Tools of the Trade for the Week of October 19, 2020

Our wonderful Lead Pastor was gracious enough to give me the opportunity to preach yesterday in both morning services. Haven’t done that for over 40 years. Anyway, the sermon was on Daniel 5 and was called Uncommon Arrogance. The video begins around 40 seconds into the clip.

Before I share a list of links from the last week or two, let me highlight the website of Tim Reigle. Tim leads our worship team and has a ministry – online and in-person – for men who are dealing with the problem of pornography. In addition, there are some solid articles on his site. Check them out.

Now, here are some helpful articles for your reading this week:

Aaron Earls tells us 5 Ways the Church Can Relieve Covid-Related Family Stress.

Dave Van Dyke shares 5 Myths about Pastoral Leadership.

Jason Allen helps us with our preaching in How to Assemble Your Sermon.

Ryan Higginbottom answers the question, “How Long Does it Take to Prepare a Bible Study?”

In my opinion there’s no one better on the subject of Justification than R.C. Sproul, and his explanation of What Does the Roman Catholic Church Believe About Justification? may be surprising to you.

Luke Holmes provides 4 Ways Social Media Can Be Leveraged for Discipleship.

Darryl Dash writes In Praise of the Average Pastor.

Peter Mead talks about Preaching as Connecting (relationships).

A Little Book for New Preachers: Why & How to Study Homiletics, by Matthew Kim, is available on Kindle for 3 bucks.

Finally, Rob Hurtgen addresses 3 Areas In Which All Church Leaders Must Now Be Revitalizers.

Tools of the Trade – Extra Special Midweek Edition

My apologies that there was no Monday Tools of the Trade. I have the privilege of preaching this coming Sunday – something I have not done with a “live” congregation since August, 2017, and my focus has been on preparing my sermon on Daniel 5.

Before I give you a list of great articles to look at, let me address something that came to my attention. I don’t have a huge readership, but there are several dozen people who seem to drop in regularly and/or get updates by email. Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed that over 10% of the traffic has been for this particular article: What If I Don’t Like My Pastor’s Preaching.

I’ve had hits on that post almost every day for the last two weeks, which is fine. I hope that it is helpful. But if you’re reading this and you’re one of the ones who has been reading it (I have no way of telling), I can offer a confidential ear if you want to email me at If on the other hand you’ve been reading it to help you sleep, I understand perfectly. 😀

Here are articles to read, share, and file:

Brianna Lambert says (I paraphrase) that a lot of ink has been spilled on the subject of leadership. However, I’m glad she wrote this article sharing three leadership lessons.

The ubiquitous Tim Challies helps us understand that The Church is You, So the Church Will Be Like You.

Paul David Tripp’s recent book Lead is being used by Crossway to provide resources for Christian leaders.

Jared Wilson shares 4 Keys to a Heart-Level Discipleship.

In 2017 we celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Michael Reeves tells us why the Reformation still matters. (And I urge you to read this!)

Max Lucado contributes to the subject of lonely leaders in ministry.

Jacob Haywood tells us how the cancel culture can actually make the church stronger.

I’m preparing the groundwork for an exciting project in our church, and this article by Mary Wiley touches on the need for our people to know theology and theological terms. Go Mary!

This article infers that there may be some disunity over the issue of politics? Really? (Sarcasm). Good reading!

YOUNGER PASTOR MUST READ ARTICLE ALERT!!! Your Church is Not A Stepping Stone.

Peter Mead has some suggestions on preaching to students during this pandemic period. And he also has an admonition to evaluate our sermons before giving them.

This is the Babylon Bee at its best. The Bee Explains: Main Differences Between Popular Bible Translations. All in fun, folks.

Have a good rest of the week! I’ll share some older articles from my files over the weekend.

Tools of the Trade – Extra Special Midweek Edition

I saved the links to so many good articles over the last week that I decided to have another midweek edition of the Monday “Tools.”

The Dog Ate My Doctrine: Leaving No Place in Our Pews for Theological Laziness by Aaron Earls. Just read it. Good stuff

Christians, We Are Losing Our Witness is an article everyone on social media needs to read.

The Greatest Discipleship Challenge Facing the Church is about the problem of the autonomous self. JT English has some great points here.

The Gospel Coalition posted a link to a whole bunch of essays by well-known Bible teachers. They are grouped by theological category. Bookmark this site!

Michael Cooper writes about 7 Sunday Morning Habits to Encourage in Your Church.

