I was a youth pastor for several years and I still believe this to be true: If you can communicate clearly with teenagers and children, you can communicate with anyone.
Kids and students only pay attention if you have something worth listening to. And by the way, this is actually the case with adults too - it's just that adults are more subtle about ignoring you.
So whether or not you speak to students on a regular basis, knowing how to communicate truths to them is vital.
This is why I'm so excited to have Kyle Smith on the podcast this week. He's been in student ministry for nearly two decades and has a lot to say about how to speak to students effectively and what leads to life-change in students.
I know you're going to enjoy this one! Be sure to let me know what you think of today's episode.
You may have noticed, but over the last few years, there has been a number of influential Christian leaders renounce their faith, or "deconstruct" as some call it.
Deconstruction has a spectrum. For some it means a complete abandonment of Christian thought and practice, while for others it's merely a departure from some tenants they used to hold and believe.
The latest in this trend is Kevin Max of DC Talk. He let his followers know in a recent tweet that he has been on a decades long journey of deconstructing but still believes in the "Universal Christ."
In this episode, I walk through these recent departures from faith and see if we can drill down on some root causes, what we can do about it in our churches, and what lessons we can learn as pastors and church leaders.
What's the most important attribute a pastor can have? Some might say competence - they have to know what they're doing.
Others might say charisma - they're charming and dynamic enough to speak persuasively and powerfully.
While I agree that competence is important and charisma definitely helps, there is an attribute that is more important than either of those: character.
This is sobering: If we are not people of character, our ministries will suffer for it.
In this episode, we explore the importance of character, how it relates to preaching, and why it's so important to get it right.
Celebrity pastor culture is everywhere and it affects a lot of church life and culture. What caused it? How dangerous is it? These are questions I wrestle with a lot.
And I'm not the only one.
The Instagram account, PreachersNSneakers, took social media by storm a few years ago by pointing out the amount of money celebrity pastors were spending on their shoes.
Ben Kirby, the creator of the account, never meant to do anything more than bring attention to this part of celebrity pastor culture, but it struck a chord with so many.
Some pastors came out in support of his work, others were offended that he'd point it out. Others were glad to know their pastors were fitted with $1500 shoes.
In this episode, we're going to dive into the challenge of celebrity pastor culture and see what lessons we can learn moving forward as preachers and church leaders.
My friend, Jameson Reynolds, joins me for episode 27 of the Preaching Donkey Podcast.
In this episode we discuss the vital relationship between the lead pastor and worship pastor. As the lead worship pastor at a large, multi-site church, Jameson shares his experience working with his senior pastor and other senior leadership to create the best possible weekend experiences for their attendees.
We also dive into the importance of building systems, evaluating everything and everyone in the organization and building a culture of trust.
I think you'll really enjoy this one and gain a TON of practical insights!
On a personal note, I really enjoyed this episode. Jameson and I have been friends since high school and we share some of our experiences that built our friendship over the years.
The pandemic changed a lot of the ways we structure our services.
Prioritizing the online experience became essential for any church to thrive during that time.
But now most churches are back to some type of in-person services (depending where you are, of course).
This does NOT mean we should go back to "normal." Instead, we should still seek to engage the people attending online and make them feel part of what we're doing.
In this episode, I'm going to share one thing you can do to keep virtual attendees (those watching online) just as engaged as those attending in-person.
Should your church's focus be on reaching the lost (evangelism) or helping believers grow (discipleship)?
Believe it or not, this is a debate churches can get caught up in. Some churches pride themselves on being discipleship oriented. Still other churches place a high value on aggressively reaching the lost.
I think this whole debate has been framed wrong, and in this episode I'll explain why there's a much better way to approach this question.
Greg Atkinson joins me for episode 23 of the Preaching Donkey Podcast.
In this episode, we discuss the importance of capturing imagination when you preach, the role first impressions play in the effectiveness of your sermon and virtual church best practices.
There is so much packed into this conversation, I know you're going to get a ton of value from it!
As I've worked with and coached preachers over the years, and in my own ministry, I've found that church leadership and preaching is tough work - it's not for the faint of heart.
New challenges are always surfacing; the joys are elating and the lows can be devastating.
At the same time, to remain sharp in my preaching and leadership, I need ongoing training.
I know I'm not the only one! We all need continual training, but many pastors only have their seminary training to fall back on (if they went).
Unfortunately, seminary often isn't adequate to deal with the rigors of day-to-day ministry. And while it's no doubt valuable, it's not designed to help pastors continue growing throughout their ministry careers.
All pastors need three vital things to continue growing throughout their ministries:
1. Ongoing, practical training
2. Personalized coaching
3. A community of like-minded pastors
But so few pastors actually have these three vital resources in an ongoing, intentional way.
If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, preaching is a waste of time, but if he did rise from the dead, it's among the most important things we could ever do.