How to Focus

If you’re anything like me, you need to focus. There are times when you need to hunker down and get things done. Yet, your mind wanders. You daydream or think about what will happen later today or tomorrow. It could be a conversation, a meeting or a vacation you can’t wait to start.

Your lack of focus might come from no desire to do what you are doing, how hard something is or because you didn’t sleep well last night.

Many times the reason I am not able to focus well is because of the whirlwind around.

Focus comes from having “white space.” This is the place where you are able to shut down social media or email and think. To narrow down what matters the most right now.

I’ve heard John Maxwell say that leaders could stop doing 80% of what they’re doing and no one would notice. That feels high, but there is some merit to it.

Each day you must be able to say, “If I accomplish nothing else today, here’s what must get done.” That focus helps you to stay on track.

When you find your brain wandering, stand up, walk around, get some fresh air and then return to something.

Focus for Your Church or Organization

Focus doesn’t just matter for you personally, but it has enormous implications for your team and your church.

Many teams lack focus. They are stuck in a whirlwind of activity, simply doing the thing right in front of them. In a church, this is easy to do because worship services come around with such regularity (every seven days), so there is a deadline to that whirlwind.

For our team, just like in our family, we talk through what is most important for the next 2-6 months as a team. What are we all going to be working on and moving towards?

Why Focus Matters

Without focus, anything and everything is important.

This is where many churches and people get off track in their lives and ministries.

Focus says, this matters more than that.

That is hard to say, because it determines ahead of time what you will think about, work on, spend money on and give manpower to.

Whether you sit down and write this out or say it, you do this exercise each day.

The ones who accomplish things and see greater effectiveness are the ones who decide this instead of falling into it.

The days that I flop into bed with a feeling of “what did I really accomplish today” are the days I wasn’t focused and allowed my day to get away from me.

Amazingly, as you read through the gospels you see the incredible focus that Jesus had. He was fully present wherever he went. Whether he was teaching, healing, resting, praying or spending time with his disciples, he was focused on what he was doing. When you think about what he did, you also get a sense of the things he didn’t do. He made the choices we have to make each and everyday: what will get our time, energy and attention.

When You Quit Too Soon

At some point, we are tempted to quit something.

It might be a job, a church plant, a team, a diet or workout plan, a book, a degree program or even a difficult marriage.

Why?

Because we’re human, and when things get difficult, many of us want to pack up and go home.

But what if on the other side of that difficulty is what we have longed for all along?

I think many times when we quit, we miss out on what God has for us.

Why do we quit?

Sacrifice.

It is hard.

Difficult.

Painful even.

Ross Perot said:

Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.

I think what often sets people apart is their ability to persevere in something when it is difficult.

If you watch great athletes, the ones who win the gold medal, hold up the trophy or score the winning point, you will often see someone who was willing to live through pain, hardship, and difficulty. What you don’t see is the workout at 4am, the eating plan they put themselves through, the saying “no” to a night out with friends to get 10 hours of sleep. You don’t see the 1,000 jump shots they took each day, the miles they swam or ran, or the weights they lifted beyond what even they thought they could do.

When you see a couple in their 50s laughing together and genuinely enjoying each other’s presence, what you don’t see are the sleepless nights because they wouldn’t go to bed angry but instead worked through that argument. The tension of dealing with past hurt and past baggage and bringing it all to light so they could move forward. The hours spent holding hands and praying together about facing the road ahead. You don’t see the hundreds and thousands of compliments and little annoyances they decided to overlook instead of making a big deal about it.

What is on the other side of that difficulty or hardship? Very likely the breakthrough you’ve been waiting for.

But how do you know? How do you know if you should quit or keep moving, especially in a job like leadership?

Here are some things that I ask myself or encourage others to ask themselves:

Am I getting enough sleep? Often, but not always, the reason we are in a difficult season or want to quit is related to our sleep. When we are tired, we make poor eating choices, cut things out of our life that could be beneficial, have a short fuse with people and have a fogginess when it comes to our choices and thinking. This is why we often make better decisions in the morning instead of later in the afternoon.

Do I have enough outlets for stress? Leaders need outlets for stress – things that recharge them and help them keep going. Those outlets, when used correctly, will often help you stay the course. Things like sleeping, sabbath, eating well, working out, community. All of these are incredibly important to staying the course.