H.B. Charles, Jr., known for his preaching and for what he has to say about preaching, writes Three Keys to Effective Sermon Preparation. You young guys finding your way will want to look at this one in particular.

Dr. Robert Godfrey has done some great series on church history. I’ve used them in our Sunday School with adults and they have been both informative and well-presented. Here’s a new series called The Necessity of Reforming the Church.

Michael Lundy shares some helpful tips on How to Pray When You’re Feeling Anxious.

Tim Challies shared a call to worship from his church that serves not only as a good model of the call to worship, but might minister to you or someone you know.

Here’s another look at social media. Chris Martin writes about The Real Cost of Using Social Media. Some of what he says may surprise you.

Finally, here’s an article I found quite significant: Are You Cheating On Your Church. I suspect that there are people within our churches who need to read this.

Tools of the Trade for the Week of October 5, 2020

I hope your weekend went well. Our Associate Pastor, Tim Hogan, preached on Daniel 3 and did a good job. If Tim sees this and mentions it, I’ll give him $1. 😃

Here are several recent articles that I believe you’ll find helpful:

The folks at 9Marks gave us Pastoring With Certainty In Uncertain Times. That’s certainly a topic that everyone in ministry can relate to.

An article by Mark Dance continues that theme, looking at Psalm 23. The title of the article is Four Truths For Pastoring Through Difficult Times From Psalm 23.

Kevin DeYoung assures us that It’s Ok to Be A Pastor.

Alex DiPrima points us to Charles Spurgeon as an illustration of how pastors should handle controversial topics. The article is How Did Charles Spurgeon Address Contemporary Issues in His Preaching?

Sam Amadi suggests that preaching through Revelation might be a really good idea for the times we’re in.

Do you ever wonder what your people say about you? Dan Miller encourages us to consider whether they would say we are good listeners.

Tony Shepherd talks about Pastoring Amid Suspicion.

Greg Gilbert followed up a post about pastors and politics with this article: How to Hold Your Tongue About Politics And Thereby Not Split Your Church Over Things the Bible Doesn’t Talk About: AN ADDENDUM.

Here’s an article that suggests three ways to reach non-religious people in our communities.

One of the great challenges of churches with a strong “family” emphasis is how to include singles. This is a helpful article that gives some solid suggestions.

Well, that’s ten bits of good reading to start your day off with. Younger pastors – make sure you’re saving a lot of these articles. As valuable as your schooling has been, these articles cover topics you likely didn’t learn about in the classroom.

I’m going to do another Wednesday edition because I have about ten more to share with you. See you then!

Tools of the Trade for the Week of September 28, 2020

Time is flying and we all have much to do. So without further delay here are some really great links for you to check out this week. Thanks for visiting!

Jared Wilson writes about the kind of Christian he wants to be in his old age. So good.

I had the opportunity to have lunch with our youth pastor today. Jacob joined the staff at the same time I did. This morning he asked, “What’s a blog?” Unreal, these kids. He was probably pulling my leg, which seems to be one of his spiritual gifts. Anyway, Jacob is the product of a church that took mentoring seriously. Here’s a great article about why it’s so important.

Evangelism isn’t easy. Sometimes church leaders – especially those for whom it comes naturally – forget that. This article talks about why people don’t evangelize and what can be done about it.

It’s important to make time to read. Yet it’s not easy to do it. Don’t feel guilty if you decide to block off time for reading. You need to do it, and here’s why.

6 Truths to Prepare the Church for a Post-Christian America. Yup. Please read this.

Here’s an episode of 9Marks’ Preacher’s Talk about Preaching the Gospel. It’s something that we all think we have down, but it’s good to check ourselves.

We Don’t Need Revival is the title of a very provocative article by J. Brandon Meeks. He’s got a point.

How are you doing dealing with expectations – your own expectations for yourself and your people’s expectations for you? As young pastors, facing what is expected of us can be hard (p.s. – it may always be that way). Here’s good counsel on managing them.

Jared Wilson’s articles may get more space on this blog than anyone. Here’s a really good one on building a happy ministry. Because sometimes you just feel like it’s time to throw in the towel. Pay special attention to his 2nd recommendation. And his 5th.

Have a great week!

Tools of the Trade – Extra Special Midweek Edition

I saved the links to so many good articles over the last week that I decided to have a midweek edition of the Monday “Tools.”

Before I share those articles with you, let me point out the website of Nitoy Gonzales. Nitoy regular posts links to free resources that you can download, including ebooks, courses, and videos. In addition he writes his own reviews and thoughts, and should be on your “sites to check” list. Thanks, Nitoy!!!

