Tools of the Trade – Week of April 12, 2021

A Weekly List of Links and Resources Especially for Pastors – Part 1

Busy times, but I have a lot of good stuff to share. I’m going to break it up thematically a bit. This post will include articles that you can use in counseling and distribute to your congregation.

Why Should We Remember What God Forgets? – Tim Challies

Trevin Wax – 4 Ways to Prepare to Hear the Voice of God

Show Up! – Mike Gilbert-Smith

Stephen Witmer – Will I Ever Change?

Please Stay – The Palest Ink

Matthew Miller – Looking for Assurance in All the Right Places

God Has Not Forgotten You – Vaneetha Rendall Risner

Campbell Bortel – Pain Our Teacher

I’ll be back Monday with some articles for pastors, including several for pastors going through hard times. Pastors go through hard times??

Have a blessed weekend.

Tools of the Trade – Week of April 5, 2021

A Weekly List of Links and Resources Especially for Pastors

I hope you had a wonderful Easter! Here is some great reading for this week.

A must read: Anxious People Need Shepherds Who Point Them to the Chief Shepherd.

Peter Mead takes a break from writing about preaching in this article on The Local Church and the Missionary.

I’ve recommended articles by Tim Reigle several times. Tim is our music leader and has a ministry helping men addicted to pornography. He asks, Do You Have Perseverance?

Eric Raymond – A Tool for Reading the Bible Devotionally – make copies and pass them out.

Here’s a link to a YouTube video by Bryan Chapell on The Place of Application in preaching.

This article was published originally in 2017 but was reprinted last year. Stephen Altrogge tells us 3 Things I Know About Ministry Now That I’m Not In Ministry.

Garrett Kell tells Pastors, Train Future Pastors. What better place to learn how to pastor than from other pastors?

This will help you deal with the cultural push to deny sexual identity. Solid stuff.

Do Not Nod Your Head to Lies.

This is just good reading for any pastor in any church in any location. Paul Levy urges us to Keep Your Head.

Trevin Wax, whose articles are included here on a regular basis, has a new book coming out this next week, I believe. It is not listed on Amazon yet, but the title is The Multi-Directional Leader. You can learn about it here.

Have a great week of ministry!!

Tools of the Trade – Week of March 29, 2021

A Weekly List of Links and Resources Especially for Pastors

I’ve collected a rather large collection of articles – so many that I am going to simply list them and make a comment or two where appropriate. I’ll have another list out Monday. Have a blessed Easter with your church family.

Grief is an Exhausting Journey – a good article to share with parents who have lost children, as well as anyone dealing with grief.

A review of Joel Beeke’s and Nick Thompson’s book Pastors and Their Critics by the folks at 9 Marks. Pastors have critics??

A Second Adam to the Fight and to the Rescue by Eric Raymond.

Another by Eric Raymond called Rain or Shine, He Showed Up. Maybe the last sentence will catch your attention and you’ll want to read this: Love while you are still able, for, in due time, you will be at a funeral, either of someone dear to you or our own.

I’m teaching an online class on 1 & 2 Peter. They are great books for our time. Travis Montgomery provides some help if you plan to preach those letters.

Winston Smith gives us In Ministry, Joy and Sorrow Don’t Cancel Each Other Out.

11 Elder Chairman FAQ’s from 9 Marks.

Here’s a 20 minute lesson on how to conclude a sermon well.

Pastors Should Have Friends within Their Churches by Jeremy Todd.

Mark Dever on Leading Change in A Church.

Enjoy. More coming Monday.

Tools of the Trade – Week of March 22, 2021

A Weekly List of Links and Resources Especially for Pastors

I hope you had a good weekend. In our church we are seeing more people coming back to in-person worship. I hope the same is true where you are ministering.

Here is some recommended reading:

Peter Mead writes about sermon preparation and how some sermons take longer to prepare.

This is another helpful article from Tim Reigle on dealing with sin in general and porn addiction in particular. He also writes this about restoring trust after porn addiction.

Peter Krol writes: One common challenge in Bible study is figuring out how much text to study. Whether it’s for personal study, small group discussion, or a sermon selection, students of the Bible have a number of things working against them in making this choice. Here’s some help.

This is a really good article by Kaden Classen on why our people need to be taught theology. Make sure you read this one.

