Archive for the ‘Speaking ministry’ Category


The last few posts may make it look like I have it all together, and if that’s the case, it’s time for a little honesty. Those posts reflect me at my best, but I like everyone else, am not always at my best. Case in point from yesterday’s post, the festival I have been pursuing for years. Imagine my surprise when I approached a young man who does something similar to what I do and found out that he has been accepted to minister at the same festival I’ve been pursuing. I started to think things like, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why do they keep rejecting me?” “I’ve been doing this longer than he has been alive.” It was about then as envy and discouragement were setting in a wreaking havoc on my psyche that the Lord pushed my thoughts in a different direction.

He took me back to one of my favorite passages to preach from, the parable of the talents. In the parable a master, before going away on a journey, entrusts part of his wealth to three of his servants in varying amounts based on ability. Jesus goes on to tell us that two of the servants went to work at once and doubled the master’s investment. While the gain is great, the point is not so much the success as it is the faithfulness. When the master returns from his journey and sees what the first two servants did, his response is “Well done good and faithful servant, you’ve been faithful with a few things I’ll put you in charge of many things…” There’s a point in there for us all.

I had no business envying my young friend, nor did his success have anything to do with me, my abilities or lack thereof. He has his calling, I have mine… AND YOU HAVE YOURS. Yes he got the big audience, I get smaller ones. If my calling is to larger audiences, God will open the door. In the mean time, I need to be faithful in the small things and give it my all, because here’s the thing. What is a small thing in the Kingdom of God? How valuable is one soul? Well Jesus would say “It was worth my life.” Seems to me one soul in eternity is no small thing, so maybe rather than focusing on the size of our audience, we need to focus on the size of our God.

According the Jesus, the say to big things is faithfulness in small things. Let Him worry about the size of your following. Just pursue what He puts before you and be faithful.

God’s got this and in His eyes, at least as it pertains to the people He loves and gave Himself up for, there are no small things.


More than one person has expressed to me that they would like to do what I do over the years, and hear this, I am grateful for that. It means God is still at work in this type of ministry. They say things like I wish I could do that. “Well,” I want to ask, “what’s stopping you?” Today I am asking you that question.

I think a lot of people are hesitant because they are not sure they have what it takes. Hear this and hear it well, when God calls, God provides, but…

There is no substitute for doing the work. You need to practice, grow in your skills, develop what you do and seek the Lord for ways for you minister in a way that honors Him. The Bible gives the admonition to work as if you were working for the Lord. Well in ministry that is precisely what we are doing, and so we must strive to do the best we can, but here comes the but…

We have to be sure not to allow feelings of insufficiency and inadequacy, or worse yet perfectionism to keep us from doing God’s will. Look folks none of our work will ever be perfect on this side of the grave. What we need to be working toward instead is faithfulness, doing the best you can with what you have today. And once you have that worked out, you need to start putting yourself out there. In other words, you have to find the “audience” for whatever it is that you do, and you can’t do that if you don’t share your work with the people who need to see it.

Putting yourself out there can be hard, mainly because you know, not everyone will like what you do, and some might even reject you. Some people experience rejection and decide to avoid it all costs. I implore you, don’t be one of them. The people who reject you are not your audience. Love them, pray for them and keep pursuing them, but only if God leads. Otherwise,
Invest yourself in the people who will give you opportunities and make the most of every one. Invest in the people who love what you do and give them your very best.

I know this feeling very well. There is a major ministry and a major music festival that have both figured majorly in my ministry. I have pursued them many times trying to get them to give me a chance. The story of what God has done in my life through them alone would be enough to get me to accept me, but year after year they reject me. Here’s the thing. I don’t focus on them. I don’t say, well they keep rejecting me, I must be nothing and no good. No I pray, send them something, pray again and get back to focusing on the people who want me. I keep putting myself out there, but I don’t let their acceptance or rejection to define my ministry. Only God can do that.

Put yourself out there. No one will call you if they don’t know you exist. Then make the most of every opportunity because you’ll never know.


I know I just did two pieces meant to be a kind of reality check for all the aspiring traveling ministers out there, but it never be said that I ever attempted to dissuade people from pursuing their calling. Today I want to give you some great things about traveling ministry.

It can best be described by the definition of a noun. Nouns are people, places and things and those are also the great things about traveling ministry.

