The Death of Pastoral Ministry

andy-falconer-1531630-unsplash

The majority of those who embark on the journey of pastoral ministry will end up being a statistic of burnout, depression, exhaustion, and bitterness. On average, seminary-trained pastors will last less than five years in pastoral ministry.

This is a problem. Our current philosophy of ministry is killing the pastoral office.

As many of you know, I have begun the journey of attaining my Doctor of Ministry through Sioux Falls Seminary and I am hoping to address this problem. A few years ago I was on the verge of becoming another statistic; I was becoming pessimistic about ministry and drinking the poison of bitterness. It was during this painful season that a mentor of mine invited me on a 3-day retreat to a Benedictine Monastery known as St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota.

As a good, nondenominational pastor, I was not a fan of liturgy or the Roman Catholic Church. I assumed that liturgy (i.e. written prayers) were inauthentic and aligned with the babbling Jesus warned against in the Lord’s Prayer. Regarding the Roman Catholic Church, I followed the lead of Martin Luther and assumed the Pope was the Anti-Christ and the Roman Catholic Church was the Babylon spoken about in the Book of Revelation.

Nevertheless, I was desperate.

Desperate for a spirituality that was deeper than a surface reading of a text with vague applications.

Desperate for way of measuring success that went deeper than attendance and budget numbers.

Desperate to truly experience the ancient God of the Bible rather than the false american god many of us worship in our churches.

Desperate to align my ministry with the trusted traditions of the church rather than sleek business models that propagate the false gospel of marketing and excellence.

With the Psalmist, I realized my soul was panting for God like a deer pants for streams of water (Psalm 42:1). The wells of evangelicalism and popular church culture had run dry. I was discouraged by attendance numbers, giving statistics, and my lack of “success” as defined by modern evangelicalism.

That 3-day retreat was a turning point in my faith and leadership. I participated in the Daily Office with the monks – gathering throughout the day to chant the Psalms and listen intently to the reading of Scripture. I began to read a small book placed in the guest room called “The Rule of St. Benedict.” This is an ancient monastic rule written by Benedict of Nursia in the 6th century.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Holy Spirit used this ancient monastic rule to save my ministry and renew my resolve to remain faithful as a husband, dad, and pastor. I will be spending the next 3 to 4 years studying and applying this Rule to the lives of other pastors with the hope that the Holy Spirit will breathe renewal into their lives and ministries.


This is the first post in a series – stay tuned for more discussion on the Rule of St. Benedict, my story, and how I believe this ancient rule offers a philosophy of ministry that is able to bring greater healing and depth into the ministry of pastors in small churches. 

The Resurrection Changes Everything!

IMG_0572 - edit 2

I hope and pray all of you had a great Easter this past weekend! I had the honor of teaching about how the Resurrection changes everything from 1 Peter. The message is below and I pray it challenges you in your faith and helps you understand just how much God loves you.

(If you are reading this in your e-mail, you will have to go to the actual page to see the video) 

Spiritual Retreat at Palisades State Park

aaron-burden-1054030-unsplash

From the event on Renovation Church‘s Facebook Page:

Pastor Tyler Ramsbey from Renovation Church is going to be leading a spiritual retreat at Palisades State Park. This first retreat will be completely free but is reserved for the first 15 people to sign up. We do ask, if you sign up, please make it a commitment to attend the retreat since only a limited number of people will be able to come.

Tyler is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry with an emphasis on spiritual formation through Sioux Falls Seminary. He will be utilizing many of the ancient spiritual disciplines of the Church to guide you in this spiritual retreat. The focus will be on connecting with God through Scripture, silence, meditation, and nature. The group will meet for morning prayer, afternoon prayer, and evening prayer. Much of the day will be guided meditation on Scripture and the many ways God reveals Himself and speaks to His people.

The retreat will go from 7am – 5pm and you will be required to pay the entrance fee into the State Park and to bring your own food for breakfast and lunch. Tyler will provide more information as the retreat gets closer. For questions, e-mail Tyler at tyler@renovationchurchsd.com


If you live in the area and would like to attend, I encourage you to reserve your free ticket before they run out. You can do so by going to this page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spiritual-retreat-at-palisades-state-park-tickets-60304535489 

Question & Answer – Live Stream

Hand writing the text: Q&A

Hey everyone!

