Being Bi-Vocational or Part-Time in Ministry Podcast

Being Bi-Vocational or Part-Time in Ministry Podcast

Welcome to our New Podcast! You can listen by clicking the Play button above, or you can also go to any of the following podcast sites:

Radio Public:

What Spurgeon Said About Homosexuality


  • Richard

    Sure would like to have the written copy of this as well. The videos are nice to watch, but nothing beats having it in “His written word”.

  • Dale

    I can with the tongues of angels but have not love I am a resounding symbol. Please tell me in what way are you extending the good news of Jesus’ love to gay people? Your hate is overpowering!

    • Barry L. Davis

      Hate? The video was filled with the Gospel and Grace of God. What specifically are you referring to?

      • Danny

        No hate Dale. Barry shows God’s love through Jesus Christ in this video. Christ died so we can be forgiven and know God’s love. Christ did not die so we can continue in filthy acts of sin.

    • Edward

      Dale, there’s really no hate in the video. But the truth has to be spoken. Let me ask you a question. Do you have any friends of yours or people you know who are alcoholics and are drinking themselves to pieces? Now imagine yourself using all the tactful kind words you can think of to convey a message to them that what they are doing is wrong. Would they be justified to say that you are hateful? The very same thing applies to gay people. They are human beings of value no doubt at all, but if they choose to indulge their sinful tendency of homosexuality, they must be told out of love that they are wrong. Hoodwinking them that their sexual tendency is ok is the real hatred, not the other way round.

  • lb mckinstry sr

    i like it well said

  • Eladio Villanueva

    It’s amazing that people view the truth as hate. I have friends who are gay and I love them but the truth is the truth and The grace and the gospel of Jesus Christ is filled with nothing but love!

  • lb mckinstry sr

    the devil has been deceiving people from begining and he still doing it now some sin is so simple that a baby can tell the different god said multiple male and female .

  • Bro WM

    I am blessed by this message. I hope the leaders who are condoning homosexuality can see and understand how they have condemned millions to eternal death by giving in to this diabolic act.

  • esther

    The truth had been said. We have heard it, we have seen it; No man can pretend they have never. Let him that have ears hear what the spirit of the God is saying.
    Thanks Bro Barry.

Five Early Findings from Churches That Are Regathering

Five Early Findings from Churches That Are Regathering

By Thom Rainer

The regathering of churches for in-person services is garnering a lot of attention in both the religious and secular media. I totally get that. There are very few organizations other than churches that meet as a large group every week. The implications are significant.

We are following closely as more churches open for in-person gatherings. While we are not yet seeing even half of the churches open, more are added each week. It thus behooves us to get these early reports. Those that are open will be making adjustments. Those that are not yet opened can plan accordingly.

For now, we see several early trends. The list is not exhaustive, but these five findings are the most common we are observing.

  1. Most churches are cooperative with local and state officials and desire to comply with their guidelines. While the media will highlight adversarial relationships between churches and governments, such tension is simply not the norm. To the contrary, the vast majority of church leaders desire to work with governmental entities. The real story is not a battle between church and state, but a cooperative spirit between the two.
  1. Early attendance is significantly lower than the pre-quarantine era.At this point, one-half of the churches we have surveyed have an attendance of 60 percent or less than the pre-quarantine numbers. We rarely hear of a church that has an attendance of 80 percent or higher. For now, those churches are the outliers. 
  1. Returning senior adults present a unique challenge for many church leaders. We have numerous reports that senior adults are among the most eager to return to in-person services. Frankly, this trend is going contrary to our initial expectations. We thought most senior adults would be the last returning group because of potential health concerns. But as many of these older adults return, leaders are concerned how to minister to them spiritually and protect them physically. 
  1. The negative church members and naysayers are back. When the pandemic began, many churches had to hit the pause button on a number of fronts and issues. One of the unintended positive consequences was the pause taken by the negative church members. It has been a blissful silence for churches. Now that churches are planning to regather, the pause is lifted and the acrimonious few are back. 
  1. Most churches are utilizing some type of extra service at least for the short-term.The regathering churches are adding space to allow for social distancing. Some are adding services. Others are adding overflow rooms. Some are doing both or providing other creative solutions. The need for extra space has been exacerbated by children coming to the worship services who were previously segregated in their own age-graded area. 

For certain, the way churches are returning is changing regularly. These five findings will undoubtedly change as church leaders make necessary adjustments. Stay posted to as we continue to provide the latest updates on the regathered church.

