This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have read and found interesting with all of you. In doing so, 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 hope you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

If you are planning worship or a message for this upcoming weekend and using the revised common lectionary appointed readings, check out these reflections and insights from Bishop Mike Rinehart in “Pentecost 22A.”

If your faith community follows the Narrative Lectionary, this post from earlier this year by friend and pastor Diane Roth, “A Bible verse on a stick” might be helpful to reflect on the appointed reading for this coming weekend from Micah 5 and 6.

The Narthex picked up and shared the post written by Emmy Kegler and Eric Worringer, “The Under-35 Theses: Can an aging church make space for a new generation of ministry leaders?” What a great and important question.

Also at the Narthex, Blogger and pastor Keith Anderson writes that, “The Church Kids Will Be Alright… You’re Welcome: Gen-Xers Make Way for Change in the Church.” In this piece he convincingly writes, “Gen-Xers were Millennials before there were Millennials.”

Rich Birch shared some good pause and food for thought in “6 Reasons to Delay the Launch of that New Ministry Idea.” The reasons to potentially delay are: everyone isn’t an early adopter; you need to plan more; the best time to raise volunteers and finances is before you launch; some seasons are better than others; your people need more training; and community doesn’t happen in a pressure cooker.

Rich also shared “7 Elements of Effective Church Announcements.” The elements and critical factors to keep in mind are: don’t preempt the message; explain what’s in it for them; less is more; connect to vision; show don’t just tell; connect with the heart; and have clear next steps.

Rev. Peter M. Wallace asked, “Is there room in the church for non-believers?

One of the challenges that leaders and pastors face potentially in faith communities is how to engage, coexist and collaborate with retired pastors and leaders. Along these lines, Bill Vossler reflected on “How to welcome retired pastors in the congregation.”

John W. O’Malley ponders in response to Ross Douthat, “Is a Precipice Yawning?

Kevin P. Emmert shared survey findings in “New Poll Finds Evangelicals’ Favorite Heresies: Survey finds many American evangelicals hold unorthodox views on the Trinity, salvation and other doctrines.”

In honor of the Reformation which was remembered last week, friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared a timely post, “Women and the Reformation: Hope, Silence and Circumstance.”

Pastor Timothy Brown writes that, “It Would be a Mistake to Give Up Sharing the Peace in Church.” He concludes strongly, writing, “I’m sorry folks, but if sharing the peace of Christ will keep you away from church, I’m not sure you’re ready for community. By God, share the peace.” What do you think?

Pastor Timothy Brown also shared, “5 Things That Will Happen When You Get a New Pastor.” Those things are: people will leave; people will arrive; people will feel excluded; new ideas will fail and old ideas will gain new life; and if you give it enough time and godly space, you will get used to one another and even love each other.

Some times people are afraid to publicly share their gifts, and instead quietly lift them up in prayer, like these prayers which are part of a Tapestry.
Some times people are afraid to publicly share their gifts, and instead quietly lift them up in prayer, like these prayers which are part of a Tapestry.

Brian Dodd shared “4 Signs Your Church Needs More Volunteers.” The signs he points to: Are leaders asking to hire more staff? Are key volunteers overworked? Do you feel like there’s not enough help? Are you tired or burned out?

Somewhat related to this post, I pondered about lay leadership in “The Church, Individuals’ Gifts and a Fear of Being Seen.” (See the picture at left for some more thoughts about this.)

“On Being with Krista Tippett” recently re-aired this interview with pastor, writer and blogger Nadia Bolz-Weber, “Seeing the Underside and Seeing God: Tattoos, Tradition and Grace.”

Nurya Parish shared, “A Million Dollars + The Internet = Episcopal Renewal.” This is obviously a “what if” sort of reflection, but it’s very well thought out, and denominations and congregations would do well to read this and think critically about this. If you had a million dollars you could use to renew the church, what might you propose doing?

Jan Edmiston reflected in “Power Assessment” about an important questions she poses to other leaders, “Are you more afraid of God or members of your congregation?” Good question.

