Posts by Joe Holland


I’ve been in ministry long enough now (well over a decade) to see friends enter the ministry and then leave it. Some of those exits have been for honorable reasons and some for dishonorable. I serve on two credentialing committees and have coached a few church planters over the years. I wish I could protect my friends and the future pastors I have the privilege of training from ministry burnout--and I’m not alone in this desire. There are countless ministries--some more targeted than others--that focus on ministerial health. I’m writing within a specific tradition (i.e. as a Reformed, Presbyterian church planter), with my own, and our own, blind spots. As I’ve thought through and worked in this space, I’ve come to believe that there at least two givens and one blind spot when it comes to guarding against ministry burnout.


The benefit of doctrine is discovered in the way in which our Lord Jesus uses it to equip us for everyday life. Life is multiplex and experiences differ from person to person. And yet the truth of God, the activity of the Holy Spirit, and kingly rule of Jesus never change. Do our stories, told together, reflect the varied care of our God over us? If they don’t, I think it’s time to write some new stories.


Peter wasn’t stealing from Gentiles; he just wasn’t eating with them. I wonder if that is a category that most Christians have. Do we work as hard at avoiding Gospel-undermining behavior as we do at avoiding immoral behavior? If not, it is imperative that we learn to do so. Otherwise, we may find ourselves, in a real way, standing condemned as Peter at the Antiochan meal.


There is so much shock surrounding our December celebration of cultural Christmas. But that shock is mostly shallow. We should be dumbfound and shocked every time we meditate on the incarnation. That shock should be centered on the person and work of Jesus. So, this year, let your Christmas shock to skyrocket. let your mouth be agape and speechless as you consider again the entry of Jesus into the world he came to redeem.


The Psalms form the largest corpus of one of the most unique genres within the biblical canon, namely, the genre of song and poetry. Evangelical Christians tend to neglect that genre for different reasons. In our post-Reformation, post-enlightenment Western way of thinking, most of us think that the more didactic sections of Scripture are more important because they are full of logical and propositional statements. Some think that poetry and song are somehow less manly. This is entirely an unorthodox view of song, worship, and masculinity.