This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday means its time to share some links.  I use the word “some” loosely this week, as it seems I must have done a lot of reading.  This week’s topic categories are:  Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation; Worship; and Miscellaneous.  I entrust these to you now and hope you find them interesting, helpful and enjoyable.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Congratulations are in order for blogger and Pastor MaryAnn McKibben Dana and her recent nomination for vice moderator.

Friend and blogger Hannah Heinzekehr shared her book review on Christena Cleveland’s book Disunity in Christ. Check out the review, and then, go and read the book for yourself.

Thom Schultz shared, “Breaking the Moldy Sunday Mold,” sharing the story of Union Church’s unique approach to gathering, worship, and being church in Seattle. Check this out!

Karina Kreminski wrote, “Being Single, Being Church & Being Family.” Have you ever wondered about the implications (good and bad) of family imagery in relation to congregations?  Helpfully, Karina asks, “What do we mean by ‘family’?” There are some important ponderings in this to think about and ponder yourself so give it some time and thought.

The Progressive Youth Ministry conference happened last week in Chicago.  In light of that and conversations with other conference attenders, achurchforstarvingartists shared, “Youth Groups for the 21st Century Church.”

Perhaps the biggest piece of news among church and ministry thought last week, at least among congregational mission and leadership related things, was that the Alban Institute would be closing. Sarah Pulliam Bailey shares the news.

The Center for American Progress shared a list of “14 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2014.” What do you think of the list?

Friend and soon to be pastor Emmy Kegler shared information about a wonderful project she has been doing, the “Twin Cities Passion Walk.” According to Emmy, “This project is a synthesis of several interests: a desire to experience the final hours of Jesus’ passion in powerful ways; a hope for experimental ways of doing “church” and “worship” differently; and my love for walking in the city.” Check it out!

Lawrence Downes shared, “Dying Churches, Revived in a Flash” in The New York Times. Check it out and see what you think. Might this be something replicable in other contexts?

Robin Denney shared a wonderful reflection that you should read, “Learning from faith formation failure.” What insights or ideas might this create for you and your congregational communities?

Jason Horowitz shared, “The Catholic Roots of Obama’s Activism” in The New York Times.  It’s an interesting read about President Obama’s faith and social focuses, especially for those interested in the relationship of congregations, neighbor love and service.

Rev. Dr. David Lose asked, “Why do you go to church?” Give this a read and some thought. There is great stuff in here!

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Last month Ramli John shared, “Why most people still don’t get ‘Lean Startup.'”  This is a great read, especially if you have read the book by Eric Ries and used some of its core principles like I have.

There will be more on World Vision below, but this story came last week from Steve Maynard in the Tacoma News Tribune about the slight trimming of the organization’s workforce due to rises in expenses and declining grants.

If you are looking for a pro bono consulting opportunity for non-profit strategy management in Southern California, check out this possibility with the Taproot Foundation.

Leadership Thought & Practice

questions with puzzle piecesDan Rockwell shared, “8 Growth Principles that Transform Leadership.” Also included are “7 indications you’re on the growth path.” Give this a read. What might you add to the lists?

Bob Tiede shared this wonderful list of “50 Great Coaching Questions” from Darren Poke.  What do you think of these questions? What might you add to the list? Bob also shared this post back in December from Lolly Daskal, “Leading with Questions.” Check that out as well, as I think you might find it helpful.

Along the lines of questions and asking the questions, a post of mine from last year was picked up, adapted, and shared by Ministry Matters. If you haven’t seen it before, I would be honored if you checked it out and joined the conversation.

Max Nisen shared an interesting read on “How Chipotle transformed itself by upending its approach to management.” This is a great read if you love reading management and leadership theory and how theory gets put into practice. It’s also a fun read if you enjoy a great burrito or other meal every once and awhile at Chipotle.

Rhett Power shared, “Leadership…The General Patton Approach.” Included are:  some principles of command and management; principles for good health; principles for making decisions; and principles for success.

Chip Cutter shared some of Bill Gates’ insights and thoughts about Warren Buffett, including his emphasis on “delegation.”

