Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Crowd Sourcing

Just a quick word about my absence here of late (the last two years in particular).

I find that the time I devote to writing is just not the same as it used to be, and that I spend a lot of my time on social media (blogs included) mostly crowd-sourcing information; either to request or to provide.

Until such time as I find the niche this fits in my life, written and otherwise, I expect a minimal amount of posting, though I hesitate to close the site altogether.

Thanks for your readership and understanding.
David

Monday, September 30, 2013

October 2013 Voice

Dear La Verne UMC Family,

I am so grateful for the many ways in which we are already taking on new opportunities, focusing on the mission of the United Methodist Church. “The mission of the Church is to make disciples for the transformation of the world. Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple making occurs.” (Par 120, UM Book of Discipline 2012, p91)

We acknowledge the means of discipleship in our membership vows to uphold the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. To that end, we have a variety of opportunities to gather as we share in this endeavor, and I wanted to make sure that if you are not already involved, that you know of these groups so you can join.

For those who have a desire for prayer we have a regular gathering on Tuesdays at 10AM here at the church. While the location may vary (Chapel, Meditation Garden, Pastor’s Office, Marshall Hall or other) Don and Carolyn Fankhauser have been faithful leaders of this group. We pray for those we list in our bulletin and others who have come to our attention. If you would like to join them, come on down. If this time does not work for you, but would like to attend a prayer group, please inform the pastor, so that we can best coordinate among those with interest.

Our presence is immensely important, and I am so excited to learn of the increased presence of those gathered at La Verne UMC during the last year. Many of you may have noticed, but not kept count, that our average attendance has more than doubled from this time last year. I am also grateful for those who are on committees and have given of their time to be present for those meetings that our time together can be meaningful and we can accomplish the goals we have before us.

Our gifts help us do the ministry we do here at La Verne. Our tithes and offerings provide the financial backing to gather on Sunday mornings with a place to worship, hold to our property which gives the Boy Scouts meeting space, and other groups like Windsong to practice. We support the mission and ministry of the United Methodist Church in our ongoing commitment to paying apportionments. We allow our church to have staff support of a minister, secretary, musicians and choir director, and custodian. All of this costs money, and through your gifts, tithes and offerings we are able to keep up our commitment to ministry. This ongoing cost is about $155,000 per year. We are able to run the preschool as an extension of our ministry at La Verne UMC, and thanks to several faithful servants in years past we have been able to make this a self-sufficient ministry over and above our regular church commitments.

Through the service of many volunteers we are able to do even more than our finances might allow outright. We have persons who give of their time and skill to provide maintenance, Christian education, cleaning, committee expertise, accounting, groundskeeping and congregational support by visiting, calling, feeding and encouraging one another in ministry here at La Verne UMC. Service is defined by the things we do to support the church and its members here and we have been especially giving of our service to create this ministry.

Ministry, too, extends beyond the walls of the church, motivated by our common experience in Jesus Christ. This extension of the church to persons who are not currently connected to a church, to Jesus Christ, or a community of believers is called witness. We are to be witnesses to all the world of the power of Jesus Christ and the blessing we have received in his death and resurrection. I am only beginning to scratch the surface of our witness by noting the work we do with Senior Care, Sowing Seeds for Life, the San Dimas Food Bank, Inland Valley Hope Partners, prayers offered for persons we meet on the street or know through Facebook, stories of God’s saving work in our lives with friends and strangers, and the ways in which we interact with the City and other secular agencies and people.

We want to provide opportunity for all to join with us in our affirmation of discipleship as members of La Verne United Methodist Church. We will be welcoming new members November 17, 2013. If you would like to become a member please contact the pastor, or our Lay Leader Leo Ortega, to inform them of your desire. Also, if you are not already a member of this congregation, please be aware that pastor David will be contacting persons to see of their desire to join at this time.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quote of the Day



“All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” -Samuel Beckett (Westword Ho)

H/T - Church Marketing Sucks

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pain

I mentioned the other day that I was undertaking the practice of writing letters to persons during this Lenten season. I wrote my grandmothers the other day here, because I could not send letters to the deceased and wanted to push myself in my writing. Today, there was another that I could not bring myself to send the letter to, and that was someone who hurt me, and I realize that writing such a person online here in a public forum could open itself wider than I wish, so I will write with feelings, but without specifics.

Dear Person Who Hurt Me,

I want you to know that while I still remember that pain you caused, I also realize my own failures to stand up for myself, be confrontational of the problems, and call upon the help of others.

I forgive you. I know you are better now than you were then. I give thanks for your presence in my life as it allowed me a friend for a time, and taught me good lessons as I went through life about how to deal with conflict.

Know that I pray for you often, and especially during this season of Lent in the church.

May you find peace and joy in your life now.

Peace,
David Camphouse

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Letters



I have been working this practice for Lent 2013.

However, as I came to the letters for March 8 and March 11, it occurred to me that these were just letters I could not actually send.

I decided to write both of my Grandmothers, and both of them have passed away, so I thought perhaps I might write them up here.


