This Week’s Links

Internet1After a moving hiatus, it’s time for the triumphant return of the weekly dose of links. The new version of links will be a bit slimmer, with up to 5 links per section each week. To help navigate the different themes, 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 you enjoy the return of the links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

For those of you preparing to write a sermon or planning worship for this weekend, check out friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis‘ reflection about “The Bosom of Abraham,” based on the revised common lectionary gospel passage of Luke 16:19-31, as well as Rev. Dr. David Lose’s reflection on the same text, “Eternal Life Now.” These two posts and the work of Justo Gonzalez inspired this homily on “Lazarus and the Rich Man,” which I shared earlier this week.

For an intriguing story about the missional church in action that comes from the Pacific Northwest and across the internet, check out this story about Daniel Herron and an online church of Robloxian Christians in “Teen’s online church draws young people from around the world,” by Joely Johnson Mork in Faith & Leadership. When reading this story, spend some time with the questions at the end of article for further thought and discussion.

Tracey McManus shared a great Q&A last month with “Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne on new national church role,” as Bill was elected to serve as the new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Vice-President.

Back in seminary I had the great chance to get to know Pastor Jodi Houge and her fantastic mission start congregation in St. Paul, Minnesota called “Humble Walk.” I spent a semester as part of a group project researching, profiling, and discerning what ministry in that context looks like and might look like. When I saw that Jodi and Humble Walk were profiled in The AtlanticI just knew that that would be a major piece for the next edition of the Links. So, without further adieu, Adrienne Green writes about, “Why Church Hymns are Better Sung in Bars.”

In exciting news from the ELCA, it has developed a “Supplemental Same-Gender Marriage Resource.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

If you are looking for a great time of business, church, leadership, stewardship, and collaborative thinking, check out the “Hope Leadership Conference,” and definitely plan on attending. Thanks to friend and mentor Dr. Terri Elton for first sharing this with me.

This past week Julie Zauzmer reported about a recent report published in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. The report found that “Religion contributes more to the U.S. economy than Facebook, Google, and Apple combined.” Interestingly, but not necessarily surprisingly, “Religious charities also contribute to the economy. By far the largest faith-based charity, according to the study, is Lutheran Services in America, with an annual operating revenue of about $21 billion.” Check out this report for interesting thoughts about ministry, stewardship, and the economy.

My wife Allison shared this helpful and creative look from MindShift at “Four Ways We Learn.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes
Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes

In the October edition of Harvard Business ReviewCheryl Bachelder writes, “How I Did It… The CEO of Popeyes on Treating Franchisees as the Most Important Customers.” I especially enjoy the discussion about servant leadership, as well as leadership as an act of stewardship. Please give this a read.

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference reflected about “How to be a Mindful Strategist.”

Jon also shared important observations about how “Business Leaders (are) Raising Political Voices.” This is not something new, but it is unique how many business leaders are speaking out this election cycle, and I think that says something about the importance of this election. Check out Jon’s thoughts.

Scott Savage reflected about “Receiving Leadership Lessons Via a New Antenna.” Some of the leadership lessons Scott reflects about include: what got you here won’t get you there; what worked there doesn’t work here; what you’ve been holding on to keeps you from receiving something new; and if you haven’t done it before, reach out to someone who has.


In a post both for leaders and Millennials, Jon Mertz shared an observation he is seeing about, “Minimalists: Essential Shift for Next Generation Leaders.” Jon cites three reasons why he believes next generation leaders will be minimalists: because purpose is at the heart of work; a digital world necessitates clarity of relationships; and “always on” is shifting to “smartly on.”

Are you “Young and ordained? Willing to preach at the 2017 LWF Assembly?Lutheran World Federation is inviting basically ordained millennials to consider this great opportunity. If you are interested, you should definitely check this out and apply.

Neighbor Love

Following the conclusion of August’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly, Rev. Dr. Linda E. Thomas shared this piece from Rev. Priscilla Paris-Austin, “In Search of Authenticity.”

Also following the assembly, Pastor Angela Shannon shared this important story and observation out of a workshop that was at the assembly, “The Pastoral is Political: ‘Sit. Down.‘”

Dr. Samuel Torvend
Dr. Samuel Torvend

Friend, professor, and mentor Dr. Samuel Torvend last year was filmed and interviewed on “The Forgotten Luther.” Check out this video made available over the summer, as it may be of particular interest and use in thinking about the Reformation and the upcoming 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.

Over the past few months there has been some discussion, especially among academic circles about “trigger warnings” and their need and usefulness. Erika Price shared an important response and perspective in this conversation in writing, “Hey University of Chicago: I am an academic. I am a survivor. I use trigger warnings in my classes. Here’s why.”

The other interesting conversation over the past month has been about respect, allegiance, and the National Anthem. In reflecting about this, Kristin Largen wrote about, “Allegiances, Kaepernick, and Taking a Knee.”

Social Media & Blogging

Heidi Oran shared good thoughts about “Overcoming the Pitfalls of Entrepreneurship and Social Media.” The pitfalls Heidi unpacks include: living in a state of scarcity; over promotion; under promotion; comparing yourself to others; and not being yourself.


Friend Adam Copeland shared this great reflection about “Transformational Living…and Giving” by Erin Weber-Johnson, as well as this important look and reflection by Tom Fiebiger regarding “The Stewardship of White Privilege.”

Friend and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared this great look at a most entertaining video called “Mission Possible,” which is a fun way to invite participation in Luther Seminary’s big giving push on September 28th. Check out the post and the video, it’s quite enjoyable!

I am excited to share that the COMPASS blog has gone under a slight revamp, as friend Matthew DeBall has taken over in the role I previously served overseeing it.

During September the COMPASS blog has focused on topics and questions related to debt. The series has included thoughts about “Conquering Debt,” by friend Marcia Shetler; “5 Practical Applications for Overcoming Debt,” by friend Jessica Zackavec; and “Reducing College Debt: a Group Ride. A community slides toward lower educational loans,” by Devon Matthews.

The Ecumenical Stewardship Center and COMPASS will be sponsoring a live chat next Wednesday, September 28th, at 8pm ET/5pm PT on “Conquering Debt: the Overlooked Key to Faith and Finances Well-Being.” I highly encourage you to register and participate in the free live chat.


Jon Mertz at Thin Difference wrote, “Forget Life Plans. Pull Life Strings.”

For those in discernment, or perpetual discernment, check out this opportunity that my wife and pastor-in-waiting Allison Siburg shared from Wartburg Seminary about how “The Conversation Continues,” focused on the topics and questions related to “Lutheran Vocation: Discernment & Calling in the Real World.”

Back in June, Drucker School professor Dr. Jeremy Hunter wrote about “Attention,” which he believes is “The Essential Resource We’re All Wasting.”

For all of those of you going through the midst of life transitions, new experiences, and changes, check out Emily Hill’s call to “Feel Confident in Your Uncertainty.”

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson has continued her good work, despite my absence of links, sharing weekly vocational and life reflections with her Tuesday Tea Time. If you need some Tea Time today, check out this week’s edition.


In a story that is sure to make you smile, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of the Disney animated film, “Beauty and the Beast,” Angela Lansbury over the weekend sang again the film’s title song. Check this out, especially if you are like me and love the soundtrack, movie, and think nostalgically about your childhood from time to time.



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 the rest of your week. -TS

Image Credits:  The Links; Cheryl Bachelder; Samuel Torvend; and Mission Possible video.


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