Month: December 2007

Over 50,000 in 2007! Happy New Year!

At exactly 9:22 PM on December 31, 2007, Confessions of A Small-Church Pastor hit 50,000 page views! 

Almost 1,000 views per week for our first year is an exciting milestone.  What a great way to end the old year and bring in the new!  Thank you for your comments, links, and emails during 2007.  You’ve encouraged me and the thousands of others like us who love and serve small churches.  Happy New Year!  — Chuck

Top 10 posts of 2007

Debbie and I have been visiting our daughters and their families between Christmas and New Year.  Hope your Christmas was wonderful and you spent it with those you love, too.   As we close 2007, here are the Confessions of A Small Church PastorTop 10 Posts of 2007″

  1. My Five Rules for Pastoring a Small Church — Technically this was posted in 2006, but it was the lead-off post here, and had been revisited many times. 
  2. Don’t Quit — This is my story of quitting the ministry for 12-years and why you should not.  Lots of comments and off-line conversations about this one.  Share this with your friends who are thinking about quitting. 
  3. The Day I Went To A Strip Club — This gets lots of hits!  And it’s a true story with an unusual twist. 
  4. This Easter Outreach Idea Works — True story of an outreach idea we used that is simple, effective, and involves everybody.  Let me know if you try it and how it works for your church. 
  5. Where Is God in Our Tragedy? — This post is the sermon I preached to our church following the tragic mass murders at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.  Our church is about 2-hours from VT, many of our members are alums, and we are part of “The Hokie Nation.”  Christianity Today picked up a portion of the sermon on their Leadership website. 
  6. Vision: An Overblow Concept — Lots of response to this post and my view of the “vision-thing” as George H W Bush characterized it. 
  7. Community Center Groundbreaking — This happened in June and marked two years of work to get to this point.  40-kids from the Boys and Girls Club donned “hard hats” and grabbed pint-sized shovels to turn the dirt for construction to begin.  We’ll move in April, 2008, so it’s getting closer. 
  8. Five Ideas for Repurposing Your Sunday School — This post got picked up and passed around among some denominational Sunday School leaders and thinkers. 
  9. Willow Creek Study Says Church Programs Don’t Work — This is the all-time leader with thousands of views and lots of buzz.  Why are we so taken with Willow Creek?
  10. 6 Shifts in the Church and How Your Church Can Benefit — Thanks to those who picked this up and bandied it about.  If anything 2008 will prove these shifts to be even more true.  Question is, do we get it? 

So there they are — the top 10.  And there were some of my favorites that didn’t make the cut, particularly the stories of people in my church and community.  Browse around for some more stuff.  And thanks for stopping by every day or once-a-week or once-in-a- while.  I appreciate it and hope 2007 has been a good year for you.  See you next year!

Let it snow!


Merry Christmas!  If you’re in a place where it’s snowing, the flakes on the screen will not impress you.  However, if it’s sunny and warm on your Christmas Day, enjoy the snowflakes here!  Thanks to the Christmas geeks at WordPress for this treat….

(feedreaders have to click thru to see the “snow” — you’ll love it!)

‘How God Came To Be With Us’ podcast

How God Came To Be With Us podcast, from Matthew 1:18-25.  I preached this sermon on Sunday, December 23, 2007, using the fictional character of ‘Itzak the baker’ — a friend of Joseph of Nazareth.  I hope it brings a new perspective for this Christmas season.

The Birth of Jesus

The Birth of Jesus — Luke 2:1-20 NIV

 1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register. 4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14“Glory to God in the highest,
      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Christmas party for a lot of kids

boysandgirlsclubchristmas party2007

Here are photos of the Christmas party at our church for 83 kids from the Boys and Girls Club.  This year a local business, First Piedmont, sponsored the party, and our own Chatham Fire Department donated the gifts.  The kids had a blast, as you can see.

Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Advent: ‘How God Came To Be With Us’

How God Came To Be With Us

Matthew 1:18-25 NRSV

My name is Itzak. You would call me Isaac. Oh, no, not that Isaac, blessed be his name and his father Abraham. No, I’m just Isaac — a friend of Joseph, the carpenter. You know Joseph, don’t you? Joseph is often forgotten at this time of year. Not that he would mind, for he was a very humble man himself. But with all the talk now about Jesus, his son, and Mary, his wife, well, Joseph gets overlooked. But I was his friend, and I want to tell you a little about him and the wonderful thing that happened to him, and to Mary, and really to us all.

Continue reading “Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Advent: ‘How God Came To Be With Us’”

From my blogline

I added a new feature to the right sidebar — clips from my blogline that I find interesting.  Click the post title to go directly to the original post on the original blog.  You’ll find stuff about trends, culture, church, resources, and mostly things I like.  Hope you enjoy and find it helpful.  — Chuck

Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Advent

I just posted my sermon, How God Came To Be With Us, from Matthew 1:18-25, for the fourth Sunday of Advent, December 23, 2007. 

Friday free-for-all: images, ideas, inspiration and it’s all free!

Click thru these brooklyn-storefront-church.jpg100 photos of storefront churches in Brooklyn.  The church is alive and well and being reinvented by lots of people in contextual ways.  Very encouraging.  New expressions of church are happening in lots of places and cultures, and these are as authentic as you’ll find. 

Send Steve Taylor a postcard of your emerging church community.  In January, he’ll post up them up with comments to 4 questions he’s asking.  Steve wrote The Out of Bounds Church, which is worth the price of the book just for the last story in it. 

Three Advent videos that are free for downloading from Andy Michael.   

See Jonny Baker’s blog for a reimagination of the traditional 9 lessons and carols.  Jonny also writes about worship tricks, which is not at all like stupid pet tricks. 

Real Live Preacher is going to the Dominican Republic to install water purification systems.  You can help provide drinkable water for the YWAM headquarters there.  Plus, RLP has a great story there, too. 

Debbie has a heart-warming story about the Christmas that she and her family spent in Hong Kong. 

My sermon may not go up until Saturday, as ole Sandy Claus still has some stuff to do today!  Merry Christmas…