Pastors face numerous problems on a daily basis. We know, both from our conversations with you and from research, that burn out, financial stress, leadership issues and self-doubt all contribute to the daily stress of the pastor. In this rich collection, we're assembled 73 problems (and solutions) to help you along the way. Don't see a problem you'd like addressed? Email me at Jwatson@SermonCentral.com.
1. How to Stay in Love with Your Wife
1 Timothy 3:2 records that "the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife . . .". This means that marriage is a crucial element for a pastor. But what happens when you drift apart? John Piper answers here.
2. Marital Fidelity and the Pastor
What about those standards? Are Pastors held to a higher standard of marital fidelity than other Christians? John MacArthur answers this "matter of grave concern."
3. Raising Godly Children as a Pastor
Raising godly children can be difficult for anyone. Hours are spent praying over our sons and daughters. And yet, sometimes Pastors have a more difficult time. Here are four recommendations for parents.
4. How to Raise Children in the Church
"One of my young children had playfully fallen on the floor . . . . A deacon in the church came up to me and spoke forcefully: 'You need to tell your kid to get up. Pastors' children aren't supposed to act that way.'" Thom Rainer has some things he wishes church members knew about pastors' kids.
5. Can Disobedient Children Remove a Pastor from Ministry?
Many interpret 1 Timothy 3:4, "He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him." as a reason for disqualification from ministry. John Piper explains what this does, and doesn't mean for church leadership.
6. How to Care for a Dependant Parent while in Ministry
As life expectancy increases adult children find themselves caring for aging parents more and more. From Patheos, 15 Ways to Stay Sane Caring for an Elderly Parent.
7. How to Surive Preaching Every Sunday
Each week, like clockwork, a new sermon approaches. Here are 7 practical tips for how to preach every Sunday without dying.
8. How to Keep Your Preaching Fresh
Have you preached the same message over again and nobody noticed? If so, you might feel like you can just recycle your material and keep going. While Allan Bevere allows for this on some level, he also shares 5 things to remember to keep your preaching fresh.
9. Why Preaching with Power is Important
Men and women crave preaching because they crave the voice and face of God. Short answer: "a sermon fails unless it carries . . . a summons from the eternal God."
10. Keeping Your Soul Pure
We don't ingest poison intentionally. And yet our souls, infinitely more important than our body, as subjected to poison weekly. Get 10 ways to detoxify your soul right now.
11. Recovering from Moral Failure
In a podcast episode, Thom Rainer deals with this difficult and important topic. Moral failure is a destroyer: of churches, of lives, of families. Being transparent, understanding, and demonstrating grace are keys. Read on for more.
12. Dealing with Difficult Church Members
Difficult people are everywhere. From the cashier at the grocery store, to person who backed into your car in the parking lot. But when you're a pastor, you can often find yourself dealing with difficult church members. They can be well-intentioned, or mean-spirited. Whether your church members try to manipulate, are arrogant, lie, seek to control everything, or create any number of problems Dr. Tan Flippin offers five techniques for dealing with difficult people.
13. Repairing a Church Split
Church splits are rarely amicable. Instead, when a church splits, it gets ugly and painful, and there are few if any winners. ChurchLeaders shares how to recover from the heartbreak of a church split.
14. How to Take Over a New Church
The search committee has called you. The church has voted you in. Or you have been assigned to the parish. What are the first things you should do? What should you avoid? We turn to Quora as Justin Freeman offers principles a pastor taking over an existing congregation should take into consideration.
15. Revitalizing an Older Church
If you let a church die and go out of business, just to bring in a new group and start fresh, you haven't revitalized anything. Instead, how do you take a dying, dwindling congregation and build it up again? Joe McKeever answers.
In this day and age, our society is plagued by tragedy. How should the church respond to this tragedy? Death, natural disaster, terrorism, suicide, and terrible accidents can all shock a community. We must be salt and light. I've listed three practical ways the church can respond.
17. Reponding When Tragedy Hits Your Church Family
Get 5 insights for dealing with problems within the church body. As a pastor who has lost a son due to suicide, few are as qualified as Rick Warren to discuss this topic. Read it now.
18. How to Grow Your Church
This popular article from 2015 offers ten concrete ways to help you grow your church. Idea number two: add an extra service. Number seven may surprise you.
19. How to Stay Humble When God Grows Your Church
Jesus himself promised that he would build his church. No matter what human feats we perform, it is God who grants the increase. Discover 3 ways to create a culture of humility in your church.
20. How to Fire an Associate Pastor
Nobody wants to come to the end of a road. But sometimes it becomes necessary for a Senior pastor to lay off an associate. Whether due to moral failure, budgetary considerations, or failure of shared vision, Joe McKeever discusses when and how to fire a pastor.
21. What to Look for in an Assistant Pastor
You've heard the horror stories. When you're looking for a pastor to come along and help you in the ministry, you can quickly lose sight of what's important. From 9 Marks, four insights on how to find a good assistant pastor.
