overcomingministryburnout_650(1)Recent studies reveal that pastors and ministry leaders are struggling in the work of the ministry more than we might imagine for people called to do Gods work. Many are discouraged, disappointed, defeated, and depressed. Pastors are dropping out of ministry at alarming rates—upwards of 1,700 annually. Ninety percent state that they feel overworked and inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands. Eighty percent believe ministry has negatively affected their families. Fifty percent are so discouraged they would leave ministry if they had another way to support their families.

Pastors and ministry leaders need help to face the intense level of struggle that threatens to take many out of ministry.

In this webinar, our guests Steve Maybee and Jody Hesler honestly share insights learned from their personal experiences with burnout as well as their training as therapists. Jody and Steve have experienced the trauma of ministry burnout and are passionate about the wounded shepherds they serve at Alongside Ministries, a ministry devoted to caring for and restoring broken and wounded shepherds.

To listen to the audio recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Overcoming Ministry Burnout: Understanding the Problem (Part 1-Audio).

To watch the video recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Overcoming Ministry Burnout: Understanding the Problem (Part 1-Video).

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Overcoming Ministry Burnout: Understanding the Problem (Part 1) PDF.

Our Daily Bread Ministries Discovery Series booklet The Strength of Weakness by Pastor Dan Schaeffer is available for you to download free by clicking on the booklet title above.

David Roper, a pastor to pastors, wrote a book to shepherd other pastors hearts in the ministry. To get a free PDF download of an excerpt of his book from Discovery House Publishers, A Burden Shared, click the title link: A Burden Shared.

Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion is a book written by Wayne Cordeiro, a successful pastor who personally experienced burnout and wrote about it. Alongside Ministries recommends this book to anyone struggling with ministry burnout.

You can also visit the Alongside Ministries website for more helpful information about the programs they offer to help wounded shepherds and their families heal from ministry burnout at: http://www.alongsidecares.net. Alongside Ministries has also provided a link to a test that will allow you to determine your level of risk for burnout. Click the link: TEST.

For further resources from Our Daily Bread Ministries to help you as a ministry leader, click the link: Church Life.

prayerslide_650x220A recent study by the Barna Group focused on young people who drop out of church and leave the faith. But nowhere is that more disconcerting than for pastors and church leaders who are seeing their own children leave the faith. For leaders who are struggling with their children, the challenge to shepherd other parents of prodigals is a seemingly impossible task. Striving to lead others through their struggles while limping through your own may seem totally out of the question and can feel more like the blind leading the blind. At least that’s what the evil one would like us to believe.

And that’s where this webinar with James and Cari Banks comes in.

James is a pastor and author of the book Prayers for Prodigals: 90 Days of Prayer for Your Child. James and Cari know firsthand what it’s like to struggle as parents who don’t have all the answers. Both of their adult children have struggled with their faith. The Banks share the agony of parents who deeply love their children and yet find themselves powerless to safe their children from their choices. But, as James puts it, “Our children are helpless against our prayers.”

In this webinar, James and Cari honestly share their personally painful story and what they learned on their journey with prodigals in hopes of encouraging pastors and ministry couples to focus on the One who loves their children even more than they do.

To listen to the audio recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Shepherding Parents of Prodigals.

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Shepherding Parents of Prodigals PDF.

To get a free PDF download of an excerpt of the first 30 days of James’ book from Discovery House Publishers, click the title link: Prayers for Prodigals. You can also visit James’ website for more helpful information on his speaking and writing ministry at: www.prayersforprodigals.org.

For further resources from RBC Ministries to help you love your children well, click the linkParenting Resources.

prayerslide_blog 650x220

David Kinnaman’s recent book, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith, highlights a recent study by the Barna Group that focuses on young people who drop out of church and leave the faith. He discovered three distinct patterns of those who have “lost their faith”: prodigals, nomads, and exiles. According to the research, prodigals make up “one out of nine young people who grew up with a Christian background and lose their faith in Christianity.”

