Monday, September 08, 2014

Small Sips Needs To Get Out More

Free-range pastors. Joseph Yoo shares some thoughts on pastors keeping office hours, and how helpful such an expectation might be:
Whether good or bad, the pastor becomes the biggest representative of the church. The reputation of a church often hangs on the reputation of the pastor. If you truly think your pastor is wonderful, then why are you keeping him in the office and not allowing other people to get to know him? 
That's not to say that the pastor should forgo office hours completely. Some time in the office is important. But the church should encourage the pastor to get out more. If your pastor talks about inviting people to church, hold her accountable by making her go in the community and start connecting with non-church members and invite people to partner with what God is doing in your faith community. Let your pastor engage with people of the community more by perhaps letting him set up shop at a local coffee cafe to get the feel of the people who live in the area. Encourage your pastor to be a little league coach or join book clubs. In other words, be willing to share your pastor with the community instead of hoarding him.
I used to keep hours in a coffeehouse, and it was some of my favorite time of the week. I'd chat with regulars, connect with community members, and be introduced to people. Drop-ins from church members weren't all that frequent, but they didn't need to be as my main purpose simply was visibility and familiarity. When I got to a point where the workers would reserve an apple fritter for me, that's when I knew I'd arrived!

I haven't yet established community hours in my not-as-new-anymore pastorate, but it's definitely on my to-do list. Being seen by the community is very important for both the pastor and church.

Go Team! That was awful. I'm sorry. Robert Crosby makes the case for churches to use teams in their structure rather than committees:
One of the first recommendations I have for a church determined to live and act as a teaming church is this: If at all possible, get rid of the word “committee”. I know that in some cases this may require a change in the verbiage of your church constitution and in some cases it is not possible, but here’s my rationale: Many people have come to view committees in churches, and often in businesses and government, as the sure-fire way to kill any good idea. Unfortunately, they often see a committee as something you “sit” on instead of “serve” with. So, if your congregation and constitution will support it—change from the word “committees” to “teams” or “action groups”. Or, at least, start to informally refer to the committee as a team. If you cannot officially lose the C-word, at least determine that you are going to train your committees how to function like true teams. The church will thank you for it.
One might argue that this is just semantics. After all, if you rename your committee a team and nothing else changes, then you haven't changed much. But renaming them teams is one of a list of changes that can be made to encourage a different mentality. By itself, it won't change anything. But as part of a larger shift in mindset and approach, it can make a big difference.

Because YES. Maren Tirabassi composed a poem about the ALS ice bucket challenge:
Of course, they’ve borrowed
our sacrament, 
the one we let become warm
and small and personal and private
and cheap. 
They got it right –
a big splash in front of everyone,
for the sake of those
living with ALS, 
a wild, re-jordaned
cold compassion, soaking –
holy defiant dove and all
to heal
lou gehrig’s disease.
Read the whole thing, because YES.

YES AGAIN. My colleague Julian DeShazier on why ministry matters, via the SALT project:

"Funny if it wasn't so sad" epitomized. Brant Hansen occasionally writes "if Jesus had a blog" posts, which are basically paraphrases of a story from the Gospels. The post is then followed by a series of made-up comments, which tend to hold up a mirror to Christianity as we know it today. The latest blog from Jesus begins as follows:
Quick thought while we’re out and about. (BTW, borrowing Peter’s iPhone so forgive typos, thanks. I got one of those “Go” phones but it stopped…) 
People love arguments. They love dividing. 
But here’s what I want for MY people: I want unity. Bear each other’s burdens, love when people are unlovable. Show the world how it’s done. They’re watching.  
Unity. i want unity.
The punchline, as always, is in the made-up comments section. Read it and laugh, and possibly also weep.

Wibbly-wobbly cello-y wello-y. Here's the Doctor Who theme on cello. Why, you ask? I ask WHY NOT:

Misc. 10 Christian stereotypes that Brett Shoemaker hates. My only gripe is the Corona picture. There are so many better options, man. Let's just make autumn resolutions. Jan on in-demand pastors. Gordon Atkinson on being nobody. Reese Roper with a great story about wandering around New York City.