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; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; and Miscellaneous. I hope that you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

For those of you preparing for worship this coming weekend or preaching, I have a few helpful links for you. If you are following the revised common lectionary, consider these thoughts on “Lent 4C” from Bishop Michael Rinehart as well as from Rev. Dr. David Lose in, “Lent 4C: The Prodigal God.” Digging more into the gospel story, friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis writes and reminds that “Perspective Matters.” For a good listen on the Fourth Sunday in Lent, check out friends and professors Rev. Dr.’s Rolf Jacobson, Karoline Lewis, and Matt Skinner with their “Sermon Brainwave” Podcast. In wrestling with the gospel and New Testament lessons for this week, friend, pastor, and blogger Diane Roth wrote about the “Ministry of Reconciliation,” and just how messy and risky it is.

If you are following the narrative lecitonary, check out this “Commentary on Mark 12:28-44,” from N. Clayton Croy. To dig more into this text check out the Narrative Podcast featuring the thoughts of friends and professors Rev. Dr.’s Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker.

Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis shared her reflections for this past weekend, writing about “Longing for More.”

I invite you to join this exciting “NOLA Liturgy Project with Tangled Blue.”

Big news out of Minnesota broke yesterday, as it was announced that “Youth Encounter Closes Its Doors” after 51 years of ministry.

Friend and pastor Brian Mundt shared this list and post by Rich Birch who wrote that, “Most Churches Will Make These 8 Mistakes This Year – Will Yours?” The mistakes noted include: worrying about keeping rather than reaching; under-investing in the next generation; playing it too safe; your next steps are non-strategic and unclear; not caring for the community; jack-of-all-trades pastors; treating the teaching lightly; not having fun.

theology uncorked
Theology Uncorked at Messiah Lutheran Church.

My latest post from my role as mission developer at Messiah Lutheran Church shared all about “Theology Uncorked- and being out in the North County Community.”

Check out this post about one congregation named Kindred going through a brave and beautiful restart in “What’s in a name?” In a related story, Neil Ellis Orts wrote, “Restarting at Zero: Introducing the Pastor at Kindred Montrose.”

My friends at LEAD shared about this new opportunity to experience “The Camino de Santiago de Compostela.”

Hugh Ballou wrote about “Dumbing Down: How Church Leadership Has Set Up the Exodus.” I am more interested in this post by the second title and its potential implications, “The Nonprofit Entrepreneur: A New Way of Thinking about Church Leadership.” Check out the post and see what you think.

Friend, pastor, and blogger Eric Worringer shared these “Five tips for achieving lasting change in congregations” by Edie Gross. The tips offered include: empower lay leaders; play the long game; don’t get caught up in numbers; be authentic; and take programming beyond the walls of the institution.

Pastor and blogger Clint Schnekloth took up the question, “What does a missionary do?

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has had a motto for the past couple of years of, “God’s Work, Our Hands.” Dave Daubert makes a move in this post about the importance of giving voice and words writing, “In praise of service – and words,” with a possible revised motto, “God’s Work. Our Hands. God’s Word. Our Voice.” Give this a read and see what you think.

Stephen Lewis, President of FTE, wrote and shared about “Leading Differently: 12 Faith Leaders Shaping the Future.”

Pastor and blogger Nurya Love Parish shared, “7 Lessons from the Ash Wednesday Facebook Video Experiment,” and included reflection on the “Innovation Adoption Lifecycle.” Check out what Nurya learned and join in the innovation.

Are you looking for some great church cartoons? If so, check out these ones from Dave Walker which my wife Allison first shared with me.

Katy Dunigan moderated last week’s Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) chat which focused on “Sustaining Ministry.”

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson shared some good thoughts about “Training youth to be Digital Missionaries.” Joelle begins this post by offering three assumptions which I generally share: that social media is a good thing; social media is real life; and the church needs to engage in social media.

Todd Buegler shared news that the ELCA Youth Ministry’s “Updated Network App (has been) Released!

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Friend Dan Ruth shared this report by Mark Hrywna about how “Charity Watchdog is Reorganizing Evaluations, Rates Itself 4-stars.”

Peter Economy shared, “7 Powerful Lessons From the 2015 World Happiness Report.” Check out the lessons and see what you think.

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared about “The Art of Teaming With Others.”

