10 Things I’ve Learned In 3 Years Of Ministry

This past May marked the end of my first 3 years as a pastor.

I didn’t think much about it, to be honest. But lately, I have been. Specifically, about the things that I’ve learned over those 3 years. I’m still very much a pastoral beginner, but I’ve managed to pick up some things as I’ve stumbled onwards.

Thankfully I’ve been surrounded by very gracious people, and I’ve had some great wisdom to call on in the form of much wiser heads than mine.

Here are 10 of my observations. I don’t think they’re universal, by any means. Some are probably quite specific to the kind of person that I am. But maybe one or two of them will be helpful, regardless…

Continue reading

The Uncomfortable Middle

I think of myself as a theological moderate.

Of course, most people think of themselves as centrists, but in this case I think it’s more than just me trying to claim the rational middle ground.

If we’re talking about the evangelical world (and excluding true liberalism and fundamentalism), this is how I see things…

On the progressive end, you’ve got folks like Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, Will Willimon, Tony Campolo, Stanley Hauerwas and Walter Brueggemann.

On the conservative end, people like Tim Keller, D.A. Carson, John Piper, J.I. Packer and Francis Chan.

And I don’t feel 100% confortable associating myself with either camp. I read the books (and blogs, if applicable) of both. I learn from and appreciate both. Some of my  “favourites” come from one of these two camps (Willimon is one of my favourite preachers, and Keller is one of my favourite authors). But I don’t feel like I belong to either camp.

The theological stream I swim in seems more sparsely populated, or at least the boundaries are less clear. The more I read of his biography, the more I think that Dietrich Bonhoeffer fits here. Scot McKnight and C.S. Lewis definitely belong here. Perhaps Marva Dawn and Eugene Petersen too. Presumptuous as it might be to claim him, I want to include Karl Barth here also. And, as much as he hates to be labelled, I think that N.T. Wright would swim in this stream as well.

…The reasons that I don’t feel completely at home amongst progressives or conservatives mirror one another. Continue reading