Tag Archives: church

Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety Are Not Spiritual Issues


Major depressive disorder and Anxiety are not Spiritual Issues. They are mental issues. Depression and Anxiety are no more spiritual issues than a broken leg is. Do you know how I know this? Because honestly prayer, activities, church, ministry, life changes, attempts to flush out sin, none of those things improved my depression and anxiety. Medication did. Medication that alters the chemicals in my brain so that it functions as it should. If it were a spiritual issue… would medication work? I would say no. I am not aware of any spiritual issue that medication has any effect on.

It makes me nuts that someone can have cancer and we’re 100% supportive. No one in the church would ever dream of accusing them of being out of the Will of God or in a situation where they need more faith. But those who struggle with depression in our more traditional or ignorant churches find themselves inundated with input that is not only completely unhelpful, it actually compounds the problem. Continue reading

Ready For Ministry? Maybe Not.


Recently I have dared to dream about the possibility of returning to ministry… maybe even ministry to children… but I have so many restrictions for what that return looks like that I know I am still not ready.

I recently have been very tempted to jump into an opportunity that has opened up. It would be a Sunday-only, volunteer position with a limited commitment of only a few months. It seems perfect for where I am right now. The desire to do it is new and makes me wonder if I will one day return to full-time ministry. I could imagine myself doing Sunday services with the kids… even at my worst Sunday services were never really a problem. It’s all the other mess that would probably revert me into being a basket case.  Continue reading

I’m Anxious, Not Angry. Sad, Not Sanctimonious


I really upset some people with my post yesterday. Some folks assumed I was referencing The Church: The Bride of Christ when I was critiquing American Church Culture. Others took it personally which I don’t understand. I’m writing from a place of pain and loss… not from judgement and condemnation. You’ve got to be in some place of authority to do that… and I’m far from it. I find it a little ridiculous that some people would respond in anger to a plea for acceptance and understanding.

Things will be written in this update that people won’t want to read. That’s because there is a side to depression that’s uglier than depression itself. It’s way society deals with it, the way the church deals with it, the way we deal with it… the way I’m dealing… and I’m going to talk about how all of that has affected myself and my family.

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Church Is Broken When It Comes To The Broken


It’s hard finding a church when church doesn’t want you.

Jenn and I have been visiting churches for the past few months now. The one we were at is great… but we worked there… and now we don’t… and it’s awkward and a little weird for everyone. So we’ve been looking for somewhere to take the kids and possibly be ministered to ourselves. It’s hard for several reasons. One, because we haven’t had to sit through regular church services for over 10 years. Two because as we were children’s pastors we’re pretty picky about what a church offers it’s kids… and we can see issues from a mile away. Thirdly, because church just doesn’t seem to be set up to accept, support and love broken people. And that’s what we are right now. Very broken people.

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3 Simple Goals For Your Children’s Ministry in 2012

I hate resolutions as a concept. Mostly because I associate the word with something I will almost instantly not accomplish as soon as possible. I prefer setting goals. Where resolutions demand perfection from the moment you make them, goals only demand a first step in the right direction. Goals don’t mind if you struggle to reach them. Resolutions mock you the moment you stray.

Speaking of goals, these are the three that God is pressing on me this year. Maybe you’ll find that He’s calling you to something similar. Continue reading

Big News (For Me Anyway)


I have been at Sheffield Family Life Center in Kansas City, Missouri for the past 10 years. Two of those were as an intern, but the past 8 years I have been involved in full time ministry for youth and children.

November 8th, 2009 will mark my last Sunday at Sheffield. I have taken a position at a church in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Why the move? Family mostly. Jenn and I have felt a ‘stirring’ for a while now. I’ve even told folks I felt like a major life change was coming… but didn’t have a clue what it would be. Jenn and I finally decided to sit town and ask God what the deal was. We started with putting together a 5 year plan for our family. I asked Jennifer where she saw us in 5 years… the first thing out of her mouth was, “I want to raise our children around family”.

I guess I had known that she had a leaning toward her folks. There had been quite a bit of travel back and forth since the kids had shown up. But this was the first time she’d just laid it out.

We prayed about it, wrote out our list, and told God that though we were making plans, it was His that we truly wanted. God rarely speaks to me directly… so we committed to two things:

We’re Moving Slow – We gave God plenty of time to let us know if we were moving the right direction. We literally prayed, “God we ask for brick walls if we’re moving the wrong way… but we look forward to mile markers of conformation if we’re headed the right way.”

We’re not going to make any decisions that we’re not willing to unmake in an instant – Though we make our own plans… we do not put our trust in our own decisions. At any point in this journey that God leads differently, we’re ready to change direction in a moment.

There were a couple of brick walls. They typically hurt when you hit them… but if you’re moving slow… not so much. Eventually after every networking resource I had in Georgia, North Carolina and Florida dried up… I got an email from a Pastor in St. Petersburg. We talked, really hit it off and the next thing I knew I was in Florida for two days of interviews.

Long story short… we’re packing up the house and moving to Florida for the next chapter of our life. The job is everything I’ve wanted. The location is everything Jenn wanted. It’s a wonderful gift from God.

Though it’s a little heartbreaking to leave the kids and folks at Sheffield, I know that they are in God’s loving hands… and that He will send someone along to replace me that will be so great that they’ll make me look like dirty dish water by comparison.

So, reader. Have you ever changed churches? Do you have any tips? Post them, or any other thoughts, in the comments.

Viewing A Child’s Dual Potential


Kids, in a nutshell, are potential. An oversimplification yes… but still true. Everything a child does prepares them for their future. Even play is working to that end. My 4 year old daughter works harder at playing than I do at working sometimes.

When I look out at my group every Sunday morning I can’t help but see two future potentials for every child: The one God has planned and the version that Satan would have happen. With some children the God Version is easer to imagine. They seem like they’re going to end up that way almost automatically, though inside I know that is often far from true. Then there are kids who’s current behavior and/or situation make it easier to see the Fallen Version. They seem destined to become the back-row kid in the Youth Group.. mocking the kids who regularly fill the altar area during worship. Or even worse… they become involved in gangs, drugs, alcohol and start having destructive relationships with everyone they meet.

I value both of these views because both have value. One is a goal, the other is something to be avoided. Part of my job is to help one Version to win and the other to fail. If I can see each child through the eyes of my enemy, I can start to minister in a way that will minimize the chances of the Fallen Version to become reality.

If a child deals with anger chances are Satan plans to turn that child into a hateful, spiteful adult with a short fuse. The jails are full of men who were once children with attitudes and issues. But God has a different plan. A plan to help that child work through the anger, heal that heart, and help other people heal after being abused, injured or neglected. No jail time for helping others!

Same goes for kids who are the ‘good’ ones. We children’s workers can get a pretty twisted view of who’s ‘good’ and ‘bad’ because we typically only see them in the context of a large group… for only a couple of hours. We have no idea how they are at home, at school… and how they are inside their thought life where nobody sees them at all. The ‘good’ kids are just as much at risk as anyone. Even the ones who really are good… if you were the enemy of humanity… who would you go after the most? The kids who are already halfway there themselves or the kids who are truly pure in heart? Darn straight… I’d be going for the goodie-goodies. Those kids need you to see both sides of their potential as well.

I could keep going with this all day. Ask God to give you a dual view of your kids. Then ask him to help you minister to them and their families in a way that will draw them toward what He has for them. It’s not our job to do it all… but we can do our part better when we see our kid’s potential. Both potentials.