Here are some articles that will be helpful for you to read, share, and put in Evernote.

Dangerous Ways Pastors Can Mimic Politicians A challenging opportunity to look inside.

Book Review: The Analogue Church I spent a good part of the day outlining a series of teaching videos that we’re going to use as online resources, and we’re going to be doing more with virtual stuff (that’s a technical term). I haven’t had a chance to read this book yet, but as we move further into the online world, we need to remember that God’s people need to gather.

Waste Points On Your Preaching Clock Pete Mead contribute so much to those of us who preach, and this column contains suggestions that will make us all better communicators of God’s Word.

Mistakes Beginning Pastors Make Here’s a 1 minute video aimed at all of us but especially those of you who are starting out in ministry.

Three Ways to Prepare for the Battles of Ministry Paul Tripp shares some helpful insight into, well, preparing for the battles of ministry. Because there are battles in ministry. Check out his new book Lead.

Two Habits That Will Destroy Your Small Group Here’s one to save and then to share with your small group leaders.

5 Simple Steps to Stop Teenagers from Dropping Out of Your Church Why do I think everyone who stops on this page is going to read this article?

Church Planter: Are You Teachable? Certainly this applies to all of us.

The Disciple-Making Paradigm Churches Are In Danger of Missing “If success is the traditional “buildings, bodies, and budgets,” our heyday is behind us. However, if success looks like training those in your church to love the Lord more through cherishing the Word, practicing the “one anothers,” and engaging lost neighbors, that’s biblical—and it’s where our future lies.”

I hope you found something worthwhile here. I’ll be putting up 5 blasts from the past on Friday – articles I’ve saved in my Evernote files that need to be brought to light again.

Tools of the Trade For the Week of September 21, 2020

As usual on Mondays, here are some links to articles that you can archive and share. I hope you find something helpful in the following:

Helping Your Church Survive Election Season
It’s not going to be as easy as it was even a decade ago. Plan now to help your people respond well.

Ministering to Young People Requires A Different Approach
This CCEF article can be shared with your youth and children’s workers.

When You Don’t Hit A Home Run Sermon
For most of us, this happens nearly every time we preach! But it’s ok!

Want Faithful Teens & Young Adults? Disciple Faithful Parents
Because it’s not up to the church alone. You know that of course. But do your parents? 🙂

God’s Care for Postpartum Moms
Guys, there are some things we just don’t get. Nevertheless we may be called on to minister to people in situations with which we are unfamiliar. Here is one of them.

Recovering the Lost Art of Edification
Jared Wilson is such a good writer. Here’s a much-needed word for our times and our churches.

How to Run A Good Meeting – And Why It Matters More than You Think
Michael Kruger writes about something that is very important, and may be unfamiliar territory for young guys especially.

3 Ways to Tell if Physically Absent Church Members Are Still Spiritually Engaged
A must-read for this pandemic period.

How to Safely Uncover the Landmines in Your Church
Your church has them, you know.

I actually have quite a few more, so I’ll do a Wednesday edition this week. Some of the articles above are really valuable at this point in time. Happy reading!

Tools of the Trade For the Week of September 14, 2020

I hope you had a good weekend. Is your church slipping slowly back to normal? I’d like to hear about it in the comments section or by email.

Here are some great articles for this week:

Older Women, Young Churches Need You is a great article to share with women in your seniors group, women’s ministry, or as as an encouragement to some of the older gals in your congregation who have a heart for the Lord.

Reading the Old Testament with the Apostles. Sometimes the apostles’ use of the OT makes us scratch our head. This should help us understand their approach.

4 Principles for Re-Evaluating Your Missions Strategy

If you’ve come into a church as new pastor, you may look at your missionary commitments and wonder if there is any rhyme or reason to them. This is usually “don’t poke the bear” territory, but you can make some good changes if you move s-l-o-w-l-y.

Advice for New Seminary Students

This is a podcast by Jared Wilson and Ronni Kurtz. If you are, or know of, someone in school – new or not – this might be helpful/

Why Christians Replace Bible Reading With Other Resources

This article is worthwhile on its own, but it highlights three reasons why Christians struggle with personal Bible reading. It reminds me again that we can’t assume that people know how to read Scripture.

How Should I Pray When I Want to Quit Ministry? Hopefully you never get to this point, but there are times . . . .

