Experience Health & Joy

Weekly Blog

The Joys and Pitfalls of Friendships with Church Members

Do you have close friends who are members of the congregation? Consider that question carefully for a moment. Elbert Hubbard said, “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” I hope that you have plenty of friends in the church who know you and love… Read More

The Former Pastor Never Leaves

Have you ever felt “haunted” by the ghost of the presence of the former Pastor? You’re not alone. I’d venture to say that every pastor (except mission planters!) has had to deal with comparisons, fair and unfair, with his predecessors. He may have relocated two thousand miles away, but he… Read More

Healthy Churches Need Healthy Leaders!

A Christian congregation is an intricate, sometimes tangled, and nearly always mystifying web of relationships. You walked right into that one, didn’t you! Like a hiker who stumbles into a spider web stretched between trees, pastors are often surprised by the sticky web of relationships in churches. What churches do… Read More

The “Yeast” You Can Do for Yourself? Rest!

My Grandma Schuldt, born 1882, lived 1,600 miles away. When she visited, her four grandsons wanted one thing: home baked bread! Her bread was so good that spreading it with sweet creamery butter, well, kind of ruined it. “Please make us some bread, Grandma!” So good! I haven’t had a… Read More

More “Fruitful” Stress Management

I find the Psalms very therapeutic. “Stressed Out” might be a better label than “Laments” for the majority of the Psalms. Part 1: “I’m falling apart down here, God. a. Where are you? b. My friends have deserted me. c. I quit!” At Grace Place, we’d call that a… Read More

Feeling good feels so good! Try these 2 tricks.

I’ve felt lousy and I’ve felt good. I like good better. How about you? Did you ever wake up feeling really icky and wonder, “How did that happen?” Many people I love deal with chronic illness and pain on a daily basis. Why God in his providential care allows such… Read More

“Round is a shape.” Let’s redefine fitness.

We were discussing physical fitness on a retreat when a pastor told me, “You know, round is a shape, too.” He proceeded to make an excellent argument. Some of us are by nature and genetics born with an endomorphic body style: a naturally thicker build and prone to easily… Read More

High/Low? Hot/Cold? Ministry’s Wild Ride

When I read it, all the lights went on. Of all the research I’ve studied about clergy wellbeing, this insight from Duke University has been maybe my biggest “Aha!” moment of all. Pastors experience as much secondary trauma as almost any other profession. We know that. We’re invited to join… Read More

Pastors Need (Lots of) Other Pastors

The Lone Ranger never rode alone. Han Solo never flew solo. Peter had James and John. James had John and Peter. They all had Matthew and Thomas and Andrew and Philip and… (you get the idea). Paul had Barnabas and Timothy. And Silas. And Apollos. Pastors need other pastors. Lots… Read More

Alone Together: The Devotional Paradox

It’s personal. Sort of. But not private. Only you can discover your best practices for the spiritual disciplines of Word and Sacrament, prayer and worship, silence and solitude. But you discover your way best with the help of others, both ancient and contemporary. Dr. Myers and Dr. Briggs might suggest… Read More

“Peace be with you.” Nicely done.

Don’t be silly. Of course there are things you’d do differently. No Holy Week and Easter celebration ever goes perfectly. That’s kind of the point. If anyone should have regrets about their Easter, it would be the first disciples. Hand chosen, seminary trained by Jesus himself, and they still messed… Read More

Ready for Easter? Just say, “Not Ready!”

It’s the season of great reversals. The power of God was on display when God humbled himself and was nailed to a tree. The way to eternal life was paved by his lifeless body, laid in the tomb. Now this week, your faithful service begins in the same place as… Read More