Dear Grandma Ruth,

In some ways it seems that so much is now done, as we have laid your ashes to rest, sold your old house, relocated any items that were not sold or donated, and memorialized you in other ways, like the dog park in Bishop and our own All Saints' Services.

What is not done are my memories. This day, I am reminded of those times where you were a very strong mother figure to me. I am very aware of your mothering, with Sue and Wil. You took John, Connie and Dayle under your wing and cared for them, and called them your own. As your grandkids you cared for us, as babysitter, friend and playmate. You looked ahead, and were generous with your giving, as well as sending along particular bits of advice.

I remember riding in the back of the station wagon, running about to Griffith Park, to Lacy Park. I marvelled at the treasures you had, from the kitsch in the closet, to Cokes in the fridge, stacks in the garage, swords and books.

You were sure to help me get settled when I got out on my own with my first appointment at Santa Barbara FUMC, with some furniture, rugs and helping me look just so, with the gift of a new robe for my role as pastor.

Thank you. I love you.

David




Dear Grandma Roberta,

Thank you for keeping after me to send Thank You letters for the gifts I have received over the years. One that has been too long in getting written is a simple thank you for who you were, your inspiration, and your love shared with me during my life. I miss you.

I miss the opportunity to talk with an intelligent woman about the world, the markets, politics and religion. I appreciate the admonitions you gave me about ministry, and the way in which you helped me to look the part.

I miss days of playing in the pool, badminton, picking lemons and limes and games of chess, cards or scrabble. In fact, I think of you almost every time I open up my game of "Words with Friends" and wish I had had this years ago, as I think you would have had a blast playing with your grandkids and chatting with us in this unique way, even after your strokes.

I miss having the comfort of a crash pad along my routes to and from places across the conference for ministry, and a smiling warm face to greet me in my passing, and the knowledge that Grandma's house might be a chance to encounter family that I might not get out to see otherwise.

I miss the family parties, and the central gathering focus you provided for drawing us all in.

I miss you. I love you.

David

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Change The World 2013



Want to know more?




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Quote of the Day


“If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family—anything you like—at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder.”

CS Lewis, from That Hideous Strength 
From the Chapter Entitled: Chapter 13:
They Have Pulled Down Deep Heaven on Their Heads


Thanks to my friend Rev. Steve Felton, of Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Santa Maria, CA for mining this gem.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

November Voice Notes

Pastor’s Corner November 2012

We have spent a lot of time over the past several months, and even the past few years trying to determine what the focus of our ministry at St. Andrew UMC ought to be.

We have been very clear about several things we have used to define our sense of effective ministry. We desire to have a clear, balanced budget. We desire the care and nurture of the pastor, as well as a clear sense of leadership from the pastor. We desire to be informed, fully, often and in a variety of media, such as email, phone, personal contact, text message and print materials.

We have noted ministries we feel are not up to the standards we would like them to be. These have ranged from how Sunday worship is conducted, to a sense that the groups who use the church facility are not pulling their share.

We have found niche ministries where St. Andrew is doing something different and where we are filling a void. These niche ministries have been things like using the church parking lot for overflow parking for football games and other events at Righetti High School, the Disability Closet, and SummerFest on the Green - complete with area agencies, music, and games for the family.
We have done paperwork to generate the Academy of Music as a separately incorporated 501c3, capable of fundraising and advertising through non-restrictive channels.

We have refined and fine tuned areas of ministry we felt needed some additional work, such as church accounting, Happy Hollow Administration, organization of church facilities and files. We have ongoing processes to negotiate the relationships between the church and the many ministries who use our facility.

What remains undone is a focused ministry which would define who we are at St. Andrew UMC. In this I want to note several times during the past of St. Andrew when we have been clear about what we wanted to create, and dove in to make this place known in positive ways. We talk about the founding of a Methodist Congregation for the community of Orcutt in 1962, and our rapid development and charter over 5-6 months, moving into a full relationship with the Annual Conference as a non-mission church, on our own and in the black. We talk about the creation of Happy Hollow Preschool, and the needed ministry to families in our area for childcare, whose standard was taken up by Lee and Mary LaFaile. We outgrew our space for worship, developed a second worship service, and put things in motion for the building of a new sanctuary and office spaces. As schools began to cut back on the offerings for music and the arts we designed the Academy of Music to offer low-cost music lessons for the youth of our community. Around the same time we were growing into other areas of music ministry - we purchased a more substantial organ, enhanced the choral offerings with the development of and partnership with Coastal Voices, committed to a Bell Choir, and even bought new choir robes to show off the energy around music ministry at St. Andrew.

Each time we took on a focused approach to enhancing ministry at St. Andrew, there was other energy that was created and spun off to help foster and nurture other ministries. We have reaped those rewards in the successes of the Food Pantry, Vacation Bible School, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as renewed maintenance on old ministries, even to the extent that it meant new coats of paint were applied, new plants planted, new signs were created, and enhancements to the audio and visual systems of the church were added.

