This Week’s Links

Internet1Happy Tuesday! Allison and I have returned from a wonderful vacation, and with the return, comes the return to regularly scheduled programming here on blog.

Each week on Tuesdays 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; 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 weekend (like me), I have some helpful links. First, if you are following the revised common lectionary check out Bishop Michael Rinehart’s thoughts on “Easter 4C.” Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis digs into the themes of “Good Shepherd Sunday,” in writing that “Resurrection is Protection.” Karoline also joins friends and professors Rev. Dr. Rolf Jacobson and Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner in this week’s Sermon Brainwave podcast all about the “Fourth Sunday of Easter.”

If you are following the narrative lectionary check out this “Commentary on Acts 17:1-9,” from O. Wesley Allen Jr., as well as the Narrative Podcast on the “Church at Thessalonica,” with friends and professors Rev. Dr.’s Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker.

Jan Edmiston wrote that, “The Future of Ministry is All About…Curiosity.” What do you think?

Friend, blogger, and pastor Aaron Fuller reflected about being a “Bi-Vocational Pastor: ‘Rethinking leadership… but not reinventing the wheel.” Aaron also shared some great children, youth, and family thoughts for ministry in “CYF Ministry Thoughts: ‘Get the Grandparents to Do It.'”

Aaron also shared this article by Earle Cornelius who wrote that, “Facing a shortage of chaplains, military recruiters make seminary visits part of their itinerary.”

In exciting news, The Lutheran magazine has been rebranded as Living LutheranAmong the stories in the latest issue I particularly appreciated this article by Erin Strybis, which echoes some of Aaron’s post above about being bi-vocational, “When making a living and living in service intersect: Bi-vocational ministry a gift, challenge for ELCA church workers.”

In the latest issue of Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton importantly ponders, “Can we answer the question ‘Why’?

egg hunt
What Easter looked like at Messiah North County before worship.

From my role as mission developer at Messiah Lutheran Church, I shared a couple weekly blog posts, including thoughts about “Doubt, Unbelief, and Easter Eggs,” as well as on “Visioning: Looking Back and Moving Forward.”

Messiah was also excited to share news about its “College Summer Interns for 2016,” two great leaders from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

CBS News shared this look at “Faith, Spirituality, & the Future.”

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess wrote a strong review and offered a resounding recommendation to read Choosing our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones, by Dr. Elizabeth Drescher in “Choosing our religion.”

Friend and stewardship director Adam Copeland shared insights from Dr. Elizabeth Drescher, featuring “3 Things You Might Not Know about Nones.” The things Adam shares from Elizabeth are that: Nones aren’t unbelievers, at least not most of them; many are looking for spiritual community, just not necessarily a religious community; and Nones aren’t inarticulate about religion and spirituality- they’re creating new languages.

Niraj Warikoo reports on how, “Lutheran Social Services Michigan changes name.”

Friend and mentor Dr. Terri Elton wrote about “Safe Containers,” in thinking about nonprofits and congregations who are taking the holy risks to innovate and experiment, as well as “Let the Summit Begin,” about a recent gathering taking up questions related to faith formation in the ELCA.

In news from the Pacific Northwest, the Episcopal Church has returned to Poulsbo.

For all of you Luther scholars, Beth Lewis shares news from Augsburg Fortress about a “New Annotated Luther series from Fortress Press with a 30% discount.”

In news from PLU, Jeff Dunn writes, “Garfield Book Company: saying goodbye to a dud?

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared transcripts of its past two weekly chats which focused on “Crowdsourcing,” as moderated by Jason Chesnut, and “After the Alleluias – Easter, Holy Week & Lent on social media,” as moderated by Beth Felice.

Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner shared news about how “Westminster Presbyterian Church Invests in Long-Term Vision.”

Bishop Michael Rinehart shared some words and many pictures of his recent time at “Valparaiso University (for the) Liturgical Institute.”

Friend and executive director of The MennoniteHannah Heinzekehr wrote about innovation and missional thinking and creation among “New models for ministry in Southern California.” Check out this great piece for some inspiration, and to hear about some exciting things happening in ministry in Southern California.

