Archives For Joe Buchanan

Jesus StatueMy heroes in the ministry are those men who have stayed at the task of ministry for decades.  Several years ago, I met a man who had Pastored the same church over 40 years. His name was Erastus but everyone simply referred to him as Brother Rastus.  One day, I asked him how he had managed to stay at one church for such a long time and he replied, “I just stayed longer than my opponents.”  But then he shared with me that over the years there were many times when he wanted to quit and just walk away.  But something always kept him from doing it.

Like most Pastors in their mid-40′s I can make a list of several guys whom I started out but are now no longer in the ministry.  According to  a recent report by Churchleaders.com  there are over 1700 ministers leaving the ministry every month in the United States.  While some are leaving the ministry due to moral failure, the vast majority are simply giving up and throwing in the towel.  The loneliness, frustration, and discouragement that are a natural part of the ministry have simply become…

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Easter will be here in just fourteen days and this is one the greatest seasons for growth in the life of the church.  The weeks leading up to Easter give us an opportunity for our own spiritual growth and renewal plus they offer us an unparalleled opportunity for inviting unchurched people to come to church.  Let me share with you three steps that every Christian can take to experience Spiritual growth and renewal during the next several weeks.

1.) Renew- The days leading up the celebration of Easter provide us with a great opportunity to examine our own lives and experience a personal renewal in our spiritual lives.  I find that in my own life, the lead up to Easter is always a time of growing spiritual intensity and spiritual sensitivity, therefore, this is always a good time to concentrate my efforts on spiritual renewal.  Here are just a couple of suggestions for how you can pursue this in your own life:

  • Take a Spiritual Inventory- Before we can experience renewal and revival in our spiritual lives we need to take an honest…

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Gas PedalThere is a tendency among Pastors to think that if we just work a little harder or put in a little more time and effort into it we will get better results.  This philosophy reminds me of a friend of mine who got his truck stuck in the mud one day while we were out fishing.  Rather than coming up with a way to help the tires gain more traction, Mark simply continued to “give it more gas.”  But as anyone who has ever gotten stuck in the mud knows, giving it more gas will simply make the problem worse.  The more gas you give it the deeper the tires will dig down into the mud.  The same holds true in ministry — giving it more gas will sometimes just dig a deeper hole.

John learned this lesson the hard way.  He had served as the Pastor of New Antioch Baptist Church for the past twelve years.  New Antioch was only two years old when they called John to be their first Pastor, after the church planter who started the congregation left.  In many ways, New Antioch and John had grown…

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A few months ago one of my former students called me to talk about the church that had just called him to be their Pastor.  This young man had just graduated from Bible college and had served as the part-time youth Pastor of a church near the campus of the school he attended for the past two years.  The church that called him was a rural community church of about 50 people.  As I talked to my young friend he began to share with me his “vision” for the church and all the things that he was planning to do during his first year as their new Pastor.  As he spoke two opposite thoughts kept bouncing around in my mind.  On one hand, I was excited for this young Pastor and encouraged by his excitement.  I could not believe  how naive he was.  Like all of us, this young man was starting his first Pastorate without a clue of what he was about to get into.  That day, I shared with him a few pieces of advice and for the…

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There are few professions with the burn-out and drop out rate as high as that of the Pastorate.  A few weeks ago, I was in Jacksonville, FL at a Pastors conference talking with a group of about a dozen other Pastors.  Someone in the group shared that a good friend of his had just left the ministry due to the constant pressure and struggles.  As we talked it quickly became apparent to me that everyone in the group knew not just one but several fellow Pastors who had dropped out of the ministry in the recent years.  I imagine those of you reading this blog could add your own names to that list.  Having been in the ministry now for the past twenty years, I can fully understand the struggles involved.  In fact, last December I shared a series of blog posts about my own struggle with a ministry meltdown last year.  (see “The Anatomy of a Ministry Meltdown.”)  Over the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about how Pastors can stay fresh in the ministry.  Let me share with you a couple…

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PlannerThe new year is right around the corner, have you planned your preaching schedule for 2013 yet?  Here are some tips to help you plan for your preaching for all of next year:

1. Spend time fasting, praying and preparing yourself spiritually to hear from God- the amount of time and the way you do this will depend on the individual.  There is no substitute, however, for getting yourself spiritually prepared to hear from God.  As I prepare to start work on my preaching plan, I like to spend 3-4 days fasting, dedicating several periods of time during each day for spiritual examination and prayer.  No amount of planning can substitute for prayer and hearing from God.  Every step in this process must be bathed and saturated in prayer.  The more time you spend in spiritual preparation the better.

Here is a helpful resource from Elmer Towns

2.  Identify the key issues and needs facing your congregation-I like to take an afternoon to simply pray through our church directory, asking God to…

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Last year on Christmas morning in front of a packed auditorium of church members and  visitors, I had a ministry meltdown.  The truth of the matter is that the breakdown had been coming for almost a year and during the previous two days I had been showing signs of a problem, but simply didn’t realize what was happening.  Up to this point, I have not spoken about the lead up to the breakdown, nor shared with anyone outside of a select group of friends and church leaders about my recovery.  But over the last several months I have had the opportunity to talk with several other Pastors and ministers about their ongoing struggles and after a great deal of prayer I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned.  Today I want to share with you the anatomy of a ministry meltdown.  Then on tomorrow’s post I will share about recovering from a ministry breakdown, and the on Friday wrap the series up with how to prevent a ministry breakdown.

Before I share about the anatomy of a ministry meltdown let me share some enlightening statistics.  According…

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