Corporate leadership systems focused on vanity metrics have left today’s church leaders weary and burnt out. The Pastor’s Table Podcast brings you conversations with local pastors working out deep theological convictions in their churches. Listen to the Pastor’s Table today to get a renewed perspective on how to integrate a robust theological vision with your ministry practices. Embrace the gift of serving in God’s Kingdom with Join Dr. Mark Quanstrom & Rev. Tara Beth Leach on The Pastor’s Table. Join the conversation at thepastorstable.com
Is The Church Holy? | Hamartiology | S6E2
29:51The Church is filled with tension. How does the brokenness of humanity found in the Church co-exist with being Christ’s presence in the world? Sin has ravaged the church. The pain and fallout have been significant, especially among church leaders. Yet, the church will always be the place where messy people interact and work out their salvation from sin. Holiness often looks less spectacular and more ordinary acts of goodness. Discussion Questions: Beth, Mark & Tara Beth wrestle through some lofty discussions about sin and the holiness of church. How do you wrestle through these discussions that they bring up in this episode? Beth brings up that capitalism is often brought up and at times negatively intertwined into the church as a “product.” What ways can this be unhelpful to live in the Kingdom as God described? In the context of the Church's inherent tension and brokenness due to the impact of sin, how can the community navigate the challenge of being Christ's presence in the world while acknowledging and addressing the significant pain and fallout among church leaders?
What is Sin? | Hamartiology | S6E1
39:23How does sin manifest itself in the world? The inescapable nature of sin is felt in so many ways including the church. Whether it’s the pervasive brokenness in systems or grave offensives, God’s people are constantly bumping up against sin. Tara Beth & Mark talk with Beth Felker Jones about the way God intersects with the reality of sin in the world. Discussion Questions: The steadfast love of God remains constant even when we fail. How can we remind ourselves and others of God's steadfast love, even when we fail? We’ve all experienced the abundance and pain of sin. What is the most obvious way you’re experiencing sin right now in your congregation? Mark and Tara Beth suggest fostering transformation by modeling vulnerability, nurturing the imagination of the church's culture, and emphasizing confession and the need for Christ's grace. What are some ways we can model vulnerability, nurture the church's culture, and emphasize confession and the need for Christ's grace?
The Toll of Pastoring | Life in The Church | S5E4
24:39Pastoring can be a pure gift and extremely challenging at the same time. Dr. Mark Quanstrom has been the Sr. Pastor for just over 10 years. There have been a tremendous number of really good things that have happened but despite all the good, Mark shares how he also has never mourned as much over the challenges of pastoring in 2023. Discussion Questions: Mark shares how the best of times and hardest of times are happening simultaneously in the life of College Church. Describe a time when things have been both good and challenging. Tara Beth and Mark talk about the toll pastoring has on a person. Things like doing a funeral for a friend who you are simultaneously mourning is a lot to process. How do you handle the emotions that come from situations like this? “The only way I’m going to do this is to go all in relationships. Even if that means getting hurt and being uncomfortable.” How do you approach this dynamic with the relationships that Mark and Tara Beth discussed?
Never Lower Expectations | Life in The Church | S5E3
32:42Is it possible for a honeymoon season never to end? Mark & Tara Beth continue to discuss all the ups and downs of ministry. There has been no hiding the tumultuous season that Northern Seminary has navigated. In this episode shares about the leadership transitions, systemic challenges, and a commitment to redemption still present at Northern. Sin has a destructive and pervasive presence in the life of every organization. Northern Seminary has been no exception and yet a vision to embrace an unwavering commitment to God’s Kingdom still persists. Discussion Questions: How would you answer the question of whether it is possible for a honeymoon season never to end? What lessons do you pull from the experience Dr. Quanstrom shared about how Northern Seminary walked through its challenging systemic issues? There is a lot of hurt and pain that is discussed in the events highlighted in this episode. What guides you when you engage with people who have been deeply hurt by institutions?
