This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have seen and found interesting over the past week with all of you. To help make sense of all these thought-provoking pieces, I have grouped them by topics, which are: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation; Worship and Miscellaneous. Without further adieu, I hope you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Bishop Michael Rinehart shared some thoughts and reflections about this weekend’s readings and themes in “Epiphany 5B.”

Bishop Rinehart also shared some good thoughts about the possibility and need for “Spiritual Growth Campaigns,” as well as about Peggy Hahn’s new book, The Sacred Valley: A Guide for Growing Leaders with Deep, Bold, Consequential Faith in Jesus Christ

For more on Peggy’s book, see this brief summary on the LEAD website. If you are wondering about what is LEAD, check out their overall website, and if you have seen it before come and check out their newly launched design. I am so excited about this because it is so user friendly and visually stunning.

Last week Rev. Libby Lane was consecrated and became the first female Church of England bishop.

Rev. Dr. David Lose asked, “What do we want from the sermon?

Allison, Terri and I together at the Extravaganza
Allison, Terri and I together at the Extravaganza

This past weekend my wife Allison and I had the pleasure and privilege to be part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Youth Ministry Extravaganza, an annual conference for youth ministers, faith formation directors, and people who serve (by volunteering or on staff) in ministry with and to youth and young adults. Allison shared some of her reflections and thoughts here about our time in Detroit. I am planning on sharing some of mine later this week. Check this out!

Also with the Extravaganza in mind, friend, mentor and professor Dr. Terri Elton shared her own reflections on the past week and weekend in “and the floors need to be mopped,” thoughts both about ministry and the church as well as daily life and vocations.

Speaking of the Extravaganza, friend Chris Okey shared this picture as Lost and Found was honored with the Tommy Award for distinguished service to youth and family ministry in the ELCA as part of the fun at the Extravaganza. Also, Lost and Found will be performing in concert in the Twin Cities this coming Friday. I highly encourage you to check out that concert and their whole schedule here.

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA shared a video about “Claimed, Gathered, Sent: A Guide to Conversation.”

Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a very colorful “prayer for the global church.”

If you enjoy thought provoking questions and are interested in continued learning, reflection and discovery, I highly encourage you to check out and plan on attending the “Why Christian? Conference” this coming September being co-led and co-created by Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz-Weber and featuring a great list of speakers, presenters and thinkers.

Rachel Held Evans also shared a thought provoking video entitled, “Keep the Church Weird.”

Late in 2014, Christian Piatt shared a list of “25 Christian Blogs You Should Be Reading (2014 Readers’ Choice).”

The Revd Canon Robert Hendrickson asked and shared an interesting question, at least in terms of ecclesiology and polity, “Must All Episcopal Bishops be Elected? A Modest Proposal.”

News broke last week out of Utah that the “LDS Church backs LGBT nondiscrimination and religious freedom bills.”

Preston Morgan reflected about “The Lose-Lose of Ministry” over at Ministry Matters.

Blogger and pastor Jan Edmiston shared a few great posts over the past week. These included a reflection about “Managing Congregational Pain.” I greatly appreciate her conclusion and desire that all congregational leaders have coaches. She writes, “I’d like to make a specific pitch here.  I believe that pastoral leaders of all levels of experience could use a coach.  I’m not talking about a coach that tells you how to be as awesome as he/she is.  I’m talking about someone with training to encourage you through painful seasons in your congregation’s life.  It’s not too late to adopt this as a new year’s resolution. Every parish pastor I know is serving in the thick of congregational change.  Yes, it’s painful.  But we can not only manage it.  We can thrive in it.” If you would like to learn more about congregational coaches, I recommend checking this group out for starters.

Jan also shared reflections about “When We Are #2,” and a very intriguing idea about “Calling a Start Up Pastor in ‘Traditional’ Church World.” Check out all three of these posts from Jan, because they are great food for thought about congregational and ministry leadership.

Ministry Matters shared a recent post from mine featuring “3 Questions to Break the Ice.”

Friend and professor Mary Hess shared this post from Ed Stetzer, “New Innovations in Theological Education: An Interview with Kent Anderson.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Values are important- both for organizations/teams and their leaders. Dave Hawley explains “Why Building Your Brand is all about Sharing Your Values.” There is good food for thought in this, including reflections about that: it’s not always about saving the world; the importance of listening and contributing; and it’s about them, not us.

In thinking about the “Social Age,” Julian Stodd writes, “Sociology, not technology.” Julian also shared, “From Intent to Purpose: stages of community.”

Back in September, Jenna Dutcher wrote and asked, “What is Big Data?

Tristan Kromer reflected about “What type of lean startup should I run?

What my friends and I have effectively named, "The Play that Shouldn't have Been." The moment the Patriots won, and the Seahawks came up a yard short.
What my friends and I have effectively named, “The Play that Shouldn’t have Been.” The moment the Patriots won, and the Seahawks came up a yard short.

