Ministry Journey Blog

Thoughts on Ministry

22 May

Name that Disease

Posted in Uncategorized on 22.05.18 by Merlyn

Health is important, not just to people, but to churches and organizations as well. Consultant Patrick Lencioni states, “Organizational health trumps everything.” For me, as a Pastor, I am not interested in leading the biggest, richest, hippest or best church, but I am determined with every fiber of my being and with every minute of my work here to do all I can to ensure that any church I serve is the healthiest church that it can be. Church health will always trump any worship style, preaching charisma and budget that could ever come into existence.In order to be healthy as a church, we must avoid illness as much as possible. What are the diseases that plague the church of Jesus Christ in North America today?


The Flu

If you have ever had the flu, you know it is not fun. When the flu hits, everything else stops. You feel utter helplessness as you have no control over your body. Unresolved conflict as well as conflict handled in an unbiblical way is the flu of the church. The good news is that most often it is preventable by its own flu shot, Matthew 18. Jesus gives us specific instructions on how to deal with conflict and in dealing with it in the way that Jesus has instructed, we are able to avoid the additional suffering that comes with this flu virus of the church. Every church should have a conflict covenant based on Matthew 18 and that conflict covenant that is more important to us than the church constitution or any policy or procedure the church might have.


Heart Disease

Heart Disease is not always noticeable, seems innocent enough but can be deadly. The heart disease of the church is drama. Drama is common, seems innocent enough and on the surface seems entirely innocent. Drama is exhausting, especially in the church. Satan loves drama because it is incredibly distracting and deeply discouraging to those in leadership and those who have to waste their time dealing with it instead of doing the important work of the ministry. I have a preteen daughter, that is more than enough drama for me.

(keep in mind, I am not a medical expert, I am not that kind of doctor…)



Gossip is the cancer of the church. This is especially said because gossip is extremely common and incredibly preventable. It breaks my heart to see gossip ruin churches. Jesus knew this was going to be a risk and that is why he offered the teaching in Matthew 18, not just for conflict resolution, but also for gossip prevention. The apostle Paul speaks out strongly against gossip as well as he saw first hand the destruction, pain and havoc it created for churches. Gossip is a toxin and is not something I ever want to permit, something that I have confronted on more than one occasion in my career.

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12 May

Perspective: If we only knew…

Posted in Uncategorized on 12.05.18 by Merlyn

They say that if children came out of the womb as teenagers, nobody would have more than 1. Being the father of a son and daughter in the throws of the adolescent journey, I tend to agree with this statement. Another phrase that has been on my mind lately is, ‘death by paper-cut.’ Its kind of self explanatory, it is the slow, annoying, painful death by thousands of little paper cuts. 

The truth is that it is not the big things that often get us, but the little things. 

In any given week as a pastor, I deal with a wide range of things from the small to the massively significant, from the normal to the ‘you couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.’ I see people hurt by stuff that does not and should not matter and I watch people bravely tackle things that would emotionally cripple most people. I get spend hours with people in the midst of their loss and often even more time with people complaining about not getting their way on something so petty it makes you want to jump out a window.


The older I get and the longer I am in ministry the less tolerance, patience, grace and time I have for petty, dramatic bullshit. Every job has it, but in most cases, followers of Christ should know better. If pastors had any idea that amount of petty, selfish drama they would have to deal with, I suspect very few would go into ministry. Petty drama is the ‘death by paper cut’ of ministry. After sitting with a woman in her early thirties, a mother of two young children who has lost her husband suddenly in a car accident, one gets perspective. After spending months walking with two parents my own age as they grapple with the sudden and unexpected death via suicide of their 16 year old son, one realizes how small their problems really are. After walking with people through all sorts of victory, suffering, challenge and joy, one gains a perceive of what really matters and loses tolerance and grace for things that could not possibly ever really matter.

It can be hard to be patient, gracious and understanding reading just one more email from an overly entitled person who is complaining once again that they have not been catered to in the way they would like as it relates to an issue that is so minor, its not worth even mentioning. In the back of my mind, I think of people who have real problems, I think about the things that I could be spending my time on that matter so much more and actually impact lives and the kingdom. Sometimes I want to scream. Sometimes I want to run. Sometimes I want to reach through the computer and… 

…pat somebody on the head and simply say in the most southern way possible, ‘bless your heart.’


In ministry, drama is a reality. Pettiness is part of the job. It is something that Christ knows well as the overly religious people in his day acted the same way. It is not the way it should be. It does not deserve our time. It is a tool that Satan loves to use to distract and discourage. Drama is toxic and it will never, ever be worth the time of any pastor who is trying to change lives in the name of Jesus.

Regardless of ones political perspective, its interesting to watch the culture of drama different presidents allow. President Obama was infamously known as ‘no drama Obama.’ President Trump by his own direct admission loves the environment of drama, infighting and competition as a way of informing decision making. While drama might have a place in government, it has no place in the church and no place in the Kingdom of God. 


My new goal as a pastor is to find a way to be kind and gracious in the midst of drama while giving it absolutely no time and attention, especially the petty stuff, because thats what it deserves and that is what is right and healthy for the church. I am committed to the things that actually mater: caring for people in deep pain, reaching people for Jesus, making disciples, serving my community and building the Kingdom of God in my circle. There is nothing more beautiful and powerful in the world than watching someones life transformed in Jesus. As for petty drama, it can go back to where it belongs, residing in the fires of hell with Satan.

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