This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday means that it is time for me to share some of what I have seen and found interesting and thought provoking in the past week with all of you. This week’s categories include: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Neighbor Love; Vocation; Worship and Miscellaneous.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton shared her Easter message for this year. Check it out.

Pastor Jodi Houge shared news and an update about Humble Walk’s space and location situation. If you have potential connections or location ideas, please check this out and respond.

Billy Doidge Kilgore shared, “Emotional Landmines: Leading when explosions occur.” There is good stuff in here, and a reality check that conflict and “explosions” will happen in congregational life.

Friend and adviser Dr. Terri Elton wrote, “Curiosity and Inquiry.” It’s an authentic expression of some of the changes she is facing, and includes the idea of “educators as cultivators of curiosity and inquiry.” Definitely check this out and give this some thought.

Dr. Jeremy Myers wrote, “A Church for the World,” which includes a wonderful diagram and model featuring a relationship between accompaniment, integration, discernment and proclamation. Give this some thought!

Pastor John Partridge explained “Why Easter is more important than Christmas.” What do you think?

Suzanne Ross shared, “Faith Forward: The Future of Christian Education.” Give this a read and see if you feel moved to join the conversation.

Elise Hu shared, “America’s Less Religious: Study puts some blame on the internet.” Is there causation and/or correlation? What do you think?

The Congregational Mission and Leadership person in me was so excited to see this post by achurchforstarvingartists this morning, “Let’s Get Together and Fail at Something.” Depending on who you ask, 75-90% of what you try in a congregation will “fail.” But in the failing you learn and grow, and your congregation or faith community does as well. The worst thing that a congregation can do is to do nothing and to be afraid to try new things in any and all areas of ministry. The second worst thing is to spend 1o-12 months (or more) surveying before acting and doing anything. Surveying and discerning is good, but it is often most effective to be coupled with some sort of experiments (which can be small) along the way to learn by doing. I agree with the premise that the church is generally “failing at failing.” Failure, at least in ministry, is not a bad thing at all. It’s a sign of life, hope, imagination, and a real practice of actively trying to discern what God is up to. Give this some thought this week, and see if any creative ideas hit you.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Jessica Amortegui asked and wrote, “Want to keep your team happy? Talk to the people who just quit.” She includes these tips: “don’t resist the ‘grass is greener over there’ syndrome; kindle meaningful memories; and measure how many employees return.” What do you think?

Vernetta Walker shared, “20/20 Hindsight: A Cautionary Tale in Governance.” This is an important read for non-profits, community groups and congregations. It focuses on the recent experience of World Vision which I previously blogged some about. I greatly appreciate the discussion about generative thinking and the four issues which she outlines in this article. Please read this and see what you think and what strikes you.

Leadership Thought & Practice

Terri Klass shared this very interesting post about “How to build your unique leadership model.” She includes four logs which are essential for building the model in her view: the foundation log; a vision log; a people log; and communication log. What other pieces would you include as essential? What might your leadership model look like?

Christina DesMarais shared, “3 Unconventional ways to inspire employees.” These include: appeal to their green side by incentivizing them to live near the office; send them around the world to see philanthropy in action; and give them money with which to do good. What do you think of these ideas?

Lolly Daskal shared this “Leadership Reflection: the strength to change ourselves.” This reflection involves a series of questions which are best to be reflected on often, if not daily. These questions include: Who am I? What is my purpose? Who do I want to be? Read this reflection and reflect on its meaning for you. What impacts you and in what way?

Jon Mertz shared a list of the “Top 5 Leadership Traits from Millennials.” These traits include: conscious; future oriented; transparent; collaborative; and and problem-solving. I love this list! I can really relate with these top 5, I guess that might affirm the reality of me being a millennial. As Jon asks, I reiterate, “What have you learned from Millennials? What traits encourage you most?”

Susan Adams explains how to “Turn a rejection into a job offer.” What do you think? Would you give this a try?

Bridge Building
Bridge Building- a great metaphor for leadership and neighbor love

Kes Thygesen explained “Why emotional intelligence is more important to hiring than you think.”

Alli Polin wrote that “Leaders build bridges not walls.” Do you agree? What are some examples of this being true (or not true) that stand out for you?

Frank Sonnenberg shared a “Leadership Scorecard.” What do you make of it?

Tanveer Naseer shared thoughts on “How leaders can successfully champion change.” Three lessons related to this include: “don’t just tell but show why change initiatives matter; don’t confuse conviction with inflexibility; and clarify expectations of what this will look like going forward.”

Cranston  Holden used the imagery of a baseball umpire to explain why one needs to “Let go of your need to be popular.”

