging conflict in your church and this blog about the benefits of engaging in conflict. For even more on this listen to our conversation with Dan Reiland about the last 10% of a conversation and absolutely don't miss out on the discussion between Jeff and Jonny about honest conversations between staff members that we mention on today's podcast (or the blog from earlier that week!)
Conflict can be tough, but we believe that moving through it in healthy ways will absolutely unlock your ministry. Don't bail out--stick to the hard work!
Have a great week,
Jonny (and Jeff)
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