Ron Edmondson shared “7 ‘R’s’ of Healthy Team Member Correction.” His 7 R’s are:  relationship, respect, reprimand, refocus, restore, reinforce, and replace. This is a helpful read, so check it out and see what you might add to the list.

Kate Nasser shared this post from Jon Mertz‘s blog by Jess Millis, “Seven Elements of Leadership Style by Jim Collins.” It’s a good read and helps synthesize many of the insights from Collins’ Good to Great. 

Bob Tiede shared insights from Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em. It’s a post with valuable insight about how to keep great people on your team, including a practice of a “Stay Interview.”

Given that we are in the midst of the March Madness college basketball tournament(s), this is a timely read by Doug Dickerson, “What March Madness Teaches us about Leadership.”

From March Madness, we move to possibly the most famous college basketball coach of all time, John Wooden. Michael Lee Stallard shared, “3 lessons from the life and leadership of John Wooden.”

On the HBR Blog Raghu Krishnamoorthy shared, “How GE Gives Leaders time to Mentor and Reflect.” There might be insights and ideas in here for how your own organization can empower and enable its leaders time to mentor others and to reflect on their own leadership, learning and experiences.

Roger Trapp wrote that “Successful Organizations Need Leaders at All Levels.” I would absolutely agree with that idea, wouldn’t you?

Drucker friend and business and leadership hall-of-famer, Jack Welch, and Suzy Welch, shared this post yesterday, “So Many Leaders Get This Wrong.”  To give away a little of the intrigue, there is the added sub-heading, “The team that puts the best people on the field & gets them playing together wins. It’s that simple.” Check this out. (Side note, to show how big of an influencer Jack Welch is, consider this- this post went up about 24 hours ago and in that time over 102,000 people have already seen it. Wow!)

Judy Philbin shared, “Motivate from the Top.”  There are some good technique ideas about how to go about doing this here.

Jena McGregor shared insights on “Why people really leave their jobs.” Give this a read, and particularly check out what else Jena McGregor writes because as the Washington Post explains, she “teases out the leadership issues in the day’s news.” Great insights and good reflection.

Ann Phillips asked and shared, “Faced with Negative Feedback? Here’s how to turn it into a positive.” There are good insights about how to turn constructive criticism into positive and lasting gains.

Greg Satell shared a post about the evolution of management and “Why Managers Now Need to Become Leaders.”

This next post could have been placed under a number of categories this week, but I am going to share it here. Wally Bock shared  “Mindfulness.” It seems that this is a timely post for me as much of the leadership thought and practice I have recently been engaged with has had to do with questions, discernment, and presence. Give this a look.

Neighbor Love

Last month Jeannette Josue wrote, “Masbia Kitchen Serves Dignity in New York.” It’s a great read about a wonderful soup kitchen which has practices of service and love that I believe are replicable to other non-profits.

Brian Murphy wrote, “The Kingdom is Bigger- John 4:5-42.” In this Brian and Fr. Shay reflect and wrestle with the story of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman.

This story broke a little over a week ago, but in case you hadn’t heard, apparently there are teachers in this country who mock their students’ faiths just because it seems they are different then their own. This is a basic neighbor love issue and concern, not to mention a basic civil right. Thankfully the judge ruled in the favor of the student.

Related in the sense of “inter-faith” or relating, understanding and appreciating other beliefs and understandings, Adam Mordecai shared some helpful perspective about what some humanists believe.

Alena Hall shared “8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed by Modern Science.” This is a very interesting list worth some time and reflection.

Awhile back I shared some maps on the links. Vicky Ramirez shared this new set of 8 maps this month that will “change the way you look at Africa.” Check these out.

In one of many “uff-dah’s” I have seen in the news lately, comes this story about a faculty member linking yoga to the demonic. Uff dah, uff dah, uff dah.

This past week has been a big week in neighbor love stories. One in particular seemed to dominate this topic area last week, the news of the passing of Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush shared his thoughts on “grieving for Fred Phelps.”  Chris Stedman also shared his thoughts and focused on an idea of “a legacy of isolation.”  If you want a perspective in cartoon form, see this “Double Take ‘Toons: Fred Phelps Sr., 1929-2014.” I especially appreciate the second cartoon, and the closing word, “We forgive you, and that’s the Christian way.”

