Category Archives: Ministry

Questionable recruiting

I received this email note last night.

Hi Mark,

I’m Steve, CEO of Restless Bandit, and we work with companies to find top talent. We saw that you have experience as a Senior Pastor at First Central Baptist Church. Our matching algorithms identified you as a great candidate for Davisville Church’s open position: Youth Pastor. Your skills and background make you a great match; if you’re interested, you can see the job description and find all the details to apply here.

If you want to learn more about me you can check out my LinkedIn profile by searching for Steve Goodman or by clicking here. You can also learn more about Restless Bandit by checking out our press page here.

We want to bring you the best jobs. If this was not a good match, update your information here so we can improve your results.

Thanks for your consideration!

All the best,

Steve Goodman

CEO, Restless Bandit

33 New Montgomery Street

San Francisco, CA 94105

P.S. To ensure you continue receiving great job opportunities, please add us to your trusted senders.

I’m not sure what algorithm they are using, but I certainly question the accuracy. 1) After 14 years as a Senior Pastor, why would I want to be a Youth Pastor? 2) Who would want to hire a 63-year-old youth pastor anyway? 3) Their info is not correct since we changed the name of the church to First Central Bible Church almost two years ago. This tells me their research is not accurate and doesn’t give me much confidence in the rest of their note.

Needless to say, I unsubscribed from their mailing list.

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Posted by on March 14, 2018 in Ministry, Personal growth


Russia 2018 – March update

It is now less than four weeks before I leave for Russia. While I don’t have a completely clean bill of health quite yet, both my primary care physician and my surgeon said that there is nothing preventing me from traveling. The blood clot(s) in my calf are still present. My primary care physician is changing my medication and sending me to a specialist. He did say, however, that it shouldn’t be an issue for me while traveling.

I continue with PT (physical therapy) twice a week and I do 45-60 minutes of exercises & stretching 2-3 times a day to rebuild the strength in my leg. I am now using a cane to walk. Several times a week I either go into the church’s gym and walk 2-3 laps or go to a local mall and walk the length of it.

A study of the book of Revelation appears to be very popular as the classes are starting to fill up. 23 students are registered for the first week in Anapa. They will come from Anapa, Pyatigorsk (9 hours to the south), and Crimea (a long bus, ferry, and bus ride). I haven’t heard yet on the class in Elista, but I anticipate it will be packed as well.


  • The trip is fully funded!
  • The travel arrangements are all made.
  • I received my visa.
  • My leg/hip is getting stronger!

Prayer requests

  • Greater insight and understanding of the book of Revelation.
  • Complete recovery and full health and strength in my leg/hip.
  • Be able to walk without the cane by end of March.
  • Blood clot(s) in calf completely gone.
  • Be able to travel without limitations.
  • Safety and protection for those who will attend the classes.

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. I’m in your debt.

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Posted by on March 12, 2018 in Ministry, Missions, Prayer, Russia


First Central Bible Church is sending one of our own into missions in Spain

First Central Bible Church has the unique opportunity and privilege to send one of our staff members to Spain as a missionary with SEND Int’l. Below is a letter sent to the congregation describing the opportunity.

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Posted by on February 20, 2018 in First Central Bible Church, Ministry, Missions


How well do you know what your pastor faces?

Book Review: Pastors are People Too: What They Won’t Tell You but You Need to Know, by Jimmy Dodd and Larry Magnuson

Does your pastor feel as if he needs to hit a home run in every sermon he preaches? Does he feel like he has the freedom to fail? Does he know who has his back or is he always looking over his shoulder for fear of attack? Does your pastors’ wife feel the freedom to be herself or does she feel like she has to measure up to the standard set by a previous pastors’ wife? How well does your church take care of your pastor and his family?

All of these questions and more are addressed in the book, Pastors are People Too: What They Won’t Tell You but You Need to Know, by Jimmy Dodd and Larry Magnuson. The authors provide helpful insight into what pastors face and experience on a daily basis. They also provide practical ideas on how you and the church can better support and encourage your pastor.

