Same Sex Attraction in the Church

I’ve dealt with the issue of same sex attraction a number of times on this blog, but because I it isn’t an issue I’ve struggled with, I can often have trouble relating to those who do experience those attractions. This article, titled ‘Same-Sex Attraction in the Church‘ is incredibly helpful in thinking through what it means personally for those struggling with this issue. The article is written by Sam Allberry who is a pastor in the UK. Yet he is committed to the biblical definition of genders and is not acting upon his temptations.

The more I’ve read about this the more I’ve felt like a kindred spirit for those who struggle with same sex attraction. One line in this article stuck out to me when Sam wrote, “We need to respect that singleness is not necessarily a sign that someone is postponing growing up.” Yes and amen! Being a single pastor is difficult, and it seems like everyone has someone they think you should get together with. Yet right now, because I don’t have a significant other, I’m able to devote much more time to my ministry and the spending time with those in the church. Do I want to be married? Absolutely! But for right now in the season I’m in, God’s doing some amazing things in me and through me and it’s a joy to be able to see Him working all things out for my good and his glory.

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Book I’m Most Looking Forward to This Summer

In the midst of my life I often look back at how God has brought me through many experiences and difficulties to the point I am today. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a PK (pastor’s kid) who has now become a P (pastor), hopefully someday having my own PKs. Growing up as a PK can be incredibly difficult. It doesn’t often feel like you can have your own identity outside of the church or your parents (particularly your pastor father). And I had the double hit of always being told I look and sound like my dad. I’ve even been told today that my laugh sounds exactly like my dad’s. Even at school I was immediately identified as “the Jesus freak.” I look back on my times and thankfully didn’t feel a ton of pressure from people inside the church, but at the same time it’s always there. I remember at one point in the midst of a season of huge rebellion against God and my dad stumbling across the phrase in 1 Timothy 3 “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive,” and realized that my dad’s job had the potential to be lost because of me. That’s a lot of responsibility for a 17 year old to manage! Were my parents at fault because of the choices I’d made? Not completely, it was my own sin that I take full credit for, but it still reflected poorly on my parents.

As I’ve transitioned from life as a PK to life as a P there have been some things I’ve had to work through with my dad, and there were some very difficult years of transition as we both had to figure out how to relate to each other, as father and son, as brothers in Christ, and now as co-laborers in the same denomination. When I was looking for jobs in ministry after college the one denomination I didn’t want to be in was the EFCA, because everyone in that denomination knows my dad. God has a funny way of answering our prayer requests, because I ended up in an EFCA church.

This leads me to a book coming out in July by Barnabas Piper (yes, John Piper’s son) who also grew up as a PK titled ‘The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity.‘ I’m very excited to read this and see some of what Barnabas has to say about growing up as a PK, and not just a PK, but the PK of a very well known P. This isn’t an issue that’s easy for everyone to deal with, and it doesn’t necessarily come naturally for PKs to struggle with their faith and who they are in Christ. I hope and pray that I can help my kids someday work through their faith in a Christ honoring way.

I’ll be posting a review about the book as soon as I can get my hands on it, but until then, will enjoy the discussions that take place between Barnabas and Stephen Altrogge.

Talking To My Dad

For those of you interested, my dad has posted a conversation we recently had about what pastors need to learn from youth. You can check it out here.

Talking To My Dad

For those of you interested, my dad has posted a conversation we recently had about what pastors need to learn from youth. You can check it out here.

Do I Offend You?

One of the biggest challenges I’ve discovered in being a pastor is how easily I can offend people. Often this is over things that I am trying very hard to not offend people in, yet no matter what, I can’t seem to get it just right. I either pick a song they don’t like, they find out I have my ears pierced, or that I have tattoos, or that I often make jokes at my own expense, or that I play guitar. It seems there is no limit to the things people will find to get offended at. Despite what may seem like an attempt to offend people, I really try hard to not offend them except in one case-when they are offended because I am presenting the Gospel.

