This Week’s Links

Internet1Happy September! Happy Tuesday as well. As it is Tuesday, that means on the blog that I get to share some of what I have read and found interesting over the past week with all of you. This week’s topic categories are: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation; Worship and Miscellaneous. I entrust these links to you now and hope you enjoy them.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Bishop Mike Rinehart is back from his summer long sabbatical, sharing some insights and ideas about this coming weekend’s appointed lectionary readings.

Friend and soon to be pastor Emmy Kegler shared some insights about effective ministry practices and tips related to “Theology on Tap.” Let me add, if you are an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregation looking to call a new pastor, you should seriously call this amazing leader! (If you would like a couple other great first call candidates, I have a few other friends’ names I would be happy to share with you as well.)

Friend, mentor and adviser Dr. Terri Elton reflected on “The Confirmation Project” and specifically “Why it Matters” with and ELCA perspective. As she writes and hopes, I hope that if you are involved in a faith community with a confirmation type experience you will participate in the Confirmation Project. Your insight and participation is important as the larger church continues to rethink and re-imagine faith formation.

Evan Dolive wrote and reflected in “Stop Taking Attendance.” There is good food for thought here in moving the church from focusing on traditional metrics and numbers to thinking anew about what it really means to be the church.

In one of the more interesting posts I saw this past week, Tobin Grant shared, “Politics of American churches & religions in one graph.”

While attending a recent weekend long “Open Space on Lay Theological Education” in the ELCA, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Rob Saler. One of the interesting things that he is up to, is offering a course in participation with the Christian Theological Seminary and the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the ELCA to bring pastors, seminarians and lay people together in studying about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Joseph Yoo writes and asks, “Pastor’s Office Hours: Time to Cut Back?

LEADPurpleTextJan Edmiston reflected about “Difficult Conversations.” This reflection reminded me again of the importance of “From Where I Sit” from LEAD.  Are you interested in hosting a “From Where I Sit” conversation? If so, please register and sign-up.

Jan also shared a great list of characteristics that she thinks make for great “In-Demand Pastors.” I love this list. What other characteristics might you add to this list?

Adelle M. Banks shared, “Cracks in the ‘Stained-Glass-Ceiling’: Women Reach Prominent Pulpits.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Have you ever wondered about how to be most productive when working from home? Stephen Key shared “8 Essentials to Get the Most Out of Working from Home.” The list of essentials includes: start each day like you’re going to work; set up your office; begin your day 30 minutes earlier than you plan to start working; think about when you do your best work and plan accordingly; make a strict schedule and stick to it; stay connected; check in with your team throughout the day; and make sure to “close the door” at the end of the day. These are great tips which I have found have helped me in working from home. What tips might you add from your own experience?

The New York Times wrote this important piece about “Broken Promises on National Service.” AmeriCorps needs to be invested in and expanded. I find it sad that it has become such a partisan issue, because AmeriCorps provides for so many important needs in our country and communities. Thanks to friend Tim Chalberg for sharing this with me.

Leadership Thought & Practice

Lolly Daskal wrote about “4 People Every Successful Business Needs.” The 4 people on her list are: the leader; the taskmaster; the devil’s advocate; and the spectator.

Lolly also wrote that, “We Choose Our Leadership By How Much We Give.” There are a number of good adages and ideas in this, including: the more you give, the more you get; the more you care, the more they share; the more you serve, the more they are committed; the more you celebrate, the more victories; the more respect, the more trust; the more focus, the more strength; the more vulnerability, the more power; the more struggle, the more grace; and the more authentic, the more transparent. What do you think?

Lolly also shared, “6 Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself Daily.” The list of questions include: did I work toward my goals today?; what bad habits do I need to stop?; what motivated me today?; have I been the kind of person I want to be?; what mistakes did I make today, and what can I learn from them?; and what am I grateful for today?

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett

John T. wrote, “You Only Live Once, Do it Warren Buffett’s Way.”

Kate Nasser shared some important insights about listening, including a list of “5 Reasons People Interrupt Us.” The reasons include: they are confused; we are confused; they are seeing disaster that we don’t see; we don’t know how they think; and something has changed.

Dan Rockwell reflected on “Four Qualities of People Who Change the World.” The qualities according to Dan are: curiosity; insight; engagement; and determination. Dan also shared a couple other great posts including, “How to Change Lives with Two Words,” and “10 Ways to Say the Right Thing Every Time.”

Over at Switch & Shift, David Penglase explained “How Trust Can Improve Your Life Satisfaction.”

Steve Keating wrote that, “Leaders are Learners.” I couldn’t agree more!


In an interesting post that certainly furthers the conversation and provides interesting food for thought, Molly Page explains why Sean Graber believes that “Millennials Are Not Ready to Lead.”

In a post I’m ashamed I missed back in July, Jeremy Chandler shared, “3 Leadership Lessons for Millennials from Moneyball.” This is the perfect piece for me, as a leadership theorist, millennial and baseball lover.  The leadership lessons offered are: adapt or die; don’t give up on an idea even when “higher-ups” push back; and be a sell-out. What do you think of this list? If you have read the book or seen the movie, what lessons might you add to the list?

Karl Moore explains that, “Authenticity is the Way to the Millennial’s Heart.” Do you agree? In helping unpack this idea, Karl explains that authentic leadership seems to involve four basic principles: authentic leaders need to be self-aware and genuine; authentic leaders need to be mission driven and focused on results; authentic leaders lead with their hearts, not with their minds; and authentic leaders focus on the long term. Be sure to spend some quality time with this article!