Jimmy Dodd heads up an organization called PastorServe, a ministry that provides care, counseling, and friendship to pastors. Larry Magnuson leads SonScape Retreats, a ministry that provides weeklong experiences in spectacular settings designed to encourage and build up pastors and their spouses. Carol and I had the privilege of attending a SonScape Retreat seven years ago. It not only allowed us to rest and reset, but also gave us insight into some of the challenges we were currently facing and how to deal with them.

The book would be a helpful tool for anyone who wants to come alongside and be an asset to a pastor rather than an antagonist.

I purchased a copy of the book myself and found it to be helpful. It expresses many of the things I would say or ask for if I was bold enough to do so. Fortunately, the authors do it much better than I could. The opinions I share in this review are my own.


The Road Ahead

“When are you coming back to the pulpit?” one person asked me recently. “Jack has done a great job filling in, but we miss you.”

Now that the surgeon has cleared me for full weight bearing on my injured leg, here’s the tentative plan. (Deo Volente, God Willing.)

Physical Therapy

  • My current in-home therapist has given me new exercises which are baby steps towards rebuilding strength and confidence in my leg. I’ll be working on those for the next couple of weeks. I’ll also be working on conquering the stairway to the second floor. Oh, boy!
  • The surgeon wrote a Rx for 6 weeks of more intense physical therapy at their facility. However, I will wait until after the first of the year to begin that phase. One reason is the holidays and the second is I’m still waiting on the swelling to go down in my calf so I can get the maximum benefit of the therapy.


  • The tentative plan is that I will back in the pulpit (so to speak) on January 7. The first few weeks might require me sitting on a stool until my leg gets stronger. A new year. A new sermon series. A new leg.
  • I won’t be back in the office until I can drive. I still need greater strength, mobility, and confidence in my leg before I’m ready to do that, even though the church is only one mile away. Since it is winter, I will take my time and work from home for a while longer. I will be playing this one by ear.

Thanks for praying.

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Posted by on December 21, 2017 in Ministry, Personal growth


A balanced approach to ministry

Do we share the gospel or do we feed the hungry? Do we pour our efforts into evangelism or digging wells for clean water? The nature of these questions assumes an either/or answer. However, as Dr. Gary McIntosh explains, we need a holistic approach to ministry, but one which keeps sharing the gospel as the first among equals.

Our priority to proclaim the gospel of salvation to all the nations does not mean we should ignore serving our communities or mankind. Service without proclamation and proclamation without service are both futile. It is the gospel preached and lived that impacts humanity and society with power. Both need to be preserved, and the church must practice both. In truth it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to disentangle preaching and service. Preaching the gospel of salvation must be done among the people, not just to the people. Yet it must also be admitted that the best service the church can render to humanity is the proclamation of the gospel of salvation. Numerous nonprofit organizations, Christian and non-Christian, address social justice issues around the world. But only the church is called to proclaim salvation in Jesus Christ.

What makes the church unique is not its good deeds but its message of salvation in Jesus Christ. If we feed the hungry today but fail to preach the gospel of salvation and thereby see few or none turning to Christ, those we feed will ultimately die in their sins. They may be well fed, but they will go into eternity apart from Christ. The ultimate service is to win souls, whereby they go into eternity as children of God.

Gary L. McIntosh, Growing God’s Church: How People Are Actually Coming to Faith Today

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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in Church, Evangelism, Ministry, Quotes


Helpful relationships that enhance growth

I am working my way through Jimmy Dodd’s book, Survive or Thrive: 6 Relationships Every Pastor Needs.In part 1, he describes what happens when a pastor lacks integrity, that is, his front stage personality or character is different from his back stage personality and character. In part 2, he introduces his solution of the six relationships a pastor needs in order to be healthy and grow. In visual form, his model looks like this.

His model reminds me of what Prof Howard Hendricks often said, “Every man needs a Paul, a Timothy, and a Barnabas in their life. Every woman needs an Elizabeth, a Mary, and a Martha in their life. We all need a mentor, a protege, and a friend.”

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Posted by on November 25, 2017 in Books, Mentors, Ministry, Quotes