10 Years… Part 2

March 25, 2022 marked 10 years since my first Sunday as pastor of White Fields Community Church.

When I moved to Longmont to pastor White Fields, I was 28 years old. I had been pastoring for 7 years, and had a lot more hair (though it was already thinning!)

On March 27, the church surprised me with a celebration I didn’t know was coming. We had cakes and other treats at each service, and they had leaders who were elders in the first few years I was here come up and say a few words and pray for my wife and I.

Of these past 10 years, the last 5 have been particularly enjoyable; working with friends, taking steps of faith, and experiencing good fruit.

We are currently in the midst of a building expansion project, in order to create room for more people to come, hear God’s Word, grow, and be equipped. It’s an exciting time, and I look forward to the future!

The Relationship Between Clergy & the Congregation + Study & the Spirit: with Dr. Roy Collins

In this week’s episode of the Theology for the People podcast, I speak with Dr. Roy Collins about the relationship between clergy and the congregation, and study and the Spirit.

Dr. Collins is a returning guest on the podcast; his previous episode: Guidelines for Biblical Interpretation: Properly Understanding & Faithfully Applying God’s Word, has been one of the most popular episodes on the podcast. In that episode, Dr. Roy alluded to his bad experiences in ministry as a pastor, and I responded that we could talk about that in a later episode. Well, that “later episode” is here!

In this episode, we talk about some of our experiences as pastors, specifically in regard to training and support. What is the responsibility of someone who is called to ministry to study to show themselves approved, a workman who can rightly divide the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15)? What responsibility does the congregation have towards the minister – for support and providing care and coaching?

We discuss these and other subjects in this episode.

Dr. Collins has served as a pastor and a professor of Biblical Interpretation at Colorado Christian University. He is a member of White Fields Community Church in Longmont, Colorado, where he teaches an adult Sunday School class at 8:00 AM on Sunday mornings.

We also explain and mention two initiatives I am involved in, which were designed to meet these needs:

  • Expositors Collective: a group of Christian leaders who are working together to raise up the next generation of Christ-centered Bible teachers and preachers, through our 2-day interactive seminars and our weekly podcast. Our next training seminar will be held in Costa Mesa, California, on February 18-19, 2022. If you’d like more information, and to register, go to expositorscollective.com
  • Cultivate Training Program: This is a relationally focused, local-church based training program which helps assess, train, and potentially deploy new church planters and missionaries.

Click here to listen to this episode, or listen in the embedded player below.

The Relationship Between Clergy & Congregation + Study & the Spirit – with Dr. Roy Collins Theology for the People

Dr. Roy Collins returns as a guest to the podcast to share his difficult experiences as a young pastor, and how they have led to the dual conclusions that a congregation has a responsibility to a pastor, both to train and to support them, and that a person in ministry has a responsibility to pursue ongoing training in order to stir up the gifts that God has placed within them, so they can serve people well.  In this episode, Dr. Collins speaks candidly about some of his experiences, and Nick shares some current training initiatives that can help provide support for the very areas which Dr. Collins addresses as being needs. For more information on these programs, visit: Expositors Collective Cultivate church planter training program Visit the Theology for the People website for more information and articles.

Developing & Implementing Vision in the Local Church

My friends and co-laborers, Ted Leavenworth and Rob Salvato, both pastors in Southern California, started a new podcast called Leadership Collective, in which they curate helpful conversations with church leaders about relevant topics.

I had the pleasure of being a guest on the podcast along with Dr. Mark Foreman. Our discussion was about the nuts and bolts of how we develop, cast, and implement “vision” in our churches. Mark pastors a mega-church in Southern California, and I pastor a medium sized church on the Front Range of Colorado, so there are some pretty big differences in how we go about this process, but many similarities as well.

Earlier in my ministry I used to hate the word “vision” because it seemed so nebulous and abstract. However, since then I have come to understand that “vision” can simply be defined as: “a desired outcome.” Putting it in those terms, the question of “vision” becomes much more manageable. Beginning with a desired outcome, you can then begin thinking about the way to achieve that outcome, and break it down into a process with steps, depending on the given time-frame.

Not only is it imperative that we have vision as leaders, it’s also important for us to communicate it. What I have learned is that most leaders unwittingly under-communicate vision, and it’s very rare for people to feel that leaders over-communicate vision. The point is, for most of us, we need to communicate vision more than we currently are, and more than we think we need to.

