Tuesday usually means that I get to share some of what I have found interesting and thought-provoking over the past week with all of you. Because I didn’t quite complete these yesterday, this week’s edition comes on Wednesday. Hopefully the extra wait was worth it. In terms of what is covered this week, topic categories are: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation and Miscellaneous. I hope you enjoy these links!
Church and Ministry Thought & Practice
If you are preparing to preach or lead worship this coming weekend, check out some reflections by Pastor Don Carlson on Bishop Mike Rinehart’s blog about the appointed lectionary readings. Related to this, also see David Lose’s post in advance of this weekend’s gospel reading about “What the Canaanite Woman teaches.”
Apparently protesters are now calling for the resignation of Pastor Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church. Thanks to Yasmine Hafiz for sharing the story.
In Iraq, the fleeing of Christians continued this past week as “Islamic State takes Qaraqosh.”
Dan Ruth shared “Five ways Lutherans are fighting Ebola in West Africa.” Ways include: treating Ebola patients; sending protection equipment; training healthcare professionals; raising awareness in communities; and working with religious and community leaders.
Speaking of Lutherans, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America along with the church’s Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton invite you to join in a day of service on “God’s Work, Our Hands Day” on September 7th.
David Lose asked, “What role does the church play in our lives?” There is so much depth and things to unpack with this question. Take a look at Dr. Lose’s wrestling and then ponder and wrestle for yourself.
Here’s a post that can be put in the “What to Not Do” File. Ron Edmondson shared, “21 Ways to Keep a Church from Growing.” It’s such a great list, but far too much to list it in its entirety. Here are 4 ways that really struck me though: only do “church” inside the building; put more energy into structure than serving; the ministerial staff does everything; and be stingy investing in the next generation. As Ron says, do the opposite of these ways. Be sure to see the whole list, it’s an important one!
Ron also shared, “7 Easy Ways to Put a Not Welcome Sign on Your Church.” Again, file this one away in the “What to Not Not Do” File.
Derek Penwell shares what he sees are “4 Ways Christian Fundamentalists Get Progressive Christianity Shockingly Wrong.”
Steve Thomason shares some notes and ideas inspired by Deanna Thompson about “The Virtual Body of Christ.”
Paul VanDeCarr shared, “4 Questions to Develop Your Storytelling Strategy.” The questions are: What do we want to achieve?; Who can help us achieve our goals?; How do we reach our target audiences?; And what stories do I tell them, or ask them to tell? Check this out!
Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick pondered in his “Question of the Week” about “Paradigm Shifting Books.” As he asked, I am wondering, have you ever read a book that shifted your paradigm?
Leadership Thought & Practice
Karin Hurt shared, “10 Questions Your Team is Afraid to Ask.” One of the questions posed is a personal favorite, “Why are we doing it this way?” If you are too afraid to ask that question then group think sets in, and innovation and clarity may well go out the window. What questions are you (or your team) afraid to ask?
Steve also asked two great questions. First, “Where have all the Servants Gone?” I think he is quite right when he writes, “The more ‘serving’ as a leader is recognized the more likely leaders are to serve.” What do you think? Second, he asked, “Do you have a vision?” This is such an important question that needs to be reflected on often.
Sam McNerney wrote what I think was one of the absolute best posts of the week, “12 Principles that Enable Creative Culture, as Recommended by Pixar President Ed Catmull.” Definitely check out this post!
Dan Rockwell shared a number of great posts as usual. First of all, he seems to have started an alphabet based series with both “12 Powerful A’s for Leaders” and “10 ‘B’ Words for Successful Leaders” as well. Dan also shared “Two Steps to Overcome Fear and Find Courage.” The steps include acknowledging the fear and then doing something. If you are dealing with some problematic teammate, you might want to check out Dan’s post offering “10 Strategies for Dealing with a Toxic Teammate.” In sort of a follow-up, Dan shared “10 Ways to Defeat Blood Sucking Vampires.” Check these all out and spend some time with them.
Anne Loehr shared, “Four Leadership Lessons from the Kitchen.” The lessons include: if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen; communicate clearly; Mise en place; and if you have time to lean, then you have time to clean. Check this out.
Lolly Daskal writes that, “Leadership Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone.” She offers these thoughts for going beyond one’s comfort zone: be smart and challenge yourself; be fearless and challenge the vision; be daring and challenge the organization; be heroic and challenge the stakeholders; be innovative and challenge best practices; be strong and challenge the culture; and be bold and challenge the talent.
Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman share what they see are “The Skills Leaders Need at Every Level.”
Jon Mertz shared a guest post by Andrew Brushfield asking, “Are You Respected in the Workplace?” As part of the post Andrew shared six traits of highly respected bosses, which are: be a mentor; be real; give credit where credit is due; set expectations; lead by example; and be firm, but fair.
Jamie Smith writes and asks for millennials and “Young Nonprofit Leaders (to) Speak Out.”
In a story that reminds me of the deeply devotional practices of giving alms, read about how, “In Greece, Orthodox Priest Buys Inmates their Freedom in the midst of the Financial Crisis.”
Denise Grady and Sheri Fink report that researchers suspect that a “2-Year-Old” was “Patient Zero,” the beginning of the current Ebola crisis.
In the midst of fear and uncertainty from health crises like Ebola, one of the major things that happens (unfortunately) is mis-information (and the panic that can cause). Michael Lester and Jeffrey Kluger help set the record straight, in “Watch a Science Cop Take on Donald Trump” who recently has said somethings that are no where near fact.
Related to this, Sarah Pulliam Bailey shared news that “Ann Coulter, Donald Trump Ebola Comments Prompt Christian Backlash.”
In the on-going humanitarian crisis and war in Iraq, there comes this report that “Up to 70 percent” of the Yazidis may be dead. Tom Murphy asked if there is “A Genocide in Iraq.” If the reports I have seen are accurate, I have to wonder, when will the international community step up and announce that there are not only war crimes happening here, it’s altogether genocide which must be stopped now!
Peter Marty reminds of the dangers of specific and limited gender understandings of God in this post, “God language.”
RJ Grunewald shared what he sees are the “2 Biggest Lies About Homosexuality that Threaten the Gospel.” RJ writes that “The two biggest lies people falsely believe” are: “they are not like us” and “our sexuality is our identity.” Give this a read and reflect on it this week.
Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared this post, “Elijah without Exegesis.” I love Diane’s closing thoughts where she writes, “being curious is more important, in some ways, than understanding. And being inside the story, however you might manage it: is the beginning of wisdom.” Give the whole post a read!
Blogger Rachel Held Evans reflected “On Forgiveness and Abuse.” This is an important read which I hope you will give some time to. Within this post, she shares four thoughts to build and further the conversation. The thoughts are: forgiveness does not require staying in an abusive situation; forgiveness does not require accepting empty apologies or trusting the bully/abuser; grace does not require remaining silent about bullying and abuse; and forgiveness and grace do not preclude justice or demand superficial reconciliation.
Friend and Ph.D. student Amanda Brobst-Renaud shared two wonderful posts. First, “On Density and Walking on Water.” To show you how wonderful this is, check out this excerpt from Amanda: “If courage means living from the heart, then vulnerability must mean being brave enough to be human. It means that we try to walk on water, knowing we will sink every time. It means knowing that we are loved beyond belief, even though we don’t feel like we are fabulous. Jesus doesn’t eradicate our faults or make us impervious to our surroundings or our neighbors before he loves us. Instead, he beckons us to tell the truth, to be courageous, to be vulnerable.”
Amanda also shared this post, “I Met Christ in a Truck Stop Town.”
Here was some good reflection from The Economist on “Poverty Measures: Width, not depth.”
Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon from the past weekend, “Operational Risk Management.” Sounds like the perfect medley for someone with passion around leadership, ministry and theology, doesn’t it?
Social Media & Blogging
Similarly friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared what he sees as “The 5 Most Important Things You’ll Read All Week.”
Bishop Mike Rinehart shared a review and reflection of the book Just a Little Bit More: The Culture of Excess and the Fate of the Common Good by T. Carlos Anderson. Check out the review, and then read the book for yourself.
Friends and pastors Amanda and Jeremy Ullrich made the local paper in Lubbock, Texas in a story detailing the beginning of their first calls in ministry and their new chapters in their lives and vocational journeys.
In case you missed it, I shared some vocational and life related thoughts in “Four Amazing Years.”
If you like to travel, this post is for you as it features “Top Travel Money Saving Tips and Tricks.”
Friend Erik Bergs shared a movie review about “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” which he says “Serves up a Delicacy.” I couldn’t agree more! It was a fantastic movie and I hope you get to see it.
That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them. As always, if there are particular questions or topics that you would like me to wrestle with on the blog please let me know. Also, if there are particular types of articles or stories you would like included in the links, please let me know that too. Thanks for reading, and until next time, blessings on your week! -TS