This Week’s Links

Internet1Happy Tuesday! Each week on the blog I get to share some of what I have seen, read, and found interesting and thought provoking over the past week. To help make sense of all of these links, I have grouped them by the following categories: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Stewardship; Vocation; and Miscellaneous. I hope that you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

For those of you preparing for worship or writing a sermon for this coming weekend I have a few helpful links. If you are following the revised common lectionary, check out these thoughts on “Epiphany 4C” from Bishop Michael Rinehart. Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis also digs into this week’s texts in sharing a reflection titled, “Love Never Ends.” Additionally, friend and professor Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner shared this reflection based on this weekend’s gospel reading, Luke 4:21-30, “Walls: Not in My Backyard.” Related to that, Rev. Dr. David Lose reflected about “Epiphany 4C: Moving Beyond Mending Our Walls.”

If you are following the narrative lectionary, check out this “Commentary on Mark 6:1-29,” by Rev. Raquel S. Lettsome.

Blogger and pastor Clint Schnekloth wrote and shared, “Finnish Lutherans and Pope Francis For the Full Communion Win.”

In a related note, big news broke yesterday about a “Joint Ecumenical Commemoration of the Reformation” which will include the Lutheran World Federation and Pope Francis together in Lund, Sweden.

Kira Schlesinger reflected about “The Sin of the Clergy Pay Gap.”

My wife Allison shared this look from Claire Markham and Lauren Kokum at “16 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2016.”

Exciting and probably long overdue news broke last week as “Pope Francis Officially Opens Holy Thursday Foot-washing Rite to Women.”

A North County view on a clear day of Mt. St. Helens
A view from where I serve as Mission Developer on a clear day of Mt. St. Helen’s.

Over the past week I shared a couple posts on the blog at Messiah Lutheran Church from my role as the congregation’s mission developer. I shared “Some Thoughts about Identity,” as well as thoughts about “A Challenge, A New Website, and A New Year.”

In many congregations this is a common time to have an annual meeting. Pastor and blogger Erik Parker shares some thoughts, challenges, and perspectives about this which I highly encourage you to consider, writing, “Annual Meeting Season: What Church Budgets Say about Ministry (it’s not good).”

Are you looking for new and effective ways to set congregational goals? If so, check out this new resource from my friends at LEAD, “The Annual Roadmap.”

Friend and pastor Diane Roth reflected about “Prayer as a Strategy.”

Congratulations are in order for friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess who will “Hold the Keenan Chair in the 2016-2017 Academic Year.”

Sad news broke last week from Iraq where “ISIS Destroyed the Oldest Christian Monastery in Iraq.”

In other terrible news, domestic terrorists in the KKK took aim at neighbor love in action. In response, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) released this statement, “LIRS condemns KKK targeting of refugees and Lutheran Services Carolinas.”

In good news, kudos to the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Seattle for hosting “Seattle’s first tiny house village for homeless to open this week.”

For a somewhat related story, see this article in The Lutheran from a friend and Northwest journalist Rachel Pritchett, “‘Being homeless is the toughest job’- Seattle congregation always finds a way to serve homeless.”

Friend, professor, and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared the announcement that “Morgan Freeman (will) host ‘The Story of God’ for National Geographic.”

Dr. Alton B. Pollard III shared “An Open Letter to Presidents and Deans of Theological Schools in the United States.”

Pastor and blogger Nurya Love Parish shares data about the simple but noticeable impact a $19.48 investment in social media made for Christmas Eve, writing, “We spent $19.48 to invite 1,695 people to church. Here’s what happened.”

In news I agree with, in seeing the benefits of technology and social media for ministry, I was excited to hear that “Pope Francis calls texts, internet, social media ‘gifts of God.'”

In a post that I have found especially helpful as I put together workshops for the 2016 ELCA Youth Ministry Extravaganza, I am pleased to share this post from #ChSocM about “Flipping Your Conference… Talk/Panel/Workshop.”