You had to expect that given the Super Bowl happened just two days ago, that it would show up in the links today. Nonprofit with Balls shared a timely post (though with a sad title for Seahawks fans) in “5 lessons for nonprofits from the Seahawks’ bizarre Super Bowl loss.” The great lessons in this include: take more risks; don’t just innovate for innovation’s sake; give everyone on your team a chance; never give up; and community matters.

Leadership Thought & Practice

Speaking of the Seahawks and Super Bowl, Rob Pait wrote a helpful piece at least from a leadership and strategic thinking perspective in, “Requiem for a Gambler: Why Pete Carroll Wasn’t Wrong.”

In a great and important piece, especially about women in leadership, Omid Aschari wrote and questioned, “Where are the women at Davos?” This is a strong and important piece and critique.

Friend and professor Ron Byrnes wrote that, “Fear is Contagious.” There are important implications and reminders for leadership and team building in this.

Lolly Daskal shared a list of “10 Ways You Can Create an Irresistibly Great Workplace.” The ways include: play your part; check your attitude toward mistakes; have nothing to hide; defy gravity; give people what they need and stay out of the way; create a compelling community; destroy the status quo; model the mission; celebrate pivotal moments; and groom new leaders.

Croft Edwards shared reflection and ideas about “Creating Culture and Expanding Capacity.”

At the Extravaganza, Allison shared some thoughts about Great Leaders. What do you think?
At the Extravaganza, Allison shared some thoughts about Great Leaders. What do you think?

Dan Rockwell shared a plethora of helpful and intriguing posts this past week. My favorite probably was, “7 Qualities Servant-Leaders Expect from Others,” including ideas about commitment, resolve, passion and curiosity. Dan also shared about “Where People Love Working Together,” “10 Ways to Get Where You Want to Go,” “10 Things I Learned From People Who Drive Me Nuts,” and “Stop Pushing- Create Pull.”

I also appreciated Dan’s take about “How to Turn Passive Followers into Active Leaders,” highlighting the distinction and relationship between permission and intention.

In a post that has implications for collaboration, team building, connective leadership and even perhaps lay leadership (or volunteer leadership) within faith communities and nonprofits, Dan shared, “10 Ways to Divest and Distribute Control.”

Jeannie Walters shared “3 Ways to Secure Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty with Accountability.”

Steve Keating asked, “How Easy Are You to Lead?” Steve also asked an important and thought provoking question, “Is ‘Passion’ Just an Excuse?

Friend and professor Mary Hess shared a great post by Margie Warrell entitled, “Leadership Courage: Creating a Culture Where People Feel Safe to Take Risks.”

Dan Forbes shared a guest post by Scott Edinger, “Getting Teams Right Means Determining How Much ‘Team’ There Is.”

Jon Mertz wrote a post for Thin Difference offering fair warning and caution in “February is the Month Dreams Die.”


Thin Difference‘s also featured this post by Heidi Oran with “5 Tips for Building Creative Communities.” The tips include: be reliable; open up the conversation; take a risk; be yourself; and keep it safe. What other tips might you add for having a creative community based on your own experience?

Shane Raynor shared and wrote, “While You Were Wondering Where the Millennials Went…” A couple key thoughts in this include that: today if young people aren’t happy with a system, they’ll either find a better one to create their own; youth and young adults usually find a way to connect with each other; in order to thrive nowadays, and it helps if you know how to do a lot with a little.

Each Tuesday evening be sure and check out the “#MillennialTalk” Twitter chat at 8pm eastern time, led by Chelsea Krost.

Millennial CEO shared that, “Millennials Want Video and Flexibility as Part of Better Work Experience.”

Neighbor Love

Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner shared reflection about “The Super Bowl and the Church in a Culture of Dominance (1 Corinthians 8:1-13).” Thought is shared about: football’s values as cultural values; a Biblical reflection on strength and weakness; and the question of virtue.

David Masci writes that “2015 is shaping up to be a significant year for religion at the Supreme Court.”

Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared, “A Wish for a Longer Epiphany,” as well as some thoughts about her “New Favorite Devotional Book.”

In a social justice and neighbor love story, Elahe Izadi writes and shares that, “Florida police used mugshots of black men for target practice. Clergy responded: #UseMeInstead.”

In questionable shooting type stories, Adolfo Flores writes that, “Latina Teen Shot and Killed by Denver cops leads to questions, anger.”

Friend and writer Kevin Knodell wrote and shared, “This General Rescued New Orleans- Now He Wants to Save the World: Russel Honore says pollution is a national security threat.

In another social justice related story that clearly does not reflect well on the city of Seattle and makes me furious here’s a video of police jailing an “Elderly Military Veteran for ‘Walking in Seattle While Black.'” This is not acceptable by any level anywhere. This is continued proof that there is definitely work to be done in our society.

"toucans and trinity" by Vonda Drees
“toucans and trinity” by Vonda Drees

Friend and pastor Frank Johnson wrote and asked, “Living in the grey: Are you wrestling or just lazy?