What led up to this season or desire to quit? A desire to quit often comes when we don’t know what else to do, but looking backward can be a helpful thing. Was there a leadership choice, a hire, a new launch that led to this season? Sometimes, we want to quit because we are running from something and a new opportunity or throwing in the towel is easier. Whenever a pastor calls me and says he’s thinking about leaving his church, the first question I ask him is, “What about your church is difficult right now?” Often, we are running from difficulty.

What does my community look like? It is easier to throw in the towel when we’re alone. Most sin happens in isolation. Community has a way of shining the light into places it needs to be. Many leaders leave a place because of isolation and loneliness.

What is my relationship with God like? Lastly, what is your relationship with God like? Too many pastors fall into, “God told me to leave” because it is hard to argue with. God may have called you to leave, but He may be telling you to endure as well. I can tell you that one is easier.

Only you know if you should quit something. You know what led to that season and choice, but you don’t know what’s on the other side of it. There have been many times in my over 10 years in Tucson that leaving would’ve been the easier choice, but each time I’ve stopped to ask myself these questions and others, I’m glad I kept walking in what God called me.

An Important (And Overlooked) Part of Your Leadership

Leadership is difficult. It can be hard to be a leader. Tiring, exhausting and exhilarating, all at the same time.

People often debate what makes a leader, what they do, and what you should look for in a leader.

There is one reality of leadership that I think often gets overlooked, and that is the role that a spouse plays for a leader.

Often the only time a conversation comes up about a pastor’s wife is when considering whether to hire a pastor (I think this is too narrow for leadership, as it only looks at a man as a leader). The question is often asked, “What should a pastor’s wife do in a church?”

The reality of leadership in a church is that your spouse is an extension of you, in good and bad ways.

If you and your spouse are at a meeting but you don’t get to talk with everyone, whoever has talked with your spouse feels connected and heard by you.

While the spouse of every leader is wired and gifted differently, one of the most important things a leader’s spouse brings is their presence.

This presence can be felt through actually being there, conversations, visibility, prayer or giving ideas and leadership to certain tasks or activities.

All of those things will come out of a spouse’s level of capability, life stage of kids, desire and passion, as well as capacity to do certain things.

These are important questions to ask and come back to on a regular basis.

Because of how relational leadership is, particularly in a church, this becomes all the more important.

This also, when done right, creates a lot of energy for the church and the leader and their spouse as they are working out of their unique wiring and bringing value to each other and the church.

Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Change

Leading can be difficult. It can lead to headaches, heartaches, difficulties, loneliness, and pain. It can also be exhilarating, exciting and filled with incredible joy.

For many pastors, we underestimate the cost of leadership. We think of the cost in terms of suffering or something connected to culture, but many of the costs of leadership will come inside of us or inside of our churches and the people we interact with. Not because they are intentionally out to get us, but because we are all human, and we all struggle with change and being led.

I re-read a few books on my shelf, and Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Change is one of those books.

Let me share three lessons for pastors and leaders, and then I’ll share some favorite quotes.

First, pastors must get to the balcony in their leadership.

Getting to the balcony comes from the idea of being at a dance, and how you experience the dance while you are on the floor versus when you are on the balcony. We experience it differently. The sights, the sounds, the band, our dance partner, the size of the crowd, all of it.

The balcony provides you with a different perspective and experience. Too many leaders only experience their church or business on the dance floor.

This is the white space a leader needs to think, to process, to pray.

The second lesson is to orchestrate the conflict.

Now, for a pastor, this does not sound very pastoral. Yet in relationships, teams, churches, and organizations, conflicts arise. Too often, as the authors point out, we are so attached to our roles that we make ourselves the issue of the conflict instead of something else (not someone else). There’s a crucial difference.

Many times when things have gone awry during conflicts in my leadership, it is because I or another person became the source of the conflict instead of the issue.

Lastly, anchor yourself by separating yourself personally from your role.

Honestly, this is one of the hardest things for me to do because being a pastor is something I love. It is hard to separate that and just be Josh.

When we are not able to separate ourselves from our role as a leader, we do those closest to us and those we lead a disservice.