Pastor developer at Shobi’s Table, Rev. Margaret Kelly wrote about “This Beautifully Messy Church.”

This next post could have been shared under leadership below, but I think it also aptly fits in this section and is particularly appropriate for church and ministry leaders of all ages. My friend Beth Hartfiel from LEAD, wrote about “Growing Leaders of Any Age,” and shared some tips and important and helpful ways to do this, including the upcoming Disciple Project. Check it out!

In important data which highlights the need for change and innovation, Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson writes about, “The Supply and Demand for Clergy in the ELCA.”

My wife, and a current culminating pastoral intern, Allison Siburg is doing a focused study this spring on Church Administration. As part of this work, she is blogging weekly as part of her class with Dr. Terri Elton. Her first post in this series of study lays the groundwork for her questions, reflections, and discovery as she writes about, “A Red Thread: An overlooked and necessary part of ministry.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this look at social entrepreneurship and innovation from “Lisa G. Fischbeck: A Place at the Table?” Mary also wrote convincingly and with great conviction that, “Public Education is a Crucial Matter!

Thinking about life on the other side of Easter, and about innovation and leadership, friend and mentor Dr. Terri Elton wrote and shared, “And then… LIFE.”

In big news from the past week, my hometown favorite airline, Alaska Airlines announced news that it was acquiring Virgin America Airlines. Details on this news can be found at “Flying Better Together.” In light of this news, Bryson Kacha wrote about why this might be a good decision by Alaska Airlines in writing, “Alaska Airlines: Eliminating the Competition.” As you might expect, not everyone is as excited, as Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson shared his thoughts and feelings in this post.

Social leadership theorist and blogger Julian Stodd shared a number of great posts over the past couple of weeks. Julian wrote, “Let Slip the Dogs of War: Unfit Organizations and the Social Revolution,” “Beyond Digital: Into the Social Age,” as well as sharing some, “Reflecting on Learning.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Julian Stodd wrote about “The Tallest Leader,” shared some “Social Leadership Illustrations,” and some “Illustrations about ‘Community’ in Social Leadership.”

Cynthia Bazin shared “The Best of Lead with Giants – April 2016.”

Brian Bandas wrote about persistence and leadership in writing about “How to Make Millions by Chopping Wood,” as shared over at Thin Difference.

Seth Godin emphasized “Big questions before little ones,” as well as sharing some thought about “Treating your talk as a gift.”

What leadership mistakes have you made and learned from?
What leadership mistakes have you made and learned from?

Dan Rockwell shared a number of thought provoking posts over the past week. Dan highlighted “The Five Biggest Mistakes New Leaders Make,” which according to Dan are: leading an unprioritized life; working too hard; chasing too many opportunities; neglecting feedback; and having all the answers. Dan also shared, “6 Questions to Find Your Reason for Being,” as well as about, “The Big Five of Remarkable Leadership.”

Carter McNamara shared thought about “How to avoid word-smithing the mission, vision, and values statements.”

Ted Bauer asked the important question, “Why Do We Focus so much on the quantity of work we do, instead of the quality?

Brian Dodd shared a post inspired by golf with “7 Leadership Quotes and Lessons from Jordan Spieth,” as well as reflection on the question of “Who and What is Leadership About?

Steve Keating asked, “Do you know enough to succeed?

Tanveer Naseer shared a guest post by Karin Hart and David Dye about “The Easy Way to Have Tough Conversations with Employees.”

Justin Irving wrote about “Servant Leadership and Follower Focus,” as well as “4 Top Leadership Priorities.”

Anne Loehr shared practical steps for “How to Define Your Organizational Values.” The steps she outlines include: assess your current organizational culture; review your strategic business plan; determine the culture needed to achieve your plan; decide if your values need to shift; define what your chosen values really mean; and incorporate these values into organizational processes. Additionally, Anne also shared, “Seven Practical Tips for Increasing Empathy.”

Andrew Saunders reflected about, “Why Peter Drucker is one of our most influential management thinkers.”