Blogger and social leadership theorist Julian Stodd reflected in “To Seek, To Strive,” and “System vs. Person.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Julian Stodd highlighted “10 Things a Social Leader Does.” Julian also wrote and shared that, “Everything Has Changed: Joining the Dots of the Social Age.”

Anne Loehr is currently profiling “Five Women Shaping the Future of Work.” The latest post in this profile series is about “Rhiannon Ruff, Beutler Ink.”

Seth Godin shared some good thoughts about the usefulness of having a “list of things worth thinking about.” If you have such a list, what is on it? If you don’t, what would you add to that list?

Vicki Zakrzewski wrote about “How to Cultivate Humble Leadership.”

Beth Kanter shared a look that is helpful both for leadership and non-profit organizations in explaining “Why Creating Space for Creative Time in the Nonprofit Workplace Improves Productivity.”

Dr. Isiaah Crawford
Dr. Isiaah Crawford

In news from the Pacific Northwest, Brynn Grimley reports that the University of Puget Sound (UPS) has named its 14th president, Dr. Isiaah Crawford.

Peter Economy shared a list of “27 Signs that You are an Extraordinary Leader.”

Dan Forbes at Lead with Giants shared a guest post by Jennifer Warawa about the benefits and importance of “Giving Your People a Purpose: From Vision to Reality.”

Kelsey Libert wrote and explained that “Your Network’s Structure Matters More than Its Size.”

As you might guess there have been a few leadership posts written of late with political perspectives. David Smith, for example, offers this story about former Defense Secretary, Robert Gates who in viewing current Republican candidates’ leadership and views, believes that, “Republicans’ grasp of national security is at a child’s level.” In an example of the absence of leadership, The New York Times’ editorial board are calling out Senate Republicans of that lack of leadership in writing that the “Senate Republicans Lose Their Minds on a Supreme Court Seat.”

Peter Cook asked, “What Do MBAs and Rock Stars Have in Common?” What do you think?

John Brandon explained “Why ‘Fear of Failure’ is Something You Need to Unlearn.”

Kate Nasser asked, “Are You Succeeding Through People Skills?

Brian Dodd shared a list of “The Top 10 Leadership Posts” that he read over the past week.

Brian Dodd also shared a great post for both leaders and Millennials in unpacking, “6 Things You Must Do to Effectively Lead Young Leaders.” The things Brian notes are: encourage their hopefulness; put them in early; let them create their own economy; be a mentor; projects are more important than careers; and don’t be mad when they leave.

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference reflected about “The Mindful Middle of Past and Future.”

Molly Page at Thin Difference offered good thoughts about the importance and challenges of “Building Community as a Freelancer.”


Eric Torrence at Thin Difference writes about when it might be good to “Give In to Peer Pressure.”

Dana Manciagli wrote about “3 ways millennials will change your business.” Dana highlights the following ways: strengthening purpose in profit; using empathy to lead collaboratively; and solve problems for the long haul.

Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke wrote that, “Cheddar, the ‘CNBC For Millennials’ Shows You Can Market Anything to Millennials.”

Mike Kineman at Young Adult Money shared “7 Money Rules for Millennials.” The rules that Mike highlighted include: create a budget; always sleep on a big purchase; your spending reflects who you are; prioritize paying your debts; invest now; have an emergency fund; and give to something you believe in.

Neighbor Love

Friend, pastor, and blogger Frank Johnson shared his sermon from this past weekend based on Mark 12:1-17, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s: Like all the things that corrupt.”

Based on the same text, friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller shared his sermon about “Landlords and Tenants.”

Pastor and blogger Nancy shared her sermon from this past weekend based on Luke 13:1-9 entitled, “The Supreme Supreme Court: no vacancies, always in session.”

"Linked We Are Whole" by Vonda Drees
“Linked We Are Whole” by Vonda Drees. Given the title and concept of this one, I found it to be especially appropriate for “The Links.”

Sojourners shared a powerful post and clip where, “In Less Than Two Minutes, This Clip from ‘black-ish’ Explains Why Racism in America Isn’t Over.” Definitely watch this.

Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These posts included: “creating connected, whole and holy“; “move in us, Spirit“; “spread light“; “we seek shalom“; “we can do better“; “mercy circles“; “linked we are whole“; and “precious.”

