Welcome to Greatheart’s Table, a subscription based on-line publication encouraging the relational, grace-filled practice of pastoral care in Christ’s church. I am glad you have found us here, whether you are a pastor or someone who cares for pastors. I invite you to pull up a virtual chair and to have a seat while I take a moment to sketch what we are trying to do and to be. If you find there is promise here, please subscribe and invite others to do so as well.
Every pastor should have a space where he can be honest, where he can drop all pretense, and where he can say, or have someone say for him, what he really feels. In large part, to create such a space is the genesis and hope of Greatheart’s Table. There are many resources, books, sites, eager to tell pastors how to do what we do. But most of us are just tired. The aim of this newsletter is to encourage the heart and soul of the pastor.
Pastors possess a heart to care for the broken, the confused, and the lost. We want to give our lives to teaching and listening and praying. We want to help the non-Christian to see Jesus and the Christian to trust him more.
All of that can be overwhelming enough. But modern ministry expectations demand that we as well be effective leaders, dynamic visionaries, and successful entrepreneurs, as well as have expertise on the many contentious issues dividing the church and the culture. We do our best at all of this, hoping, of course, that no one will ask us “The Question.”
But they do.
Sooner or later someone will ask, “So how big is your church?” As those who have been trained to assess our human worth based upon the size of our church, pastors, especially those of small churches, feel this question in a particularly painful way.
It’s all enough to make us question our calling. “I’m a lousy pastor,” we say. It’s helpful to have others around us who will commiserate with us in our misery. And more likely than not, you are not a lousy pastor. You are just a tired one.
Greatheart’s Table is offered as a place where pastors can have their primary calling validated and celebrated. I invite pastors (and those who care for them), therefore, to pull up a chair and join us at the table. Maybe we can keep you from quitting. Perhaps we can help you find again the joy of ministry.
Why the title?
In Part Two of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, we meet Mr. Greatheart. Mr. Greatheart is a guide who devotes himself to leading Christian’s wife, Christiana, through the bulk of her journey to the Celestial City. As such, he is a model of the faithful pastor. This newsletter, then, is meant to be a virtual table around which those who resonate with Greatheart’s example can gather to consider ideas, engage questions, and, ultimately, find encouragement for their labor.
So, pull up a chair.
My goal for Greatheart’s Table is to post three times each month to the e-mail newsletter and to replicate that content as a podcast for those who prefer audio (available from Apple, Google, and Spotify).
Each post will convey a single thought, story, or reflection addressing subjects relevant to pastors and those who care for them (my wife insists that people like her should have a seat at the table, and I concur). These posts will be intentionally short, ~800 words in print (about seven minutes in audio) so as to not tax the reader’s or listener’s attention span.
The content will be conversational and will bear the marks of the fallible practitioner. I hope to bring a spark of humanity and possibly humor to your calling.
The newsletter format will allow for interaction for those who wish to comment or to pose questions. I’d love to hear your questions, so please let me hear from you.
What Does It Cost?
The basic content of Greatheart’s Table is free and delivered to all subscribers’ email inboxes. Paid subscriptions dive more deeply into the community, but are strictly optional.
But who am I?
I have been a pastor for more than thirty-five years in the Presbyterian Church in America. My interests, however, are not merely Presbyterian. My relationship with pastors from other traditions has shown me that the many issues that weigh on pastors are broad and touch upon those in every type of fellowship.
Currently I pastor Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oviedo, Florida. I have been a visiting lecturer in preaching at the Orlando campus of Reformed Theological Seminary. Christian Focus Publications has published my book Something Worth Living For, an introduction to historic Christian theology built around the framework of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
But at heart, I am a pastor.
I hope you will join us at the able.
And I hope you will invite others!