Over on the LEAD blog, friend and Dr. Kristen Contos Krueger shared a great and timely post in preparation for Advent which will soon be upon us. She writes, “‘That’s MY Jesus:’ Creating Family Advent Traditions.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Jesse Torres explained “How Storytelling Can Create Brand Value for Your Business.” Included in this are three elements which can help entrepreneuers craft memorable stories that will resonate: have a protagonist; create an antagonist; and present an aha moment.

In a related post, Demian Farnworth shared both a post and infographic, “The Amazingly Simple Anatomy of a Meaningful Marketing Story.”

If you are in the United States, you might find this post from Andy Kiersz interesting, “The Most Educated Town in Every State.”

Marc Koenig asked and shared, “Can Nonprofits Grow the Pie or Give It Away? Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk.”

Anne Loehr shared an infographic detailing “4 Major Workplace Trends on the Horizon.”

Nathan Loewen shared, “Co-Hosting and Collaborative Networked Teaching.”

Former director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Bill Foege reflected “On How to Make Ebola Worse.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Peter Aceto pondered, “Is leadership ready for the social age?” This is a great question. Peter references the important work of Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt. He concludes this must read reflection writing that, “We live in a hyper-connected world. For those of us who engage in it well, we stand a better chance of establishing real value, for our customers, colleagues, the world and ourselves. In a world gone social, we chose the human side of business.” Check out the whole post.

Mark Babbitt also explained, “The Secret to Success as a Social Age Leader: More Social, Less Media.”

Nonprofit Answer Guide asks and perhaps answers, “What does an effective nonprofit leader look like?

Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini write and explain, “Build a change platform, not a change program.” There’s good reflection about change in this, as well as three shifts around change that they believe are necessary. The shifts are: from top-down to activist-out; from sold to invited; and from managed or organic.

Lolly Daskal writes, “Get Mad But Don’t Get Even.” In unpacking this, Lolly shares these insights: grudges hurt us; it’s better to practice moving on than standing still; don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself; forgiving doesn’t have to mean forgetting; remember that this too shall pass; put it behind you; learn to manage your emotions; don’t allow resentment to feed on weakness; and focus your passion on positive things.

Lolly explained “How You Can Be the Boss Who Goes from Good to Great.”

Climbing the leadership ladder
Climbing the ladder to leadership

Lolly also shared, “5 Questions to Weed Out Bad Advice.” The questions to keep in mind are: Where is it coming from? Does this person have an ulterior motive? Does this person have experience? Does this person listen? And, does this person sound like a cliche?

Julian Stodd reflected in “The Ladder to Leadership.” I really like the insight Julian includes in the conclusion to this piece where he writes, “It’s never too early to learn about leadership, because within our communities, it’s contextual and consensual and you may be leading earlier than you think.”

Dan Rockwell shared some helpful thoughts about “How to Get the Most From Irritating People.”

Dan also shared “7 Ways to Succeed at Telling People What to Do.” The ways to succeed include: agree on the destination; understand people; build teams who love to do what needs to be done; tell people to do more of what they love; and remove barriers and obstacles.

Dan also reflected about “How Positive Thinking Really Works.”

Kayla Matthews shared, “10 Employee Incentives All Business Leaders Can Afford.” The incentives include: offer flexible hours; dress-down days and weeks; offer more bonus days off; give them some positive reinforcement; whip them into shape; encourage breaks; say thank you; provide some caffeine; do something fun and start spirit days.

Steve Keating notes that “Busy Isn’t Always Productive.” Here’s a good nugget from Steve to reflect on: “When deciding if you’re just busy or actually productive it helps to know the difference between merely urgent and truly important. That difference is found in your true goals.”

Vlatka Hlupic writes that, “The Future of Management is Here: an Unstoppable Metamorphosis to a Butterfly.”

“Mission Creep” is the problem that leaders and organizations face when over time they seem to slowly move away from their core principles, business, vision and mission. Cranston Holden thinks about this in “The Mission Creep!

Bob Tiede shared a guest post by Rick Smith pondering, “What Will Leadership Look Like in 20 Years?” Rick sees six shifts happening among effective leaders: questions not answers; employee pull; customer pull; chaos learning; focus on growth and purpose.