Addie Zierman wrote and shared about, “Making Room for Others on the Spiral Labyrinth of Faith.”

Friend Hannah Heinzekehr shared this post by Michele Hershberger, “Shalom justice: Reflections on events in Hesston.”

Sharon Salzburg reflected about “The Truth of Change in Every Solidarity.”

Friend, blogger, and stewardship director Adam Copeland shared this book review by Barbara Ehrenreich on “Matthew Desmond’s ‘Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.'”

Collette Broady Grund wrote about, “Women’s Bodies and the Body of Christ.”

Imana Gunawan wrote at Humanosphere that “Members of Louisiana tribe become first official climate refugees in the U.S.

On this blog I continued my journey through Lent with daily devotional reflections inspired by the “Lent Photo A Day” group. As part of this series I wrote a post about having “heart“; some thoughts about growth by thinking about the symbol of a “Tree“; a reflection about what it means to have a “clean” heart; and I also wrote about “fruit” and the exciting story of a congregation donating more than 100,000 pounds of food.

Norman Wirzba wrote about, “Why we can now declare the end of ‘Christian America.'”

If you are looking for an interesting sounding book to read, John Cobb Jr. has a new book out today, Jesus’ Abba: The God Who Has Not Failed.

Friend, blogger, and Ph.D. student Timothy Snyder wrote about “Living Lutheran amid elections.”

The Pew Research Center shared this interesting look at “The political preferences of U.S. religious groups.”

Friend and pastor Jason Lukis shared this interview with Rev. Monica Villareal about the ‘Flint Water Crisis.”

Lynn Vavreck shared this important and sobering look in “Measuring Donald Trump’s Supporters for Intolerance.” In a related look, Daniel White notes that, “Nearly 20% of Trump Fans Think Freeing the Slaves was a Bad Idea.” Michael D’Antonio wrote that, “On race, Donald Trump knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Friend and pastor Ali Ferin shared this post by soon to be seminarian Elle Dowd about “Black History and White Parenting.”

Charles Simic wrote about what he sees is an “Age of Ignorance.”

My wife Allison Siburg shared this post from Max Lucado about “Decency for President.”

Bishop Michael Rinehart reminds about how it is important and essential to “Take sides.” Within this reminder, Bishop Rinehart quotes Elie Wiesel who wrote, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Bryan Berghoef wrote, “Why I Can’t Agree to Disagree.

For a good news story of the week, read about Bill Hanawalt in this story about how the “White House Honors Washingtonian for Summer Youth Program.”

Friend Alex Monte Calvo shared this post from Alana Horowitz Satlin who shared this moving video of “Bernie Sanders’ Moving Explanation of Why Faith Matters.”

Social Media & Blogging

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

Austin Iuliano wrote and shared that “Depth over Width (is) the only social media strategy you need to grow your brand.”

Friend, blogger, and communications strategist Carrie Gubsch shared this look by Neil Patel at “8 Tools That Will Help You Get Inside Your Readers’ Heads.” This will be an especially helpful post for those of you who are bloggers and strategizing for ways to connect better with your readers.

Raymond Morin wrote and shared, “Wait. Why Does an Entrepreneur Need a Blog?

Friend, pastor, and blogger Joe Smith shared this look by Farhad Manjoo about Twitter who wrote that, “Twitter, to Save Itself, Must Scale Back World-Swallowing Ambitions.”


If you are in Minnesota, I highly encourage you to attend the “Stewardship Lab” on April 16, 2016, as friends and great stewardship minds Adam Copeland, Grace Duddy Pomroy, Catherine Malotky, and Chick Lane will all be speaking at it.

DC at Young Adult Money shared “5 Reasons You Should Plan for Taxes Year-Round.” Also at Young Adult Money, Kristi, shared “The Ultimate Tax Checklist to Help You Prepare for Taxes.”


If you want to see what the fanciest seats on commercial airliners might look like, check out this story about virtual apartments or condos in the sky.

Speaking of airlines, my wife Allison shared this look from Suzy Strutner at “The Best Time to Book a Plane Ticket, According to a New Study.”

For those in the Northwest, this past Saturday marked the “15th anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake.”


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; Isiaah Crawford; and “linked we are whole.”

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