Many Christian parents are seeing their children leave their faith and are longing to understand why and what they can do about it. And that’s where this webinar with James and Cari Banks can help.

James is a pastor and author of the book Prayers for Prodigals: 90 Days of Prayer for Your Child. James and Cari know firsthand what it’s like to struggle with children who have wandered from the faith of their parents. Both their adult son and daughter have struggled with Christianity for themselves. The Banks know the plight of parents who deeply love their children and yet find themselves sometimes left to do what seems at times to be an anemic response—to pray.

But prayer is anything but powerlessness. James and Cari help parents focus on the One who loves their children even more than they do. It’s time to pray.

To watch the video recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Praying for Prodigals Video.

To listen to the audio recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Praying for Prodigals.

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Praying for Prodigals PPT.

To get a free PDF download of an excerpt of the first 30 days of James’ book from Discovery House Publishers, click the title link: Prayers for Prodigals. You can also visit James’ website for more helpful information on his speaking and writing ministry at: www.prayersforprodigals.org.

For further resources from RBC Ministries to help you love your children well, click the link: Parenting Resources.

shepherdinginfertility_650x220_blogInfertility has been called the silent epidemic. One in eight American couples will experience some form of infertility. That number jumps to one in four couples in developing nations. Infertility is a real issue that haunts many couples who earnestly desire to start a family of their own. And most of them struggle alone in silence in your church.

Sheridan and Merryn Voysey understand what it’s like to face the lonely struggle with infertility. In this webinar, they candidly share their experience with the hope that the insights they’ve learned will encourage pastors and ministry leaders who are genuinely trying to come alongside couples struggling with infertility issues.

To listen to the audio recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Shepherding Couples Through Infertility

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Shepherding Couples Through Infertility PPT.

To get a free PDF download of an excerpt of Sheridan’s book from Thomas Nelson Publishers, click the title link: Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings. You can also visit Sheridan’s website for more helpful information on his speaking and writing ministry at: Sheridanvoysey.com. Sheridan has a great blog on resources for couples struggling with infertility at the following link:
http://sheridanvoysey.com/resources-for-the-couple-facing-infertility/

For further resources from RBC Ministries to help you weather the challenges of ministry, click the link: Infertility Resources.

journeythroughbrokendreams_650x220“Perhaps a greater tragedy than a broken dream is a life forever defined by it.” Those are the words of Sheridan Voysey from his book Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings. While the details of our broken dreams may vary, there are common threads that we all share . . . like what does the new normal look like after your dream has died?

Sheridan and Merryn understand what it’s like to face a new normal. In this webinar, they candidly share their struggle with infertility and the decade of medical procedures they endured to try and start a family of their own. In spite of the heartbreaking reality that they were never able to conceive a child, they share insights that bring hope and encouragement to couples struggling with infertility issues.

To listen to the audio recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Infertility: Finding Hope with Empty Arms.

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Infertility: Finding Hope with Empty Arms PPT.

To get a free PDF download of an excerpt of Sheridan’s book from Thomas Nelson Publishers, click the title link: Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings. You can also visit Sheridan’s website for more helpful information on his speaking and writing ministry at: Sheridanvoysey.com. Sheridan has a great blog on resources for couples struggling with infertility at the following link:

http://sheridanvoysey.com/resources-for-the-couple-facing-infertility/

For further resources from RBC Ministries to help you weather the challenges of ministry, click the link: Infertility Resources.

managingministry-650x220Pastors and ministry leaders are often thrown into the deep end of the pool without a whole lot of coaching when it comes to managing the avalanche of demands, opportunities, and interruptions that make up life in the ministry. And unfortunately for most of us who trained for ministry, our seminary training was woefully lacking in that area.

And that’s why we invited Knute Larson to join us in this webinar. Knute not only has 48 years of pastoral experience, but management and church administration was one of his fortes. He has served as an associate pastor, a senior pastor of a church of 200, and as a senior pastor of a megachurch of 8,000. He currently coaches over 300 pastors regarding effective administrative issues.

