A Plea to Fellow Pastors

There’s a dividing line that’s making it’s way into the American Church. A line that will bring sharp distinction between nominal Christians (Christians in name only) and authentic followers of Jesus.

This line in the sand will also separate churches between ones that merely build crowds and those that focus on building armies. By God’s grace and much grieving, I’ve been on a journey of reconstructing my view of ministry and how we view success. I first wrote about it here in my open resignation letter.

For years my focus was on building a crowd for Christ. I mean, didn’t crowds follow Jesus? Wasn’t Jesus the master crowd builder? But, upon closer inspection of scripture we find that Jesus could take or leave the crowds. Besides, they came and went based on the fickleness of their emotions and agendas.

No, Jesus was slowly and methodically building an army for His kingdom.

Crowds are built in a moment, armies are built over time.

Crowds come to consume, armies comes to serve.

Crowds leave after the show, armies stand fast waiting for orders.

For me, gut wrenching turmoil set in when I realized the fallacy of crowd building in the church. Years of trying to get “crowds” to take the next steps of growth proved as challenging as trying to hold on to water. Unending frustration would set in as people came and went looking for the next show time.

This made me realize that the fault wasn’t solely on the congregation. The church cannot hope to build an army when all their leaders hope for is a crowd. I’ve experienced both and I can tell you there’s no contest, I’ll take an army every time.

Two Take Away Truths

 Deeper commitment will always trump numbers alone.             Fact: Many that call themselves Christians are not committed to a/their local church family. Once after a crowd walked away from Jesus because they felt he asked too much, he looked to his twelve disciples and said, “Will you leave too?” They stayed; and changed the world. Keep investing, training, and growing the army that’s committed to Christ and his mission.

Pastors must unhitch their egos from Sunday numbers. Swallowing this statement is like trying to swallow razor blades because it’s that relevant to me. When numbers are down or up we must ask the painful question, Am I upset because many are missing out on being ministered to or because of how it reflects on me? Jesus’ identity wasn’t found in the latest crowd size; He was committed to the mission.

Let the crowds come and go. Let’s build an army together.

10 Pastors That Impacted My Life

In honor of pastor appreciation month I felt compelled to share with you ten pastors (in chronological order) that have impacted my life and what I learned from them. Here goes:


Ron Lyles: I got saved after Dr. Lyles shared the gospel during my first VBS. I watched him always give dedicated attention to each person that wanted to talk to him every Sunday after service. He made time for anyone and everyone.

Bobbie Miller: Bobbie served me and my family countless times through difficult hardships. He was the first to cultivate in me a passion for singing. Watching Bobbie showed me that a pastor could serve people with a smile even in the most troubling situations.

David Scott: David, invited me in to ministry even if he didn’t know it. He invited me to join him every Tuesday night when I was in High School to go and visit families that had visited our church. He gave me an incredible amount of one on one time, but more than that it was the first time I got a chance to “do ministry”.

Kile Bateman: Kile, has the illustrious honor of being the first to ask me to preach. It was the summer after I graduated High School on an inner-city missions trip in D.C..  I don’t know what he saw in me, but that night God unleashed a calling on my life that set me on life long course in ministry.

Jim McNabb: I interned with Pastor Jim during one of my summer breaks in college. He taught me some hard lessons that a young, immature, arrogant, bible college student needed to learn and he did it with firmness wrapped in grace and mercy. So grateful for the wisdom he poured in to me.

Gaylan Claunch: Dr. Claunch was not only one of my pastors in college he was also one of my college profs. I remember coming into the sanctuary one Wednsday evening when he was all alone weeping in the altars praying. The presence of God was palpable and it moved me deeply. I vowed to be a praying pastor and not just one that merely talked about it.

Kent Anderson: Kent, was the first pastor to take a chance on me and hire me after I graduated college and I do mean he took a chance! I’ll save that for another story, but suffice it to say he invited me to come partner with him in ministry when many would have moved on down the road. I learned from Kent that a sense of humor is a prerequisite to survive the ministry!

