This Week’s Links

Tuesday on the blog means that it is time to share some links to things that I have read and found interesting over the past week. To help make sense of the links, I have grouped them in the following categories: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Stewardship; and Vocation. I hope you enjoy this edition of the links.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice
What are you doing July 26-28, 2017? Friend, mentor, and professor Dr. Terri Elton shared exciting news about an upcoming conference called, “Rethinking Church: Better Questions, Bolder Experiments,” which will be hosted at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Scheduled speakers include: Tod Bolsinger; Elizabeth Drescher; Mihee Kim-Kort; Jodi Houge; Brian Hughes; Kenn Inskeep; and Rolf Jacobson. 

chris nelson
Pastor Chris Nelson

As was mentioned on the blog yesterday, Pastor Chris Nelson from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis passed away on Sunday. Bethlehem announced these plans to celebrate Pastor Chris this week.

Are you preaching this week and following the revised common lectionary or narrative lectionary? If so, check out these stewardship sermon thought starters.

If you are preaching on Psalm 69 and/or Matthew 10 from the Revised Common Lectionary, please check out this week’s important post from friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis, “Not Peace but a Sword.” Karoline powerfully concludes this week, “When you preach peace, Dear Working Preachers, expect a sword. Because God’s peace expects justice. God’s peace asks for righteousness. God’s peace demands value for and regard of all. And God’s peace is what will save us all.”

Friend, colleague, and pastor Juliet Hampton shared this look and report from Dan Simon at CNN about how “Three faiths could worship at one property.” I am excited to share this especially since it is about a local “Tri-Faith Initiative” in Omaha, Nebraska.

Friend and pastor Eric Worringer shared this article by Jeff Chu about how a “Rebranded ELCA church is a place of welcome for believers and nonbelievers alike.”

Emma Green reported on how “A Resolution Condemning White Supremacy (caused) chaos at the Southern Baptist Convention.”

D.L. Mayfield wrote, shared, and asked an important question in Sojourners, in “Church Planting and the Gospel of Gentrification: are we seeking the ‘welfare of the city,’ or just our own?”

Friend and pastor Will Johnson shared this article and look at the mainline clergy shortages in the Billings Gazette, as Susan Olp writes, “As church leaders grow older, fewer young people are stepping up.”

Perhaps the most fun post I read this week came from Pastor and blogger Joanna Harader, who inspired by Father’s Day wrote a tribute to her husband, but also to all spouses of female pastors in, “Wits’ Ends Day: You Might be a Rev. Gal Spouse If…” Check out her list, it’s pretty great. Thanks to my wife Allison and friend Rebecca Sullivan, both whom are pastors who, appropriately shared this with me and Rebecca’s husband, Trip.

Cross-Sector Collaboration
In news that connects the church, Reformation history and Kate Luther, Pacific Lutheran University, and vocation (to name a few things), friend Kari Plog writes about how college friend Ken Thoburn helped create “Reformaiden,” a “Commemorative PLU brew (that) celebrates 500 years of the Reformation.” The brew formally debuted at the Southwestern Washington Synod Assembly last weekend, and news of this creation was first shared with me by friend, professor and mentor Rev. Dr. Samuel Torvend.

Leadership Thought & Practice
Eric Garton wrote back in April in the Harvard Business Review, that “Employee Burnout is a Problem with the Company, Not the Person.” What do you think? I tend to agree, and see burnout often as a byproduct of an unhealthy culture or unreasonable (or unsaid and assumed) expectations. I wonder what implications this acknowledgment might have for your workplace? Organization? Church or congregation?


Here’s one example of doing just this, earlier this year. I was attending a stewardship conference in Washington, D.C. So, of course Allison & I used a few extra hours after the conference to do some sight seeing and exploring to sights we had not seen in D.C. before, including the  International Spy Museum.

The Economist ran an article last week in its “Gulliver” column looking at how and why, “Younger business travelers are more likely to extend trips for fun.” They go on to make the case that firms should encourage them to do so. I would argue too, that all workplaces, organizations, congregations/churches, etc., should encourage their leaders and employees to do this. It allows for much needed time for vacation, growth, learning, thinking, new ideas and imagination, and personal health, to help avoid the dangers of burnout or closed thinking, for example. What do you think?

Neighbor Love

Kyle Childress wrote about how “A liberal congregation burns hot under (President) Trump,” in The Christian Century. 

Over the weekend St. Paul Area Synod Bishop Patricia Lull shared a “Pastoral Message,” following the announcement of the verdict in the Jeronimo Yanez trial of the death of Philando Castile. Within this Bishop Lull asks the important and tough questions, “We have much soul work to do. Can we learn to listen to the frustration of the African American community and hear in it an authentic cry for justice at the most profound level? Can we take the hard, consistent steps that all of us need to take to regard each other across the lines of race and ethnicity and class by checking our unnamed assumptions and fears? Can we in the church hold ourselves to working step by step to dismantle the racism that structures too much of our communal life?” Please read this.

Please also read this post by Vicar Lenny Duncan who also responds to the verdict in his reflection, “Dear Church: You Would Rather Hang Me from a Tree. A Reflection on the Execution of #PhilandoCastile.” We have so much work to do!

Friend and pastor Kent Shane shared this post which was written in light of the controversy and outcome from the Southern Baptist Convention. Jim Wallis writes in Sojourners, that “White Supremacy is Anti-Gospel. I’m glad the Southern Baptist Convention agrees.”

Also from Sojourners, friends Mary Beenken and Greg Rhodes from Messiah Lutheran in Vancouver, Washington shared this piece by Lisa Sharon Harper looking at “3 Things Forgiveness Demands of Us.” Lisa highlights: desire; hope; and humility.

In case you missed them yesterday, I shared this week’s edition of “Preaching on Stewardship” with thought based on both the appointed readings by the revised common and narrative lectionaries. This week’s edition is dedicated to Pastor Chris Nelson.

Bishop Mike Rinehart shared some thoughts and ideas for a fall congregational series, on “Enough.” The series is based on the book of the same name by Adam Hamilton. Check this out and see if this might be something useful and timely for your context, especially related to stewardship and discipleship.

Friend Adam Copeland invited friend, professor, and mentor Chick Lane to share the first part of a multi-part series on “Stewardship Ministry with Retired People.”

Adam also shared exciting news about an upcoming stewardship conference in August in St. Paul, Minnesota called, “Beyond Abundance: Faithful Stewardship Language to Fit our Realities.” Check out the proposed schedule here.

Christy Rakoczy shared, “5 secrets of people who spend way less than they earn.”


sunset in namibia
A beautiful sunset or sunrise in Namibia from my parents’ adventures.

Last week I shared part one of my parents’ recent journey to Namibia to attend the Lutheran World Federation assembly. Over the past week my mom’s entries for Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5 of their journey have been posted on the Collaboration Ministries website. Check them out and continue the journey with them.


That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them, and that you are enjoying the new rhythm to the blog. If you have ideas for me, please let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading and being part of the conversation, and blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The links; and Pastor Chris Nelson

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