Recent news of another pastor taking his own life has us all hurting and questioning.

How should we approach the reality of depression among Christian leaders, especially among those of us who preach and teach the Good News of Jesus?

Whether you are a pastor, church leader or just happened to be searching the web on this subject, here are a few thoughts about pastors, from a pastor, to help guide your conversations.

Pastors aren’t immune… to anything. We are flawed, failed, tempted and tried, and our calling doesn’t magically make us somehow above the things that challenge others, including an unseen sickness like depression.

Pastors are lonely… at least it often feels that way. We may be surrounded by people, many are even very encouraging. Still, church leadership can leave us feeling very much isolated no matter how many “likes” we get on social media.

Pastors don’t have all the answers… too many think they do (maybe even a few us pastors). We have some education, attended a conference or two and have some experience. The very Word of God is right there at our fingertips on a daily basis.

Make no mistake, there is hope in Jesus Christ.

Still, that doesn’t mean we always know exactly how to prescribe it in the real world to others or even ourselves.

Pastors are a target… and we need a lot of grace and prayer. Sure, the devil is trying to take everyone down with him in the end. Still, everyone knows that in warfare, if you can take down leaders, the impact on your enemy is multiplied many fold.

In short, pastors are people.

What can you do to deal with the pressures and stresses of ministry life as a pastor, or to come alongside one that you care about? We’ll talk about that in Depressed, Part 2.

What would you say about the realities that pastors face? Share your insights below in the reply section. We would love to hear from you!

Need help right now? You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The Lonely Leader

Loneliness is a part of the human experience.

This doesn’t change when we become Christians nor does it suddenly go away when we answer the call to serve the Lord in vocational ministry.

No one knows this better than the pastors reading this. You know, and, thankfully, so does the Lord. When we feel lonely as followers of Jesus, regardless of our role within His kingdom, we have the opportunity to identify with Him.

No one knows what it is like to not only feel forsaken, but be forsaken, like our Lord.

The Apostle Paul got this and shared this sense of connection to Christ in his letter to His followers in Philippi. (See Philippians 3:10.) 

When it comes to loneliness, we all go there. None of us should stay there.

Pastor, here’s the BIG POINT: DON’T BE LONELY ALONE.

When we stay lonely alone, too long, we risk the real problem, isolation.

Proverbs 18:1, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”

The root word in this verse is פָּרַד paw-rad’; to break through, spread or separate: disperse, divide, be out of joint, part, scatter, separate, sever self, stretch, sunder. (Strong’s, H6504)

We all face loneliness. However, isolation is a choice.

How do you know if you are choosing isolation as a leader? Isolation is characterized by numerous symptoms. These symptoms come on slowly but very surely.

Join us in The Lonely Leader – Part 2 coming soon as we uncover these symptoms together.

Until then, check out this great post that deals with the subject of loneliness in leadership by Thomas Rainer.

Pastor, church leader, whoever you are…

You don’t have to lead lonely alone!

31 Tips for 2016 – #23

Here is Tip #23 for Ministry Leaders in 2016…

“We don’t just teach. We awaken.” – unknown

This is the motto of a High School I often substitute teach for. More than just a slogan, this particular school seems to mean it and apply it with purpose. This results in a student body that, although still kids, seems to possess an above average sense of discipline, drive character and creativity. How does the leadership of this school awaken students to learning (their vision or preferred outcome) and how can it be applied to your ministry or organization?

Here are 6 Ways to Awaken your team to your vision…

1) Say it. Don’t leave your vision unspoken or assumed. Speak it, write it… and repeat it with conviction and creativity. Don’t let competing visions drown yours out and take things in another direction.

2) Create environments that encourage it. In other words, create an environment of encouragement. Challenge and question almost as much as you come alongside, cheer and champion those leading and serving with you. Create forums (roundtables, retreats, etc) and get away to visit other organizations to gather creative ideas and inspire all in pursuit of your vision.

