Advent 1: Look Up, Your Redemption is Drawing Near!**

In Advent, Christmas, Contemplation, Culture, Delight in God, Desire, Discipleship, Formation by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, suggests that we are a people of deep and unending desire.  He further states that our unending quest for satisfaction reveals a deeper and often confounding truth about what it means to be human!

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant…
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Transforming Pastoral Ministry Puts Transformation Over Success

In Christian Leadership, Church Leadership, Church Planting, Community, Contemplation, Discipleship, Formation, Pastoral Ministry, Soul-Care, Spiritual Formation, Transforming Pastoral Leadership by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

Rhythms of Life and Ministry: Transformation Over Success

For the past few months, I’ve focused on what I call Transforming Pastoral Ministry.

In this specific series of post, I am attempting to propose a new way for pastors and leaders to serve and minister to the church.

It’s a way that’s built around a host of Pillars tethered to a particular cluster of Rhythms!

Remember, these Pillars are the what of pastoral ministry.

By that, I mean that these five areas are the principal areas of concern for any ministry. …
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The Basics of Big-Idea Preaching

In Church Leadership, Church Planting, Discipleship, Formation, Preaching, Transforming Community Groups, Transforming Pastoral Leadership by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

Years ago I was trained under the renowned Bible-preaching teacher, Haddon Robinson.  He taught an entire generation of preachers to focus on Big-idea preaching.  That means that our goal is to communicate one main idea.  During that time, it was common for many preachers to offer multiple opinions on a wide variety of topics, week in and week out.

Dr. Robinson pushed back against that trend as he encouraged preachers to develop their sermon around the main thought expressed in the text (or passage).

Robinson’s book, Biblical Preaching, continues to …
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Transforming Pastoral Ministry: When Resistance Isn’t Rejection

In Christian Leadership, Church Leadership, Church Planting, Contemplation, Formation, Pastoral Ministry, Purpose and Meaning, Spiritual Formation, Transforming Pastoral Leadership by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

One of my favorite holiday movies, that I often watch right smack in the middle of the Christmas season, is The Family Man.

I’m a big fan of the cast, which includes Nicholas Cage, Tea Leoni, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Piven, and Saul Rubinek.

But more than the cast, it’s the storyline that gets me.

Every.

Single.

Time.

A Glimpse of What’s Possible

Here is the gist: single, billionaire playboy (Cage) falls asleep one lonely Christmas Eve night in his upscale NYC apartment.  The next morning (Christmas Day) he wakes up …
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Transforming Pastoral Ministry: Our Primary Calling

In Church Planting, Contemplation, Formation, Pastoral Ministry, Soul-Care, Spiritual Formation, Transforming Pastoral Leadership by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

It’s easy for a pastor to convince him or herself that our primary calling is to the role we play within the context of the congregation we serve.

It’s natural to assume that when we are with our people, we are there in a particular capacity that demands a specific role.

For example, when I am engaged in pastoral care, in the privacy of my office, I am often tempted to play the role of ‘fixer,’ or ‘advocate,’ or ‘super counselor who solves everyone’s problems with ease and grace,’ etc.…
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Transforming Pastoral Ministry: Calling!

In Christian Leadership, Church Leadership, Church Planting, Contemplation, Formation, Pastoral Ministry, Spiritual Formation by Bizgainey2 Comments

For decades I was confused about calling.

I believe most of us are.

Rightly so.

After all, our calling, vocation or mission in life is often tied tightly to doing something.

In fact, when you ask someone about calling or personal mission, they will likely list off a host of things they are doing.

Ruth Haley Barton notes our rampant confusion regarding calling when she says,

“We set young leaders up for a fall if we encourage them to envision what they can do before they consider the kind of
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Transforming Pastoral Ministry: Congregational Care as Companionship

In Christian Leadership, Church Leadership, Church Planting, Discipleship, Formation, Pastoral Ministry, Soul-Care, Spiritual Formation, Transforming Pastoral Leadership by Bizgainey3 Comments

From time to time someone will ask me a question like the following:

“Pastor Biz, what do you spend your time doing during the week?”

To which I often answer (in my more serious moments) something like,

“I meet with church/community members, have appointments over meals, and work with our ministry teams and leaders.  The care I provide to our ministry teams differs from week-in and week out.  Currently, our Youth Ministry is receiving more time than usual.  But I may meet with our Missions, Children, Deacons, Elders, Worship, team,…
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Transforming Pastoral Ministry: Congregational Leadership

In Christian Leadership, Church Leadership, Church Planting, Contemplation, Discipleship, Formation, Pastoral Ministry, Soul-Care, Spiritual Formation, Transforming Pastoral Leadership by Bizgainey4 Comments

I don’t know much about cars.

I do know that ALL wheeled vehicles have axles.  After browsing the internet, I learned that axles are used for steering, driving, and braking.  They are, therefore, crucial for basically every aspect of vehicular transportation.

Further (to sound more knowledgeable than I am), they transfer power and torque from your engine to your wheels.  This means that axles withstand the accelerated forces of driving and braking.

Axles, it seems, always endure stress as they perform the job that makes it possible for me to …
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Transforming Pastoral Ministry and Leadership, 5: Soul-Care IS the Mission!

In Christian Leadership, Church Leadership, Formation, Pastoral Ministry, Soul-Care, Spiritual Formation, Transformation, Transforming Pastoral Leadership by Bizgainey3 Comments

This past Sunday I experienced a moment that reinforced the why, how, and what that supports and sustains Transforming Pastoral Ministry efforts.

The moment came through Tom Rhodes.  Tom is a personal friend and an active member of the Pillar family.

Tom has been a friend of mine for nearly twenty years.

Eight years ago, when we launched Pillar, I let Tom know what I was up to and invited him and his family to join us.

Tom and Sophie joined us shortly after we began worshipping as a congregation.…
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The Rise and Fall of the “Be Better-Do More-Try Harder” Trinity

In Christian Leadership, Church Leadership, Church Planting, Discipleship, Formation, Ministry, Pastoral Ministry, Spiritual Formation, Transformation, Transforming Pastoral Leadership by Bizgainey1 Comment

The Rise and Fall of the “Be Better-Do More-Try Harder” Trinity

When I began my “ministry career” back in the mid 90s, I was driven by two primary convictions:

My calling was to do all I could to win young people to Jesus, and Encourage them to go out and “change the world for Christ.”

These primary convictions shaped how I went about doing youth ministry. They followed me into and shaped the early years of my senior pastoral ministry, as well.

It took me years to recognize that these …
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