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Category – Counseling


A Pastor’s Reflections: How Do I Know If I’m Called?

VFT
One of the regular questions I receive is, “How do I know whether I’m called to the pastorate?” It would be one thing if God sent telegrams from heaven with your name on it—discerning a call would be a whole lot easier. Did you get the telegram or not? But…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: The Basics

VFT
In my years as a pastor I would regularly make home visits with the families in my church. I did my best to get into every household at least once per year. This sounds like a very infrequent visiting schedule, but when a church has thirty or more households and…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: The Secret Service

VFT
The pastorate can be an interesting vocation because you end up interacting with a lot of different types of people. In my pastorate I have met business people, former professional athletes, homemakers, fighter pilots, millionaires, scholars, politicians, and the like. I’m always intrigued and enjoy meeting people from all walks…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Care for Single Women

VFT
Pastoral visitation is perhaps one of the lesser-appreciated and practiced ministry responsibilities. Pastors don’t realize how important it is to visit with members of their congregations to encourage, get to know, and shepherd them. People in the church often think that such visits, if they occur, are an intrusion. “Why…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Phoning Ahead

VFT
During my pastorate I encountered my fair share of people who did not appreciate my ministry or the church for one reason or another. That’s fine and to be expected. Whether it’s my preaching, the church’s supposed unfriendliness, or a host of other reasons, people can and do leave churches.…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Never Speak Ill of Your Children

VFT
When I first contemplated entering the pastorate, I never realized that sometimes the church can be an ugly place. In fact, St. Augustine is reported as saying, “The church is a whore, but I must love her anyway because she is my mother.” The church can be filled with anger,…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Smokescreens

VFT
In my labors as a pastor one of the things I learned about people is that they often take great pains to create camouflage for themselves. Like lizards changing the color of their skin so they can hide from predators, people in the church will create camouflage so that others…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: The Past Does Not Define You

VFT
One of the things I regularly encountered as I counseled people in my pastorate was a fear of the past. Sometimes a person carried around his past like chains, or as the cliché goes, like a lot of baggage. A person might be fearful, for example, of seeking to be…
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Don’t Go Alone

VFT
Among the regular duties that a pastor must carry out is regular in-home visits with members of the congregation. In the first year of my ministry I can remember an elder churchman in the presbytery telling me, “Always take one of your ruling elders with you when you make home…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Silence is Golden

VFT
One of the most difficult circumstances a pastor will face is offering counsel in the wake of a death in the church. Death often comes upon a church with little to no warning. I can remember sitting in my study one Tuesday morning as I was engrossed in my sermon…
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