First off, People. I have met some great people on the road. It is really cool to meet people I never would have gotten to meet any other way. From the pastors to the children and every one in between, the blessings I have received from these people are too numerous to mention. I have made many lifelong friends, discovered a whole new kind of ministry. I’ve been inspired and humbled by so many over the years. It’s truly a blessing. Of course there is no greater blessing than when someone with tears in their eyes, comes to stand before you to pray to receive Jesus Christ, or to rededicate their live to the Lord, or even just to open their hearts and minds to the Lord’s call. There are very few feelings that can compare with realizing you have been used by God.

Places: It’s always an adventure to go to a new place—to see what doors God may open. Camps, churches of all sizes, conferences, festivals, and all kinds of other venues. I’ve been to all of these and more, but what’s most satisfying about the places is seeing all the many different ways people “do church.” Staying within one’s denomination can sometimes give us a kind of spiritual tunnel vision. Getting out among more of God’s people, and moire expressions of His worship, can’t help but open our eyes to new possibilities.

Things: Don’t go too narrow with this, I’m not talking about money or possessions. I’m talking about a lot of more intangible things. Like seeing God’s faithfulness over and over again, the aforementioned opportunities and experiences, etc. Spiritual growth, learning to be flexible, and even coming to the end of yourself and realizing my total dependence on the Lord for everything. The road can teach one a whole lot of lessons, if we will take the time and be open enough to learn.

I’m sure there are many more things I could mention here, but suffice it to say, if God is calling you to traveling ministry, He will make a way. Trust Him, be faithful and put yourself out there.

More on that later.


I’ve decided now that I am in the midst of what has been a rather long stretch of traveling, that it might be a good idea to share some thoughts and reflections for those of you who envision more of a traveling ministry. First of all let me say, I rejoice to have this calling, I get to live the best of both worlds. As a pastor, I have a strong church family to come along side me and support me both when I am with them and on the road. Case in point is my friend and brother in the Lord, Matt who actually made a three hour drive last night to support me as I ministered here at the beach after which he and his brother, Mike drove home in time to get a very short amount of sleep before going to work. I appreciated that so much.

Of course I am also blessed by all the people who take the risk to bring me in to speak to their congregations, audiences, etc. Any time a person in leadership puts someone new before the people with whom God has entrusted them, requires a certain degree of risk. I never want to take these opportunities lightly, and I pray that God will always allow me to bring my best.

Being away from home is an adventure. Going to new places and meeting new people is always wonderful, but that being said, it can also be hard at times. It only takes a few days on the road to make me realize how much I miss my family. There are times where I miss things to do this. This is not a complaint, but it is a reality to be considered that goes along with this calling.

The times that I get to minister are wonderful. I can really be in the moment and I can see God moving and let me stress again, I love what I do. Those in-between times are usually spent studying, cleaning up, loading and unloading, getting ready for church and getting ready to do it all over again. Again, you may get to go to cool places, but the road is work.

I think the biggest thing though about an extended run, is how hard it can be to concentrate, especially in prayer. I’ll start off trying to really get involved in prayer, but before long, my next travel route or the next message or something that is going on at home, or whatever starts running through my mind and before long I realize I’ve been side-tracked and I’m off course. Focus sometimes comes hard on the road.

I hope this doesn’t sound like whining. I know there are a lot of people who would love this life, and remember, I am one of them. This is more of a “count the cost” piece for those who are feeling the call to the “open road.” It can be a really great life, but you have to be ready.


Back in my teen years, I dreamed of being a rock star, touring night after night in town after town. Lack of musical talent pretty much put an end to that idea and that’s okay. Nonetheless here I am decades later, and I find myself in a very real sense “touring,” though in a very different way. I’ve been privileged to spend most of the last month traveling from place to place, painting and preaching and it’s been really good, at least in some ways. This year started off slow on the speaking schedule, but for some reason most people wanted me from July to October. As I write this, I’m doing the final packing for a three day trip to the Jersey shore ministering at a chapel on the boardwalk, from there I come home, do some church work, before heading to Maryland to speak at a family camp, if the Lord wills.

Like I said, it’s been really nice, for the most part, but I’ve learned a few lessons. First, it’s really important to have a system. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. This does not come easily for me, because I am usually organizationally challenged, but when you’re hundreds of miles from home base, it’s hard to get back home to get what you need.

Secondly, be prepared and flexible. Each venue is different. I’m not to the point of having contracts and riders to make the venue provide everything I need and I’m not sure I want to be that guy anyway. Last thing a minister of the Gospel should be is demanding. That being said, this means if I have something I need to do my best presentation, I need to make sure I take it with me or that I know a way to do without it. Further, even if I’ve done a presentation a hundred times, it is important that I go over it so that I can present well. This is the Gospel I’m sharing, and God and the “audience” deserve my best.

