This Week’s Links- The last of the links for 2013

Internet1Happy New Year’s Eve!  Also, Happy Seventh Day of Christmas!  As this is Tuesday, its time to provide you with a sampling of some of the things I have been reading or thinking about in the past week.  This week’s topic categories are:  Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Leadership Thought & Practice; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; and Stewardship. I entrust these to you, and hope you find them interesting, helpful, and thought provoking.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Bishop James Hazelwood recently offered a very helpful reflection on this year’s buzz (good, bad, and ugly) about Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber.  I am so glad that he wrote this, because what is said is what I feel has needed to be said.  Many people have missed the point about what the Spirit might be up to through the ministry of Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, and so this I believe is a good reflection and cause to take a step back.

Bishop Hazelwood also shared recently a great reflection which has made the rounds by Peter Steinke (renowned congregational systems theory expert) about helping congregations and the church understand where they are, and where they may be going, or may be being led to.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Apparently Pope Francis is pretty popular, as his approval ratings have been soaring. I for one, am not surprised. When you have a leader doing faithfully what they are called to do in both deed and action, this can happen.

Looking ahead to the new year, 2014, Greg Atkinson shares what he believes are or at least might be four keys for creating an irresistible church. What do you think?  I like the spirit of this, but I have to admit it kind of rubs me.  Then again, that might be my fear that an “attractional church” can at times be too much of a response (or even concession) to a consumerist culture. Hmm… Makes me think though. How does this post make you feel, or what do you think about it?

Looking back, Gary Laderman shares what he believes are the “Top 5 Religion Stories…Of All Time!

Leadership Thought & Practice

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic offers some thoughts on why change can really be so hard to make and do.

Speaking of change, here is a great reflection from Thin Difference on the relationship of hope and change, a fitting reflection for the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

Dan Rockwell shares three steps to radical change, as we continue this series of links on change. The steps he outlines: 1) identify the need; 2) lead the change; and 3) manage the change.  Take note of the seven points he shares needing attention or reflection before change is begun or dived into fully though.  This is a very quick and helpful read.

If you are looking to enhance your learning and networking, check out this very helpful resource, a list of some of the top leadership, innovation, and strategy professors on Twitter.

Jon Mertz shares four keys for leading through uncertainty. The keys he outlines are:  keep a problem solving mindset; embrace transparency; be adaptive; and take mindful breaks. Check these out, I have found them very helpful for synthesis purposes and trust you will too.

John Boudreau, Ravin Jesuthasan, and David Creelman make the case for why questioning everything is a good thing (if not necessary) especially to optimize talent management.

Shelley Kirkpatrick recently shared some easy tips to upgrade one’s vision statement. The tips she offers are:  1) Describe your impact; 2) Make employees part of your vision; and 3) Make it unique. Her tips are practical, and her reasoning is helpful, especially if in the process of reevaluating a vision (or in the case of others, the need to altogether change or create for the first time a vision and vision statement).

In the spirit of New Years, and looking back at the year that was 2013, here are some of the ideas that shaped management in 2013 as outlined by Katherine Bell.

Neighbor Love

Pope Francis’ first Christmas address of his papacy given last week included calls for global and holistic peace, awareness and turning away from greed, protecting the environment and helping those in need, among other things.

Christmas Tree in Gouda (1 of the 101 photos showing faith around the world)  Credit:  Koen van Weel/AFP/Getty Images.
Christmas Tree in Gouda (1 of the 101 photos showing faith around the world)
Credit: Koen van Weel/AFP/Getty Images.

As we look back on the year that was 2013, here are religious photos from some of the most powerful moments courtesy of the Huffington Post. All told there are 101 of them.  Check them out.

Chris Higgins for Mental Floss and the Gates Foundation shared 11 reasons to be optimistic for the year ahead, as we look ahead to the new year.  Check it out.  I share the hope. Do you?

Social Media & Blogging

With some hope for improved civil discourse, civility, and debate heading into the new year, we have news that some websites will begin more closely moderating comments sections, with the goal of nixing the inappropriate, profane, and downright nasty. Some might raise “free speech” issues, but I would argue that any one who runs or owns a website has a right to allow for whatever content they want to be seen/not seen.  When people can provide comments anonymously, I think they often can stoop to a level beneath societal discourse and I hope this might be a move not to censorship (though it might seem as such) but rather to increased civility, respect, and dialogue.


It might have been missed among all of the other stories and news of December, and all of the holiday related cheer.  But here is something from the beginning of the month by Bill Gates about how one can be a more effective donor.  It’s a good read, so check it out and keep this in mind when thinking about and wanting to do some good in the world.


That wraps up this week’s edition of the links, the last set for the year 2013.  As always, if there are topics you would like me to explore on my blog, please let me know. Also, let me know if there are certain areas, stories, or articles you would find helpful if I would include them in this weekly offering of the links.  Until next week, here’s wishing you a Happy New Year full of new adventures, affirmation, challenge, discernment, joy, peace and love.  -TS

Image Credits:  1) Links; 2) Pope Francis; and 3) Christmas Tree in Gouda.

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