The late R.C. Sproul briefly and clearly defines the Gospel. Anyone who preaches or teaches should be sure to review their understanding of the Gospel message from time to time.

Leaving a congregation is not easy for pastors. At least most of the time. Mike Ayers suggests 4 Things to Consider in a Transition From Your Church.

Probably the most needed article in this list is Jonathan Leeman’s discussion of helping our church do good on social media.

Trevin Wax writes a provocative and somewhat troubling article on the state of churches and denominations that identify themselves as Evangelical.

I’ve said before that I wish Kevin DeYoung blogged more often. Here’s a great reason why he should.

Timothy Paul Jones asks the question, “Should Pastors Preach for Conversions?”

Jeff Mingee writes to pastors about their online presence.

Here’s an article by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra suggesting permanent changes that will come to the church because of COVID.

What do you do when small group members are reluctant to participate? Ryan Higgenbottom has some guidance.

Peter Krol discusses training young people to feed themselves with God’s Word.

Not much shocks me anymore, but some things make me sad. The mess with Ravi Zacharias is one of them.

Ok. Here are a couple of productivity articles. Here’s one on organizing your desk.. Here’s one on making an effective to-do list. Here’s one on doing a brain dump. And no, that’s not what you do to your wife after you preach. And finally, here’s one on managing your tasks. Note: Several of these articles are on Medium, an article hosting website that costs $6 a month to use. They do allow you to read several articles before telling you that you need to pay up. I subscribed to it for about two months. I think it’s one of those services to maybe pop in and out of every 5-6 months. Also, because they are secular sources, they might contain the occasional naughty word that I missed. Use of inappropriate words is obviously not condoned on this blog.

Tools of the Trade – Week of March 15, 2021

A Weekly List of Links and Resources Especially for Pastors

Happy Ides of March. If I remember correctly, this is the day that Julius Caesar was killed. Which reminds me of a joke from a kids’ joke book that I had years ago:

What did Caesar say after Brutus stabbed him? “Ouch.”

Here we go with some articles for this week:

Pastors are Paid to Stare Out the Window Good stuff from Jared Wilson.

Nathaniel Williams urges pastors to Preach to the People in the Room.

Michael Krueger shares some timely counsel about dealing with people who object of our views on morality.

YOUNG PASTOR ALERT! “Your Ministry Heroes May Be Right There in Your Church.”

Another gem from Jared Wilson. How does a guy manage to consistently write such good stuff? “Pastor, do you know that Jesus does not need your help?”

Here are Three Maxims for planning worship services. Do we really do enough thinking about why we do what we do?

Quiet small group studies are pretty much one of the worst things in the world. This article can help prevent that.

Peter Mead writes about the “Sweetest Agony” of ministry.

Chris Thomas urges that we not preach “Pre-Fab Packages of Frustration.”

Trevin Wax, always worth reading, suggests caution in the way we view the post-pandemic church.

We’ll close out this week with Peter Mead’s thoughts on sermons and prep time and why some need more than others.

Have a great week!

Tools of the Trade – Week of March 8, 2021

A Weekly List of Links and Resources Especially for Pastors

My function at church involves two main components. One involves coordinating congregational (pastoral) care and the other involves teaching as the opportunity presents itself.

I’ve been working for the last few months in preparation of an online series that is called Roots. The point of the series is to help our people understand theology, but to go beyond just understanding a doctrine to learning why that doctrine is important. What is especially challenging in this is that each “episode” will be no longer than seven minutes.

We released the first video last week and will roll new ones out every week on Tuesdays. Between learning video technology and doing the actual scripting and recording, it has been a busy several weeks, hence I’ve been absent again. But I wanted to catch up because I have a backlog of great reading.

By the way, if you’re interested in the Roots series, you can text the word “roots” to 610-708-1100. That will enroll you in the distribution list and you’ll get a text message each week. If you are outside of the US, you can be added via email. I’m not suggesting you do this because of the theological acumen I possess, but in case you want to see something that might work in your church. Be warned, however, that we’re planning 80-100 of these videos. 😬

Here are some worthwhile articles:

Do you wonder what people get from your ministry? This article says “it ain’t what you preach.”

Paul Levy, author the article above, shares a letter he wrote to his church in July called “The Slowness of God.”

Ryan Higginbottom has some help for those who lead small groups. The kinds of questions we ask can make or break our studies.