This article was originally published at Thom S. Rainer serves as founder and CEO of Church Answers. Dr. Rainer publishes a daily blog and podcast at and can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at


  • We are aware that our churches are going to be in the spotlight, My church has been back for a few weeks now with most of our congregation back in the pews. We are a small church so our numbers don’t really make any waves, but all of our members have stayed healthy.
    Personally, I trust fully in God. I am 64 and work full time in a hospital, I have two prosthetic heart valves, I have had three strokes when I was younger, I’ve dealt with other issues associated with the heart. Every instance, God was present with me giving me strength to push through and at the same time giving me a sense of not fearing, which I see so much of at this time. Fear drains energy from the body, which is needed to protect and heal. I’ve always like the saying, “Let Go, let GOD”! Short, simple but true. Get rid of your fears, and attach yourself to God…

  • Pingback: Don’t Let the Angry Ten Percent Control the Direction of Your Church | The Pastor's Helper

  • Pingback: 15 Characteristics of Genuinely Friendly Churches | The Pastor's Helper

Individual Christmas Messages

Individual Christmas Messages

Here at the Pastor’s Helper we offer a lot of great resources for ministers. Our Single Sermons are some of our most popular, where you can invest in just one message at a time. These are full-manuscript sermons, including illustrations, and scripture.

This Christmas season we have a lot of fantastic messages for your consideration. They are listed below:

Series: Before the Cradle
Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace

Series: Christmas 101: Back to the Basics
Why Jesus Came
Who Jesus Is
What Jesus Offers

Series: The Gifts of Christmas
The Gift of Strength
The Gift of Joy
The Gift of Christmas
The Gift of Hope

Series: The Songs of Christmas
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Joy to the World
Go Tell it on the Mountain
Mary, Did You Know?

Pastor Talk: Becoming a Vital Part of Your Community


15 Characteristics of Genuinely Friendly Churches

15 Characteristics of Genuinely Friendly Churches

As churches begin to regather for in-person services, some areas of guest friendliness will change, at least for the short-term. For example, for precautionary reasons we likely will not be giving guests physical gifts.

As I have consulted with churches over the years, I have assembled data on what I called GFCs, genuinely friendly churches. I set certain parameters for GFCs; then I attempted to measure the guest return rates for those churches. A guest return rate is simply the percentage of guests who will return to the church for at least a second visit.

Here is the simple but profound difference I found in GFCs and all other churches: A genuinely friendly church has a guest return rate six times greater than other churches.

Did you get that? If a church meets the guidelines to be a GFC, the probability of a guest returning is six times higher than all other churches! Sadly, only about one of twenty churches meets the criteria necessary to be a GFC.

When I began as a consultant, I had 10 criteria, and the church had to meet at least eight of those criteria to be a GFC. I have since expanded the list to 15, and require churches to meet 12 of the 15 to be a GFC. Here are the 15 characteristics of genuinely friendly churches:

  1. They are intentional about being friendly. Warmth and friendliness are clear values of these churches. They are articulated regularly. All organizations, including churches, naturally drift toward an inward focus unless they are otherwise intentional.
  2. The leaders model warmth, humility, and friendliness. The friendliness is not contrived or phony. These leaders have prayerfully become genuinely friendly men and women.
  3. The leaders are clear that genuine friendliness is more than a brief stand and greet time in a worship service. The efficacy of a stand and greet time has been debated extensively in a previously published article. Regardless of a church’s decision in this practice, leaders in GFCs were adamant that true hospitality and friendliness extends beyond a two-minute welcome time.
  4. GFCs utilize a secret guest at least twice a year. One small church of which I am aware budgets $100 a year for a secret guest. They pay the guest with a $50 gift card to come to the church and provide feedback on their experience. I call this process “looking in the mirror” because it gives the church a real opportunity to see itself as others do.
  5. GFCs had a guest friendly website. The website typically set the tone for a guest. If it did not have obvious information for a guest, such as worship times and addresses, the guest came to the church with a more negative disposition.
  6. The church has clear signage. Far too many churches lack this signage. They assume that everyone knows where everything is. First-time guests know nothing about the church or its different facilities.
  7. GFCs have a well-organized greeters’ ministry. They have greeters in the parking lot, greeters in the entrances, and greeters in other strategic locations inside. Many GFCs utilize newer members in this ministry.
  8. These churches have clear information places. It may be something as simple as a well-marked table manned by a member of the church. The signage points clearly to the information table, booth, or kiosk.
  9. GFCs have clean and neat buildings. It is amazing how much a clean facility adds to the positive mood of a guest. It is equally amazing how few churches pay attention to this issue.
  10. They have a guest feedback process. To the best of their ability, GFCs follow up with guests to get feedback on their experiences. They also encourage the guests to be open and frank in the feedback.
  11. The children’s area is clearly safe and sanitary. Don’t expect young parents to return if the church does not give clear attention to this matter.
  12. The majority of church members in GFCs are involved in the community. They thus exude genuine friendliness in the worship services because they are regularly connecting with non-church members other days of the week.
  13. Small groups are highly intentional about reaching people beyond their own groups. Thus when these group members are in a worship service, they are already accustomed to reaching out beyond those with whom they already have relationships.
  14. GFCs have new member classes that emphasize the responsibilities and expectations of church members. Members are thus more apt to look beyond their own preferences to serve others. That attitude shows up in the worship services.
  15. GFCs demonstrate an awareness of and sensitivity to COVID-19 concerns. This issue will likely be around for a while.

Give your church an honest evaluation of these 15 items. See if you can give an emphatic “yes” to at least 12 of them. If not, what should your church change?