You can check out that episode here, or listen in the embedded player below: Vision | Mark Foreman & Nick Cady

If the Leadership Collective is of interest to you, make sure to subscribe to their podcast!

Vision Bonus Episode | Mark Foreman & Nick Cady Leadership Collective Podcast

Pastor Mark Foreman of North Coast Calvary in Carlsbad, California joins Pastor Nick Cady of White Fields Community Church in Longmont, Colorado to discuss the topic of vision.  —- North Coast Calvary Chapel — northcoastcalvary.org White Fields Community Church — whitefieldschurch.com

Pastoring in the Midst of Crisis

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The Expositors Collective steering committee: Mike Neglia, David Guzik, Pete Nelson, Nick Cady

This latest episode of the Expositors Collective podcast is one you should definitely check out: in it Mike Neglia, Pete Nelson, and I have a conversation about strategies and methods we are employing in order to pastor, shepherd, lead, and preach during this global pandemic which has caused so much upheaval in lives and in our churches.

Pete Nelson, by the way, was the founding pastor of the church I now lead in Longmont: White Fields Community Church. Pete now pastors in Thousand Oaks, California at One Love Church. Mike Neglia pastors a vibrant, thriving church in Cork, Ireland called Calvary Cork.

From preaching through YouTube and Facebook Live, to how to use the “premiere” features on those services instead of going live, to how to do fellowship through Zoom – as well as questions about doing communion remotely and what we miss about gathered corporate worship – it is an enriching conversation.

Here’s the link to listen: Episode 98 – Pastoring in the Midst of Crisis

As Mike always says: “May this episode, and everything we do at Expositors Collective help you in your private study and your public proclamation of God’s Word!”

How Much Time Should a Pastor Spend Preparing a Sermon?

I like to joke that as a pastor I only work one day a week, but the truth is that on average most pastors work 50-60 hours a week. This time is spent managing, planning, corresponding – and of course: studying and preparing a sermon.

Sermon preparation can take a lot of time, especially for a perfectionist. I know that I have often certainly spent an inordinate amount of time preparing my sermons before; partly because I consider it a high and holy calling to preach and teach the Word of God, and also because it is something I enjoy doing and I want to do it well, in a way that truly honors God and impacts peoples’ lives.

So how much time should a preacher spend on preparing a sermon?

I heard one well-known pastor say once at a conference that he only spent about four hours per week preparing his message. He then added that this is because he has a team of people who do all of his research for him, and he takes the material they bring him and organizes it into a message. Most pastors don’t have this luxury, nor would they want someone else doing their studying for them.

A friend of mine who pastors a small church told me that he spends 30 hours per week preparing for his Sunday message. He also has a midweek service, for which he prepares about 15 hours. The result of that is that he doesn’t have time for anything else except sermon preparation. In other words: he doesn’t have any time left over to be a pastor (Greek for “shepherd”) to his congregation. He is only a preacher. Particularly in smaller congregations, it is important that a pastor not only be a preacher, but a shepherd, and he and I both agreed that his time allocation in this area was more of a detriment than a blessing to his congregation.

As for myself, in addition to my regular duties as a pastor, I have a wife and young children who I like spending time with, and in the past few months I have taken on hosting a live radio show once a week and I’m studying for my Masters, which requires about 16 hours of my attention every week. All this means that I need to be good at managing my time well, not only for my own benefit, but for the benefit of my family and my church.

8 Hours or Less: Writing faithful sermons faster by [Huguley, Ryan]

So I was intrigued a few weeks ago when a friend recommended this book: 8 Hours or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster by Ryan Huguley.  It sounded a bit gimmicky to me at first, but after reading it, I think it’s a great resource that I would recommend. Basically, in the book, he outlines a plan for your week, which has you doing certain tasks each day for an hour or two, which help you focus and write better sermons faster. I think that’s really key; it’s not hard to write sermons faster – the question is if they will be good sermons. The system he lays out is intended not only to improve the speed, but also the quality of sermons.

One part which was foreign to me is that on Tuesdays he has you study the text and review your outline with a small group of people. This is probably the part I was most hesitant about, but the part which I have enjoyed the most.

If the end result is better sermons and more time for a pastor to spend pastoring people,  leading the church and preparing for the future, and having more time for their families, that’s a win-win-win. I recommend this book whole-heartedly.