Here are a few other things that stood out in the book:

  • Exercising leadership can get you into a lot of trouble.
  • People do not resist change, per se. People resist loss.
  • Leadership becomes dangerous, then, when it must confront people with loss.
  • To survive and succeed in exercising leadership, you must work as closely with your opponents as you do with your supporters.
  • People are willing to make sacrifices if they see the reason why.
  • You stay alive in the practice of leadership by reducing the extent to which you become the target of people’s frustrations.
  • Exercising leadership might be understood as disappointing people at a rate they can absorb.
  • If people do not feel the pinch of reality, they are unlikely to feel the need to change.
  • When you lead, people don’t love you or hate you. Mostly they don’t even know you. They love or hate the positions you represent.

Links for Leaders 1/19/18

It’s the weekend…finally. The perfect time to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on some reading. Below, you’ll find some articles I came across this week that I found helpful as a leader and parent and hope you do as well.

Before diving into those, in case you missed them this week. Here are the top 3 posts on my blog this week that I hope you find helpful:

I had a post published on Ministry Pass this week called When You Quit too Soon that got a lot of traction. If you’re struggling to stay engaged in your role, at your church or thinking about leaving a ministry job, I wrote this post to encourage you.

Also, Casey Cease and I released a new podcast this week on self-leadership, weight loss and the role food plays in leadership. I think this is often overlooked by pastors, church planters, and leaders. I hope it helps you reach your goals in 2018!

Now, onto the books, blogs & podcasts I enjoyed this week:

If you’re a reader (and you probably are if you follow my blog), I finished up John Ortberg’s new book this week called I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me: Getting Real about Getting Close. I’m an 8 on the enneagram, so intimacy and closeness do not come naturally to me. This book was incredibly helpful in that area. If that’s a struggle for you, I’d highly recommend it.

I loved this podcast with Josh Shipp on How to parent annoying kidsNot because I have annoying kids, but because I have kids that can annoy me in my lowest moments as a parent. My annoyance as a parent (and probably yours too) is usually from my lack of patience, lack of sleep or a long day.

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for new leaders, whether that is staff, elders, volunteers. People you can help reach their potential. But how do you find them? Scott Cochrane has 5 helpful ways to spot talent.

You probably have a list of goals for 2018, things you’ll do by the end of the year. But do you have a ‘to not do’ list? You should. Here’s why.

The Drive of the Apostle Paul (and a Pastor)

This post originally appeared on Ministry Pass.

Many pastors and churches like the theology of the Apostle Paul but not his drive and urgency.

Let me explain before you get mad.

 

The Drive of the Apostle Paul (and a Pastor)

In many church circles, the Apostle Paul is held up as a theologian of theologians. In the reformed world, the book of Romans and Ephesians are ones every pastor loves to preach from and talk about. Yet, there is a drive in Paul, an urgency that many pastors do not have.

Why?

Pastors are shepherds. They are to be compassionate, have strong character, care for those in their church, helping and walking with them as they grow in their faith. All of those things are good and true.

In fact, when I bring up the drive of a pastor, urgency in ministry, or even feeling the weight of the church I pastor, someone will quote Jesus and say, “Jesus said he will build his church, not you, Josh.” And that is true, and I wholeheartedly believe that.

But feeling the weight of being a pastorthe calling of being a pastor, having a drive, passion, or urgency for what you do is not the same as not trusting Jesus to build his church.

Consider what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:28: And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.

Urgency

Throughout Acts we see Paul going into places, causing riots and being thrown in prison. Why? He was urgent about what God had called him to. His passion ran all through him.

As you read through Acts or the letters that Paul wrote, you see a deep care he has for the people he is writing to, the churches he planted and the people he is speaking to. You see him understanding their worldview, doing the hard work of understanding their belief systems, what makes them tick. Why? So he can better share the gospel with them.

As you read his letters, you feel the urgency he has. History will tell us that he spent a lot of time in prison and so was that where his urgency came from? Maybe. But think about the culture we minister in. Is it any less difficult? Is it more secular than the Roman Empire Paul was in? No.

An Example

I’ll give you an example, maybe this is extreme. Recently, a pastor reached out to me on Saturday night asking if I knew anyone who could preach for him the next day. I thought something horrible or catastrophic happened to him or his family, so I asked. Nope. He just didn’t feel it for tomorrow morning was his response.

When I read through Acts, I see a man driven by the passion of redemption that he experienced in Jesus. An urgency that says, “My life is not forever.” The moment Paul stands up to speak, you feel that this might be the last time he preaches.