I read a very interesting blog today on Spurgeon versus the “Pretty-Boy Preachers” of today. So many pastors are too scared to offend anyone so they work hard to appear like everyone’s best friend. Spurgeon, however, was not worried about being anyone’s friend.

Spurgeon feared no man. Constrained only by the bounds of God’s Word, Spurgeon said what he liked,when he liked, how he liked. The problem with Spurgeon was not that men misunderstood his meaning. The problem was that men understood him completely. Spurgeon’s style was plain, direct, outspoken and urgent. Spurgeon wasn’t trying to be popular. He was trying to bring the ​truth​ to your soul.

Does your pastor do a better job of bringing the truth to your soul, or of being a nice guy? I pray that I never become a “pretty boy preacher” but continue to rely on Christ as my strength and witness. If you are offended, I hope it’s for the sake of the Gospel permeating deeper into your life.

Preaching From an iPad

One of the things I really enjoy is technology. I love learning how to use new technological advances to make my life easier and find ways to do the things I am doing better. I love finding new recipes on Pinterest, following people on Twitter and staying in touch with friends on Facebook. This past week for the first time, I used my iPad to preach, and I loved it! I thought it was much easier than trying to shuffle through paper, and having my Bible app easily accessible was great! We also have almost our whole Sunday service automated so I can control the background music, the slides and the sound board now all through my iPad. We’ve been using a newer presentation program Proclaim for all our services and I’ve found it great to use!

So this past week I wrote out my manuscript and tried to stick to it very carefully as I was dealing with a weighty issue (worship through music). I had it all typed in Word and highlighted the main points I needed to remember, then exported it as a pdf and then preached from it using the iBooks app that apple makes. It was incredible easy. All I had to do was tap on the right side of the screen and the next screen would pop up. If you have an iPad, I highly recommend using it to preach. I even have all my music in it so I lead music for church on my iPad. It really amazes me how easy it is to use and have everything I need in one centralized location.

A Year in Ministry

I recently passed the 1 year mark of my time serving at Cheyenne Evangelical Free Church and what a year it has been! God has continued to challenge and stretch me in ways I never thought possible. I’m so grateful for my time here and am looking forward to the years God continues to give me here.

With a year under my belt I thought I’d share a few of the things I’d learned in the past year. This won’t be an all inclusive list, but rather a few key things that have seemed to continue to pop up.

  1. Schooling will never prepare you for all the challenges you will face in ministry. I’d always heard that ministry would be difficult and they were so right, but I had no idea how much of blessing being in ministry would be. There have been times of difficulty and times of immense joy. From mourning the loss of a church member to rejoicing with one of the half dozen families who welcomed a new baby into the church.
  2. Ministry would be so easy if it weren’t for the people. Like it or not, the people are the ones you are called to serve. Despite frustrating you and keeping you up late, they are you brothers and sisters in Christ, which ties into the next point:
  3. Remember who you serve. You need to keep a vertical perspective throughout your ministry. You’ll never be able to please everyone (as I have so quickly learned with music) so remember ultimately you are serving God.
  4. Give thanks. As the song “Blessed Be Your Name” so aptly puts, remember to give everything back to God, both the blessings and the challenges. Apart from God our ministries would fall apart.
  5. Get perspective. As a young man it’s very easy to criticize and complain about the ways things are being done because they’re not trendy or cool anymore. It’s incredibly important to remember that there is history to this thing called the church. It’s been around a lot longer than we have and will continue to be around long after we’re here. Don’t lose perspective of your time and place.
  6. Pray. Praying needs to be first and foremost in your mind. I felt like this was almost too emphasized but I’ve learned you can’t emphasize it enough.

I have the joy of serving with 2 other incredibly godly men, as well as a father who is only a phone call away for advice and council. This past year I’ve gotten to help lead the youth group, lead music on a weekly basis, start a Bible study for our music team, preach, teach an Adult Bible Fellowship, teach a Sunday School, help put on a VBS, play with 2 year olds and have a meal with 70 year olds and through it all I pray God was glorified in and through and despite me. I’m so grateful for a church that encourages me as a stumble toward maturity and pray for faithfulness in the many years ahead.