Todd Hiestand

Todd Hiestand

Stuff I'm Willing Risk Thinking About Out loud

I work full-time as the Director of Nonprofit Development for Pure Charity. Before that, I was a pastor for 14 years at The Well in the Philly suburbs and now live in the suburbs of Portland, OR. I write about church, mission, leadership, faith & theology, life and other related things. Follow me on Twitter and stalk me on .

When A Public Figure Doesn’t Agree with you. Oh the Horror!

November 16, 2015

I’ve been trying to place my frustrations from watching what happens to people when they disagree with a Christian Celebrity – or really any kind of Christian public figure. It’s amazing how crazy people get when they come across something this “celebrity” believes that they disagree with. I been saddened today as I’ve watched some well known bloggers post opinions about the Refugee Crisis. The responses they have gotten have been so … well… odd… and maddening… and poke me in the eye what in the world is wrong with people?!? Sure, there are some people calmly saying “I disagree with you because ____.”  Cool, I’m good with that. Feel free to disagree. Seriously.  But there are a lot of people who are absolutely losing their brains as...

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A few thoughts on PPSD – (Post Pastoral Stress Disorder)

November 5, 2015

A friend messaged me this afternoon… I call this PPSD. Post Pastoral Stress Disorder. Here’s a challenge: Don’t only meet with your pastor when you have something to complain about. In my unscientific research, I’d say that at least 90% of the time when someone wants to meet with a pastor, its because they “need to talk about something.” This “something” almost never means “you are the best pastor ever and I love every thing about this church.” Get crazy once or twice and initiate a meeting with your pastor without an agenda and get to know them as a person. It’ll probably be amazingly refreshing for them … and hopefully for you too. Also, when someone says to a pastor: “Can we meet? I...

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My Journey into Never Writing

April 9, 2015

I struggle as a writer. Wait, there are already problems here. I am not sure its fair to call myself a writer. I think it would be more accurate to call myself an “aspiring writer.” I mean, I do not really ever write. I am now, of course, but this is literally the first time I’ve intentionally sat down to write anything in the last three or four months. I think I have a good sense of what makes writing so hard for me. I am scared my writing sucks. Over the years I been told I am a good writer and I think that’s exactly what scares me to death about putting words together to make sentences and paragraphs. I still remember the first time I was...

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Open Your Door to the Problem of Racial Injustice

January 19, 2015

Dr. King once spoke the following words: “No American can afford to be apathetic about the problem of racial justice. It is a problem that meets every man at his front door.” This is so very true. However, so very many of us in the world have become so very good at closing our front door and ignoring the pain, the injustice and the brokenness that is right on our front steps. We have been conditioned to seek a comfort above all things. But I believe this search for comfort can be an enemy to justice. It is this search that makes us close our doors and shut our eyes to the broken reality of our world. We’d rather live in our imaginary world of...

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Racist Like Me

December 1, 2014

I’m afraid it will never go away He walks into the coffee shop, by instinct I prepare myself for what he might do. I do not try and think this, It just happens. I’ve been taught this way of thinking since I was a child. It was rarely explicit, but constantly implicit. Black skinned men are dangerous, at least most of the time. 
White people are safe, at least most of the time Black man in a hoodie? Probably a gang member. White man in a hoodie? Probably a hipster. I can’t help it and i hate it. I see a black man on the street at night and I get nervous. Again, I wonder what is going to happen. I want to shove these...

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Pastors and All. The. Drama. Or, Why Pastoral Care Must Be Communal

November 6, 2014

I wrote a bit yesterday about how I have discovered that I don’t love the church just because I was a pastor. That said, the last few months of not being a pastor, has brought some areas of great relief. Let’s be honest, pastoring is not easy and I’m actively trying to pay attention to how I can support my pastors at our new church.  (Side note: It’s weird for me to say “my pastors” cause I haven’t necessarily had one of those for a long, long time. That’s a topic to unpack at a different date). One of the ways my life has changed is simple: There’s a lot less drama. I mean, a lot. less. drama. Which means there are a lot. less. people. talking. as. if. there. was....

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I am Not a Pastor and I Still Love the Church

November 4, 2014

So, for the first time in 18 years I have spent significant time not being a pastor, studying to be a pastor or hoping to one day be a pastor. Actually, let’s analyze the numbers and see how accurate this is: 3: The number of years I spent in high school youth group wanting to be a youth pastor. 4:  The number of years in Bible College I spent  preparing to be a real pastor. – 1:  The number years I spent doing whatever I could to not be a pastor. 13:  The number of years I spent actually being a pastor. So, for the first time in a long time I am a normal, non-pastor-church-going person. I pull no identity from some “ministry vocation.” I’m not in “full-time...

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We’re Moving to Portland, OR

June 23, 2014

For the last 14 years that we have been married my wife and I have been living in the Philadelphia area. If you count the 4 years at college, we’ve been here for 18 years. For 13 years we have been serving at The Well, our church here in Philly and its with a lot of bittersweet excitement that we are officially moving our family to Portland, OR.  We’ll be living in a town called Clackamas, which in the Southeast side of the city – I guess you could say we are “taking our talents to Southeast Portland”.  (See what I did there?) We have loved, loved, loved our community at The Well. With both of us originally being from out of town this community...

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Evangelism: Moving Beyond the Sex Talk

March 3, 2014

Now that we have a ten-year old boy in our house – and three more of his brothers coming after him – we’ve begun thinking about how to talk with our kids about sex, girls, puberty, etc. You know, the fun stuff of parenthood. One of our friends who has raised fairly-well adjusted adult boys told us a while ago that the best way to have the “sex talk” was to not make it a “talk” at all. That is, it shouldn’t be something that you approach as a specific, planned BIG conversation. It should be a natural part of the conversation in your home. Yes even at the dinner table if that’s how it happens. Sex isn’t something to be ashamed about and treated...

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Daring Greatly at BarCamp Philly

November 8, 2013

I’m revisiting Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly for a short talk I’m doing at Barcamp Philly tomorrow morning. I’m calling the session “Vulnerability Practice“. I’m going to  give a brief overview of the book and share my own story of my journey in to daring to live a more vulnerable life. Then I’m going to open up the room for people to take a chance and be vulnerable. Really, I’m not sure if it will work because the room will be full of strangers.  I think it could be a really powerful time, or it could totally bomb and I’ll stand there like a fool – I’m fine either way really. I’m not expecting people to share their deepest secrets with a group of strangers...

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