Self-Care in the Ministry: An Address to the Church Planter Training Conference

I write this as one who, after almost twenty years of ministry, is just now beginning to see the importance of self-care in the ministry. I can’t say that I’ve burned out, but I have certainly flamed out. A few years ago, I had to come to my session and essentially tell them that I needed a break or there would definitely be burnout in my future. The session and church approved a sabbatical policy for me. In God’s providence, soon after, COVID hit. We found ourselves having to suspend almost all aspects of the church’s ministry, save public worship on the Lord’s Day. This allowed me significant flexibility and rest, so that, as the country came out of its initial lockdown, I found that I did not need to take advantage of my sabbatical quite yet. While 2020 was in many ways a difficult year for many, it was also a time of refreshment for me and my family. So, I’m not writing about self-care in the ministry because I’ve been so good at it, but because I’ve been so bad at it! And yet the ... Read more

Valuable Job Training

Being a regional home missionary is, to say the least, the most unusual position I’ve ever held, in ministry or otherwise. Training for the job was particularly difficult because it is so unique. Even people who have done or are doing the job are doing it under very different circumstances (and, I must note, I will remain forever grateful to Mark Sumpter, regional home missionary in the Presbytery of the Southwest, for allowing me to tag along with him for a week to watch him work). I was certainly given a job description prior to the call, but serving as a regional home missionary with a call to further the church planting efforts within the bounds of a particular presbytery simply cannot be summarized as a series of “how to’s.” A Church Planter Training Conference Providentially, a month after I began my labors, there was an event that jump-started my work: the Church Planter Training Conference, which in 2021 was held in Portland, Maine. For those who are not familiar with it, the ... Read more

Using OPC Tracts in Evangelism

When evangelizing, I am often tempted to think that I must fit everything into a single conversation. From experiences with our church’s evangelism group, however, it has quickly become apparent that I have a limited number of words with any given person before the conversation is over. An evangelistic encounter is a matter of directing a conversation to what is most central, the gospel, and then trusting God to work by his Spirit in the hearts of those with whom we speak. Being able to leave the tract What Is Truth? with the person I have just spoken to relieves some of the pressure to fill a conversation with too much talk. The tract can be read later, inviting them to search for the truth from the right source. If I sense the conversation is coming to a close, I’ll say something like, “The truth is incredibly important, because if we do not know the truth about God and ourselves, our lives are lived based on a lie. Could I leave this with you for you to read later on?” It is a great ... Read more

Resting and Worshiping in the OPC

When Sara Drew worshiped at an Orthodox Presbyterian church for the first time, she found a congregation lifting one voice like she had never heard before: “[There were] rich, beautiful, theological hymns that told of God’s deeds, rejoiced in his goodness, and provoked us to holier living—and people sang it like they believed it.” That morning in 2016 at Faith OPC in Grand Forks, North Dakota, with husband Chris and their three children, was not Sara’s first time experiencing a Presbyterian service. She had been a churchgoer since a child, her parents modeling faithful attendance at a PCUSA in Luverne, Minnesota, and encouraging her involvement in Christian education, youth events, and mission trips “very regularly.” After college, Sara entered seminary and eventually became ordained as a PCUSA minister—not just attending, but leading, church services. Her first time at Faith OPC, however, the worship “was all new to me,” she reflected. Chris and Sara Drew, for their part, were ... Read more


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