Neal F. Fischer moderated last week’s #ChSocM chat, which focused on “Hosting Your Own #CHSOCM Conference. What would your conference look like?” Good question which made for a good conversation.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared a call to action to “Celebrate and participate in the global commons.”

Friend, blogger, and communications strategist Carrie Gubsch shared this great post by Seattle Seahawks lineman Russell Okung who “responds to Paul Graham’s essay on economic inequality and startups.”

Tom Murphy at The Humanosphere shared this great post about how, “Jim Grant wanted all children to survive, and that drive saved millions.”

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes reflected on “The Sorry State of Social Studies Education.”

Friend, blogger, and stewardship director Adam Copeland shared this look at giving, philanthropy, and collaboration by Watsi which shared this post detailing how, “Three years ago, we launched Watsi to make healthcare a reality for everyone…

Friend, musician, and blogger Heatherlyn shared this article by Ai-jen Poo about “The Values Revolution: Embedding Empathy in the New Economy.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Dan Rockwell dug into the concept of the practices of the coaching leader on his blog last week in unpacking “The 10 Practices of Coaching-Leaders,” in part 1, part 2, and part 3 of his blog series.

Tanveer Naseer shared a guest piece by Dr. Karin Stumpf who wrote about “What it Takes to be Captain of the Change Journey.”

Steve Keating asked, “Are You Leading by Example?

Anne Loehr shared a guest post by Ashley Bell about companies and employee engagement and satisfaction in writing, “These 15 Companies Know How to Keep Employees Happy.”

Seth Godin somewhat humorously notes that “On average, averages are stupid.” What do you think?

Justin Irving shared, “#10… Top Posts from 2015- Strategic Foresight,” as well as some good thoughts on “Engaging the Emotional Side of Organizational Culture.”

Lolly Daskal shared and unpacked “10 New Truths Great Leaders Know That Most People Don’t.” The truths Lolly unpacks are: authenticity and transparency rule; your brand is your reputation; if you’re not social you’re missing the boat; collaboration is the new currency; new choices abound; interconnection means freedom; people want a say in their future; community is critical; if you don’t lean in, you’re heading out; set yourself apart by sharing what you know; and you don’t need a title to lead. This is a great list. Check it out and see what you think.

Brian Halligan wrote about and shared some “Scale-up Leadership Lessons I’ve Learned Over 9 Years as HubSpot’s CEO.”

Jay Shetty shared some thoughts about, “Finding Your Purpose, Being the Change, and Failure vs. Success.”

Sylvana Caloni wrote, shared, and pondered about, “How Can You Deal with Different Communication And Working Styles?


Ted Coine writes and explains that, “To Lead Successfully, You Must Fail Too.” Among Ted’s wisdom includes this observation, “Embrace your failure. Sure, continue to hate it. But take that bruise on your psyche and allow it to teach you one of the most important lessons any leader must master: empathy.” Check out the whole post.

Ted Bauer shared thoughts about “How to Network Better: Stop Networking.”

Over at Thin Difference, Eric Torrence wrote and pondered “The Chipotle Question: How Good is Your Personal Supply Chain?

Also at Thin Difference, Jon Mertz wrote and explained about why “Centering is the New Mentoring.” What do you think?


Heidi Oran at Thin Difference shared some thoughts about Millennials, leadership, talent, vocation, and creativity, reflecting “On Talent and Responsibility.”

Skip Prichard shared a recent interview and learning from Jon Mertz of Thin Difference, sharing thoughts about “Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders.”

Strategy + Business shared some thoughts, articles, and perspectives about Millennials last week.

In looking ahead to the big elections in November of this year, Sergio Bustos writes that, “Millennials drive rise of Hispanic voters in 2016.”

Neighbor Love

My wife Allison shared a sermon she gave from a few weeks ago on Baptism of Our Lord Sunday, titled, “21.8%.” Within this Allison writes, “Just like we are called to the vocation of showing and saying our encouragement to one another, God tells Jesus, proclaiming to the world, at his baptism that he is loved, and it’s a passage begging to be read out loud on a consistent basis to our kids, our adults, and our people that they are loved. The heavens are opened, and the world hasn’t been the same ever since. Jesus is made new, and we are made new, in our understanding that we are loved & our unique gifts make God’s smile open like never before.”