The ever-present Peter Mead tells us 7 Ways to Not Really Preach a Passage. And then Wanted: Expository Preaching Advocates.

Simple title, deep subject: Redeeming Pastoral Ambition.

Tim Reigle shares some thoughts about the Lost Art of Deep Conversation.

Self-Talk and Sanctification

J.A. Medders writes Pastor, Your People Need the Hard Texts.

Darryl Dash encourages pastors to keep preaching.

Joe Carter answers questions about What You Should Know About the Pro-LGBTQ Equality Act. Pastors here in the US should keep an eye on this. This one, by Brandon Freeman, is related.

Here’s a good one. I’m going to write a bit on this soon. Here are 4 Ways Young Pastors Can Love Elderly Saints.

Trevin Wax shares some thoughts about The State of Church Attendance as Covid Turns One.

Ed Welch gives us Shaking Off Some Lifelessness with the Psalms.


Tools of the Trade – Week of February 23, 2021

A Weekly List of Links and Resources Especially for Pastors

I actually published something last night but decided this morning that I didn’t like it. So . . .

Here are some helpful articles for your reading pleasure and edification:

Kregal Publishers has a series of books that ask/answer 40 questions, and a new one is 40 Questions About Pastoral Ministry by Phil Newton. Here is a review.

Peter Mead has a helpful article on what to be aware of between the beginning of the service and the sermon.

David Prince writes “Sermon Delivery Matters.” A quote: “I once heard a group of self-styled sophisticated evangelical types almost mocking John Piper because of his passionate and energetic delivery. I asked, “Do you think it is fake passion? An over-dramatized act or genuine?” Their answer was that it is genuine but still dangerous. I told them to sign me up for that kind of dangerous passion.”

I believe that all of us need to be ready to explain why we have trusted Jesus, but I also believe that there are some people more gifted in transitioning conversations to the Gospel. Regardless of your situation, this is a helpful article.

I found this article by Paul Tripp from back in 2019 on leading with humility and accountability. It’s titled, “How to Lead With Humility and Accountability.” And it’s a good read.

So, so, good, and so important. “We Must Reclaim Friendship From the Bonds of Social Media.”

I’ll be back with more in a couple of days. There’s some meat up above to digest.

Odds & Ends – February 16, 2021

I hope your week is going well. We were set for 1/2 inch of ice last night that never materialized (thankfully), but are looking forward to another significant snowfall later this week. Here in Eastern Pennsylvania we’ve had rather mild winters lately, but this one has more than made up for it. If we have the kind of storm forecast for the region, it’ll push us well over 30 inches. For some of you, that’s very normal. But for us, that’s an unusual amount of snowfall.

Anyway, I had some random thoughts that I wanted to share with you.

A few weeks ago I read Thom Rainer’s latest book, The Post-Quarantine Church. It’s an easy read and can be finished in a couple of hours. I don’t think Rainer has any earth shattering observations, but I do think the book is helpful and would recommend it. In particular, he discusses the need for churches to prioritize meeting together once the pandemic is gone while at the same time using the many opportunities that being able to go online provide. I’d take a look if you have the opportunity.

How do you access this blog? Some blog readers have a list blogs in their browser’s bookmarks folder and click on each one. For a number of years I’ve been using a blog aggregator, which allows you to subscribe to as many blogs as you want and then automatically have the new stories from those you follow appear when you open the program. If you’re a Mac user, you will find several available. I use Reeder, available for the Mac, the iPhone, and iPad. It costs a couple of dollars, but it’s helpful and saves a ton of time. If you use Windows, here is a link to a list of RSS readers sorted by their rating. Pay attention to the dates (I would steer clear of older ones) and to whether they are paid or free. From what I can see, QuiteRSS and GreatNews look like good Windows options.

I recently stumbled upon Medium. Medium is an interesting tool that is kind of like a collection of blogs, but not quite. You select areas of interests and each day you get a series of articles to read on that area of interest. There’s all kinds of topics available. I like to read productivity-related stuff, so I’m paying the $5 per month for now. I doubt I’ll continue that for the entire year, but I may pop back in for a month here and there to see what’s new.

Finally, if you are on the lookout for royalty-free graphics and videos, let me point you to Pixabay. They have thousands of quality images and film clips for use without cost.