Knute joined me and co-host Joe Tower, director of the Church Ministries division of RBC Ministries, to share some of the insights he’s honed throughout his years of ministry. And in keeping with our ministry commitment to make the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all, we are making the content of this webinar available without cost or obligation to you and anyone you’d like to share it with.

To listen to the audio recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Managing the Ministry Webinar Audio.

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Managing the Ministry PPT.

To get a free PDF download of Knute’s booklet of pastoral insights, click the title link: Managing the Ministry: Unraveling the Knots of Church Administration. You can also visit Knute’s website for more helpful information on his speaking and coaching ministry at: Knute Larson.

For further resources from RBC Ministries to help you weather the challenges of ministry, click the link: Administration.

Listen

Dennis Moles —  May 13, 2014 — 1 Comment

 

Porch Swing-Flickr: Creative Commons/Danie Becknell

Porch Swing-Flickr: Creative Commons/Danie Becknell

In my culture (I was born and raised in Appalachian coal country), storytelling is both an art and a way of life. I’m not sure of the degree to which illiteracy and economic depression nurtured this gift in my ancestors, but the ability to teach, entertain, and communicate via stories is highly prized where I come from.

I’ve been many places and met loads of intelligent and gifted people over the years, but some of the best storytellers I’ve ever known are from back home—not the lest of which is my dad.

The storytellers

The storytellers

Dad was and is quite the storyteller. He has a gift for the art of it. Dad uses words the way a painter might use oil or acrylic—the imagination of his listeners is his canvas. Dad has the flare, imagination, and creativity to spin a tale, but he’s still not the storyteller my grandfather was.

Why? Poppaw has better stories. Dementia has robbed my children of the joy of hearing their great-grandfather tell his stories, but it has not and cannot keep them from the wisdom he has passed on through them.

Poppaw wasn’t the artist dad is. His stories didn’t run on wit. They ran on wisdom—maybe that’s why they were so powerful. Some storytellers have to be the hero in their stories, but that wasn’t the case with Poppaw. Sometimes he was the one who needed saving. In his stories, he wasn’t a war hero but a terrified 21-year-old from Confidence, West Virginia, who jumped out of a C-47 on June 6, 1944. He wasn’t a “Screaming Eagle” bravely running through the French night but a farm boy who didn’t know whether he’d live to see another sunrise. In his stories, the German soldiers weren’t monsters. They were boys who stood on the far side of a river that was small enough for the Germans and the Americans to throw packets of cigarettes to each other from one side to the other.

His stories didn’t always cast him or our family in PoppawArmya favorable light, but they almost always taught me an important life-lesson. They were gifts that I could not fully appreciate at the time but have grown to treasure over the years.

The writer of the Proverbs says: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck” (1:8-9).

The older I get, the more I realize that wisdom permeated Poppaw’s stories. He wasn’t telling me stories just to entertain or inform me. He was telling me his story with the hope that I would find wisdom in the retelling.

So tell me, who in your life is (was) worthy of listening to?

 

 

 

findinggod-650x220Life is difficult. Flat tires, flooded basements, cranky kids, wounding words, the loss of a job, a broken body, a painful marriage—“trouble” comes in all shapes and sizes. And it often shows up when we least expect it and are unprepared.

Learning to live for God through all the daily troubles and difficulties of life isn’t something we can take or leave. Our worship, walk, and witness depend upon how we handle the daily chaos of trouble and hardships. However, while the depth of our self-centeredness makes loving others more confusing and harder to learn than anything else in life, there is nothing more important. And that’s where we all need help.

Gary and Lisa Heim joined us on May 7, 2014, for a heart-to-heart discussion about what they’ve learned about pursuing God when we’re discouraged or frustrated. Gary is a pastor of small groups and discipleship at a church in Rockford, MI. Lisa works with the women’s ministry. Both are licensed counselors and have written about what they’ve personally learned and have passed along to others over the past 25 years of ministry. Their book, True North: Choosing God in the Frustrations of Life is the theme of this webinar.

