This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have found interesting and thought provoking from the past week with all of you. To help do that, I have put the different articles and pieces I have seen into different categories. This week’s topic categories: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship and Vocation. I hope you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

#ChSocM (Church Social Media) shared highlights from their weekly Twitter Chat last week in “Lo and behold, another Advent!” This chat featured thoughts and tips about observing and celebrating Advent. Check this out for great ideas and resources!

Blogger and pastor Jan Edmiston writes, “This Could Change Everything (in the PCUSA).” As Jan asked, allow me to repeat, “What has this church done to make changes and growth in the past year?”

Jan also offered some important reflections in “So Many Consultants.” I love her closing paragraph where she writes and asks, “Partnerships are the way to go in the 21st Century Church:  partnering between congregations, between churches and denominations, between congregations and consultants who help us lead impactful change.  As we move into both a new liturgical years and a new calendar year in the days and weeks to come, how can we be the church for a new day?” What do you think?

Friend and pastor Joe Smith reflects on “Legacy Protestant Public Temples and Family Churches,” specifically thinking about the claims of “all are welcome,” and the potential for building community among smaller communities such as house churches. What do you think of Joe’s thoughts?

Lynn Willis shared a post on the LEAD blog, “Spirituality 101: God in Every Step.” Within this, Lynn includes “ten tiny steps to be aware of God every day and in every place.” The steps include ways to be aware of God when you: breathe; email; shower/brush your teeth; recycle; pray grace; pick up something that fell; hit red lights; play video or computer games; using your car keys; and when going to the restroom.

Yesterday I shared some reflections about the congregation I am currently serving’s recent annual meeting. What are your faith community annual meeting experiences like generally? Any profound memories of annual meetings past?

With Advent beginning this week, friend, blogger and pastor Jamie Brieske writes and asks, “Advent- what is it anyway?

On the subject of Advent and preparing for the first week in it, Rev. Dr. David Lose shared this helpful post, “Advent 1: Preaching a Participatory Advent.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Julian Stodd shared some good reflections about what he sees as “A Global Social Age.”

An Opening Door
An Opening Door- symbolic of opening more doors in business and life

Christina DesMarais shared “7 Ways to Open More Doors in Business and Life: a few simple tweaks can result in more opportunities for success.” The seven ways are: associate with winners; think of yourself as lucky; be generous; be curious; be in the right place; post intelligent commentary online and acknowledge the attractiveness bias.

Adam Copeland shared “Creativity Interview Series: Bethany Stolle.”

Zack Fagan shared “6 Word of Mouth Marketing Tips to Get People Talking About Your Business.” The tips he offers includes: promote word of mouth by providing above average service; connect with industry influencers; create a core group of insiders; incentivize word of mouth to get people talking; use social media to create personal connections; and publish quality content.

Louis Shapiro and C. Mark Angelo explained how “Teaching Hospitals are the Best Place to Test Health Innovation.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Steve Keating asked, “How Much Does Good Judgment Matter?” What do you think?

Brian Dodd shared “6 Reasons Leaders Fail.” The reasons include that leaders fail when: they are not positioned for success; they do not receive consistent support from their teammates; they make unnecessary mistakes; due to lack of leadership; when they miss opportunities and sometimes because they are simply human. What other reasons might you add to this list?

Happy Thanksgiving from our household to yours!
Speaking of Thanksgiving, Happy Thanksgiving from our household to yours!

Debra Dickerson writes about “The Power of Gratitude” with Thanksgiving and leadership on her mind.

Dan Rockwell shared a number of great posts over the past week. A few that really stood out to me were “How to Lead with Compassion but not be a Pushover,” where Dan includes a list of 7 ways one can be a compassionate leader, including “meet a need” among others; “10 Ways to Grow into Challenges“; “Is It Time to Stop Saying Thank You“; and “How to Expand Leadership with Gratitude.” These are fantastic pieces which are quick reads but also wonderful starting places for personal reflection about one’s own life and leadership.

Tal Shnall wrote about “Becoming A Resilient Leader: Navigating Life’s Challenges.”

Lolly Daskal wrote that “The Best Leaders are Critical Thinkers.” She includes a number of habits that critical thinkers use or do, including: leading with questions; embracing different points of view; leading with agility; and keeping an open mind.

Rhett Power shared “3 Reasons Why Helping Others is Great for Business.” I particularly appreciate the article’s sub-heading which seems very Drucker like to me, “Frame your mission around how the business will serve others.” The reasons that Rhett includes for helping others are: serving others; visualization and goal setting.

Bob Tiede shared a guest post by Denis McLaughlin, “Leaders, When in Doubt- Ask the Right Questions.”

Dharmesh Shah shared a list of “12 Surprising Facts about Entrepreneurs.”

Cranston Holden shared a reflection about “When a leader loses Authority.”


Jon Mertz raised an important question for leadership but also millennials this past week, asking “What Does Giving Trust Mean?” Reflection is given to: work, purpose; relationships; and conversations. How do you lead through giving trust or entrusting others? How have you been entrusted to lead by others?

Heidi Oran shared a wonderful reflection about “The Trouble with Distractions.” Heidi highlights three benefits of getting to know one’s self better: we become better listeners; we make decisions for the right reasons; and we cultivate more empathy. As Heidi asked allow me to repeat, “How do you lead through distractions? What benefits have you realized?”

The Word Cloud of Change
In response to this article’s premise and talking about young people without actually engaging them, consider this Word Cloud of Change which was built primarily by young adults and teenagers who are all active and engaged in faith communities.