This article was originally published at Thom S. Rainer serves as founder and CEO of Church Answers. Dr. Rainer publishes a daily blog and podcast at and can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

3981364314_d4b30cb739_bBy Thom Rainer

If you want to read the tale of a pastor who really did some dumb things, keep reading.

I served as pastor of four churches. It was only by the grace of God and the graciousness of the congregations that I was called and allowed to stay at those churches. I absolutely love the members of those four congregations, and I will forever be grateful to them and for them.

Frankly, I’m not sure I would give myself a passing grade as a pastor. I messed up quite a bit. I would do several things differently today. And as a point of full disclosure, my list of nine is not close to being exhaustive.

1. I neglected my prayer life and time in the Word too often. It sounds absolutely insane as I write it, but I got too busy for God. As a consequence, I operated out of my own insufficient power too many times.
2. I neglected my family too often. Paul wrote these words to Pastor Timothy: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5, HCSB). Ouch. So many times I communicated through my actions to my family that they were not as important as other church members.
3. I let the crisis of the moment overwhelm me. In doing so I did not trust in God to see me through the situation. And I did not have a longer-term perspective to understand that difficulties are only for a season.
4. I perceived most of my critics as my adversaries. Some of my critics actually had constructive input. Others were going through their own struggles, and I was a convenient target. I took criticisms personally instead of responding pastorally.
5. I competed with other churches. Shame on me. Too often I wanted my church to have a greater attendance than other churches in the area. I should have been praying for and working with those other church leaders more.
6. I neglected praying with my staff. My prayer time with my church staff was haphazard at best. The one thing we needed to do the most, we were doing the least. I was a terrible leader on that front.
7. I often worried about what others thought about me. My sole concern should have been how Christ-like I was. Too often I sought the approval of others rather than the blessings of God.
8. I often yielded to unreasonable requests and demands. Instead of spending my time doing those things that really mattered, I gave in too often to the “squeaky wheel.” I sacrificed the great in order to do the good.
9. I gave up too often. Due to frustration, exhaustion or, more often, lack of faith, I gave up on challenges too quickly. I am convinced I missed out on many victories when they were just around the corner.

Those are but a few of the stupid things I did as a pastor. Most of you can breathe a sigh of relief that I never served as your pastor.

So why I am writing these self-critical comments at this stage of my life? I pray that some of you may see something in your own lives and leadership that you can correct before it’s too late. God is able. God is willing.

I look forward to your comments.



This article was originally published at on May 4, 2015. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at


  • Sherene D Smith

    Thank you for sharing. We have start a new church and it has been challenging.. thank you again for sharing your wisdom so we can stay focused.

  • Erick

    Thanks for being transparent. I believe it’s part of the reason people are leaving the church today is there is not enough transparency from the pulpit.

  • Genaro Martinez, Jr.

    Thank you for sharing this, all I can say is I have found myself there many times too. Only the grace of God and the love of the people we serve is what gets us through… God bless!

  • David

    I could add, “I spent too much time being mad at the ones who WEREN’T there and not enough time appreciating the ones who WERE there.”

  • Anthony

    I’ve been pastoring now for over 10 yrs. and I still haven’t perfected it. I have found out though, that the word of God, will always prevail over any situation. Just stay with the word. I have felt rejection, experienced slander, been taken to court, you name it; but God, and His word has always brought me through. And for that, I am encouraged.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Lawrence Kumi

    Thanks for sharing. It will be very helpful to some of us lay ministers. Most grateful.

  • Musa Mitekaro

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings from Africa. I have been so much blessed by your articles. Sharing your experiences is a great ministry. I am a pastor and administrator here in Africa, you have touched my life. God bless you, your family and ministry

  • Deborah Yinka

    Thanks for sharing your downsides with others. I really appreciate the fact someone else goes thru these challenges in serving the Lord Jesus. I think I get how to serve better. God bless you


    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders

  • Dexter

    Thank you for sharing some of the stuggles, and I believe it will help somebody.

  • Jean Jackson Luma

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings From Haitian Community ( Norwood Church of God in Massachusetts) .

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us ,by today I will apply them in my ministry .

    May God bless you and your family

    Bishop Jean J Luma

  • Thanks, when I hear or see someone take a stand for being wrong, I know they are on their way to greatness. Show us oh Lord who we are and how to grow in you.

  • Frank esilaba

    Dear Pastor
    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders and especially me. I will use this in my service for Christ our Lord.

    God bless you, your family and Ministry,

    Bishop Frank Esilaba

  • Ps Ray Terborg

    Thank you pastor for sharing with us your experiences this counts for Every ps bishops this is an eye opener for every leader in THE churches today,
    Thank you

  • Pst. Edith Wekesa

    Thank you pastor greetings from Kenya and for sharing about yourself. It is great that one can admit their faults. it gives me strength to know that the struggles are for all of us, therefore we need to uplift each other as ministers of the word of God all the earth. Its encouraging to share and enable others avoid same mistakes.

1 2 3 4 5 6 29