Author: Mark Ramsey

  Several years ago, somebody somewhere decided that October should be designated “Pastor Appreciation Month.” While rarely complaining out loud for fear of offending well-intentioned church members, many pastors would just as soon pass on this kind of appreciation. First, there is the difficulty with October—a...

Doubt is a familiar visitor for both ministers and congregational leaders. We doubt our faith. Even more, we doubt ourselves, as leaders, worrying that our faith is not strong enough, that we do not understand enough, that we are not expert enough to fulfill our...

In his 1974 essay “Vocation as Grace,” Baptist minister and writer Will D. Campbell (1924-2013) recounted a conversation he had once had with a high-wire performer for a traveling circus: I asked him why he chose that particular way of making a living. The first few...

Space has an important relationship to faith, but “space” does not automatically equal “church building.” I have served six congregations over 30+ years in ministry. Each was an established church which had moved into its current building as early as 1892 or as recently as...

In a recent interview, Bruce Springsteen—45 years a rock icon, with those four-hour live concerts and last year’s sold out Broadway show—was asked about his family life.   Springsteen admitted that for years the idea of a home filled him “with distrust and a bucketload of grief.” He credits...

  Every church board of whatever size will face a moment when the stunning complexity and reality of the needs they feel called to meet will make their efforts—even their very solid, organized, well-resourced, well-led efforts—seem inadequate.  What to do then?   The temptation is to try to “scale...

  In the 21st Chapter of John, after post-Easter Jesus cooks breakfast for the disciples (while coaching them from the shore to re-rig their boats following a long, frustrating night of fruitless fishing), he turns to Peter and asks him three times: “Do you love me?”...

  There’s a story about a church choir whose members processed in pairs down the long center aisle during the opening hymn at the beginning of worship. About halfway down, the members of each pair would separate momentarily—one stepping right and the other stepping left—before resuming...