Leading Through a Denominational Change | Life in The Church Part 2 | S5E2
28:10The honeymoon season at Tara Beth’s church ended with having to navigate leaving a denomination with her congregation. This necessary change was hard for everyone but honesty and transparency helped guide them all into making it go as well as possible. In this episode, Tara Beth shares her experience and the internal challenges she faced during this transition. Mark and Tara Beth emphasize the importance of pastors being honest about their emotions while remaining brave. She organized a "Shepherd's Heart Live" event to address her congregation's concerns, and she highlighted the significance of unity and remaining faithful to one another, even amid tumultuous times. Discussion Questions: Fostering authenticity and allowing differing opinions can lead to a healthier church community. Why is creating an atmosphere of authenticity and allowing differing opinions in a church community important? Moses and the Israelites faced lots of change. What can we learn from the example of Moses and the Israelites experiencing grumbling and challenges during times of constant change? Mark and Tara Beth reflected on the importance of unity not being contingent on agreement but on fidelity to one another. What role does unity play in the face of disagreement within a church community?
Leaving a Denomination | Life in The Church | S5E1
34:14📝 Take the listener survey at thepastorstable.com Is it theologically faithful for a church to ever leave a denomination? Tara Beth and Mark talk through the arduous process of Good Shepherd leaving their previous denomination. This monumental decision was fueled by denominational hierarchy and cultural differences, unfolded over a decade, with the climax occurring under Tara Beth’s young tenure. Despite the initial hesitations and overwhelming negative voices, Tara Beth shared how she pastored the church through the process and followed the congregation's support. Both Mark & Tara Beth underscored the importance of focusing on supportive voices amidst a sea of doubt, while also acknowledging their commitment to being transparent about their experiences. Discussion Questions: Tara Beth explained that through town hall meetings and discussions, the church council navigated the tension between the congregation and denomination, leading to their decision to disaffiliate. How can open, honest communication help a congregation work through difficult decisions such as changing denominations? It is so easy to let the loudest and most negative voices get the majority of your attention as a pastor. Why is it crucial for pastors to also focus on the positive feedback and support from their congregation? Mark and Tara Beth discuss her role in leading the church through a complex and prolonged process. In challenging times, what principles of pastoral leadership do you find crucial? How can a pastor effectively guide a congregation through significant transitions while maintaining transparency and seeking support?
Reflections on the Grace of Ministry | 2023 Episodes in Review (Part 2) | S3E23
22:34Take the Pastor’s Table survey today. Your voice matters to us and we want to make sure you have a seat at the table! Take the Survey 👇 https://forms.gle/JxRuJFsCkL5V6CQf7 Ministry is a gift. So many pastors are faithfully living out a call to follow Jesus in ministry. In the final episode of 2023, Tara Beth, Mark, and Chaz reflect on the conversations that we were able to have that were designed to foster and lift the many pastors in located ministry. From being challenged in how we spend time with God to honoring the beautiful differences present in Christ’s bride, this episode highlights some of the highlights and reflections had from this year. Thank you so much for you willingness to join us at the Pastor’s table this year! Looking forward to sitting with you around the table again in 2024! Discussion Questions: Reflecting on Your Ministry Journey: In the episode, we looked at the struggles and triumphs of pastoral ministry. Take a moment to share a personal experience from your ministry journey in 2023. What were the challenges, and where did you find moments of triumph? The Power of Love in Ministry: Love is highlighted as a significant aspect of pastoral ministry. How has the role of love shaped your interactions and decisions in ministry this year? Can you recall a specific instance where the power of love made a notable impact? Community and Pastoral Well-being: How has your sense of community contributed to your well-being as a pastor? Share examples of how being part of a supportive community has influenced your approach to ministry and personal resilience. Timestamps: 00:33 Reflecting on the First Year of the Pastor's Table 02:34 The Importance of Reflection in Pastoral Ministry 04:00 The Power of a Great Morning Routine 04:16 The Struggles and Triumphs of Pastoral Ministry 07:44 The Role of Love in Pastoral Ministry 15:06 The Importance of Community in Pastoral Ministry 17:07 Looking Forward: The Future of the Pastor's Table 20:15 Closing Thoughts and Blessings
Lived Experience of Ministry | 2023 Episodes in Review (Part 1) | S3E22
36:44God’s faithfulness and goodness are abundant in the call of ministry. This whole year on the Pastor’s table has been inviting those in ministry to embrace the fullness of the call. Vanity metrics and comparison traps have robbed so many pastors the joy and blessings of ministry. This year has been such a blessing getting to be with you on this journey! Thank you for joining us at the table! Discussion Questions: Vanity Metrics and the Joy of Ministry: How have vanity metrics and comparison traps affected your perspective on ministry, and what steps can pastors take to rediscover the joy and blessings inherent in their calling? Theoretical vs. Existential Challenges: Reflecting on the discussion about theoretical and existential challenges in ministry, how can pastors navigate the tension between theological ideals and the day-to-day realities of leading a church? Share specific examples from your experiences. The Role of Theology in Identity and Decision-Making: How has your theological framework shaped your identity as a pastor, and in what ways has it influenced significant decisions in your pastoral leadership journey?