Jim Cornwall: I worked under Dr. Cornwall for over 5 years. I watched him deal with very difficult situations with amazing patience and grace. He always told me when it came to people leaving the church, “Don’t worry about it when people leave, many times they’ll live long enough to learn to love you again.”

Robert Hogan: I watched Pastor Hogan from a distance bounce back from amazing adversity in ministry. What might have driven many pastors to spin out in their ministries, drove him to come back even stronger. He was a walking billboard that resiliance and tenacity should be in every pastor’s tool box.

Dan Steffen: Dan is one of my closest friends and mentors. His insight, friendship and like passion for ministry has been steroids for my growth as a pastor. I learned from Dan that vulnerablity isn’t a weakness, but a strength when it comes to leading people. I’m better because he’s in my life.

I’m so grateful for these and my many other friends in ministry that have made an investment in my life. Any good I might accomplish in this life should be credited to their account.

What about you? What pastor has impacted your life in a significant way? Feel free to share here.

Don’t Miss Out On This Opportunity


What a fantastic day we had yesterday as we kicked off Non-Stop. Thank you so much for all those that took the time to go and download the free book on Amazon! Over 570 people have downloaded the free Kindle eBook version of the book.

As of right now the book sits on the Free Best Seller’s List at #1 in Christian Living > Personal Growth

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There’s only ten hours left for the eBook to be free on Amazon and I don’t want you to miss it!

If you missed yesterday’s initial launch it’s not to late to get in on the fun!


  1. Download the book here if you haven’t already.
  2. Give the book an honest review. I can’t stress this enough. This helps with how much Amazon promotes a book.
  3. Share this post or one similar with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, or by email:  Only a few hours left to download the book #NonStopTheBook while it’s still free: http://amzn.com/B015QA13OK

I’ve been receiving some encouraging notes from people that have already been helped by the book. That’s an answer to prayer! I’m praying that will be the case for everyone that gets a hold of it.

Thanks again for making this launch a success!

Get the Free eBook of Non-Stop to Celebrate Launch Week!



The day has finally arrived. My book Non-Stop has officially launched!  To celebrate I’m giving the eBook version away for free for the first few days and as one of my readers I’d love you to have one. Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement along the way!

What’s Next?

If you want to get the book and help spread the word, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Pick up a free copy. You can download it here.
  2. Tell your friends. Here’s a message you can post to Twitter, Facebook, or wherever: Grab a FREE copy of @NathanRouse ’ s new eBook #NonStopTheBook — for a limited time only! http://amzn.com/B015QA13OK
  3. Leave a review. Or you can email me with your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

Don’t own a Kindle? No problem. You can download one of the free Kindle apps for your web browser, desktop computer, or any mobile device you have. I’ve read lots of books on my phone, so let me know if you have any questions. Or you can get a paperback copy here.

Thanks again for joining me for this special launch week! AND please consider sharing this with your friends and family.


Are You Blind to These Gifts?

There is no doubt I’m the most “unhandy” guy on the planet. Wives, if your husband is handy around the house and great with DIY projects, count yourself doubly blessed and thank the Lord above. My wife does not count herself among you. She knows I’m drastically limited in my handy man skills.

gifts of others

I’ve always been amazed at those that could seem to fix anything or craft something of beauty with their bare hands. It’s a gift I just don’t have. Yet, it’s a joy to watch others that have such a gift shine.

Are you able to do that? Can you enjoy someone else’s talent or gift without envy?

Most of us can easily do this when it comes to the arts: theater, music, art, etc. We can admire talent that’s meant to be enjoyed without any problem.

However, we can tend to overlook the talents and gifts of those closest to us out of familiarity. We overlook and in doing so take for granted those gifts that are shining in our face day after day. This robs us of being able to appreciate the wide spectrum giftedness in the family, friends, and strangers around us.

