Pastoring prepares you for preaching. When you enter into people's lives, relationships, struggles, and victories, it better prepares you to minister to them. John Stott said, "The worst minsters are invisible Monday through Saturday and incomprehensible on Sunday." Part of preaching is understanding the people that you ministering to, which is difficult to do if you aren’t building relationships with them. Early on in pastoring, I started a series on Ephesians, and there is a debate from scholars on who actually wrote the letter. So I took 15 minutes at the start of the series, to explain the sides and draw the lines. And our people are sitting there thinking, "Let’s see, Ephesians 1:1 – 'Paul, an apostle [...]
About TSmithTim Smith gets blamed when things go wrong. In 2008, he married Jessica, who also blames him when things go wrong.
Everyone I know is tired– moms, dads, police officers, even people who are retired are tired. Our society lives at a fast pace, so we are going to be tired doing something. This even extends to the ministry. In 2 Corinthians 12:15 the Apostle Paul said it like this: “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you.” We need what Paul had– a healthy sense of the reality that this is the only life we get. This life is here for a little while, and then we stand before God. Jesus talked about that idea this way: work while it's day, because the night is coming when no man can work. It seems to me that the [...]
If you're like me, you've read plenty of books and opinions about church growth. People tell you everything from how many songs to have in the service to what types of doughnuts to serve. But what works for one pastor doesn't always work for everyone, so I'd like to share some thoughts on five simple factors of church growth that are rooted in Scripture and applicable to every church– large or small, rural or urban, new or old. Gifts The parable of the talents, as recorded in Matthew 25, reveals to us that while God has given each of us varying gifts, every gift comes from God. And, let's face it, there are some people that God has gifted in [...]
The goal of Sunday School is to accomplish one of the greatest needs in the 21st century– to provide Biblical education to individuals in a particular life stage. Dr. Elmer Towns said that ‘Sunday School is biblical education in action, it is the mortar that holds the bricks together and becomes the foundation of the house.’ Sunday School, like many things in the church, is a tool, not a goal. It is a tool that God has used in amazing ways. It is a tool to systematically, comprehensively, and appropriately teach the Bible to a particular life stage. Sunday School exists to transform lives through effectively teaching God’s Word. Sunday School lessons usually provide a format for discussion and interaction, [...]
As pastor of a church that has long been a part of a historically great neighborhood, I have noticed some downward trends in recent years. While it has always been our goal to serve our neighbors, I have been burdened to encourage our church and her members to take a more active role in the community. I encourage you to consider these needs and suggestions along with your role in making the Portland neighborhood a better, safer place. Family structure I desire to see more family-friendly businesses and activities throughout Portland. It would be great to see our local parks and recreational centers renovated, providing safe fun for children. Recently, we were able to talk to people looking to bring [...]
A few weeks ago, I was told that my wife and I needed to take a break and rest. At first, I hesitated, considering how busy things have been at Shawnee in recent months. But after discussing it with Amanda, we agreed that we could use a few days by ourselves. I am thankful to the people of Shawnee for giving us the opportunity to take these last few days and get away. I know that the staff in particular bore a heavier burden because one of the team was missing, but we thank you for your willingness and kindness. Our vacation rules were simple: no cell phones, messages, tv or social media. We took groceries to the cabin so [...]
Nearly every pastor or church leader knows the burden of carrying the financial responsibilities of a ministry. Since I became pastor of Shawnee Baptist Church, finances have been a constant battle. And while we are not yet debt-free, last week God completed a miracle that has launched us past the largest obstacles between us and that goal. Below are some of the ideas that have helped us navigate some of our most difficult decisions these past five years. Be open and honest. Communicate clearly throughout the process. Allow time for questions to be asked. One of the most precious resources that a ministry going through financial difficulties can have is unity, and that begins with your willingness to [...]
Christmas will be difficult for many this year. Perhaps the death of loved ones is becoming incredibly real all over again, or maybe financial hardships have brought a family to the breaking point. I hurt deeply for those who are struggling, suffering or sorrowing this Christmas. Christmas is the message that Christ came to help His people. And just as God gave mankind the greatest gift, so we to we make giving a priority this season. Here is my question for you– how will you be a help to someone in need? Do something special and out of the ordinary this season, and if you're not sure how, here are a few ideas. Go caroling to the elderly. My family [...]
Few young and inexperienced pastors, I think, have been given more support, encouragement, patience and blessings than I. My transition into pastoring was peaceful because of the meekness and kindness of so many veteran members. But there are regrets over these last 5 years; I am not a perfect man. I have stumbled and sinned with my heart and my mouth. And you have been forgiving and long-suffering people and have covered a multitude of sins with your love for me. I have also learned much throughout these last five years– some of them I never imagined I would need to know, and others I thought I already knew. I would like to share some of the most important with [...]
Maximum morale boost with minimal effort. I would have thought there was a rule against this. I think they're filming a sequel to The Emperor's New Groove. This is why we say "Heads up!"