communication
Charles Stone

Are your Sermons Falling Flat? Is this Why?

Every week in North America, pastors preach upwards of 400,000 sermons. That excludes Bible studies taught by hundreds of thousands of Sunday school teachers and small group leaders. I’ve delivered in excess of 1,500 sermons and bible studies myself. But what difference have they made in people’s lives? Do they mostly fall flat? I suppose I

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Life Balance
Charles Stone

Six Ways to Encourage your Pastor

Being a pastor is a high calling, yet pastors often face loneliness and discouragement. Surprisingly, some surveys reveal that up to 80% of pastors face regular discouragement in ministry. If that statistic even remotely reflects reality, then your pastor probably needs your encouragement. Yet, it seems so rare. The influential writer Henry Nouwen even wrote

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communication
Charles Stone

What do Toilet Repairs and Leadership Composure have in Common?

I learned a lesson about leadership composure from an unlikely source. Several years ago I had scheduled a plumber to fix minor leaks in some toilets in our home as we prepared to sell our house. My wife was to meet the plumber in my absence and give him the instructions I had given her. At about

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Church Staff
Charles Stone

Critics: Stay Away or Draw Close to Them?

Criticism hurts, especially the non-constructive kind. We tend to stay away from such critics. But is that the wisest choice? Should we draw close to them instead of pulling away from them? In this post I explore the idea of not shunning your critics. Murray Bowen, the father of family systems, coined the phrase “non-anxious

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Body Care
Charles Stone

Energy Drinks for the Busy Pastor: Good or Bad?

Long before Red Bull was introduced to America in 1987 (and the plethora of energy drinks that followed,) caffeine had become the most widely used stimulant in the world. Over 90% of Americans drink coffee and slightly over half average three cups each day. Caffeine is now added to soft drinks, bottled water, gum, and

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Leadership
Charles Stone

The Narcissistic Pastor: 10 signs that you may be one

Ancient Greek mythology offers an important lesson for anyone in ministry, or in any leadership position for that matter. As one fable goes, Narcissus was a beautiful hunter. As a boy his face looked as if it were chiseled from the purest marble. His beauty attracted others to him but he could never let anyone

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Leadership
Charles Stone

5 Biggest Mistakes Pastors Make on Sundays (and how to avoid them)

For pastors, Sunday can be the most draining day of the week. Intense people interaction, teaching or preaching, seeing our critics, trying to remember names, and attempting to put our own problems aside to listen to other peoples’ problems add up to a stress-filled day. The very day we want to be at our best requires more

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Church Staff
Charles Stone

Staff Performance Reviews: Do they Help or Hinder?

As a senior pastor I’ve performed annual staff performance reviews for years thinking that I was helping those leaders improve their performance. But recent neuroscience has shown that negative feedback (including such feedback given in evaluations) may actually hurt the self-esteem of those we evaluate. If staff evaluations potentially hurt the cause rather than help,

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change managemenet
Charles Stone

How to Pull out of a Leadership Lull

Every leader at some time in his or her leadership will face multiple leadership lulls. We have a down Sunday. A new ministry doesn’t take off. Someone expresses disappointment in us or criticizes us. A seasonal program doesn’t bring as many new people as we expected. Sometimes those lulls can push us into a downward spiral from which

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