Neighbor Love

Friend Grace Pardun Alworth wrote, “This is my body.” It’s a good reflection wrapping up Lent and moving into Easter. Give this a read!

Isaac Villegas shared, “Stay with us, part II.” I included the first part last week, and I hope you read this post as well. Credit again goes to friend Hannah Heinzekehr for sharing this post originally.

Jared A. Favole shared the news that President Obama and evangelical leaders discussed potential and needed immigration overhaul.

Parker J. Palmer shared, “The Hospitality of being a ‘guesthouse.'” Palmer shares a poem by Rumi and makes a connection between being human and being a guest house. You need to read and reflect on this! Do it!

As the hostilities and unrest continue in Ukraine, there came this story about leaflets being distributed claiming that Jews needed to register in Eastern Ukraine. Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and national director of the Ant-Defamation League explained that the hate was fake and overplayed, but that it still could fuel instability. Additionally, Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski discussed the incident and experience as well.

With this past week being Holy Week this means that there were even more great sermons and messages shared than usual. Friend and pastor Diane Roth will start this set of links related to Holy Week with her great post, “To begin the three days: eat standing up.” Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his Maundy Thursday sermon based on John 13, “Because I love you.”  Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber shared her “Maundy Thursday Sermon on Loving One Another and Why That Can Sting.”

For Good Friday, the Rev. Dr. Will Willimon shared a “Good Friday Meditation.” Friend and pastor Amanda Brobst-Renaud shared this powerful reflection for Good Friday, which she entitled, “God’s NO.” Nate Pyle shared this post, “Unsurprised by Good Friday.”

For Holy Saturday, Barbara Brown Taylor shared, “Learning to wait in the dark: a Holy Saturday reflection.” My wife Allison also shared some thoughts on the “Waiting between the Good Fridays and the Easters.”

The Empty Tomb
The Empty Tomb

For Easter, friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared a message grounded in Matthew 28:1-10, “Because He Lives.” Out of that sermon, Aaron shared a project and a hope that others would join in the project. Check this out, and share your response to the saying, “Because he lives…” Friend and pastor Frank Johnson also shared his message, “Grace-filled insanity: Easter and the way of the cross.” As a response and follow-up to her Good Friday sermon, friend and pastor Amanda Brobst-Renaud shared, “God’s YES.”

Water for People CEO Ned Breslin shared, “The Power of , and alternatives to, forgiveness.” What do you think?

TK shared some important reflection on a statue portraying Jesus as homeless. What is it’s accuracy? What do you think of her thoughts and questions?

Nate Pyle wrote, “Having learned to judge (or learning to love).”  There is so much great stuff in here, including the question, “what would it look like to begin to learn the skill of loving our neighbor?” What do you think? Please read this!


Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some more tea time this past week, including vocational thoughts on why she writes and blogs as well as on friendship and relationships. Give this a read.

My wife Allison shared another post in her Mira voce series entitled, “Storyteller.” It is important that we all are able to tell stories. We are a people of stores. Great and effective sermons, speeches, and essays incorporate and include stories. Stories are conversation starters. They help unpack and expand on the many questions which give life meaning and shape. So as Allison asks, allow me to reiterate, “what’s your story?”  Read this please and give it some serious thought!

This could have been shared under leadership, but I will share it here. Lolly Daskal wrote, “Leadership: Claim your calling.”

I have always loved and found it important to stay well versed on what’s going on in the news. Growing up and to this day, one of my main sources of the news has been KOMO TV in Seattle, Washington. Dan Lewis has been the anchor there basically my whole life, and last week he announced plans to retire. Dan, thank you for your authenticity, dedication, honesty, presence, and way to really bring and share the life of the story and the news. Thankfully for us you will still be providing special reports and other things like that, but you will most definitely be missed behind the anchor’s desk.


Jessica Tate shared, “Why we welcome little children to worship.” Give this a read, it’s wonderful! Perhaps it might even be helpful for use in your own congregations or faith communities? What do you think?


St. Paul Union Depot
St. Paul Union Depot

If you like to travel, perhaps you like to travel sometimes by train? Even if that’s not your cup of tea, you might appreciate this look at the newly reopened St. Paul Union Depot for train travel.

With Holy Week being last week, it seemed fitting to share this story about Christo Graham and his voicing of the Muppet Christ Superstar. It’s pretty fantastic, don’t you think?

Have you ever wondered, which “West Wing” character you are? If so, now you can find out!


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

Image Credits:  The Links; bridge building; empty tomb; and St. Paul Union Depot.

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