Yeah. Me too. Katherine Willis Pershey lists ten things that she loves about being a pastor: 10. This is what I'm called to do, by a loving God who has extended so much grace to me through this vocation. I felt very unworthy of this calling throughout seminary and my first years in ministry, but I echo the sentiments of Martin Copenhaver, who writes in This Odd and Wondrous Calling, "I do believe that, by donning such a role and by doing those things that are associated with such a role, being a pastor has made me better than I am." It is such an honor to serve Christ by serving in the local church, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
There are nine others, of course, but this one sums it up. This is the type of post for pastors to bookmark in those inevitable moments where we wonder, "Why the hell am I doing this again?"
This. A hundred times this. Jamie the Very Worst Missionary reflects on depression: This morning I shuffled around my house looking for so…
This week I finished Rachel Held Evans' new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, in which she explores just what exactly the term "Biblical womanhood really means." She does this by trying to take the Bible's directives for women as literally as possible, even taking certain things a few steps further than they're intended. She camps out in the yard during her period, she "submits" to her husband, she remains completely silent during worship (unless she's prophesying with her head covered, of course), and she attempts to live into the image of womanhood found in Proverbs 31 as much as possible. Along the way she visits an Amish community, regularly corresponds with a Jewish woman in Israel, spends a few days with a Baby Think-It-Over, cooks her way through Martha Stewart's cookbook, and prepares a seder meal, among so much else. As she not only recounts all of these experiences but also delves into a deep treatment of various scripture passages …
Hey, you know how I'm moving to a new church in less than a month?
And you know how my moving to a new church is therefore going to entail moving to a new house?
Well...the Coffeefamily is expanding.
As in, Coffeechild #2 is on his/her way.
A bun is in the oven. The stork is preparing to take flight. When a man and a woman love each other very much...well, you get it.
There aren't many more huge life transitions we could coordinate this year. I think we're pretty well covered on that for a while. In fact, we're thinking of taking 2014 off in order to recover (no, not really).
I don't have much more to say about it at this point. We're excited. We're looking forward to welcoming a new little one into our family. Coffeeson is excited, even though we know it'll be a huge transition for him as well.
Each individual or family comes to church with their own expectations. Whether it's someone attending for the first time or a longtime member, we each may expect different things out of the church. Based on my experience, here are some general examples:
The oldest among us may expect certain social or fellowship activities such as dinners and game groups, like they've always known churches and communities to provide.Families may expect groups or events for their children, either simply to get them involved in something, to help teach them about faith or morality, or even just because it'll look good on a college application.Youth may expect something worth engaging in. Not necessarily to be entertained, but to be engaged: to be taken seriously, to have room to ask questions, and to be validated for who they are.Those in need may expect help, be it a gas card or a program that helps sustain them in weak moments.
There are other programmatic things we may expect: opportuniti…
While anticipating my upcoming transition, I've been thinking about this entry a little. I still wonder about whether it's possible--or maybe even desirable--for me truly to plant myself somewhere.
As a pastor, I've visited a lot of cemeteries.
It's an inevitable part of my vocation. Somebody calls me to let me know that their wife, husband, father, mother, grandparent, sister, brother, or whomever died. I get a call from the funeral home maybe a day later, at which point they tell me when and where the service is taking place, and where the burial will be. The location of the service is usually a predictable choice between the soft pink lights and soothing piano music on CD of the funeral home, or in the sanctuary of the church. It makes no difference to me, really. Funeral home services are much shorter due to the general lack of hymns and corporately read prayers. Every once in a while somebody would like a favorite song sung together, or at least as much as p…
A while back I was given the book Seeing David in the Stone by a business-minded church member who thought I might benefit from its lessons on leadership. I hasten to add that this was not as a judgment, he just figured it'd be a useful tool. As I've become more interested in how organizations run and the role of leadership in that process, I decided to finally give this book a look. Citing the examples of many well-known figures such as Marie Curie, Dwight Eisenhower, Thomas Edison, and Sam Walton, among others, the authors present 12 signature marks of effective leadership including differentiating oneself for opportunity, convincing the cautious, working with critics, and so on. I had a little trouble with this book on two fronts. First, some of the jargon used was and is something I need to spend more time with in order to understand, and second, I'm dubious as to how much of this is translatable into a church setting. A non-profit volunteer organization is a much dif…
I fondly remember my seminary years as a great time of personal growth; of deep wrestling and discovery of who I am. The classwork mostly was engaging, the field education was hit and miss. So many years after the fact, I can look back and see that it was more the experience of the big city and its cultural diversity and my summer of Clinical Pastoral Education that I really credit with this. From time to time I like to say that my years at Eden helped me learn who I am as a person.
Over the past eight years, I've been learning to be a pastor. Many may think that this is what seminary is for, but when the driving model of pastoral education is classroom study coupled with a relatively minimal amount of hours spent in a ministry setting, there's only so much practical experience that you can gain from that model. It's a fairly common wish among new pastors that seminary had focused more on administration, for instance. We have to learn those things as we go.
What "missional" looks like. Jan invites readers to dream up a "bucket list" for their church, except without the concept of death mixed in and basically just of stuff they could do that is new and adventurous:
Ideas for your Church’s Bucket List:
Spend a Saturday morning (as a church) hanging out at a local laundromat or a local Jiffy Lube and pay for everybody’s laundry/oil change that morning. (Yes this will take some cash from the Random Acts of Kindness line item in your church budget. Having this line item in your church budget should also be on your Church Bucket List.) The purpose of doing people’s laundry/oil change is to serve in a random and generous way. The purpose is NOT to invite people to your church or to hand out glossy flyers about your Sunday School. If anyone asks why you are doing this you say, “We are part of the same church.” Make them ask you the name of your church, if they really want to know. Believe me, if they are looking for …