Month: February 2007

Grace, faith, and George Michael

Written in my journal on February 3, 2007, in Pasadena, California while sitting in the sunshine on the plaza of Paseo de Colorado —

Grace is indeed God’s gift.  A moment of clarity, a vision of that which has been before our eyes all the time.  Grace is the ability to see with the eyes of the heart — the eyes of Jesus — this world, God’s love, our lives, God’s mission, our misunderstanding, our place in God’s kingdom. 

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5 Signs of burn-out in your volunteers

Because the small-church is, well…..small, our volunteers tend to get overextended.  So, for our helpful hint today, I present 5 Signs of Burn-out in Your Volunteers:

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Beyond external-focus and servant evangelism

I am proposing a new model for small church ministry.  It is not a model that you have read about or seen advertised.  No seminars or conferences about this model exist. There is no notebook, website, CD, or video link.  Yet, it is so obvious that we have missed it for at least the past 1900 years.  I learned this new model, not from the church, but from a civic group. Continue reading “Beyond external-focus and servant evangelism”

The day I went to a strip club

Several years ago I was pastoring in North Carolina.  A young mother with two kids started attending our church.  Every Sunday morning the father would drop mom and the kids off at church, then return to pick them up after the 11 am service.  Debbie worked in the preschool department and got to know the mom and kids.  She also met the father as he would come and go, and commented to me about how much he seemed to love his kids.  I asked around about who he was and what he did, and found out that he was the owner of our local “gentlemen’s club” — which is a misnomer because it was not for gentlemen.  It was a strip club.

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Palm Sunday or Easter outreach?

Palm Sunday procession As we approach the Easter season, the natural instinct is to try to make Easter a big day.  Usually that makes sense because it is, after all, Easter.  But at one church I pastored, we made Palm Sunday our big Sunday.  Why?  Because school spring break was always scheduled from Good Friday through Easter week. 

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This Easter Outreach Idea Works

easter icon Easter is the biggest day of the Christian year!  It’s the resurrection of Christ, the defeat of death, the victory over sin and the grave, the hope of humanity, and the promise of new life for people everywhere.  And, people are more likely to go to church on Easter than any other day because it is such a big deal.  So make Easter at big deal at your church this year.  Here’s how to do it on a limited budget:

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Doing good is kingdom business

Coming up next:  A great idea for Easter Outreach — stay tuned! 

Okay, I am going way out on a limb here because I am tired of the social gospel vs. evangelism debate.  And I know the history — the social gospel emerged at the turn of the twentieth century (1900s) because the dominant theology was that the world was getting better and better.  Then, along came World War I and blew that theory.  Evangelicals divided into fundamentalists and social gospellers, and parted company.   Obviously, it was more complex than that, but you get the picture. 

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“All our library books are checked in!”

books Several years ago my dad was a church library consultant for the Baptist Sunday School Board.  One of his assignments was to conduct church library conferences at churches around the country.  At one conference, he asked for reports about the status of the participants’ church libraries.  One dear lady stood proudly to announce, “As of last Sunday, all of our books are checked in.”  Obviously, she thought the job of the librarian was to get books in, not give them out.

Which brings me to a thought about church — how much effort do we expend to get all our people “checked in?”  We count high attendance Sundays, worship attendance,  Sunday School attendance, membership lists, baptisms, and anything we can brag about to fellow pastors or our denomination’s leaders. But what are we not counting?

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Doing the right thing doesn’t always work out

If you read my January 11 post, Last Night We Crossed Over, you know that our church decided to invite the Boys and Girls Club kids that meet in our church to join our members for our regular Wednesday night fellowship meal.  We would pay for about 40 kids to eat dinner each Wednesday night with our church family.  Things were fine for the first two weeks, but after that they went “pear-shaped” as an Aussie friend of mine says.  “Pear-shaped” is not good.

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Down from the mountain

I often take my preaching text from the revised common lectionary, especially from Advent through Pentecost.*   Next Sunday’s lectionary reading is Luke 9:28-36 — the story of the transfiguration of Jesus, but the story has new meaning for me now.

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