General CBF / Resources

Sharing a life: Ministers and Caring Congregations

This is the first of several blog postings over the coming weeks introducing a new CBF resource, Well-Being and Excellence in Ministry—A Practical Resource for Ministers and Caring Congregations.

Each day in ministry holds incredible moments for life to be shared together. From the first day until the last there are shared opportunities for ministers and congregations to create life together. Therefore, a good question to raise is how can I, as a minister, and the congregation with whom I serve make the most of this day, this time in my life and in their lives as a community of faith, to discover a flourishing Christian way of life?

I remember one week, a long time ago, beginning too quickly and going south before I had even had a chance to begin my usual Monday morning rituals and activities. The phone rang and the caller was upset. At me! Loudly he asked who I thought I was to have asked a guest preacher to preach just the day before

I tripped all over myself. I prefer the day to warm its way into my life. The voice was cold, harsh, and demanding, and interestingly, I couldn’t really understand the complaint. You know, no harm, no foul. Worship had gone well. A good spirit. A better than normal sermon. (Most weeks sermons came from my 5’11” frame. Our guest preacher was topping at 76” for sure, and he was a rather good preacher, and after all, as the pastor, it was my job to fill the pulpit.) Our cup had run over! This caller should be tickled. He’d been blessed and didn’t know it. I listened long and almost well.

This irate church member complained one word too long. Until finally, borrowing words from Myron Madden, I asked him, “What demons camped out at your door to make you act like this?” And there was silence on the other end of the line. “Pastor, am I really sounding that bad?” I had been lucky. His response was really better than I deserved. I said, “Why don’t we start over?” Why don’t you tell me what you’re concerned about?”

After all, we were simply sharing life together. I deserved slow and softer. He deserved to be heard and valued.


A recent publication by the CBF Initiative for Ministerial Excellence, Well-Being and Excellence in Ministry—A Practical Resource for Ministers and Caring Congregations, encourages ministers and congregational leaders to consider what good conversations they might share as they create their life together.  Download the resource and get more information at

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