Author: Derek Sweatman

  • Wind Tunnel

    Ministry can be like stacking paper cups in a wind tunnel, and you keep doing it because you were called to stack paper cups in a wind tunnel.

  • The Gospel Wall

    Homiletically, there are two paths you can go by: law, then gospel, then more law, or law, then gospel, and nothing more. The first path is common, easy, and well-worn. The reasons are many, one being that we’re not yet comfortable with the space that grace brings, so we feel the urgency to fill that […]

  • Church As A Lazy River: A Short

    The church is like a lazy river. There are two things here: First, people can step away from the church for a while, and like the river that runs around the water park, the church keeps moving. This can be hard at times, and even sad, watching people exit the flow of parish life. Second, […]

  • The Pastoral Impulse To Save The Church

    I don’t remember thinking that much about the future of the church in America when I started out in pastoral work, but lately I have started to wonder. Not in a defeatist kind of way, but with a genuine curiosity about what’s going on. What we know: Attendance and engagement are down Confidence in the […]

  • Sermon Stuff, Part 2: You Probably Don’t Need That Quotation

    Back in the 90s, Leadership Journal published a book titled Quotes & Idea Starters for Preaching & Teaching, and it was a must-have. Filled with a cataloged list of sayings from well-known people, past and present, it was a go-to resource for filling those empty spaces in a sermon. “Oh look, Alexander Graham Bell said […]

  • Sermon Stuff, Part 1: The Sermon Is Sometimes

    Back there in seminary school, as Jim Morrison once said, we were taught to write and craft sermons across a variety of styles and layouts. The push from the homiletics department was towards texture and difference, and towards a courage to practice a number of sermonic formats. Part of this had to do with finding […]

  • Torn And Frayed: A Devotional For The Third Week In Lent

    Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. – Exodus 3:1 When we pick up the story of Moses here in Exodus chapter 3, he’s been on the run for some time. Born a Hebrew child […]

  • Lord, Have Mercy. A Devotional For The Second Week In Lent.

    How often I have desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you are not willing.– Jesus, Luke 13:34 Jesus spoke these words as a lament over the spiritual and religious confusion that had overtaken so many in Jerusalem. When we dig further into the story, we […]

  • Why We Observe Ash Wednesday

    A few weeks ago I was asked to participate in an interview about Independent Christian Churches who observe Ash Wednesday and Lent. The facilitator, Laura Hicks Hardy of Emmanuel Christian Seminary (Johnson City, TN), asked some great questions of each of us, portions of which were quoted in her subsequent article here. I have posted […]

  • Top 5 Mistakes I Made In Youth Ministry

    For 13 years I worked as a youth pastor in the local church. That’s 13 graduations. It was more than enough time to have learned all sorts of things about youth ministry, and about myself. When I look back on those years, my memories are mostly positive. But there are also memories of things I […]