In the first chapter of Romans, Paul tells us that “creation declares the glory of God”. Mankind’s talents and gifts fall into this category. They point to the ultimate glory of the Gift Giver.

Our gratitude toward God and others will rise to the brim if we’ll look with fresh eyes on the God-given talents and gifts of those around us. As you thank God for those glimpses of his creativity, take a moment and point out to those around you how much you appreciate their God-given gift. In doing so you give God glory and bring encouragement.

As Christ followers let’s be the quickest to acknowledge and point out the handy work of God in others. That alone is a gift.

Have You Given Your Family Permission to Fail

Look upon the most intimate verse found in scripture.


James 5:16

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

Is there any verse in the Bible that commands us to be more vulnerable than this?

For most of us we’re OK with the idea of talking to God about our sin. We already know he knows and we count on him not telling anyone.

However, it is James (as always) that gets in our face to point out that there’s power in the confession of sin. Not only can it lead us toward turning our hearts back toward God, it breaks the stronghold of hidden sin that keeps us withdrawn and hidden in isolation.

And that’s the problem.

There will always be the temptation for us to keep silent out of shame and fear of consequences.

However, strategic confession is where freedom is found! I say strategic because not everyone needs to know your junk. We need those seasoned, trusted, lovers of Christ that we can go to and share our tangled soul with.

At our church we’ve  committed to being a church where we love people right where they are. We’ve said for years that it’s OK to not be OK, but by God’s grace we don’t have to stay that way. This is our church saying, that God’s love and grace is found here! While our churches must be a safe place to land, so must our homes.

I was talking with a gentleman in our church a while back and he wanted to confess to his wife that he was struggling with pornography, but he said he couldn’t open up because he had heard his wife remark, that if he ever “did something like that”, she’d leave him. He wanted to come clean, but didn’t feel it was an option. Yet, if I asked his wife if she wanted her husband to be bound up in secret sin, to suffer alone, she’d say no!

Spouses have you extended the freedom of grace toward your spouse openly and said, “I will love you through anything, no matter the pain, no matter if we have to rebuild. You need to know I want you always walking in open freedom from sin!”

Have you said the same to your children? Do they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they can come to you with their brokenness and find love and a heart for restoration.

Don’t assume your loved ones know this life line is available. Have the conversation and leave the door wide open for when it’s needed.

Jesus and the Little Things

I continue to be amazed at what Christ has to say about what I consider “the little things” in life.


We so often only focus on the “big do’s and don’ts” of Christianity that we stop allowing Jesus to humbly lead us in the small inner workings of our lives.

Here’s a few things He’s been nudging me on recently:

what I day dream about (I still do.)

what and how I  spend my money

how I use food for comfort and reward

what I’m reading and watching

how I view and think about the people I lead

We can easily fall into the trap of following only the beliefs and methods of “Christianity” without ever being led by Jesus.

Jesus has so much more for us. Let’s open our hearts again to hear his loving voice in every area of our lives and follow him with joy! I’m listening with you.

The Question You Must Ask Yourself About Your Pastor

There’s a powerful question about your pastor that you must ask yourself if you’re going to truly thrive in your church.

pastoral leadership

Here it is:

Do I see my pastor as “the” pastor or “my” Pastor?

How you answer this question will determine how effective your pastor’s ministry will be in your life.

If you see your pastor as merely “the” pastor that just happens to hold the position, their ministry to you will always be limited. You’ll push back against their teaching and leadership because you don’t see them as vital and helpful to your life.

I’ve seen this too often over the years in pastoral ministry. I’ve seen it countless times in a congregant’s eyes when I’m trying to speak into their life and can see it going through one ear and out the other.

While time and faithfulness is needed in both directions to cultivate this loving relationship between pastor and congregant, many seem content to liveas if they’re above needing a pastor in their life.

