Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have seen and found interesting over the past week. To help make sense of all these links, I have grouped them in the following categories: 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 preparing a sermon or for worship this upcoming weekend and your congregation follows the revised common lectionary, you will appreciate these thoughts and reflections on Lent 5B from Bishop Michael Rinehart. Likewise, you should also check out, “A Vision Check-Up” featuring reflections on and for the last Sunday of Lent from friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis.
Joseph Yoo shared some good and important reflections in “Too Much on the Menu: When Churches Lack a Clear Mission.”
Last week came news of this urgent prayer request of people of faith who had been kidnapped in Syria.
I stumbled on this story from last summer about “A Growing Movement to Spread Faith, Love – And Clean Laundry.” What do you think about this idea?
Over the past week I came across a few reflections especially about children and church. Elizabeth Rawlings reflected and asked, “How do I get (my) kids to go to church?!” There’s a lot of great and important food for thought in this. Christina Embree responded and reflected to something many a ministry leader has heard, “My kid doesn’t ‘get’ anything out of Church.” Christina also wrote and shared, “Do Not Hinder: Welcoming Kids to Worship.” Friend, pastor and blogger Aaron Fuller wrote and shared, “No Choice is Giving Them a Choice: Parents, Youth & Church.”
Rev. Dr. David Lose wrote and shared about a question many a theologian and ministry leader confronts, “Is the Church Really in Decline? (PT. 1).”
For a random and more imaginative post within this section, check out this story, “A Couple Buys this Old, Abandoned Church. What they do Inside? I Screamed!”
Brian Dodd shared “7 Practices of Highly Effective Church Volunteers.” The practices he notes include: provide stability and security; make church interesting; build relationships that extend beyond Sunday mornings; care about people; model the Christian life; expose others to church leadership and are extravagantly generous. Brian also shared, “7 Things Your Church or Organization Must Know if You Lose a Great Leader.”
Rachel Held Evans wrote and reflected, “Strong Enough to Be Self-Critical: In America and the church.” This post and theme was also shared via CNN.
Jonathan Merritt shared a “Q&A” with Rachel Held Evans on “the ills of American Christianity, and leaving evangelicalism.”
I have to admit, I am a little biased in wanting you to check out this link. LEAD shared and responded in “What are LEAD Coaching deliverables and why is it the best use of continuing ed dollars?” As one of the LEAD coaches, I really do believe this, so I hope you check this out and give it some thought.
Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared their transcript of their weekly conversation last week, “Peeking Into and Predicting the Future of Digital Ministry.”
Rob Carson writes about how, “Friends, fellow activists gather at memorial service for Tacoma priest Bill Bichsel.”
I stumbled on this post from a good friend and favorite professor of mine, Rev. Dr. Terence Fretheim, a “Commentary on Numbers 21:4-9.”
Alyssa Lodewick wrote and shared, “Ordained in Community: A Tale of Exile and Coming Home.”
In news that matters to those of you (like myself) in candidacy or rostered as non-ordained ministry leaders in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), news broke (not unexpectedly) that the “ELCA Conference of Bishops recommends unifying lay rosters, considers other business.”
My wife Allison wrote about the importance of life-long learning in “Cat’s out of the bag: why lifelong learning.” This great post has implications for ministry, the church, but also I believe all sectors. Within this, she pays special attention to the ELCA, in noting the baptismal promises. She also highlights the observations that learning grows empathy, learning changes you and that you are learning together with others.
When two of my favorite professors, advisers and friends Dr. Terri Elton and Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner, both share something, I pay attention. This past week they both shared this reflection by Kate Blanchard, “Everything but Teaching.”
In a post with thoughts and implications for learning and academia, Laura McKenna writes about, “The Unfortunate Fate of Sweet Briar’s Professors.”
Leadership Thought & Practice
Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess also shared this wonderful post from Noah Rayman featuring “5 Leadership Lessons You Can Learn from Pope Francis.” The lessons include: Set an example; don’t just hire your friends; take advice seriously; but also be willing to ignore advice; and be accessible. Definitely check this post out!
Tanveer Naseer shared a guest post by Rowan Gibson, “How to Discover Your Organization’s Next Big Growth Opportunities.”