Here in South Dakota, our area was covered with blizzard warnings on Sunday morning. Due to this, we decided to cancel our morning service and instead I led a special online service that consisted of inviting people to ask questions about the Christian faith, Jesus, and the Bible and I did my best to answer people’s questions in a way that was faithful to Scripture and Church History.

Below is the archived episode from the live stream. I pray it helps you grow in your faith on this Monday. Have a great week!

(If you are reading this in your e-mail, you will need to go to the actual page to see the video).

Q: Is Jesus being the “only way” to God narrow-minded?

religions-all-e1457020969272-825x497

One of the questions people often ask me has to do with what theologians call the “exclusivity” of Jesus Christ. Christians throughout the centuries have faithfully proclaimed that Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection are the only means by which humankind can be reconciled and put into a right relationship with God.

To modern ears, that sounds incredibly narrow-minded. What about all the people who grew up in different cultures with different religions – how can Christians arrogantly assume those other people are wrong simply because they do not use the same language when talking about God?

Many mainline denominations also reject the exclusivity of Christ. Instead, they view Christ as one way among many for people to be in a relationship with God. This is seen clearly in the way some mainline denominations talk about the Bible, salvation, and eternity.

So, what does Renovation Church (and by extension – I – Tyler Ramsbey) believe?

We believe and affirm the historical Christian teaching that there is no other name under heaven by which humankind can be saved (Acts 4:12).

How can we possibly hold to that narrow-minded, bigoted, and anti-Western truth?

Simple: The suffering of Jesus Christ.

Before being crucified, Jesus was brutally beaten beyond human recognition by a Roman scourge. This was a whip that would have shagged bone, piercing nails, and sharp metals attached to the ends of it. Jesus was beaten 39 times times by the Roman scourge – a beating that would cause most people to pass out from the pain. His flesh was literally ripped from his body.

After being scourged, Jesus is forced to carry His cross to a place of execution called Golgotha (lit. Place of the Skull). There he is stretched out while Roman Soldiers fasten him to the cross by hammering 6 – 9 inch nails through his wrists and his feet. He would then be hoisted up as onlookers jeered and mocked him. Crucifixion was invented by the Persians but perfected by Rome – it was such a horrifying way to die that Roman citizens could not be sentenced to crucifixion; it was a sentence reserved for foreign enemies and slaves.

Jesus endured all of this willingly. He is not a victim – He was in full control the entire time. Yet He endured the cross, drinking the full cup of God’s wrath that we deserve for our sin, in order to reconcile us back to the Father.

Friends, if it was possible to be reconciled back to God through the teachings of Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, New-age spirituality, or trying to be a “good person” – Jesus was the biggest fool and idiot for submitting himself to crucifixion. IF there was another way for humankind to be made right with God, the cross becomes divine child abuse at the hands of a sadistic deity who crushes His Son for no reason.


That’s why we believe Jesus is the only way to be made right with God. What say you? Do you disagree or agree? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 

I Was Featured on a Podcast!

200churchespodcast

Hey everyone!
I had the honor of being featured on the 200Churches Podcast – a podcast heard around the world for the purpose of encouraging small church pastors in ministry. Even if you aren’t in ministry, I hope & pray this conversation encourages you in your faith!

Here’s the episode: http://www.buzzsprout.com/8862/914865-episode-308-focus-on-your-strengths-in-small-church-ministry-with-tyler-ramsbey 

Today I Begin My Doctorate!

siouxfallsseminarycampus

I have recently been accepted into the Doctor of Ministry program at Sioux Falls Seminary. Those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I have also recently finished my Master of Divinity through Sioux Falls Seminary (others may be wondering if I will ever be done with school – probably not!)

To help with finances, I will also be working as a Teaching Assistant at the seminary and helping train future pastors  (which I am super excited about!). This will be in addition to my calling as the Lead Pastor of Renovation Church and the host of The Blue Light Podcast in Garretson! (I also occasionally work at Southeast Technical Institute a few days each semester to help out when it is busy).

I wrote this post to give all of you a short update on what is going on in my life. The way a doctorate program works is it is geared around a master project or a master thesis. More than likely, this will be a 100-page scholarly research paper that adds value to the Church. My research will be built around spiritual formation and church leadership – helping pastors find their identity in Christ rather than in the empty success of church attendance, church finances, or other so-called indicators of “success” in ministry.

If I could paint my “ideal” future, it would be teaching theology or spiritual formation at the college/seminary level on a part-time basis while continuing to pastor Renovation Church in Garretson.

Your prayers are much appreciated as I begin this new journey!