If you’re a pastor, can you take control of your church and believe that everything rises and falls on your efforts? Yes. Is that a sin? Yes.

A Deep Calling

I also believe you can and should be a pastor who feels a deep calling to your church and your city and feels the weight of what God has called you to. If you don’t, I don’t know if you are serious about what you are doing, because so much hangs in the balance of what God has called you to. Eternities, lives, kids, parents, marriages, careers, hopes, dreams, joys and failures. We are brought into so many holy moments as pastors that we should always feel the weight of.

Remember, feeling the weight of something is different than feeling it is all up to you.

We have a saying at our church that we stole from another church. We tell our volunteers and teams, “Every Sunday is someone’s first Sunday at Revolution.” If you’re a church planter, do you remember your first Sunday? When you arrived at your new job at your new church, do you remember you first Sunday? The butterflies, the wondering if anyone would show up, what they would think, how you would connect, the excitement and passion you had. You probably put a lot of thought, energy, and prayer into that morning and sermon.

Let me ask you, did you put the same energy, prayer, and thought into your last sermon?

When You’re Tempted to Quit Too Soon

At some point, we are tempted to quit something.

It might be a job, a church plant, a team, a diet or workout plan, a book, a degree program or even a difficult marriage.

Why?

Because we’re human, and when things get difficult, many of us want to pack up and go home.

 

But what if on the other side of that difficulty is what we have longed for all along?

I think many times when we quit, we miss out on what God has for us.

Why do we quit?

Sacrifice.

It is hard.

Difficult.

Painful even.

Ross Perot said:

Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.

I think what often sets people apart is their ability to persevere in something when it is difficult.

If you watch great athletes, the ones who win the gold medal, hold up the trophy or score the winning point, you will often see someone who was willing to live through pain, hardship, and difficulty. What you don’t see is the workout at 4am, the eating plan they put themselves through, the saying “no” to a night out with friends to get 10 hours of sleep. You don’t see the 1,000 jump shots they took each day, the miles they swam or ran, or the weights they lifted beyond what even they thought they could do.

When you see a couple in their 50s laughing together and genuinely enjoying each other’s presence, what you don’t see are the sleepless nights because they wouldn’t go to bed angry but instead worked through that argument. The tension of dealing with past hurt and past baggage and bringing it all to light so they could move forward. The hours spent holding hands and praying together about facing the road ahead. You don’t see the hundreds and thousands of compliments and little annoyances they decided to overlook instead of making a big deal about it.

What is on the other side of that difficulty or hardship? Very likely the breakthrough you’ve been waiting for.

But how do you know? How do you know if you should quit or keep moving, especially in a job like leadership?

Here are some things that I ask myself or encourage others to ask themselves:

Am I getting enough sleep? Often, but not always, the reason we are in a difficult season or want to quit is related to our sleep. When we are tired, we make poor eating choices, cut things out of our life that could be beneficial, have a short fuse with people and have a fogginess when it comes to our choices and thinking. This is why we often make better decisions in the morning instead of later in the afternoon.

Do I have enough outlets for stress? Leaders need outlets for stress – things that recharge them and help them keep going. Those outlets, when used correctly, will often help you stay the course. Things like sleeping, sabbath, eating well, working out, community. All of these are incredibly important to staying the course.

What led up to this season or desire to quit? A desire to quit often comes when we don’t know what else to do, but looking backward can be a helpful thing. Was there a leadership choice, a hire, a new launch that led to this season? Sometimes, we want to quit because we are running from something and a new opportunity or throwing in the towel is easier. Whenever a pastor calls me and says he’s thinking about leaving his church, the first question I ask him is, “What about your church is difficult right now?” Often, we are running from difficulty.

What does my community look like? It is easier to throw in the towel when we’re alone. Most sin happens in isolation. Community has a way of shining the light into places it needs to be. Many leaders leave a place because of isolation and loneliness.

What is my relationship with God like? Lastly, what is your relationship with God like? Too many pastors fall into, “God told me to leave” because it is hard to argue with. God may have called you to leave, but He may be telling you to endure as well. I can tell you that one is easier.