What Christian Forgiveness of Abuse Means (and Doesn’t Mean)

Our staff had a very helpful discussion on sexual abuse this past week. Whenever the subject of abuse comes up, a discussion of forgiveness is not far behind. I found this to be helpful reading.

The Top Generosity Trigger for Most Churches

This was good reading, and not surprising.

5 Keys to Preaching to the Kids in Your Pews

Some churches are reopening without children’s ministries because of COVID. This writer has some great suggestions for not leaving the kids behind when they’re with their parents in the service.

Evernote for Pastoral Care

A good part of my job involves pastoral care, and I was looking online for resources to help me track calls and visits. I’ve recommended Evernote for saving articles like these, but here’s another use for this helpful (and free) resource.

Tools of the Trade For the Week of September 7, 2020

For those of you in the US, I hope you have a good Labor Day. There are small hints of fall here in mid/southeast Pennsylvania and I’m looking forward to saying adios to the heat and humidity.

As is typical for Mondays, what follows are links to good reading that you should keep (Evernote!!!) and share with other leaders and your people. I hope you find something useful.

My only preaching experience in the last couple of years was recorded on a weekday for use the following weekend. However I’ll be preaching twice in our upcoming series on Daniel. Those of you who preach to both a live congregation and a camera will want to look at this article that describes preaching to both situations.

David Qaoud gives some solid answers to the question of what young pastors should be doing during their first year of ministry.

I was ordained in a Baptist church and the Bible Fellowship Church in which I now serve has credobaptist convictions. The discussion of credobaptism and paedobaptism is worth studying, and Timothy Paul Jones helps by looking back into church history. (Note: Jones teaches at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)

The current political climate here in the US is having an impact on how Christians relate to each other. Here’s an article worth reading. These next weeks are going to be rough terrain.

Luke Holmes asks if we are driving home the right sermon points.

Trevin Wax interviews Chris Martin on the negative effects of social media. Wait! There are negative effects of social media?? Who would have thought?

Kathleen Nielson explains why doctrine is so important. This is one to share.

Noted scholar Wayne Grudem writes a helpful article on the much mysticized subject of the will of God.

Most of you are probably already doing most of these, but if you’re looking for help on keeping your church “connected” during the pandemic, Tod Tanner has three suggestions.

“Overworked Pastors Make This Critical Mistake.” If the pandemic – or pastoral life in general – has left you weary, please read.

H.B. Charles, known for both his preaching and his teaching of preaching, writes about sermon outlines.

Last, Crossway has provided links to several infographics. Some good stuff here.

That’s it for this week. I’ll be back on Friday (and possibly in-between). Thanks for reading!!

Tools of the Trade For the Week of August 31, 2020

I’m a day late. Sorry! This has been a great week-plus getting to know the people I work with, getting to know a bit more about what I’ll be doing, and actually getting into the work.

Here are some helpful articles for your files or for you to share:

David Murray, who has written a great deal on the subject of depression and anxiety, explains the difference – and similarities – between them. This is must reading for pastors.

”Seminary is an incredible opportunity to grow in knowledge of the Word of God and theology in general. It can also be a place where one’s spiritual life suffers a slow, steady decline.” So says the author of this article. And what he says to seminarians is also true for pastors.

Until I heard R.C. Sproul teach on Justification, I did not understand what Roman Catholicism actually taught. It’s good to get our facts straight, and here is an article that will be helpful. It may surprise you!

This video by Jen Wilkin will help the women’s ministry in your church with the process of disciple-making.

Pastoral work can be discouraging. You may have already experienced that. Here are some reminders for when those times come. This is written specifically in light of the COVID situation, but applies more widely than that.

I’m sure many people are tired of “virtual church.” Though you may have discovered new ways to use media that will continue beyond when we call gather again without facemarks and hand sanitizer, this has been a hard period for both pastors and congregations. Ken Braddy writes about 7 Coping Strategies for Virtual Ministry Exhaustion.

This is deeply spiritual on so many, many levels, mixing intricate theology and rock-solid practical application. Thank you, Joe Rigney.

Greg Lanier asks and answers, “How Should the Preexistence of Christ Shape How We Preach the Old Testament?”

Here’s one to read and share with your leaders: “5 Relationships That Suffer When A Leader Is Emotionally Unhealthy.”

Clint Presley talks about the differences between “Attractional” churches and “Gospel-Centered” churches and how to lead people from the former the latter.

“My Vision-Casting Regret.” This is great reading.

Michael Kruger has a message of encouragement to the wives of seminarians.