Tools of the Trade for the Week of February 15, 2021

Here’s some must-reading that I’ve culled from various blogs over the last week or so:

Peter Mead, a regular each week, writes about 5 Aspects of Natural Delivery. Worthwhile for all of us who preach, but especially for younger guys trying to “find their voice.”

Here’s 2 minutes and 21 seconds of counsel by Adam McClendon called advice for a new pastor.

Trevin Wax, who also appears regularly on this blog, writes about ministry trends in this new year (2021).

Here’s one pastor’s reflections on why it is a privilege to be a pastor.

Peter Mead contributes more to those who preach by making five suggestions to make our preaching more fluid.

Stephen Wellum wrote a couple of articles on the need for a proper Christology. There’s one here, and another here.

Pastoral work is more than teaching and preaching. Pastors are shepherds, and Dave Harvey asks how we can know whether that’s a job we can do.

Michael Krueger has an interesting and helpful article on spiritual abuse.

How much time does it take for you to prepare a sermon? How long should it take? Peter Mead weighs in.

Tim Challies speaks to younger pastors and their preferences when it comes to church size.

David Mathis, with Desiring God, writes about he way Providence surprises us.

Finally, Matt Adams writes about the “Christian Life and Preaching.”

A Blog Update – February 13, 2021

Someone who has been following my blog sent me a message this week and indicated he would no longer be following For Younger Pastors because my posting was sporadic. He’s right, and I appreciated his honesty. There are about 75 people who subscribe to the blog and others who must check “manually.” I can understand how clicking on a link in your web browser only to find that it rarely changes can be rather annoying. If that’s true for you, I do want to apologize.

This blog began in June of 2019. In the spring of 2017 I had stepped aside from the church I had served in for over 35 years, feeling kind of beaten up and worn out. It was hard to leave a church family I had grown to love, but it was the right thing. From the fall of 2017 through the summer of 2020 I worked a series of jobs. My longest and last job was working as a driver in a very nice retirement community.

As I began to recover (that sounds overly dramatic, but I can’t think of another word) my interest in ministry began to revive. Because the job I was in gave me some free time to write, I decided to begin this blog hoping to help younger guys with ideas, lessons learned, and resources that were helpful to their ministries. For a long time I wrote 3 times a week, including a lot of original material.

In August, 2021, I returned to pastoral ministry part-time. I’m serving as an Assistant Pastor in a great church, working with a great pastoral team, and enjoying it immensely. My job involves two main areas of focus – pastoral care and teaching. For the first 4+ months I worked primarily on the pastoral care aspect of my work, but finally a lightbulb went on that I needed to change how I did that if I was going to have time for the teaching part of my ministry. So I’ve been working on some plans related to teaching opportunities.

I’m a bit of a geek. I like technology. Back in the day I purchased computer parts and assembled my own computers. I like evaluating new software, reading about technology, and have considered myself pretty computer literate. That self-view has, however, taken a bit of a beating as I have been engaged in learning the video side of computing. Being able to minister virtually means recording video and the other week I wanted to run around the parking lot and scream out of frustration with getting the video right. I think I’m at a place where I can approach doing two videos a week with greater confidence, and I have some helpers to rely on when I encounter a problem.

Anyway . . . this is not to offer an excuse for not posting regular, but it is an explanation.

I don’t think For Younger Pastors will ever win an award for Outstanding Christian Blog, unless the entrants are restricted to the house I live in. Then I might have a chance. But I do want it to be helpful, so rather than say “it was fun while it lasted” I would like to keep it going. I have some thoughts that I’d like to share with you all about ministry, and I hope the articles that I share are helpful to you. I know they are helpful to me.

I’m not sure I can sustain posting 3 times a week, but I am going to try to be more consistent and we’ll see how it goes. So if you have been visiting here and have encountered cobwebs on the articles, hang in there with me. I do think I have some good stuff to share with you in the weeks ahead.

If you’re a regular reader, thanks for reading. I’ll see you early next week with a list of recent worthwhile articles and the hopefully mid-to-late week with some original content. Again, I apologize for not posting as regularly as I had been, and I appreciate the brother who nicely asked, “What’s up?”

Have a great weekend of ministry. We’re supposed to get several days of sporadic ice on top of the foot of snow that still remains around the area. Such fun!