Only you know if you should quit something. You know what led to that season and choice, but you don’t know what’s on the other side of it. There have been many times in my over 10 years in Tucson that leaving would’ve been the easier choice, but each time I’ve stopped to ask myself these questions and others, I’m glad I kept walking in what God called me.

Leadership Conversations

If you’re like me, you have conversations in your head or wish you could have certain conversations about leadership with someone.

You feel stuck, lost or unsure on how to proceed with something. It might be how to handle a difficult staff member, a financial problem or how to continue growing as a leader. It might be growth barriers, when to start a new product or ministry, or when to shut one down.

Maybe you research it, think about it, or stay up late at night wondering what to do about it.

Well, that’s where my good friend Casey Cease and I can help. Casey has started multiple businesses, is a church planter and is also the CEO of Lucid Books.

We started a new podcast to have those conversations.

It’s called Leadership Conversations where we have the conversations leaders want to have so that leaders can win at leadership. 

If you haven’t subscribed, you can do so here. We release a new podcast each Tuesday and if there are any topics or guests you’d like for us to cover, please let us know.

How the Enneagram is Helping Me Grow as a Leader

It seems like everywhere you turn in the Christian world right now, someone is talking about the Enneagram. There are books, podcasts and blogs popping up everywhere.

I was first introduced to it two years ago as part of a leadership training I did with Katie through Crosspoint.

If you aren’t familiar, here’s a helpful description from Crosspoint:

We are in Christ so that we may become like Christ. (Ephesians 3:17) This is the journey of Christian spiritual formation. It requires a self-clarity anchored in the reality of being created in the image of God and re-created in the likeness of Christ. It involves ‘putting off’ the old way of being and ‘putting on’ the new way of being by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:20-24) Without a greater awareness of the unconscious motivations that impact our decisions and relationships, we remain stuck.

Each personality style carries a particular challenge to Christian maturity. This is what the desert fathers and mothers of the third and fourth century discovered. These spiritual guides were concerned about unacknowledged patterns that kept Christians from a deeper walk with Christ. As they listened and prayed, various patterns began to emerge. The individual Fruits of the Spirit (nine godly virtues) faced the corruptive power of nine specific vices. And it seemed to them that each virtue was susceptible to a particular vice. True sanctification of the heart would be impossible without addressing this subtle but sinful reality.

What I have found most helpful is that at the beginning of taking the Enneagram, it shows you your personality style. The way that you perceive reality, process reality and how you present yourself to the world around you.

In light of that, here are some ways it is helping me as a leader:

Helping me to know the mask I wear. Most adults and leaders are not self aware. Most of the people I meet with do not know how they are wired, how that wiring works, what they are best suited to do or not do. Knowing this one thing helps to save you a lot of heartache when it comes to figuring out a job, where to serve in a church or what would make you excited in the morning.

Many people also don’t understand the mask that they wear. The Enneagram really helped me understand the mask I wear, not only to protect myself in relationships, but also to get ahead. It really does help you understand the sins and tendencies that will bring you down. Sadly, many people will take the Enneagram or any test and say, “Well I’m just this or that, so that’s all there is to it.” That isn’t it or the end, and that is a sad excuse to stay stuck.

Which leads to the next one…

Helps those closest to me challenge me and pray for me. I’m an 8 on the Enneagram, which means I bring a lot of energy and intensity to everything I do and every relationship I have. I often joke that if you want something done and don’t care how it gets done, send an 8. If you want it done a specific way, send a 1. If you want it done efficiently, send a 3.

Knowing how I’m wired not only helps me process what I’m feeling and thinking when things happen, but it helps those around me understand that as well. It helps them to give grace when needed, but also to push on me when needed. They can also point out my blindspots a lot faster than simply guessing if I am that way.

If you are a friend with someone who is a 7, they can very easily be the life of the party, but they can also be impulsive, all over the map and lean towards escapism in unhealthy places. Knowing this is incredibly helpful not only for the person but for those around them.

Helps me to appreciate others wiring and give grace to them. Most people know that everyone is not wired like they are, but we rarely live like that is true. The Enneagram has really helped me understand how others are created, how they process and see things and how they protect themselves. 1’s are incredibly hard on things, they love things to be done well and perfectly (to their standards). They are also 10 times harder on themselves than on those around them. Knowing this has allowed me to extend a lot of grace to 1’s and help me understand the frustration they experience.