In what was probably the post that most did not sit with me well of the past week, among things I regularly read, Russel Lackey asked in The Lutheran, Has the Spirit forgotten how to call young people?” It’s this sort of post that demonstrates how the church and faith communities need to provide space to seriously engage different generations and perspectives together instead of just talking about each other in a form of “othering.”

Friend and pastor Tyler Gubsch shared a helpful post in relation to this topic by Sam Rainer about “What to Expect if You’re a Church’s First Millennial Pastor.

Additionally, Tyler pointed me to this post from Drew Dyck, “Millennials Need a Bigger God, Not a Hipper Pastor.” What do you think?

Neighbor Love

In light of the Ferguson grand jury decision last night, Nekima Levy-Pounds writes, “‘No Justice, No Peace’ in Ferguson and Across America.”

In a follow-up to the story about #Pointergate that was covered in great detail last week, friend and blogger Erik Bergs shared some “Reflections on ‘Pointergate.'” What do you think of Erik’s reflections and ideas?

Sarah Bessey reflected about “Radical Inclusion.” I found this reflection powerful and moving. One passage that particularly stands out is where Sarah writes, “The work of goodness is a creative work, a beautiful work. Being someone who creates good transcends arguments and moral persuasions, facts and figures of dry doctrine. Goodness disarms the skeptic and the cynic. Our way of creating good is a prophetic act, sometimes even a humble act of resistance and danger. We embody the dream of God for humanity in our right-now lives. We create good by choosing the paths of Christ. Truth is good, justice is good, beauty is good. Wherever we find ourselves in our vocation or our calling, whether we feel like we have achieved our dreams or simply achieved another day of trying, we have the precious opportunity to create good, to be a purveyor of goodness, to anoint our communities with goodness.” Go and read the whole post, you will be glad you did.

One of the countless Christmas scenes and centerpieces designed and created by Thomas Kinkade
One of the countless Christmas scenes and centerpieces designed and created by Thomas Kinkade

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared and asked a timely post with Advent, soon Christmas and winter upon us I think, “Thomas Kinkade and Christianity- What do we learn from ‘The Painter of Light’?

Bishop Mike Rinehart reflected about “Where Luther Got it Wrong: The Peasants’ Revolt.”

Bishop Rinehart also shared the “ELCA Bishops’ Statement on Immigration Announcement.”

On the subject of the immigration announcement, Paul Krugman wrote powerfully, “Suffer Little Children.”

Also with that subject in mind, Nicholas Kristof wrote “Immigration Enriches You and Me.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth shared a number of thought provoking posts over the past week. One of her posts includes ideas of being gathered around one table in “The Last ‘Everybody Loves Raymond.'” Another is about “the handwriting on the wall,” while a third post is on “Memory Loss.” Check out all of these good posts.

Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner shared this interesting story about “The Curious Case of Jesus’s wife,” by Joel Baden and Candida Moss.

RJ Grunewald reflected and shared about “How Black Friday Forms Us.”

Friend and pastor Frank Johnson shared a number of important posts over the past week. First, he shared his sermon from a little over a week ago, “Bullying into prayer, swords into plowshares,” based on Isaiah 36, 37 and 2. Frank also shared his most recent sermon, “Generational lines, ‘All Star’ clergy, and reaching the aliens,” based on Jeremiah 1 & 7. Frank also asked an important question which I hope all faith communities continue to wrestle with, “Are ‘All’ Really Welcome?” What do you think?

Social Media & Blogging

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

Back in August, Kevan Lee shared thoughts on “How to Choose the Right Social Network for Your Business.”


In a fair question with implications for millennials, young adults, the economy and society as a whole, Alicia Waters asked, “What Are We Going to Do About College Costs?

Michelle wrote and shared, “Bad Money Mistakes Couples Should Avoid- They May Be Making You Poor and Stressed Out.”

Last week I shared some more reflections on what I am thankful and grateful for in “Friday Thanksgivings.”

Grace Duddy Pomroy in action talking about stewardship, giving and young adults
Grace Duddy Pomroy in action talking about stewardship, giving and young adults

Young Adult Money shared, “8 Ways to Save Money Shopping at Target.” The ways offered include: Target REDcard; pharmacy rewards; Target coupons; manufacturer coupons; the cartwheel app; sales & clearance; gift card promotions and free shipping.

In a similar vein, Stefanie explained about “How to Maximize Your Dollar With the Best Shopping Apps.”

The COMPASS blog this week is featuring a two part series with an interview with Grace Duddy Pomroy. Check out the first post in the series, and be sure to check out the second post as well. Both posts have great reflections on giving, stewardship and millennials


Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared an honest reflection in “‘Back to Basics’ & ‘The Weekend Word.'”

Friends Katie and Will continue to share their adventures in South Africa and Lesotho in their latest post, “The sun burns hot in the mountains of Lesotho.”

Friend, professor and blogger Dr. Mary Hess shared and asked, “Anyone can change the world?

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared great vocational insights and reflections in her Friday Favorites, her Sunday Snippits, and her Thanksgiving themed Tuesday Tea Time.

Friend, professor and blogger Dr. Ron Byrnes reflected and asked, “My Teaching Best- What’s It Look Like?


That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them. As always if there are particular topics you would like me to include, please let me know. Also, if there are particular questions or ideas you would like me to blog about please let me know that as well. Thanks for reading, and until next time, blessings on your week and for all of you celebrating, Happy Thanksgiving! I for one give thanks for all of your continued support, collaboration and readership! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Opening Door; and Thomas Kinkade Christmas Centerpiece.

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