This Week’s Links

Internet1It’s Tuesday.  By now you know that Tuesday means links here on this blog.  This week’s categories are:  Church and Ministry Thought and Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought and Practice; Neighbor Love; Social Media and Blogging; Stewardship; Worship; and Miscellaneous.  I entrust these stories and links to you, and hope that they will be interesting topics to read and reflect upon. Enjoy!

Church and Ministry Thought and Practice

If you are active at all in a church setting, then you have probably heard of Hillsong.  Sarah Pulliam Bailey offers a nice reflection about this church and particularly its global influence.  If you are active in or exposed to some more “contemporary” kinds of worship in congregations you probably have even heard or sung some of their music as well.  Perhaps the song “How Great is Our God” rings a bell?

Within the “missional church” community, there has been a big push in recent years for congregations and churches to do things outside of the church walls- either like worship in the community, theological reflection and/or Biblical study and discussion at coffee shops or bars, etc.  Portland, OR has a “Beer ‘n Hymns” group that recently was profiled by NPR.  However, the profile experience seems to have had some controversy as you can read about here.

Dr. Leonard Sweet writes, “A church without imagination is a dead church.”  Indeed.  Read that reflection and more as he writes about “Love as the art of imagination.”

Addie Zierman offers “5 churchy phrases that are scaring off millennials.”  I have a hunch that many non-millennials don’t really like these phrases either.  This is important reflection, especially in light of the recent discussion of all are welcome, sought, and what is accompaniment that was on this blog.  This post by Addie Zierman will also serve as part of a start of a new blog series that I will be co-writing with colleague and friend Emmy Kegler. Look forward to that series which will be starting later this week and will probably feature at least one post weekly on either her’s or my blog.

Have you ever wondered why congregational growth matters?  This is a nice little reflection on that question and particularly for whom it matters.

In a story which has been included in this section before, we have an update about the Methodist pastor who conducted his son’s same-sex marriage.

If you are a part of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) then you may be aware that the church puts a great emphasis on mission development.  Rev. Clint Schnekloth offers this reflection and series of interviews with some of those mission developers.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

I like to link to the Drucker Institute’s blog often.  This week is no exception as I offer this post on the need for having a lot of nerve in order to be a social innovator.

Peter Drucker

In order to craft a vision, whether within a large community, an organization, or even a small congregation, you need to be able to relate and tell the stories of that community.  Here’s a good article on this process being done by FutureWalk.  Friend of this blogger Jody Thone is a co-organizer of this effort.

Leadership Thought and Practice

As a millennial, I find this to be an important series of insights about ways to relate and work with more experienced colleagues. Daniel Newman offers these tips:  1) Ask Questions; 2) Listen Carefully; 3) Be Humble; 4) Empower the Team; and 5) Embrace their Knowledge.

Rick Wartzman offers six questions from Peter Drucker that “simplify a complex age.”

Terri Klass asks, “What would you put in your leadership locker?”

Dan Rockwell reminds of the importance of not always focusing on the results, but instead focusing on what matters now.

Randy Gravitt makes the case for being a “pointed leader.”

Patricia Thompson wrote this blog post in September about how a good mood can mean good business.

Have you ever experienced a “useless meeting?”  I know I have.  Dr. Dick Ruhe reminds leaders to “concentrate, collaborate, and initiate” to overcome a “herd mentality.”

To round out the leadership section this week, how about some wise words and reflection from Ronald Heifetz.  As you can probably figure out, I like Heifetz a lot and think he is right on when he remarks, “The dominant view of leadership is that the leader has the vision and the rest is a sales problem.  I think that notion of leadership is bankrupt.”  The vision is something that needs to emerge collaboratively and not be a one person, top-down thing. Because if it is top-down, it doesn’t have the staying power beyond your time as a leader, and it also doesn’t have the resonance with the larger team.  Thanks to Shankar Vedantam for the article.

Neighbor Love

In affirming that all are children of God, its important that you don’t forget who you are in what you are doing and why you are doing it.  Pastor Kae Evensen offers a wonderful reflection about this.

Here is an interesting and I think helpful response and reflection on some recent controversy and thoughts shared by Mark Driscoll.

If we believe that all are welcome, and that we want to accompany people where they are at, we need to first meet them where they are at.  This often means that we need to “come to the margins.”  Rachel Pieh Jones wrote this most beautiful and moving reflection. If you haven’t seen and read it yet, please do read this!  It’s that powerful and important.

William A. Galston offers this defense of food stamps in the Wall Street Journal. Not only is this an important piece to read when thinking about our neighbors, its also an important reflection on what is the common good and the importance of wrestling with that question and taking it seriously.

Friend of this blog and blogger, Rev. Diane Roth offers this authentic and moving reflection about what love looks like.

Here is David Lose sharing a powerful reflection on how one person moved by the death of a friend, was led to reflect more deeply on life.  How does this move you?  How might this inform congregations as vehicles and communities of reflecting on the gift of life and empowering people to live these full and abundant lives showing love to their neighbors and the larger world?

To wrap up the section on what it means to love our neighbor, here is an invitation and announcement to a presentation and discussion at Augsburg College in Minneapolis this Sunday, November 17th, on “What is the Church Called to Say about Money, Jobs, and Politics?” 

Social Media & Blogging

Have you ever wondered how to make the commenting process go deeper on your blog (if you have one)?  I know I have wondered this often.  Here are some tips from Kenna Griffin.  What do you think?


give thanksWith Thanksgiving fast approaching, its always nice to see some others’ thoughts on gratitude.  I entrust these to you for your Thanksgiving meal blessings, your Thanksgiving worship, or even just your casual greeting or Thanksgiving card/letter writing thoughts.

In news that is surprising to probably no one involved heavily in a congregational setting, “church giving is at a record low.”  In some ways, it is as low as it was during the Great Depression.  Here is a report from Katherine Burgess. I believe this speaks to the important need to cultivate new understanding within congregations as to what it means to be a created child of God, steward of God’s resources, and co-participant with God in God’s work in the world.

Speaking of being a steward of God’s resources, here is a great reflection by friend and colleague Grace Duddy about “Who Owns It?”


Some times with worship, like many things, we forget why we do what we do.  Here is one person’s reflection on why Christians worship.  If you took a step back, why would you say you worship (if you do)? I would say worship is definitely about being affirmed and reminded that you are created Child of God who is loved and giving thanks and praise to God.  The Lutheran in me would like to highlight the piece about confession which wasn’t included in this person’s reflection, but that also speaks to who I am.  For me, its important to be able to confess corporately in community and then hear those words of forgiveness and a reminder that God loves us because we are God’s created children, not because of what we do or in spite of what we do not. God loves us, period.  Of course, this has major implications on faith and theology.  Anyway, if you worship, why do you worship?


Some thing not often mentioned much on this blog, is my love for traveling.  The Huffington Post recently listed “20 Awesome U.S. Cities You Need to Visit in Your 20s.” What do you think of this list?

For those of you in the Midwest like me, you might find this list of sayings quite hilarious.  Uff dah, indeed!


I hope you enjoyed this week’s links. If there are things or topics you would like included going forward here on the links, please let me know. As always, if you have topics that you would like explored on this blog, please let me know as well.  Blessings on your week, and thanks to all of the Veterans who have served and continue to serve! -TS

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