But, consider this: Jesus wouldn’t have given pastors as a gift to The Church if we didn’t need them.

If you see the pastor of your church and say, “That’s my pastor….This is the pastor God has put in my life”, you’ll look to them as such. You’ll hear their preaching and teaching as a gift in your life. You’ll gladly submit to their leadership because you’ll see them as God given to your church rather than merely filling a position at a distance on Sundays.

The stories that seem to stick in our culture regarding pastors aren’t usually good ones. But, I can tell you that every pastor I know that’s been worth their salt deeply loves their people and are an enduring gift to all those that call them “my pastor.”

I know I’ve been blessed by wonderful pastors in my life. What about you?

If you’ve been blessed to be able say, “that’s my pastor”, let me encourage you to reach out to them and let them hear those encouraging words.

If not, can I encourage you to begin to invest in this much needed relationship that God’s given The Church in these last days?

How to Unleash Life Giving Power With Your Words

In May of 1889 on Lake Conemaugh in Pennsylvania, people were enjoying the warmth of Summer as they lounged  near their cottages.

Many swam with their children and paddled in their canoes and boats. The waters here were a welcomed retreat for rich steel and oil tycoons that would come from surrounding cities.

But then came the rain. It rained day and night for days. Finally, on May 31 the poorly built South Fork Dam that once held the lake back, broke. As the water raged down the Conemaugh valley at one point it reached the flow rate of the Mississippi river. It was at this peak that the water slammed into the small town of Johnstown, PA; where it’s residents were just sitting down for an evening meal.

johnstown_main_street_1889_floodThe water that once soothed and comforted, now killed over two thousand people and destroyed 425 million dollars in property. In the same way our words can be either refreshing to those we encounter or a tool of utter destruction.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Prov. 18:21)

Question: Do you want your words to be known as a wrecking ball or as a God ordained builder?

We use to say as kids, “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But as Adults we know that’s not true. Have you ever considered why negative words hurt? I mean they’re just articulated sounds coming from our mouths!

The destructive words we use toward one another hurt because it is through them we see a devalued version of ourselves.  Words are the lens by which we see ourselves.

James, the brother of Jesus, gives us some physical examples to illustrate that there’s a problem when a Christian’s words our tainted:

10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.  James 3:10 (ESV)

James is making the point that if we find that on a regular basis we’re producing toxic words: angry, mean spirited words, cutting sarcasm and humor, inappropriate sexual innuendos and humor….something is wrong with the source.

When we blow up or speak as we should not we say, “That wasn’t me”, but it was. That’s why Jesus teaches us that,

45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.  Luke 6:45 (ESV)

When we get bumped by the stresses, pressures and inconveniences of life, what spills out through our words, is what’s in our heart. I know when I find myself short or irritable with Erin or the boys, there’s a heart issue that needs to be dealt with in prayer. My wife is the first one to add an “Amen” when I tell her I need to go be alone and pray!

It can feel overwhelming as James writes of the tongue that “no human can tame it.” No human might be able to tame the tongue, but God can. We need a Spirit given bridle in our mouths to direct our tongue and in doing so direct our lives.

Yet, Christ can help us turn words of blessing onto our family, friends, co-workers, and strangers! Such as:

“You’re a gift to me. I’m thankful for you. You are loved by God. There’s hope for you. God is faithful to deliver you, I believe in you, You matter, You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

This inverse principle of how our words impact others is also true: The words of blessing we use toward one another give life because it is through them we see a valued version of ourselves.

A verse referenced in our home often that has served us well has been Psalm 19:14:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Would you pray that prayer with me?

Help Me Choose My Book Cover

Well, things are heating up in regards to my upcoming book, Non-Stop, and I need your help. Would you take a moment and look over these two cover options and tell me which one you’re drawn to most? After you’ve made your selection just hit the “Done” button at the bottom. Would you also consider sharing this one question poll online so I can get other’s input as well?


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