This week the NCAA basketball tournament officially begins, commonly known as “March Madness.” With that in mind, Asher Raphael shared, “3 Leadership Lessons from March Madness.” The leadership lessons noted are: competition is a good thing; never underestimate the underdog and trust your team.
Dan Rockwell shared a number of great posts over the past week. These posts included: “4 Simple Projects that Transform Culture Today,” in which he notes ask teammates, call gratitude meetings, drive-by gratitude and appreciate character; “Seven Steps to New Leadership“; “Ten Tips for Great Results through Serving“; and “How to Energize Yourself and Others.”
Joel Gascoigne asked and reflected, “To Plan or Build? Balancing the Two in a Startup.”
Don Moore wrote that “Smart Leaders are OK with Seeming Uncertain.” I would definitely agree. Would you? There’s good food for thought about honesty, integrity and authentic and courageous leadership in this.
Dan Forbes shared “10 Questions For Evaluating Your Company’s Culture.” These are great questions and include ones like: What behaviors are rewarded and/or punished? What are the sacred cows? And, how is risk and uncertainty perceived?
Paul Sohn noted “3 Things Leaders Should do to Handle Failure Better.” Those things he notes includes: be honest from the beginning; practice humility; and maintain a healthy self-perception. Paul also shared, “Ten Things Every Leader Should Always Teach.”
Thin Difference shared a guest post by Eric Joseph Rubio who wrote and shared, “Compassion: The Opportunity for the Millennial Generation.”
Jon Mertz at Thin Difference also wrote about “The Uncomfortable Truths about Generational Culture.” Definitely check out this post which is full of great thoughts for Millennials and people of other generations, as well as great reflection on leadership.
Sara Roberts and Michael Papay wrote, “Stop Treating Millennial Employees Like Enigmas.” Some immediate ideas that they note which would have an impact include: treat us like our heads count, not like a head count; set up collaborative environments; talk frequently with us; and explain why.
As we are in the heart of tax season, here’s a good post from Jim Wang featuring, “6 Things Millennials Need to Know About Their Taxes.” The things Jim notes include: skip pen & paper, file electronically; tax software is cheaper, sometimes free; you may be able to deduct moving expenses even if you don’t itemize; you may be entitled to education credits and deductions; double check your work and ask for help if you have a tax question.
Stefanie shared some good thoughts in “Millennial Entrepreneurship: The Dream vs. The Reality.”
Chelsea Krost wrote and shared about “Millennials Shaking Up the Future of the Workplace.”
Friend, blogger and pastor Jamie Brandt Brieske shared her sermon for the past weekend based on John 3:14-21. Jamie also shared a related post with a video from Brene Brown in “Empathy as God’s Love.”
Tim McCully, the Vice President of International Programs at Lutheran World Relief, shared some important social justice, creation care and neighbor love reflections and insights in “Shocks of Climate Change.”
Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of great and beautiful posts over the past week. These included: transformation, re-member, pain’s enduring gift, with all our strength and in the fullness of time.
Thinking about money, campaign finances, and politics, Sam Levine writes that “Pope Francis get the problem with money in politics exactly right.” What do you think?
Mark Lockard shared thoughts and reflections about the 50th anniversary observance in Selma, Alabama in “Sermon at Selma.”
Bill Prickett wrote and shared, “An Open Plea to God’s Shepherds: Please Don’t Harm These Lambs.”
Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth reflected about “The Greatest of These.” Within this, Diane writes, “It’s that hope that he told us about, the hope for a place where the least will be lifted up, where sparrows will be noticed, where bread will be multiplied, where all of us will be recognized for who we are, where we will be saved by grace. Keep your lamps trimmed and burning, I can’t help thinking this evening, for in the end we are saved … not by grace, and not by good works, but by hope. The greatest of these.” Check out this whole post.
Here’s a true act of neighbor love from the past week. Check out this story about how “Danes Form Human Chain Outside Targeted Copenhagen Synagogue in Show of Unity.”
Britain’s Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks shared some great thoughts and reflection on “The Spirit of Community.”
Rev. Dr. David Lose shared, “Stephen Colbert’s Favorite Bible Verse.”