22. What to Look for in a Youth Pastor
Don't get lost focusing on the wrong things. When you're looking to hire a pastor to serve your youth group, you need to focus on what's important, as shared by this Gospel Coalition article.
23. What to Look for when Hiring a Music Pastor
This post comes from the viewpoint of a music leader. To give you a preview, it's more important for a music minister to have character rather than pure talent.
24. Should a Church use Paid Musicians?
This issues has divided churches for centuries. Whether you're looking for a reason not to hire musicians, or looking for rationale against using paid musicians, here are some elements you should consider.
25. How to Recover from a Bad Sermon
"As long as there are sermons, there will be bad sermons." If you've been preaching for any length of time, you will eventually preach a "bad sermon." That doesn't mean a bad sermon has to define you. John Ortberg shares some insights on what to do next.
26. Pastors and Politics - Should You Endorse a Candidate?
The short answer? No! Get the full list of legal do's and don'ts on what a church or a pastor can do in terms of political endorsements.
27. Should Ministers Opt Out of Social Security?
Dave Ramsey tackles this tough question on whether or not you, as a pastor, should exercise your right to opt out of paying into Social Security.
28. Are You Getting All the Ministerial Tax Breaks?
While we cannot offer financial advice, there are significant tax breaks available to pastors. Read about them here.
29. How Long Should I Preach?
20 minutes? 30 minutes? 45 minutes? An hour? Depending on your service time, the quality of your content, and the graciousness of your congregation, you can easily preach . . . . Read Shane Raynor's thoughts here.
30. How to Preach Your First Funeral
You'll never forget that phone call. Someone has died, and you've been asked to perform the funeral. But what if you've never performed a funeral before? Cover your bases as you prepare to perform one of the most sacred duties of a pastor.
31. Keeping Funerals Unique and Appropriate
Maybe you've been ministering for some time. Some pastors of older congregations perform funerals on a regular basis. How do you keep your funeral service unique and appropriate? Try these five principles for preaching at funerals.
32. How to Preach the Funeral of an Unbeliever
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Paul doesn't want Christians to "grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope." But what should we preach when we do preach the funeral service of an unbeliever? The Gospel Coalition covers everything you need to know.
33. How to Preach a Funeral for Somone You Don't Know
The Gospel Coalition again provides excellent insight into presiding over the funeral of someone you do not know. They cover what to do before the funeral, during the service, and after.
34. How to Do Pre-Marital Counseling
The decision of who to marry is one of the most important decisions a person will ever make, closely after deciding to follow Christ. It is important that young couples receive guidance as they prepare for this great union. Get a head start with the following questionaire.
35. How to Perform Your First Wedding Ceremony
The dress is selected. The flowers have been chosen. The rings have been bought. Now, this beautiful young couple has asked you to perform their wedding ceremony. Read, copy, and save this step-by-step guide to performing a wedding ceremony, absolutely free.
36. Requirements to Perform a Wedding Ceremony
Should you perform a wedding ceremony? Thom Rainer gets into this sticky situation with a simple, easy way to diffiuse the problem.
37. Dating When You're a Single Pastor
It's a difficult topic: should a single pastor date? If so, should he date a member of his church? The danger is great, and it certainly is risky. But this post from 2011 still rings true.
38. Dating and Remarriage for a Widowed Pastor
Similar to number 37, what about a widowed pastor? A faithful man of God who has lost his spouse but is considering remarriage. Here are some elements to ponder.
39. Church Leadership Styles - Which one is right?
Bill Hybels shares insights into the different ways that pastors lead flocks. Which one of the ten different ways appeals most to you?
40. How to Deal with Difficult Church Members
When people lack the ability to get along with others, it can cause a serious rift in the church. God has given you difficult people for a reason. Find out how to shepherd them.
41. When to Quit the Ministry
Staying or leaving a ministry is serious business. ChurchLeaders shares 8 Ways to Know It's Time to Quit.
42. How Do I Know if God is Calling Me to Be a Pastor?
43. Choosing a Music Style for Your Church
Traditional. Contemporary. Blended. Get the perspective you need with three basics for choosing church music.
44. Physical Fitness and the Pastor. Or, Gluttony, the Church's Quiet Sin
We're supposed to love the Lord with all our strength. Here are four insights on becoming a physically healthy pastor.
45. How to Do It All: Study, Preach, Visit, Care, Disciple, and Evangelize
The Biblical role of the pastor involves two planes: his relationships to God and his relationship to people. Our job description comes from the Great Shepherd himself.
46. Preserve Your Prayer Life
12 Keys to a Powerful Prayer Life. This may be the most important aspect of a pastor's personal life: his prayer relationship to God.
47. Is Seminary Necessary for a Pastor?
You've been in ministry for some time now. You feel called, but wonder, "Do I need more education?" In this article, Randy Frame discusses whether seminary education is necessary for pastoral ministry and, more importantly, the benefits of continuing to learn.
48. Why Pastors Should Consider Distance Education
Written by the resident faculty of Westminster Seminary California, this article takes an in-depth look at how distance education has evolved, and how pastors can benefit from staying current.