In a timely post, “Living Lutheran” shared its “Ask a Pastor” column which focused on the question of “Is God’s mercy for everyone?” See how a few Lutherans respond and wrestle with this question. (Needless to say, I like this a lot.)

Friend and pastor Frank Johnson shared his sermon and reflections on John 18:12-27, “We are flawed. So what? Jesus will use us anyway.” Indeed.

jimmy carterAccording to NPR, President Jimmy Carter has issued a “Call to Action” against the subjugation of women. This is an important neighbor love perspective, particularly grounded in an idea that all people are created with value and equal.

Jaime Fuller shared “10 numbers that explain why income inequality is a hot topic.”  Give this a read.

Somewhat related, Richard Florida shared “The U.S. Cities where the poor are most segregated from everyone else.”

In news that broke yesterday and Sarah Pulliam Bailey shared, World Vision will recognize employees’ same-sex marriages. This is an important step, and good news for the Federal Way, Washington based organization in serving all people.

Friend and pastor Diane Roth wrote, “Give Me a Drink.”  I especially love the conclusion, “It’s a mission strategy, and its a Lenten strategy too:  Go thirsty.  Don’t be so self-sufficient.  Depend on God, on one another, on strangers.”

Social Media & Blogging

Here is a story about how local schools are implementing and continually revising social media policies. What do you think?

Laura Click asks a provocative but worthwhile question, “Is social media making you fat, lazy, and stupid?” Check this out and see how you feel. What are your thoughts?

What would you think about potentially doing a “meet and greet” through LinkedIn on your next flight? Yeah, I am not sure how I feel about this either.


The Minneapolis and St. Paul Area Synods are putting on a “Jump Start Your Stewardship” event April 5th in Bloomington, Minnesota. Check out this letter from Rev. Deb Stehlin, and then see this information from the synods.  The deadline to register is April 1st, so don’t miss out. It looks like it’s going to be great!  Friend and stewardship mastermind Grace Duddy will be leading one of the workshops.

Speaking of Grace, here is a good reflection by her on how to find balance between sharing, spending, and saving. How do you balance these different areas?

Pastor Kevin Bergeson shared “Four Ways to Draw Millennials into a Lifestyle of Stewardship.” There are good thoughts here well worth a read.


Jenny Youngman shared “Faith and Fame,” which features good reflections on ideas of “faith being a journey” and providing means to grow into this journey for youth, but also as a life-long adventure.

My amazing wife Allison is back with more thoughts as part of her “Mira Voce” series, this time reflections on “friend dating.” Obviously, I had to check out what this meant, but rest assured its a good thing!

Friend and adviser Dr. Terri Elton wrote, “Anticipation…And Wonder.” There are great wonderings in here, vocational insights, and perspectives about change and the challenges associated with change.


I was working on a post recently for First Third (which I will share once its posted) and came across this post about “Children’s Stations of the Cross.” This is wonderful! Perhaps it might be beneficial and helpful for your congregations and/or faith communities?


Beautiful day at Ruby Beach on the western edge of Washington State- where the Olympic Peninsula meets the Pacific Ocean
From a beautiful day I spent at Ruby Beach on the western edge of Washington State- where the Olympic Peninsula meets the Pacific Ocean

Picking up on a series I shared a little of previously, here are some thoughts about traveling around the Northwest from Seattle. Here is a good quick post on “venturing into the Olympic Peninsula.” If you are going to venture into the peninsula, then visiting the Hoh Rainforest is an obvious thing to do, as is seeing the beauty of the north Pacific coast and especially Ruby Beach.

The famous Disney ride and attraction, “It’s a Small World” celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Here are “9 Little Known Facts” about the ride which might make you smile.

In the spirit of March Madness, how is this for a fun story about one fan who faked his way into the coaches huddle and on court celebration. You have to read this for yourself to believe that this is possible!


That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them. As always, if there are particular types of stories or articles that you would like to see included, please let me know. Also, please let me know if you have particular topics or questions that you would like me to wrestle with on the blog. Until next time, blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits:  The Links; Question marks with puzzle pieces; and Jimmy Carter.


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