Thirdly, things tend to happen when I’m away. I need to be “prayed up” and to be bathing my family, my church, etc. in prayer.

Fourth, I need to be mindful of my health and well being. It’s really easy to gain weight on the road and to be honest, I often do. If I’m going to be in this for the long haul, I need to take care of myself on the road. I also need to make sure that I am staying strong and wise, making good choices and avoiding anything that even looks like impropriety.

In my teen years, I got the idea that touring was glamorous. It’s not. It’s a whole lot of driving, mostly alone, followed by a lot of set up and tear down, and there are no roadies on this tour, mostly it’s just me and the wonderful people who stay after to help. Bottom line, the road is a lot of work. Oh but the time and privilege of presenting God’s word makes it all worthwhile. Also I have made a lot of friends I would have never met were it not for me being out on the road. I’ve experienced a wide sampling of the body of Christ, and have seen God move in many ways that have bolstered my faith. “Touring” can be really great, but being away from my family is hard, and there’s no place like home.

If you are called to this kind of ministry, you need wisdom, a work ethic, flexibility and a good dose of humility. God is faithful to provide all we need.


I remember the day pretty well. I had a letter to take home from school. I was probably 10 to 12 years old. Usually a letter from school was a bad thing in those days, but this one had me beaming with pride. I had been selected to be in an elective program for gifted students. I had all kinds of ideas, but in truth, I ended up doing nothing with it. It was kind of a combination between childish dreams, being a human target in school and the fact that all I really wanted to do even then was be an artist/creative, which really didn’t fit the mold of being academically gifted, at least by my school’s definition.

Fast forward a couple decades though and I was struck with a revelation. Everybody’s gifted. Everybody, every single person, is gifted. The problem is our definition of gifted is too limited. Gifted is not always about the way you write a paper or solve an equation or the grades you get on a test. Gifted implies a gift. Something you come by naturally, something in your DNA, or, dare I say, your design. There is truly something that every person, every single person, has, that can help to make the world a better place. Everyone has something to offer. EVERYONE!

Now I know what you might be thinking, this is another manifestation of the “everybody gets a trophy” mindset. Nothing could be further from the truth. Or maybe you’re thinking labeling everyone gifted somehow cheapens the designation. Not at all. I maintain that we have defined “gifted” too narrowly. Gifted is more than a grade on a standardized test, and besides, since when has any human being been “standard.” There is a uniqueness to every human being. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone has the potential to do something great. Everybody’s gifted. EVERYBODY!

Case in point, I just spent a week at one of my favorite places, a camp for adults with special needs, and by the way we all have “special needs” we need a better term here. A lot of these folks would have trouble with a standardized test, and not many would move that needle to gifted. Pity because each of them is a gift. I see in them an authenticity most of the world is lacking. Last night was our last night of camp for the year, and as such several of the campers were emotional. In most of the world, everyone would just stand around awkwardly, embarrassed at an emotional display. Not my campers, they embraced their crying friend until the tears dissipated. Friend that is a gift, and not a small one. This idea of everybody being gifted has been floating around in my mind for a while. Last night brought it into focus. I don’t know what this thing will become, I just know it’s time.

Everybody’s gifted. And yes, that includes you!


My dad has a saying, “If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle them with [a compound word starting with “bull”]. While I don’t necessarily concur with all of that, I have heard many speakers who seemed to be trying to dazzle the audience with their brilliance and have left me feeling like Dad might be right. At the very least, I had no idea what they were saying and as such, by my judgment, they failed. The purpose of communication is to be understood, period.

Take my experience this week. I’m ministering to adults with developmental disabilities. This is a tough balance to strike. They aren’t kids, they are adults, so making it “kiddy” will not work. These folks are worthy of my respect and of my very best. The key is to present the information in a way they understand. After all, I am bringing them the most important message of all, the Gospel. These folks don’t need to know how smart I am. They don’t need to be dazzled, they need to hear the truth, the simple truth, in a way that they can understand, a way that honors God and them. I owe them that. I owe God that.

You owe your audience the same thing. An audience is a privilege. Not everybody gets one. Make sure you honor yours by giving them what God has given you in a way that they understand. That usually means it’s best to lead with the simple truth.

After all that’s what everyone needs to know and understand.