Back in April, Jessica Johnson shared this important piece of advice, “First-Time Job Seekers: Brand Yourself to Stand Out.” Things to keep in mind when branding: focus on what makes you unique; think about where your passion lies; leverage the work experience you have; create an intentional network, and leverage it; create your online brand; use social media to your advantage; and become your own marketing agent.

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared some good and honest reflections about life with millennials from a parent’s perspective in, “When Our College Graduate Moved Home.”

Last week I shared a post about Church and Millennials. I followed it with a second post. Together those two posts were combined into a larger post for Ministry Matters. What do you think about these ideas? What other insights, ideas or questions might you have in relation to what the church might be able to learn from millennials?

Along a similar vein, Jan Edmiston wrote about “Forced Detours- for 20-Somethings & All of Us.” She writes as a parent of millennials, but also as a pastor and looks at how the “institutional church” is shifting from an emphasis on Sunday mornings to Monday-Saturday evenings being “the most important hours of ministry.” It’s an interesting read. What do you think?

Neighbor Love

Friend and pastor Frank Johnson shared, “Why Ruth?… Not a moral but a genealogy.” There’s great theological reflection in this, as always, so please check it out.

A powerful image of protest from Ferguson, Missouri
A powerful image of protest from Ferguson, Missouri

Roots of Justice asked, “When There is No Peace: Where are the Saints?

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon from the past weekend, “On Discipleship.” I love the question Aaron poses and the way he wraps it up. Let me share it with you in the hope that you will read the whole thing: “What does it mean to be a disciple, to follow Jesus? My hope for you, is that as you ponder this question about life for yourself, you do so knowing that you follow the One who is faithful to us for all time, and that in the promise of His death and resurrection, a space- a home – always exists for you in His love and grace. Amen.”

Scott Dannemiller reflected on “The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying.” I think I can definitely get behind the intent in this piece about using, “I’m grateful” instead of “I’m blessed.” “I’m grateful” seems to be more accurate within my own theological and stewardship understandings. “I’m blessed” can sometimes smack  of language related to privilege and even judgment. What do you think? Thanks goes to friend and pastor Kent Shane who first shared this with me.

Theresa Latini asked, “Whose Bodies Matter? #ALS and #Ferguson.” Important question worth time and reflection.

Friend and pastor Diane Roth reflected on theology in daily life in “Learning to See: God-sightings, Part 2.” There are so many great insights and observations in here. One that really struck me was this, “Pay attention not just to success, but to failure.  Pay attention to what is broken. Pay attention to the broken pieces, the shards, the tears, and to joy.  Pay attention to what, and who, needs healing.  Pay attention to what is bent over.”

Nicki Lisa Cole shared this helpful and important post, “The Ferguson Syllabus: Sociological Research Puts Ferguson in Context.”

Friend and Ph.D. student Amanda Brobst-Renaud shared, “Paralysis: Some Working Thoughts.” This is such a powerful, honest and important read. I can really resonate with Mandy’s conclusion where she writes, “May my newsfeed inspire me to look at the world around me differently and, for this little corner of the planet, may I learn to love deeply those to whom I have been bound. May I work toward living out the belief that there is no God-forsaken place and no God-forsaken people. If I cannot stand, may I approach in the posture of prayer, in the posture of confession, in the posture that sees the world from below.”

Nate Pyle reflected about what he believes is “Foolish Debate.”

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this important video from “Jon Stewart on race.” If you haven’t seen this video yet, please watch it.

In a story of true good news and neighbor love in action, see this story by Dominique Mosbergen, about how “This 99-Year-Old Woman Makes a New Dress Every Single Day for a Child in Need.”

Cousin Kevin Tengesdal wrote “We’re neighbors, not new people.” Important insights with obvious “neighbor love” implications.

Social Media & Blogging

So a funny and very unexpected thing happened last week. My links from last week got picked up by “Everything Weddings.” Thanks for including me in your list of links and resources. For all my friends who are in the wedding planning process, check out this great resource.

Have you ever wondered about how to save time on social media? If so, Neil Patel has some insights to help, explaining “How to Save Six Hours a Week on Social Media.”

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared his version of the Links with his “Really Recommended Posts” from the past week.


In last week’s edition I shared with you a link to the first post in a 3-part series by guest blogger Beryl Jantzi on the importance of budgeting on the COMPASS blog. In case you missed them, be sure to check out the second and third posts in the series as well.


Katie and Will dancing down the aisle!
Katie and Will dancing down the aisle!

Friends and newlyweds Will and Katie are blogging about their new adventures. They will be spending the first year of their marriage learning and serving half-way around the world. At first it didn’t seem like they were going to leave, because of uncertainty related to paperwork issues. But then came word that they made it successfully to Dubai, and then to South Africa. Katie and Will, I am glad you made it and look forward to hearing how things get going now that you are there.

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some wonderful vocational reflections as always in her Friday Favorites, featuring “Mary Poppins,” and her Sunday Snippits.

Blogger, best friend and college roommate Tyler Scott wrote about “Where a kid can be a kid!” If you don’t know that slogan, check out his blog post. By the way, Happy Birthday Today Tyler!


In a post that I have seen spread like wildfire among many friends and connections over the past week, here are “5 Ways to Get Children to Leave the Church When They’re Older” from Tamera Kraft. What do you think?


If you are from or have connections with Minnesota, you might be interested to know that HBO is developing a series called “Stillwater.” Minnesota Connected shares what it sees as “Other Minnesota Places that Should Get TV or Movie Treatment.”

Congratulations are in order for my alma mater, Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) as it’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee received the inaugural NCAA Div. III Diversity Spotlight Initiative honor. Attaway Lutes!


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

Image Credits: The Links; LEAD; Warren Buffett; and Powerful Protest Image.

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