If you are friends with a 2 on the Enneagram, they love to help people and are often right in the center of helping to make things happen. But they also struggle to know what they need in a situation because they are often so focused on helping others and meeting their needs. Knowing this is enormously helpful to know how someone needs to pace themselves and make sure they have strong boundaries for rest and rejuvenation.

This matters in relationships because many times we will look at how others see the world and dismiss it because it is different than our viewpoint, or we will see how someone struggles with something and if we don’t struggle with that, we can easily look down on them or wonder why that is such a stumbling block to them. I feel like understanding this has raised my ability to give grace in situations that in the past I would’ve given up on someone.

Helps those closest to me understand my reactions and how I process the world. While the Enneagram has been a help to me in relationships, it has been a help to those closest to me as well as we’ve discussed what we’re learning together. This one point was one of the biggest aha moments for Katie and me in our marriage.

If you’re married, do you know how your spouse processes the world? You might know their reactions to things because you are so used to it by now, but do you know why they react that way? Where that comes from?

Most people don’t, but that one piece of information is incredibly important and helpful. Your spouse might get angry easily, but do you know why? People get angry for different reasons. That is how they process the world. Your spouse might shut down emotionally, but do you know why? They might look at the world through lenses of fear, melancholy, co-dependence, or being focused on their image.

All of those things matter and are important. And knowing these helps with the next one.

Helps me to know if my reactions or processing are sins. Getting angry isn’t always a sin, but sometimes it is. Isolating isn’t always a sin, but it can be. Being incredibly helpful and others-focused is a great quality, but it can be a sin. Getting things done is incredibly important and will make you very successful, but it can be destructive.

It is understanding yourself in the light of the person God created and called you to be that you are able to understand if something is a sin.

Being able to articulate that this is my childhood wound, this is how that has affected my life, this is how I have found redemption from it, is crucial in our journey to being whole in Christ. Being able to know this is why I’m fearful, anxious, frugal, emotionally sensitive, and what parts of those feelings and actions are sins or not is really important. I think it gives a bigger picture of humanity.

It keeps you from imploding. The last thing the Enneagram has helped me with as a leader is protecting from implosion. Now, the reality is that all of us are a choice away from wrecking our lives, but the Enneagram has helped me know what can wreck my life, what struggle can bring me or another person down. And they are different.

Another important aspect has come out of talking to counselors who have been using the Enneagram, and it is this: What made you successful in your 20’s and 30’s can often be the thing that brings you down in your 40’s and 50’s.

We have all seen this. The hard driving 28 year old who starts a business and “makes it happen” quickly becomes the tyrant no one wants to work for when he’s 42.

The person who is always helping others early in life who becomes co-dependent in relationships, and now they don’t know who they are without people.

The person who is the life of the party and the one you always want to have around because of how spontaneous and fun they are, but in their 40’s they are irresponsible and too impulsive as they switch from job to job.

Knowing the resourceful and non-resourceful side of your personality is crucial to knowing what will bring you down and the road to health.

Links for Leaders 12/8/17

It’s the weekend…finally. The perfect time to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on some reading. Below, you’ll find some articles I came across this week that I found helpful as a leader and parent and hope you do as well.

Before diving into those, in case you missed them this week. Here are the top 3 posts from my blog this week that I hope you find helpful:

I’ve also begun a new hobby, a podcast with my good friend Casey Cease called Leadership ConversationsOur goal is to have the conversations leaders wish they could have or have in their heads so that they can win at leadership. I’d love for you to check it out.

Now, onto some of the posts I enjoyed this week:

Christmas is almost here, which means time for gifts and some time off. If you’re a leader, this is a great time to grab a great book. Here are 18 books Brian Dodd thinks every leader needs to read in 2018 (I’ve read some of these and he’s right).

Christmas is a challenging season for everyone, but for pastors it can be especially hard if they don’t plan well and think through it. Chuck Lawless shares 10 things for pastors to do differently this month that I found to be really helpful.

Sleep is a challenge for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, sleep is crucial not only to health and longevity, but effectiveness. In fact, as one blog put it, sleep is a gift.

This article by Brian Jones on Inside the mind of a disgruntled church member is a must read for any pastor or person who attends a church.

December is a busy month for everyone, but especially pastors. What can you do? Tyler Reagin has some great insights on how to lead and rest during the holiday season.