Weekly Newsletter: You’re Never As Alone As You Think You Are + A Sermon Idea from Matthew 14 + More!

by | Aug 10, 2023 | The Reflectionary

Throughout 2020, I kept interacting with an unsettling number of pastors and church leaders who felt alone and isolated. I expected that number to decrease over the following year or two as we emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic, but the opposite has been true.

There are plenty of contributing factors making this sense of loneliness among church leaders more acute. We live in an increasingly cynical culture. We’re more divided than we were a generation ago along political lines. And churches are experiencing decreasing numbers of regular attendees and volunteers.

While I don’t have all of the solutions, I do have a word of encouragement for you if you’re facing this sense of isolation: You’re in good company.

All whom Jesus has called to the role of spiritual shepherding undergo this sense of being alone. It’s intrinsic to the shepherding role. Yes, we should fight it by drawing into the company of sisters and brothers who can walk with us. But the work of ministry will always involve being out front.

I wrote a post about this and wanted to share it in this week’s newsletter…

READ: Dear Pastor, You Are Never as Alone as You Feel Like You Are

Furthermore, you need models, mentors, and friends as well as counselors and coaches along the way. I’m working on re-opening my life and leadership coaching cohort after Labor Day and would love to hear from you if you’re interested in being part of it.

In the meantime, draw near to Jesus, the Great Shepherd, and remember that he never leaves us nor forsakes us.

And keep on growing!



This Week’s Big Sermon Idea


It Is Christ or Chaos

A sermon idea based on Matthew 14:22-33.

When our focus is on the chaos present in the world around us, we succumb to fear. But when we shift our focus to the ever-present, all-powerful God who always walks among us, we rise in faith.

Read and Share the Full Article »


Creative Sermon Series Ideas from MinistryPass

My favorite resource for sermon series and message ideas, complete series graphics, and video bumpers (but NOT full notes) to get you started is MinistryPass! Each week, I’ll feature a series I would recommend checking out for the upcoming season of the church year. This week:

The Influence of Jesus Sermon Series

From the Description:

This four-week series examines Jesus’s rise in fame and popularity throughout his ministry, pointing out that if we are striving to be like him, our lives will look different than what the culture might expect. Humbling ourselves rather than promoting or exalting ourselves will become our aim.

Check Out This Sermon Series »


Links for Leaders

RESEARCH: Speaking of fear among Christians, LifeWay Research reports that, “almost 7 in 10 pastors (69%) believe there is a growing sense of fear within their churches about the future of the nation and world.” I can’t help but think that part of the issue is our tendency to actually stoke fear about the direction of the world, intentionally or not, as we seek to motivate people to remain faithful to Jesus.

ARTICLE: What if we knew that the church only had five more years remaining in its existence? How would we lead differently? That’s the question raised in a recent newsletter by Nada Bolz-Weber. I’m working on a reflection piece in response, but I tend to agree with Nadia that, “the church – free from preserving itself, free from defending itself, free from having to promote itself – might be something others would very naturally want to be a part of.”

ARTICLE: Mike Glenn writes in Scot McKnight’s newsletter that, “Leading a local church is an art, not a science. Art isn’t learned in the classroom. Art is learned from other artists. If you want to learn a certain style of painting or sculpting, you find out who’s doing that style of work in the world and you study with them.” And he has more to say in this important piece about the need to find solid ministry models and mentors from whom to learn.

BOOK: I recently finished reading Rainn Wilson’s book (yes, aka, Dwight Shrute on The Office), Soul Boom: Why We need a Spiritual Revolution, and I found Rainn’s assessment of where we are in our culture to be spot on. Rainn is Bahai, so there are certainly theological points on which we couldn’t agree, but if you’re open to hearing the perspective of someone outside the faith that echoes the growing concerns of the present generation, his book is well worth the read.

SermonShots - Turn Your Sermons Into Viral Video Clips


The Latest from Walk Humble

Walk Humble is where I host an ongoing conversation about life, faith, and relationships among people brave enough to admit they don’t have life all figured out yet. Here’s the latest if you’re interested…

Miss an Issue? Read The Reflectionary Archives!


A Coaching Community for Church Leaders

My friend, Jacob Schmelzer, hosts one of the best coaching communities for pastors and leaders of growing churches. UpLevel Leader Church Growth Coaching comes value-packed with

  • A weekly coaching session
  • Church marketing masterclass
  • Facebook invitation system
  • The 50 to 500 growth plan
  • A library of courses on church growth and leadership

And more. Jacob is a leader who walks both confidently and humbly and has figured out how to lead well in a culture that offers plenty of challenges. Check out UpLevel Leader Church Growth Coaching today!

Jacob Schmelzer Uplevel Leadership Coaching


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Check out ConvertKit!

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash.

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Feeling Burned Out?

Exhausted? Depleted? Disillusioned? You’re not alone! In January of 2021, 29% of pastors had considered quitting. By March of 2022, that number had risen to 42%. (According to Barna Research) And things aren’t getting any easier. So we’ve developed this 20-question free burnout assessment tool to help you know where you stand.

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