Friend, Ph.D. student, blogger and pastor Amanda Brobst Renaud wrote and shared, “Grace not Works//Free not Cheap.” As always, I love this! Mandy concludes, “But ‘grace not works’ tells a story. It’s a tragedy, a love story, a comedy, a story in which the prodigals come home to parents with open arms. It’s a story that is too good to be true, that refuses to be collapsed into a pithy saying because what it says to and about us is a narrative that has been spun over millennia, told by countless people, for which people have laid down their lives to preserve. This is the story that saves us from ourselves and our self-obsession. This is the story of a God who loved creation so much that God sent the son into the world so that it would not perish but have life. This life, this way, is the way of freedom. This freedom, however, is not only a freedom from, but a freedom for.You have been made free for the sake of the world. You have been made free for the sake of your neighbors. You have been made free so that you can live into God’s promise of a life so abundant no amount of pithy slogans or bumperstickers can contain it. You have been made free that the world might be set free. Welcome to the upside-down kingdom, where the line between ‘outsider’ and ‘insider’ blurs in the love through which Christ draws us to himself and through which we are drawn to our neighbors as Christ’s reflection in the world.” Amen. Go and read the whole thing, you will be glad you did.
I continued my journey through the Lent Photo A Day over the past week. In that journey I shared photos and brief reflections about: being Faithful; Water; Abide; Renew; Beauty; Healing; Inheritance; Guide; Lifted and Wander.
Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this post from Curtis Gilbert, that a “Report confirms Mpls. arrests higher numbers of blacks.”
Social Media & Blogging
Jeff Goins wrote and shared, “How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 14 Tricks that Work.”
Jeannie Walters shared “5 Blogging Tips to Fuel Up Your Content Machine.” The tips include: listen to what readers ask about; search outside of the box; follow relevant publications; encourage suggestions and don’t lose track of comments.
Justin King shared “14 astonishing stats from around the digital world.”
How do you engage children in stewardship? Do you? Well, if you are part of a faith community, I believe it is definitely a must. Here are some great thoughts from Dan Pezet on “Teaching Children to Tithe.”
Young Adult Money shared a couple wonderful and very helpful posts over the past week. These included from TC, “How to take Full Advantage of Employer Tuition Reimbursement,” and from Erin, “4 Ways to Free Yourself from Jealousy.” Thinking about the relationship between money and jealous is an important thing to keep in mind in stewardship. Erin’s four ways to free yourself from jealousy are good and include: be grateful for what you have; realize everyone experiences ups and downs; be aware of comparing apples and oranges and get motivated and take action.
Michelle shared some thoughts about “How to Find Freelance Jobs When You Have No Experience.” Definitely check this out if you are looking for some more work or projects.
I stumbled on this great treasure trove of “Quotes on Stewardship” this past week from the United Methodist Foundation for the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences.
Friend, reporter and writer Carrie B. Reyes shared a “2015 economic forecast update.”
Also in news from PLU comes the first episode of the new podcast, “The PLU Pod,” as “Professors Amy Young & Maria Chavez Talk TEDx Tacoma and More.”
Friend, blogger and pastor Diane Roth wrote and shared, “Scene at the table: A disruption on Maundy Thursday.”
This Culture Trip has released its list of “The 10 Most Beautiful Towns in Washington.” I’m proud to say that one the 10 listed is my hometown of Poulsbo. Check out the list and plan your visits to these great places.
Have you ever seen the Tulips bloom in Skagit County, Washington? If not, check out this post.
In another Pacific Northwest related post, and a post for all the jazz and music lovers like myself, check out out this story, “Faithful make pilgrimage to DeMiero Jazz Fest for golden vocals.”
Friend and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared this post by Mayor Chris Coleman, providing “An Inside Look at World-Class Innovation: 2015 Ford Site Study Tour.”
This is a funny post for all of you college sports fans and/or fans of the TV show, “The Office.” Here are Austin’s ideas for “If the Big Ten Were Characters from the Office.” Shout out to friend and pastor Emily Wiles for sharing this with me first.
That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them! As always if there are particular questions or thoughts that you would like me to explore on the blog, please let me know. Also, if there are things you would like me to include in the links, please let me know that too. Until next time, thanks for reading and blessings on your week! -TS