This Week’s Links

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Internet1It’s Tuesday, and so it means that it is time to share links to some of the things I have read and found interesting in the past week.  This week’s categories are:  Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Neighbor Love; Stewardship; Vocation; Worship and Miscellaneous.  I hope you enjoy these and find them thought provoking.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Brian Moss recently shared his thoughts on “How to Resurrect a Dying or Plateaued Church.” There is definitely good stuff in here, though I think it lacks space for or at least articulation of the role of the Holy Spirit in the process.  What do you think?

In an update on some of the discord and struggles within the United Methodist Church, here are some quick notes from Renee K. Gadoua.

Clint Schnekloth offered a great reply (one I was similarly considering writing for myself) to a recent American Bible Society Barna Study regarding “The Most and Least Bible-Minded Cities in the U.S. in 2014.” Check out the original study, and then see Clint’s reply.  I probably would have toned down some of Clint’s assertions if I had written this, but overall I do agree that the statistics and findings are suspect in large part because of the questions and the process used to survey about the particular questions.

Mary Harris Todd offered this nice reflection, “Give a small church the chance to nurture your children.”

Anita Bruce-Mills recently had a conversation with Jacob Akinyinka of Connektin.com which has been entitled perhaps provocatively, “Churches must move with the times or risk being left behind.”  What do you think as you ponder this?

I came across this article from October by Mike Loomis from my friend Carrie Gubsch.  Mike shared, “Two Communication Keys that Doubled My Church.”  Admittedly, numbers aren’t everything for me. But, I definitely agree with the importance of being able to tell people why a congregation exists, and how that reason(s) shapes who they are and what they do.

Linda PostBushkofsky wrote the cover story for the February edition of The Lutheran about “Welcoming women as leaders.”  Check it out.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Bill and Melinda Gates
Bill and Melinda Gates

Last week I shared Bill & Melinda Gates’ annual letter. In response to that, here is Chris Blattman’s review and grade of the letter and its predictions.

Lee Rainie from the Pew Research Center recently shared “10 facts about Americans and public libraries.” I think these insights and findings have implications for larger communities, non-profits, congregations, etc.  Take a peek and digest these.

Leadership Thought & Practice

Nicole Gallucci shared “Five tips for motivating millennials.”  Her five are:  clarify your expectations; give them the tools they need to thrive; show them why their work matters; give them regular feedback; and share the big picture.  Check this out!

Tom Agan writes that “The secret to lean innovation is making learning a priority.”  Give this a read, there are good insights for leaders and organizations about how to diffuse learning throughout the organization.

Monique Valcour writes, “If you’re not helping people develop, you’re not management material.” As you might guess she adds (I think helpfully) that commitments to employee learning and development, strengthens employee commitment.

The Stand Out Leader offers a quick little reflection and reminder about Servant Leadership. Think about the idea that “the greatest way to get ahead, is to serve others.”  What do you think about this?

Jessica Rohman shares thoughts and perspective on “Why workplace culture is key to business success.” She includes some ideas about how to leverage company culture for success.  These ideas include:  “hire for skill and culture fit; put your organization’s values to work; and find out what makes your company great- and build on it, internally and externally.”

Eric Ravenscraft writes and reflects “Avoid pointless measurements and focus on real life experiences.”  What do you think?  There is truth to be said that experience and the story are (or at least can be) much more important than numbers and statistics. (And I am saying this with economics and management degrees.)

Neighbor Love

In news released last week, the “world’s 85 richest have same wealth as 3.5 billion poorest.”  That is disparity to a ridiculous extreme.  The gap between the “have’s and have not’s” continues to grow and this has important implications for how we serve and meet our neighbors.  Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite brings some important Christian theological reflection in response to this news.

Pope Francis released his thoughts on disparity and economics a while back which I included on this blog. Apparently that story is still ruffling feathers, which perhaps is a good thing because that is what in some ways the gospel is supposed to do- to challenge us to change and to call us to action as part of God’s kingdom and work.  If we are comfortable in the world, the way it is, we have missed the point of Jesus’ ministry.

In related thoughts, Jared Bernstein offered his thoughts on “Why growing income inequality matters.” Please give this some good reflection.

Sarah Bessey shares some reflections on hope as a radical act of faith.

Last week was also the 41st anniversary of the “Roe vs. Wade” decision.  Naturally, there were some reflections worth sharing like this one from Zach Hoag.  Rachel Held Evans also offered some reflection, particularly about “why progressive Christians should care about abortion.”

Back in the Pacific Northwest, Eastside Catholic High School has recently been in the news.  In light of this story, and the protests by students at that school, a priest has emerged who supports the students’ protests.

Friend, adviser, and my seminary discipleship group co-leader Rev. Dr. Matthew Skinner writes an important reflection about enjoying the Super Bowl (which is this upcoming Sunday), but to be “suspicious of its values.” He is right on, so most definitely give this great reflection!  Though, I did have to joke a little with him, because he is a San Francisco 49ers fan.  Had the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl, I wonder if he would have been so quick to write this? (Admittedly, I am a Seattle Seahawks fan, the 49ers current major rival in football.)

Dr. Terri Elton with Allison and I  (sorry Matt, we need to get a picture with you too)
Dr. Terri Elton with Allison and I
(sorry Matt, we need to get a picture with you too)

Friend, adviser, and my other seminary discipleship group co-leader Dr. Terri Elton wrote an important reflection about access to information and what this has changed, as well as its implications for learning, teaching, and faith formation.

Ukraine has been in the news a lot lately with all of the turmoil and unrest. Pastor Laura Truax shares some thoughts on “What the Ukrainian Priests are teaching us.”

Stewardship

Addie Zierman shares a reflection from Jen Bradbury about “One Small Change:  Supporting Someone by Hiring Them.” This is a good stewardship themed reflection.  What do you think? What ideas does this lead to for you?

Vocation

Tim Schraeder recently shared, “Communication:  The Power of Disconnect.” Give this a good read, because there are great implications for vocation, life, and for those in some kind of ministry.

Worship

Kurt Willems recently shared some thoughts on worship and particularly on the songs we sing in worship.  Give it some reflection.

Miscellaneous

If you haven’t heard by now, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos are facing off in the Super Bowl this coming weekend.  I can’t hide the fact that I do have a rooting interest this year, obviously.  As a native Washingtonian, I am most certainly a Seahawks fan.  Here’s hoping for a great game!  Anyway, in this spirit, here are some things that the cities of Denver and Seattle perhaps have in common.

While in undergrad, I had the privilege of doing a study-away course as part of my economics major.  We studied about environmental and economic change in Italy.  As part of this trip, we got to spend some time in the Cinque Terre. Check this out for a list of reasons why the Cinque Terre is a region you really should visit.

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That will wrap up the links this week.  Hope you are staying warm, and that you have a wonderful week.  And, Go Seahawks! 🙂  Blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits:  1) The Links; and 2) Bill and Melinda Gates

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