49. Why Pastors Should Never Stop Learning
These three reasons by Dr. Kneeland Brown explain why continuing to grow in grace AND knowledge is essential for pastors.
50. Building a Team for Ministry
Do you feel overwhelmed? Burnt out? Tired of doing it all? It could be that you're trying to do too much by yourself. Building a Ministry Team can be one of the best and most rewarding things you'll ever do as a leader. Get 10 things to remember when building a ministry team.
51. Should You Attend Pastoral Conferences and Networking Events?
Yes! But don't take our word for it. Michael Hyatt explains why he attends to many conferences.
52. Your Church is Not a Stepping Stone
It happens to the best pastors: they begin ministry at a small church to "get their feet wet" and then move on to "the big time" once a new opportunity opens up. Karl Vaters shares why your Small Church Ministry is not a stepping stone.
53. Are Small Groups Necessary?
Could you explain to someone why a church needs small groups? ShareFaith offers 10 reasons for small groups to get you started.
54. How to Organize Small Groups
You're convinced that small groups are an integral part of church life and the fellowship of the believer. But how do you organize them? Where do you start? Here are five steps to organizing your small group.
55. Why a Pastor Should Start the First Small Group
Some have argued that Jesus himself was the first small group leader, taking 12 disicples and teaching them daily. Here's why your church should consider having a pastor start the process.
56. Is Church Membership Important?
It's not a country club; you don't need a membership to get in. So what's the big deal? John Piper addresses the topic of church membership from 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.
57. Why You Should Stay at Your Current Church
We've all been there. That moment when you simply want to quit. Dr. Roger Barrier provides some much needed guidance on how to know when it's time to leave a church.
58. Why You Should Leave Your Current Church
Though none of us wants to encourage a pastor to leave a church, Thom Rainer provides somber guidance and seven scenarios for those who may need to leave a body.
59. How to Get Invited to Be a Guest Preacher
Guest preaching can be extremely rewarding. It keeps you fresh. It can energize you. Here are 10 guest preaching tips to ensure you are invited back.
60. Things to Watch Out for as a Guest Preacher
Despite how exciting guest preaching can be. It is important to approach is circumspectly. You don't want to finish a message, only to discover that you have trampled on someone's sacred cow. Here are some tactical tips for the guest speaker.
61. How to Preach to Teens
It seemed like yesterday you were in high school. But somehow, teens today seem so out of touch. How do you connect with the teenagers in your church? We've got 7 tips for preaching to teens.
62. How to Outline Your Sermon
What is the best way to outline a sermon? Do you even need to outline your sermon? Learn how and why a sermon outline is important with this article by Jack Wellman.
63. How to Manuscript Your Sermon
Four reasons to write a manuscript. If you're looking to "Think yourself empty; read yourself full; write yourself clear; pray yourself hot; and let yourself go." you can't forget the writing.
64. Preaching God or Jesus?
In theological circles today, there is some question about whether we should preach Jesus in every sermon or God, who is the primary actor in Old Testament passages. Fred Malone from BibleStudyTools.com answer the question, "Should we preach Christ in every sermon?"
65. How to Recover from Preaching Each Week
The Gospels tell us that after preaching, Jesus himself needed time to recover. As pastors, we can often try to preach on Sunday and be ready to go again on Monday. With so much to do, how could we even think of taking time off? This five-star rated article has five suggestions for how to recover after your sermon.
66. Is Your Preaching Boring?
I know of no preacher who steps into the pulpit and says, "I think I'll be boring today." And yet, so many messages lack the energy that befits the message of Jesus Christ. Here are five safeguards to fight boring preaching.
67. How to Increase Giving
The North American church averages giving of 2-3% of income. Whether you believe in a tithe, or giving cheerfully and sacrificially, it is essential that pastors communicate the importance of church giving. Here are 10 ideas to do just that.
68. The Importance of Online Giving
In the U.S. charitable giving has increased by 4.9% during the same time when online giving increased by 13.5%! Those numbers are staggering, and mean that there are opportunities for your church to do more as you help your members regulate their giving. Discover the importance of online giving for churches.
69. How to Build Your Teaching Team
Are you a one man show? Do you feel pulled in a thousand directions are people continually expect or need your help? Learn how to build a successful teaching team.
70. How to Take Time for Yourself
If you're not taking care of yourself, odds are, your entire ministry is suffering for it. Pastor to Pastor author Lance Witt shares why soul care is so important.
71. How to Delegate Responsibilities in the Church
It's an all-too-familiar scene: a pastor who burns out while doing things that a member of his congregation could have helped with. Thom Rainer provides 12 reasons church leaders don't delegate. Recognize the problem in your own ministry? Here are 10 steps to effective ministry delegation.
72. Public Repentance
James 5:16 writes, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." And yet, there is pressure for pastors to appear perfect. John Piper talks about when we should confess our sins publicly.
73. Mistakes Pastors Make with Finances
Everybody has to deal with money. But for some reason, there seems to be more opportunities for pastors to fail, whether intentionally through sin, or unintentionally with money. Here are four mistakes pastors make with church finances.