Note:  Christi, the art director, is a great sport!  See her comments.   She has promised to make me look better next time.  That would make her a real superhero!   Chuck 

So I’m thumbing through the latest issue of Outreach magazine because they told me my photo was in it, which it is on page 8.  I’m one of four bloggers selected by Outreach to do a post-a-week in 2007.  So I find my picture on the page with the other 3 bloggers, who are all in living color, while I am in glorious b&w.  The picture is cropped and I look like my grandmother — but then maybe I do look like her. 

But I digress.  As I am flipping through Outreach, I am trolling for ideas.  I have three big church-related interests in mind:

  1. Small church stuff.  Outreach defines this as attendance under 300, and that’s the church I pastor so I’m looking for all the help I can get.  That’s why I’m doing this blog, “Confessions of a Small-Church Pastor.”
  2. Friendship with God in community.  Years ago I discovered the old “Friends of God” — the gottesfreunde, medieval German Christian mystics who brought personal relationship with God back to the church.  Since then I’ve been intrigued by the idea of friendship with God.  Only a couple of Bible characters are called friends of God — Abraham, Moses, and somebody else.  Jesus also called the disciples “friends” so I have a blog about becoming a friend of God, Amicus Dei, where I talk about Christian practices in the community of faith.
  3. Trends in our culture and the implications for church now and in the future.   My blog exploring this topic — How today’s trends are shaping tomorrow’s church — is FutureChurchNow.  Read my post on the new iPhone or “your life in your pocket” as Steve Jobs said.  Fascinating.

My blog thing may have gotten out of control, but I am passionate about these three church-related areas.   So imagine my surprise as I thumb through Outreach this month to find —

  1. Articles about trends.  A Pastor’s Guide to Digital Outreach and Long-range Forecast: 5 Trends You Need to Know.  The trends article quotes one of my favorite books, Sidewalks in the Kingdom, which is a resource I listed for you on my Resource page. 
  2. Stuff for small churches.  From an Easter attendance idea to a community garden, Outreach has stuff that small churches like mine can do in evangelism, ministry, and service.  Plus the Idea articles contain a “how-to-do it” and budget cost estimates. 
  3. Stories of people and their spiritual journeys.  The Conversations page in the print version is an honest take on individual journeys; plus the mag contains an article by Alan Chambers on homosexuality and God’s love, and Jennifer Kostyal’s journey from abuse to faith.   Compelling true stories of real people with real faith.

Good stuff, and I’m not just saying that because they gave me an iPod.  I’ve been an Outreach subscriber for a couple of years and I like it.  Even if they do make me look like my grandmother. :)