RJ Grunewald shared, “Beaten, Bloodied, and Bruised.”

Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of great and beautiful posts this past week. These include: “the peace of ‘and’,” “toucans and trinity,” “wisdom and the disciple frame,” “the healing power of Jesus goggles,” “The beauty of a single leaf is…” and “Where was I hurt without anyone noticing?

The Humanosphere shared a guest post by Amy VanderZanden, “Visualizing health care access, equity and bottlenecks across the world.

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared a couple great posts. These included honest reflections in “Sermons: ‘There’s gotta be another way.‘” Aaron has also begun a new series in the spirit of the idea of a “Monday Morning Quarterback,” titled, “Monday Morning Preacher.” The first post in that series appeared this week on the “Lord’s Prayer.”

John Pavlovitz shared and wrote about “The One Question Christians Need to Stop Asking People, When Their Loved One Dies.”

Friend Carrie Gubsch shared this post by Martin Kirk Joe Brewer and Jason Hickel featuring “4 Things You Probably Know about Poverty that Bill and Melinda Gates Don’t.” These four things or facts are: Poverty is made by people. It is not just part of nature; history matters; the “Good News” story is premised on false accounting; and power matters.

Rachel Held Evans shared, “The Archbishop, Inequality, and Me.”

Friend and pastor Jamie Brandt Brieske shared her sermon for this past Sunday, “We All Have our Demons.”

With the same reading and theme in mind, Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis shared thoughts in “Exorcisms for Our Day (Mark 1:21-28).”

Bishop Michael Rinehart shared some neighbor love and social justice related reflection on “Civil Disobedience and The Rule of Law.”

Social Media & Blogging

Young Adult Money shared some thoughts on “How to Make Money on your Social Media Accounts.”

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared his version of the links in his “Really Recommended Posts.” I am grateful J.W. that you included a link to one of my recent posts. Thank you! Be sure and follow J.W.’s blog for lots of great thoughts on theology and more.

Back in November Kristian Poslek shared a tip and thoughts about “The Proper Way of Handling Notifications.”

Gilad Lotan shared why it is better to include lists with odd numbers of things rather than even numbers. What do you think?


Michelle shared about “Everything You Need to Know about Emergency Funds.”

Erin wrote for Young Adult Money about “How to Spend Your Money Meaningfully.” Things to keep in mind include reminders to: critically evaluate all of your purchases; ask yourself some important questions; create a list; spend intentionally; and put your money back to work for you.

Stefanie wrote that, “It’s Here: Tax Season is Officially Upon Us.”


Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller wrote and shared, “The 5 Most Important Words Parents Should Say to their Kids,” and “The 4 Most Important Words Kids Must Learn about their Parents.”

Friend and blogger Angel Yackel shared some honest life and ministry related thoughts about “Welcome.”

One more thought about great leaders from the Extravaganza
One more thought about great leaders from the Extravaganza

Friends Katie and Will shared some more thoughts and reflections related to their first year of marriage and journeys and experiences in and around South Africa. Katie shared a “New Years Resolution” and Will shared some thoughts about “Unintended Learning.”

Chester Elton shared a vocational related post last summer, “Take This Job and Love It.”

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared a couple vocationally rich posts including her “Friday Favorites,” and “Sunday Snippits,” both posts included pictures related to the Youth Ministry Extravaganza this past weekend. It was a joy to be there and to spend some time with Julia and her husband Zack as well.

Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared a couple posts as well, including “What a Difference a Day Makes,” and “In 1991 I Wrote This About My Call.”

As a learner, I greatly appreciated this post from my friend J.W. Wartick about his “2014 Reading- A list and some reflections.”


Friend and awesome pastor in waiting Emmy Kegler shared some awesome worship ideas “For Transfiguration Sunday: Dazzling White (Paraments, Scripture, and Lights).”

Victoria reflected on and asked, “What makes worship Lutheran?


A few more Seahawks and Super Bowl related posts to share. First, in preparation for the Super Bowl last week Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wrote, “One Mission.” Second, two elementary schools back in the Northwest celebrated and shared their love for the Seahawks last week as well. Queen Anne Elementary made a video, and Poulsbo Elementary held a parade. Finally, friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes wrote, “Thank You Pete Carroll.”

If you are looking for a fun night out at the end of the month, consider this Sara Groves concert sponsored by brightpeak financial.

For all of you Malt-O-Meal and Chocolate Malt-O-Meal fans, you might like to know that Post Holdings Inc. has purchased the Malt-O-Meal company.

Finally, let’s wrap up the links with some love for Costco.


That concludes this week’s edition. As always, if you have topics or questions to think about on the blog, please let me know. Also, if you have articles or things that you would like to include in the links each week, please let me know that too. Until next time, thanks for reading and being part of the conversation. Blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Football Heartbreak; and Toucans and Trinity.

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