Allison also shared this video from the Late Show with Stephen Colbert where “DeRay Mckesson Helps Stephen Address His Privilege.”

Zack Hunt reflected about “Christianity and the Problem of Common Sense.”

"Saunterer = Holy-Lander" by Vonda Drees
“Saunterer = Holy-Lander” by Vonda Drees

Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week, including: “a child’s curiosity“; “Saunterer = Holy-Lander“; “the moment of truth“; “portentous“; “deeply real“; “soulsteps“; and “a soul stroll.”

On this blog I shared my sermon from this past weekend about “A Dream Enfolding; God’s Word Fulfilled.”

Pastor and blogger Todd Buegler shared his sermon from this past weekend as well titled, “The Mic Drop Moment.”

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shares, reflects, and responds in, “Bonhoeffer’s Troubling Theology?- A response to an article on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theological perspectives.” As a Lutheran who has used a good deal of Bonhoeffer’s theology in my theological work and writing, I found this to be an especially interesting post.

ABC News has a live blog drawing attention to a neighbor love and social justice crisis in real time, focused on “Syria Starving: A Family’s Fight for Survival.”

Friend Tim Schuster shared about how he sees that “Faith and Doubt are Like Dance Partners.”

Rebekah Simon-Peter wrote about, “3 Hidden Leadership Skills of Jesus.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller shared the sermon he wrote for this past weekend based on Mark 5:21-43 titled, “Access, Perspective, & the Kingdom of God.”

Sad news broke late last week that the hero, beacon of neighbor love in action, and “Muslim Man Who Saved Christians from Terrorist Gunman has died.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Frank Johnson shared some reflections about “Playing the lottery.”

The Millennial Journal shared this look by Mike Jordan Laskey offering “Four Ways to Heal the Social Justice/Pro-life Divide.”

Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis continued to blog regularly last week as part of her experience and class that she is co-teaching in the Holy Land this month. These blogs included the following reflections: “Into the Wilderness“; “It’s Complicated“; “Praying for Peace“; “Carrying on with Life“; and “Greater Works Than These.”

Elizabeth Rawlings shared about “Learning from my neighbors without homes.”


Friend, blogger, and stewardship director Adam Copeland shared about the stewardship challenge of “Shorting the Soul?

COMPASS continued their January series and focus on “Financial New Year’s Resolutions” with some reflections about January being “A New Beginning” from Matt DeBall who reflected and wrote, “Move Mountains.”

Stefanie O’Connell pondered about “What is the Future of Student Loan Debt?

Kristi at Young Adult Money pondered, “Is Rent Really Throwing Money Away?” Erin at Young Adult Money also shared about “How to Get Rid of Cable (but still watch TV.”

Also at Young Adult Money, DC shared, “4 Things I Do Every Month to Manage My Money.” The things done each month include: pay off credit cards; record my income and spending in an Excel spreadsheet; review my paycheck; and check my investments and net worth.


Friend, “sister,” and blogger Megan Leibold shared more about her continued adventures in Europe in sharing about “Day 7-13.”

My wife Allison shared this vocational and reflective piece by Parker Palmer who shared some “Notes from a Week in the Winter Woods.”

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared her regular helping of vocational and life reflections in her “Tuesday Tea Time.” In this week’s reflection Julia takes up the neighbor love and societal issue of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and shares some helpful ideas about what we can all do to help our neighbors in Flint in need.


Matthew Deery shared news at Minnesota Connected about how “Albertville Could Be Home to a New Family Theme Park.”


That concludes this edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them. As always, if you have particular questions or topics for me to think about on the blog, please share them. Also, if there are things you would like to see included in the links, please let me know that too. Thank you for reading and being a part of the conversation! Blessings on your week-TS

Image Credits: The Links; Networking; and “Saunterer = Holy-Lander.”

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