With today being election day, Thin Difference fittingly shared a guest post by Ryan Schoenike explaining “5 Reasons Why Millennials Need to Vote.” The common-sense reasons are: the economy still doesn’t work for us; federal investment levels are way too low; there is no more discretion in the budget; the tax code is a mess; and it’s our future.

Thin Difference also shared a guest post by Arundhuti Roy sharing thoughts on “How to Develop Gen Y Employees for Your Company’s Growth.”

I came across this post from July last week by Kathi Gurchiek and it really caught my eye. Kathi wrote that, “Millennial’s Desire to Do Good Defines Workplace Culture.”

Molly Page shared about Andrew Kaplan and Sam Gilman in “Collaborative Millennial Leaders: Common Sense Action.” In creating space for collaboration, they have created guidelines like: make space\take space; honest space\safe space; and trust intent\name impact.

Rachel Rood wrote and explained, “Please Do Not Leave A Message: Why Millennials Hate Voice Mail.”

DC shared a list of “The Top 10 Financial Moves for People in their 20s.” The financial moves are: open and contribute to a savings account; open a retirement account; contribute to a health savings account; start a career; learn and improve skills; pay down debt; start tracking your finances; take risks; make long-term financial goals; and put off having kids. What do you think of this list?

Ryan Jenkins shared “27 Stunning Millennial Stats about our future employees, leaders, consumers and parents.” Check out these statistics!

Neighbor Love

My home town and school district had a very hard week last week. A student committed suicide, schools were on lock-down for a time when someone threatened harm, and in a separate scary story, a high school student claimed he was going to cause death and destruction. If you could hold them in prayer or good thoughts, I am sure they would all appreciate it.

Travis Gettys shares news about the Pope in, “‘God is not a magician’: Pope says Christians should believe in evolution and Big Bang.”

Also with a story about the Pope, Francis Rocca writes that the “Pope urges activists to struggle against ‘structural causes’ of poverty.” This is very much a neighbor love and social justice urge and struggle.

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes comments, I think helpfully, “Hey Beginning Teachers, Don’t Do This.” Ron also pondered, “Are Women Smarter then Men?” (At least in terms of intentional friendships.)

Bishop Mike Rinehart shared a post with “Global facts,” providing insights and links about the “25 most shocking global poverty facts.”

Bill Otman shared the creation care news that “Bolivia passes ‘Law of Mother Earth’ which gives rights to our planet as a living system.”

With Halloween last week, Benjamin Corey provided insights about chocolate and slave labor in “The Evil Part of Halloween You Probably Didn’t Think Of.”

A cross covered in pictures of the "living saints" who are part of a particular faith community's body and congregation.
A cross covered in pictures of the “living saints” who are part of a particular faith community’s body and congregation.

Over the weekend was All Saints. That observance sparked a number of posts. I shared some related thoughts in “Saints, Smiles and Journeys.”

Friend and blogger Sue Leibnitz likewise shared “A Great Cloud!

Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared a portion of a sermon for All Saints which she entitled, “Ordinary Miracles.” I had the pleasure of hearing this sermon in person twice over the weekend. Here’s a small taste of it, “Someday we will all worship around the throne of the lamb in the place where there is no more death, and no more pain, where the lamb will be the light. In the meantime, each of us here is a miracle. By some miracle, Jesus lives in us and Jesus shines through us. Right here and now.  Alleluia.  Thanks be to God.  AMEN.”

Friend and pastor Stephanie Vos shared a slightly different, but very much related take in “The Day of the Dead in a Disposable World.” There’s so much great reflection in this. I particularly appreciate where Stephanie wrote, “We are missing out on the wisdom of grief. We are missing out on the enjoyment of being fully alive, knowing that this moment (and this one, and this one) are the only thing we can truly count on. We’re missing out on the freedom of impermanence.” What do you think?

Friend and PhD student Amanda Brobst-Renaud reflected in “Breath of Life.”

Friend and pastor Jamie Brieske shared her All Saints Sunday sermon based on Matthew 5:1-12.

