Whose Vineyard is This, Anyway?

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost / Thirteenth Sunday of Matthew, September 3, 2017 I Corinthians 16:13-24; Matthew 21:33-42 Very Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. If you have something truly wonderful to share with people, how do you get it to them? How do you get this wonderful…

Church Work is Mostly Disappointing

Clergy often share ministry stories and then say, “They didn’t teach me that in seminary!” One of the things that I wasn’t taught in seminary (and wish I were) is that ministry in church life is mostly a disappointment. We clergy don’t often like to talk about that. I mean, who would like to say that most of the time, the work they do,…

The Transfiguration as Model for Ministry

Holy Transfiguration of Christ, August 6, 2017 II Peter 1:10-19; Matthew 17:1-9 Very Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Today we see God. Today we see Jesus Christ standing on Mount Tabor before His three inner circle disciples—Peter, James and John—and He is transfigured before them, His…

Are All Orthodox Christians Supposed to Evangelize? (UPDATED)

The following is culled from comments I made on a Facebook thread in a private group in which it was being alleged that most Orthodox Christians aren’t meant to function as missionaries. The argument was mentioned that the Lord’s command to go into all the earth and preach the Gospel was given only (or mainly) to the apostles. Allowance was made for certain rare…

What I Saw at #AFCon

This past week I attended the Ancient Faith Writing and Podcasting Conference (AFCon), an event which I also attended last year (its inaugural year), where I spoke on ministry in social media. This year, though, I wasn’t one of the scheduled speakers but was just attending along with everyone else. Last year, I have to admit that I was a bit ambivalent about attending.…

Those Who Quit Church: Why Do We Talk About Converts More?

Recently, someone wrote to ask why the Orthodox blogosphere and media seem to talk far more about converts to Orthodoxy than people who have been Orthodox and have left off coming to church. This is a hard subject, and it’s one I don’t recall seeing talked about much online. This (with some edits and additions) was my response: I will relate why I think…

I Can’t Always Fix the Broken, But I Can Do This

From today’s epistle reading: For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (I Timothy 4:4-5) In our zealousness to be righteous or pure, we can be tempted to forget this basic truth, a truth that everything God created is fundamentally good. It…

This Thing Decreased My Stress as a Pastor

This week an article about pastors quitting ministry and even Christianity itself circulated among some of the clergy I know. I see articles like this all the time. Among this one’s ominous passages is this one: [ExPastors.com] conducted a 2015 survey that found 60 percent of pastors consider themselves overworked and 81 percent feel unable to meet the demands of their jobs, Atkinson said…