The Joy of Long-term Pastoring | Michael Burchfield (Part 2 of 2) | S3E21
26:59With 36 years of experience as a lead pastor, Michael shares the highs and lows of his journey, including periods of growth, decline, and important decision-making for the community. Through their conversation, they explore the significance of staying faithful to a congregation, even in the face of challenges and transitions. Mike's story serves as a powerful testament to the value of fostering deep relationships and practicing fidelity as a pastor. They also delve into the benefits of long-term ministry, including the impact on family, the nurturing of multiple generations in the church, and the establishment of credibility in the community. As the discussion unfolds, Tara Beth and Mark reflect on the importance of faithfulness, both to a local congregation and to the vocation of pastoring itself. Whether you're a pastor seeking encouragement and wisdom or simply curious about the realities and rewards of long-term ministry, this episode of "The Pastor's Table" is sure to inspire and nourish your spirit. Tune in and be blessed by the insights and experiences shared on this engaging podcast. Discussion Questions: Michael's journey as a lead pastor spans 36 years, covering periods of growth, decline, and crucial decision-making. Reflect on the challenges and rewards of long-term ministry in your own context. How do you see the value of fidelity and commitment in sustaining a congregation through various seasons? The episode emphasizes the significance of staying faithful to a congregation, even amid challenges and transitions. Share personal experiences or observations of how deep relationships and fidelity have impacted your local church community. In what ways have these elements contributed to the spiritual growth and resilience of the congregation? Tara Beth and Mark discuss the benefits of long-term ministry, such as the impact on family, nurturing multiple generations, and establishing credibility in the community. Consider the role of family and generational connections in your church context. How does a long-term pastoral presence contribute to the overall health and credibility of a church within its community? Timestamps: 01:20 The Impact of Changing Church Services 03:59 The Cost of Pastoral Decisions 04:58 The Challenges and Triumphs of the Next Decade 05:01 The Consistency of Pastoral Ministry 12:38 The Role of Relationships in Pastoral Ministry 14:30 The Importance of Faithfulness in Pastoral Ministry 16:47 The Call to Pastoral Ministry 21:17 Pastoring is Pastoring 23:52 Ending Well
The Rollercoaster of Ministry | Michael Burchfield (Part 1 of 2) | S3E20
35:32It doesn’t take long serving in ministry to realize that there will be ups and downs in ministry. Michael Burchfield takes Tara Beth & Mark through his journey, starting from his call to mission work in the Philippines to his struggles serving in an upper-middle-class community church in Silicon Valley. Against the backdrop of church growth, loss of members, personal burnout, and challenging pastoral realities, Burchfield admits to resigning from his position, before ultimately deciding to stay and continue his call in the very same congregation. Discussion Questions: Michael Burchfield's journey involves significant challenges, including personal burnout and a decision to resign from his pastoral position. Reflecting on your own experiences, how do you navigate challenges and burnout in ministry? What factors contribute to the decision to persevere or consider a change in direction? Michael ultimately decided to stay and continue his call in the same congregation despite difficulties. How can the church community play a role in supporting and revitalizing ministers facing burnout or considering resignation? Share examples of how you've seen or experienced congregations effectively support their pastoral leaders during challenging times. Michael's journey includes a transition from mission work to serving in an upper-middle-class community church in Silicon Valley. In your context, how does the cultural and socioeconomic setting impact the challenges and opportunities in ministry? Discuss practical ways to navigate and address the unique dynamics of diverse ministry settings, considering both mission work and congregational ministry. Timestamps: 00:30 Michael’s Journey to Becoming a Pastor 01:57 Transition to Lead Pastor 13:42 Experience in Different Communities 14:39 Reflecting on Serving in an Upper Middle-Class Area 15:02 The Journey of 36 Years in Church 16:13 Challenges and Growth of the Church 17:10 Dealing with Pastoral Transition 17:34 The Church's Struggle and Recovery 20:41 Decisions that Affected Church Growth 23:00 The Impact of Transiency in the Community 23:33 Navigating the COVID Years 23:58 Facing Doubts and Questioning the Calling 27:29 The Resignation and Return to Ministry 33:44 Closing Remarks and Preview of Next Episode