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon for All Saints, which he entitled, “Wounds.” His sermon was grounded in the narrative lectionary appointed text, 1 Kings 5:1-14, the story of Naaman.

Based on the same text, friend and pastor Frank Johnson shared his sermon a fitting reflection a couple days before election day in the United States, “Not politics as usual: Election Day and the story of Naaman.”

Rachel Held Evans shared a couple engaging posts. She shared, “The Slaveowners and Me: On nurturing empathy for oppressors.” Rachel also shared, “Learning from LGBT Christians.”

Sarah Posner shared the news about “Pro-LGBT Evangelical David Gushee: ‘I’m with You and the Church Needs to Change.”

Friend and pastor Joe Smith shared his sermon from Reformation, grounded in 1 Kings 3:4-28, about the wisdom of King Solomon, “I’m Not Sure I’m Up to the Task.”

Kurt Willems shared some theological reflections in “The End of Sacrifice: The Eucharist as Christ’s Nonviolent Presence.”

Last week I shared the story about the Oak Harbor high school football team and their decision to give up the chance at the title for their friends at Marysville-Pilchuck. The story of giving, sportsmanship and brotherly love continued this past week as the Marysville-Pilchuck team surprised Oak Harbor with the league trophy.

Social Media & Blogging

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared his version of the links with a special focus on the last week with his “Reformation Recommended Posts.” Thanks J.W. for including one of my posts as one of your recommendations!

Justin Fox explained about “How the Market Ruined Twitter.”

Ken Mueller writes that “Marketing Often Means Getting Your Hands Dirty.”

Ian Cleary explained “How to Set Up Google Analytics Goals and Score More Conversions.”


Stefanie shared “5 Real Investing Fears that held this Financial Planner Back.”

With helpful insight for traveling and being on the go, the Broke Millennial shared, “Frugal Find Friday: Pack for Every Occasion.”

Michelle shared some personal stewardship and financial reflection and experiences in “10 Things I’ve Done to Make Extra Money.”

The COMPASS blog continued the series it is offering thinking about young adults and renting, home ownership and mortgages with a guest post by Carolyn Lesmeister in “Renting vs. Buying.”


Friends and bloggers featured in this week's edition of the Links:  Carrie Gubsch, Tyler Scott & me.
Friends and bloggers Carrie Gubsch, Tyler Scott & me.

Best friend, college roommate and blogger Tyler Scott shared a very powerful and introspective post in “Words are forever.” Can you relate with Tyler’s observations?

Friends Katie & Will are back with updates on their journeys and adventures in South Africa. Katie shares news that she is trying to learn French in “Je m’appelle Katie.” Katie also shared some great pictures and other updates in “A few less than 1000 words.”

Emily Esfahani Smith shared a vocationally rich piece in “A Psychiatrist Who Survived the Holocaust Explains Why Meaningfulness Matters More than Happiness.”

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some great vocational insights in her “Friday Favorites” and “Sunday Snippits,” including observations about how her new job is going after her first month.

Friend and pastor Jamie Brieske shared vocational reflections in “Pastoring and Mothering.”

Candice Czubernat shared important and deep life reflections and observations in “My first kiss.”

Friend and pastor Diane Roth reflected on “The Story of the Quilt.”


Jonathan offered some thought provoking ideas and questions in “11 Reasons to Stop Offering Different ‘Worship Styles.'” I’m not sure I agree with this post, but it’s food for thought anyway.


Friend and blogger Erik Bergs shared an update about “Six Mall of America Developments.” Check these out to see what new and exciting things are coming to the Mall of America.

Apparently, Minnesota is the “2nd-Most Liberal State,” in the United States. Only Washington is more liberal. I wonder what this says about me, if anything? How liberal (or not) is your home state?

Are you looking for a fun way to save and distribute your candy from Halloween? Check out this cool way to make your ice machine a candy dispenser from Nora Landis-Shack. Now if only I had an ice machine.


That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. I hope you enjoyed them! As always if you have questions or topics that you would like me to think about on the blog, please let me know. Until next time, thanks for reading and blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; and Ladder.


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