In keeping with our ministry commitment to make the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all, we are making the content of this webinar available without cost or obligation to you and anyone you’d like to share it with.

To listen to the audio recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Finding God In The Frustrations of Life.

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Finding God In The Frustrations of Life PPT.

To get a free sample download from Gary and Lisa Heim’s book, click the book title link: True North: Choosing God in the Frustrations of Life.You can also visit their website for more helpful information on their teaching and speaking ministry at: True North Ministries.

For further resources from RBC Ministries to help you understand better what faithful living looks like when we struggle, click the link: Life-Struggles.

flickr/Creative Commons/Spring by Paula Bailey

flickr/Creative Commons/Spring by Paula Bailey

I like winter primarily because it leads to spring. Even though I live in Michigan where the harsh and blustery winters are reminiscent of C. S. Lewis’ make-believe world of Narnia where it was “always winter but never Christmas,” spring (even in Michigan) never fails to show up. And when spring finally arrives, I appreciate it the more for the long wait. The warm, sunny days ushered in by chirping birds and hardy crocuses and daffodils that burst through the ground, even when the last vestiges of snow still linger, prove that winter always gives way to spring.

We all face trials and difficult periods or situations in this life that, like a long winter, seem to never end. I’ve experienced a few, including a period of 2 or 3 years when I thought our son would never learn to read, no matter how much tutoring or special help he received; several years when two of our teenagers (simultaneously but for different reasons) created such stress and heartache in our family that for a while it consumed much of our time and most of our energy; and decades when it seemed a loved one would never experience a victorious Christian life. But God enabled me to endure and to grow in godly character (and surprisingly in joy) through these difficulties—and He continues to do so.

Even in the most trying circumstances we can have hope that God will enable us to endure and will carry us through—and will transform us in the process. Jesus said in His Word: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We can cast all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). He promises to help us and be with us in our struggles.

Unlike winter which always leads to spring, not all difficult trials will end in this life, but they will end with this life. And in the next life, which will last for eternity, we will be with our Savior and will “receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). That gives me hope.

 

Becoming

Dennis Moles —  April 29, 2014 — Leave a comment

becoming

This past week my kids traveled down to Ohio to spend time with their grandparents. During the trip they received a gift from my dad—a digital recording of me playing basketball as a high school senior. I have to be honest, it’s more than a bit embarrassing—and I’m not just talking about the too-short shorts.

A lot has changed since those days—mostly me. These days I wear longer shorts, have grayer hair, and sport a much huskier physique. But it’s not just my clothing and body that have changed—so has my mind. It’s been a long road between there and here.

As I watched that video of my teammates and me running up and down the basketball court, I started to daydream about what I’d like to say to seventeen-year-old Dennis if I had the chance. I came up with four things.

  • Life is not a competition—your worth is not tied to winning.
  • Don’t be so judgmental.
  • Go fishing with Poppaw and ask him to tell you every story he can remember.
  • Spend time with Paul.

Those of you who know me, especially those who knew the seventeen-year-old me, will likely understand this list. For the rest of you, here are some insights that might help.

Seventeen-year-old Dennis didn’t understand that trying and failing is often better than winning or succeeding. He didn’t know that mercy triumphs over judgment. He didn’t realize that when his grandfather was telling him stories, he was actually passing along wisdom that could make his life much easier. And he certainly didn’t think he’d be sitting at Paul’s funeral 4 short years after graduation.

Take time to be with those you love. Listen to wisdom that comes from age. Extend mercy rather than judgment – it’s the way of Christ. Excellence is not a prerequisite for love or acceptance.

These have been hard-learned lessons—mostly because I have to keep learning them over and over.

The video my dad sent back with the kids reminds me that as human beings we are always becoming—always moving. Sixty-year-old Dennis won’t be the same at forty-year-old Dennis. I just hope he continues to move in the right direction.