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference shared an interview with Matt Tenney all about “Mindful Leadership: Purpose, Integrity, Presence.

Also at Thin Difference, Molly Page wrote, “Stop Distractions from Stealing Your Joy,” and Eric Torrence discussed “The Difference Between Debating and Discussing.”


Molly Page at Thin Difference shared some great “Thoughts on Community from the Thin Difference Community,” that I was humbled to be counted as part of.

Jeremy Chandler at Thin Difference explained and shared about, “Why Self-Awareness is Critical for Millennials’ Success (and How to Get It).”

Martha Hiefield wrote and explained about, “The ‘M’ Word: Why I Don’t Hire Millennials.” Definitely give this post a read.

Given neighbor love and civic conversations about immigration that are on-going, Michele Waslin notes that, “Polls Show Millennials (are) More Likely to Reject Deportation and Support Path to Citizenship.”

Neighbor Love

Friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller shared his sermon from a week ago based on Acts 1 entitled, “Now What?

Friend Julia Nelson shared a couple great posts, including this look at “The ‘radical’ legacy of television’s Mister Rogers,” and “My Gender, So Far… – Rev. Andrew Tobias Nelson.”

On Maundy Thursday Pope Francis washed the feet of refugees, which the following week, “President Obama Reflected About,” as shared by the Millennial Journal

"Will You Leap?" by Vonda Drees
“Will You Leap?” by Vonda Drees

Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past couple of weeks. These posts included: “imago dei“; “no edges“; “lead us, Love“; “edges of creativity“; “newness at the edge“; “a step of faith“; “Will you leap?“; “fringe wisdom“; “surprising grace“; “your art matters“; “let us look!“; “infinitely healing“; “a riot of generosity“; and “a Greater Breath.”

Pastor and blogger Clint Schnekloth explained, “Why I’ve abandoned law/gospel preaching.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Frank Johnson shared a couple sermons about the Holy Spirit, writing about, “The uncomfortable gift of the Holy Spirit,” based on Acts 1, and about the “Outside In: Why the Holy Spirit uses the voices of the voiceless,” based on Acts 3:1-10.

In news out of North Carolina, the “North Carolina Attorney General Refuses to Defend New Anti-LGBT Law.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Diane Roth wrote and shared, “I was looking for a sign from God, and wrote this poem, Confessions,” as well as about, “The Call of Ananias,” and thoughts about “How I measure.”

Blogger and pastor Lura Groen wrote that, “The Trans Community set me Free,” as well as “I Hope You Have Only Good Sex.”

Friend, blogger, and intern pastor Matt Byrd reflected about “why and where.”

Friend, pastor, and Ph.D. student Mandy Brobst-Renaud wrote that, “Billboard Jesus Can’t Save You.”

Social Media & Blogging

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


Back in March the COMPASS blog was focused on debt management. As part of the series, I took up the question about, “Higher Learning and Student Debt: Is It Worth It?

During April the COMPASS blog is considering how you can be “Eco-Friendly on a Budget,” sharing thoughts about environmental stewardship in observation of Earth Day. This week the COMPASS blog is taking up the idea that “We Are What We Eat,” in two parts, with the first part today focusing on farming, and community supported agriculture. Later in the week, there will be more reflection on what this might look like.


Friend, blogger, and soon to be a married man Tyler Scott shared some good reflections about life, change, and proper credit and attribution and writing about, “When internet quotes take on a whole new level of meaning.”

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some deep life and vocational reflections in her latest editions of “Tuesday Tea Time” from a week ago, as well as today’s edition of “Tuesday Tea Time.”

News was released last week that friend Carol Carver, “Stillwater choir director steps down after four decades.”

Friend, blogger, and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes reflected about “Nostalgia’s Lure.”

FTE, the Forum for Theological Exploration shared this amazing animated video exploring and considering the definition of vocation. Check out the video and be sure and share it.


In fun sports news, and news all Seahawks fans might appreciate the hilarious “‘Seahawks Superlatives: Jimmy Fallon’ (video was) voted content of the year at NFL Digital Media Summit.”


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; Mistakes; and “Will You Leap?

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