3) Provide resources that facilitate it. Determine to provide the best tools available to your team leaders and members to serve with excellence. This may take time. Cast your vision to others with the means who are looking to invest in ministries like yours and then ask them to give in generous support. Keep them informed as to the return on their investment in changed lives. Equip with the same level of excellence you expect out of yourself and your team.

4) Give opportunity to practice it. If your teams don’t have opportunity to live out your vision, its just writing on the wall. Make failure an option. Take some risks and chances together and keep a sense of humor as you err on the side of action in the pursuit of your vision.

5) Hold everyone responsible for it. Set the bar high and then hold everyone, especially yourself, to a high level of accountability. Provide clear goals and benchmarks and then review progress often. Find out whats working, what isn’t and how to improve together.

6) Celebrate! Recognize both individuals and the team as your strive together towards your long-term vision and short-term goals. Do this in an annual event and in smaller celebrations throughout the year. For example, create a volunteer and/or staff member of the week/month award and promote in all of your online and print media.

Lead beyond information. Awaken and inspire as you pursue your calling and promote your vision daily as a team of world-changers for Christ!


A Heartfelt Response to 50 Shades


What do the movie “50 Shades of Grey” and the Sport’s Illustrated (SI) Swimsuit edition have in common? They are both pornography. They are both destructive to healthy marriages and other vital relationships. They are both degrading to women and promote disillusion to young girls (and guys!). They are both representative of a culture that misses the mark and the point of God-given intimacy and the celebration of gender. The question is, what should our response be as Christ followers?

1 – Pray. Pray for Christians in the media. Pray for those involved in, exploited and enslaved in these and even more illicit forms of “entertainment” within the growing sex and human trafficking industries. Pray that the church of Jesus Christ will grow in it’s compassionate engagement of these issues with increasing love for those caught in their webs of deception.

2 – Talk. Take advantage of the media frenzy and talk with your spouse, kids, and adults of all ages about what Christ-centered purity, gender identity, self-esteem, etc, are all about. Here are just a few key passages you can look to and discuss…

2 Samuel 11 & 12 – The Story of David and Bathsheba

Psalm 119:9-16 – The path to purity.

Proverbs 4:25-26 – Looking straight ahead.

Matthew 6:9-13 – Power through the Lord’s Prayer

1 Corinthians 10:12-14 – You can overcome!

James 4:6-8 – Join “The Resistance.”

3 – Engage. How can you be involved as a family, Christian business, church small group or congregation? Check out some of the resources below for more information and ways you can join the growing movement to fight sexual addiction, slavery and fight for those who feel helpless and hopeless in their grip.

4 – “Above all, guard your heart, for everything else you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NV) How do we do this? Begin by guarding what you see. It is true, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” (William Shakespeare) In the Old Testament, Job issues a strong plea for purity that can be readily taken up by men and women who will hold one another accountable and encourage one another through temptation. “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look at a young woman lustfully. For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong?” (Job 31:1-3, NIV) This is a powerful reminder that what we view is viewed from above and we are accountable. Find a few trusted accountability partners and give one another permission to keep each other honest and pure when it comes to sexual temptation.

I am no expert. I’m just a husband, dad and pastor. And, I am just as vulnerable to temptation as anyone. So, let’s face it together. This isn’t “grey area.” While I don’t plan on seeing the movie or flipping through the pages of SI (on a smartphone, tablet or computer), I do believe there is more than enough information (and publicity) out there to make an informed decision for all who name the name of Jesus Christ not to support these or media offerings like them. Let’s recommit ourselves to honoring God and respecting others by guarding our hearts as we navigate the almost limitless media world. And may we respond with grace and truth to those who have been victims of and/or struggle with the very real temptations of pornography and sexual addiction.

Below are some resources and ministries you can access for help and information on these issues…

Sexual Addiction Resources: – Focus on the Family resources for sexual addiction – Focus on the Family sexual abuse resources – XXXChurch sexual addiction ministry – New Life resources for sexual addiction – Safe Eyes computer protection – Net Nanny computer protection

Trafficking Ministries: – Church of God trafficking ministries – Tiny Hands International – Stripped Love – One Heart