There is a bit of church wisdom which states, “A church should always be building a new building”. The wisdom is a result of years of observation that have noted when churches build new buildings, they do it to create new ministries, and that old ministries get an overhaul to keep up, develop greater goals, and focus the energies and commitments of the people of the church. In short, a new building, also builds up the church.

This doesn’t always have to be a structural building, but some building ought to take place. Some of the recent ideas that have been posited for the building up of our facilities at St. Andrew UMC have been to build a parsonage on our site, add a community garden, rehabilitate our front lawn space to include multiple soccer fields, as examples of non-structural building. Structural ideas have suggested finishing some of the building projects outlined in earlier renditions of church planning, such as “blowing out” the walls of the Social Hall or the Narthex to accommodate more people and create new space, adding a bathroom adjacent to the sanctuary and accessible through the indoors, adding on to the playyard, or creating more classroom space for the various uses of the life of the church through the week.

As our pledge campaign for 2013 says, “Committed to the Whole”, we find that growth generates growth. Caring for one area of building, creates other areas where we can build and grow. Using all that you have seen go by, and what you see God calling us to become in the future, take some time to write down or share with the leaders of this church the places where you see the need for us to build, and let’s create consensus to build it together.

Grace and peace,
David Camphouse

Monday, October 01, 2012

October Voice Notes

October Pastor’s Corner

During August and September we held a series of roundtable discussions about the ongoing life of the church, what shapes the church, and how we might use these answers to develop a budget suitable to the ministry needs of St. Andrew and the surrounding areas in Orcutt and Santa Maria. We will be following this up with our pledge campaign during October, to see how the income expectations of the church match the ministry expectations, and what we can do to bring them in line with one another.
For now, I promised to share with you the answers of the community as we have gathered to the questions raised. This should help you see how the congregation as a whole views ministry and what drives us as we seek God through the saving power of Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Question 1: What is the Church?
1) Teach, inform, bring about Bible & Christ, Teach us to be more Christlike, Extend/Develop Faith, To prepare to show by example, Where our friends are, Comfortable
1) People; Open to All; Community; Ministry to others; Our Youth (future); Location and Facility; God is in it (Jesus)
1) Body of Christ: The hands and feet of Christ “God/Christ has no hands/ feet but yours”; Congregation: We are the church; Community of believers; Extension of God’s work; Light of the (to the) world; Safe Haven for those in need
1) The Body, Community, Place of Worship, Dwelling Place for Holy Spirit, Source for Help, Place for Music
1) We are, Community of People, Place to worship, God’s House, Place for Children and People to learn about God’s Word, Nice place to come hear choir/organist

Question 2: What is church for?
2) To bring together a community of people, with shared beliefs to with & for others
2) Spreading the Word of God - through teachings and actions; Worship and communion; Acts of Ritual; Ministry to others; Deepening relationship & knowledge of the Lord; Supporting One another at all times; Community Presence
2) Serving the people; Worship; Focusing God’s energy; Fellowship; Educational Growth; Making Disciples; Preparing the people for the return of Jesus; Praising God
2) Gather to Pray together, Nourishment, Education, Fellowship, Missions/Outreach work
2) Worship, Learn, Fellowship, Caring Community, Supporting Missionaries, make Disciples, Spread the Word of God, To be God’s hand and feet in the world, Place to go on SUNDAY


Question 3: What is the job of clergy (ordained ministers)?
3) Make Disciples - UM Mission Statement, Teach/Bring the Word - sermons, Counselor - available listening ears, Communicator - with follow through, Comfort the Ill and Bereaved
3) Sermons; Lead Worship; Pastoral Care - Visitation; Counseling; Community Building; Availability; Communications; Ritual - Sacraments; Face of the Organization; Liaison between the local church and UMC structure
3) Overseer of church business; Provide Leadership; Provide Communication; Counselor/Arbitrator/Leader; Servant; Provide Spiritual guidance; Provide correct information; Visit the sick; Developing the tools for congregational discernment; Rituals of the church: Baptism, Communion, Funerals, Weddings; Liaison to the District, Conference and General UMC; Administrative; Biblical Interpretation; Managing the church’s business; Preach; Teach
3) Counselor, Administrator, Umbrella (Gotta get it covered), Jack of All Trades, Comforter, Healer, Resourcer, Visitation, Shepherding, Follow the Rules of the Book of Discipline, Teach, Liaison between local church and UMC structures, Sacraments (Baptism & Communion), Worship, Lead, Provide a Vision, Coordinating Governing Bodies and Ministries, Preach
3) Leadership (worship Leadership), Caring for the ill/homebound, Teacher esp. Bible Study, Someone to take your troubles to: listener, counselor, Glue that holds it all together, weddings/funerals/communion/baptism


Question 4: What is one thing YOU need to become a better disciple?
4) Patience, Understanding, Willingness to Participate; Reaching out (Extroversion/Initiative)
4) Supportive ideas; Spiritual Focus - moving away from operational; Communications; Fellowship; Education (UM polity & Knowledge of Discipleship); Bible Study; Courage
4) Discernment of Talents; Knowledge of the Bible; Compassion; Willingness to step forward; Fellowship & Support from other believers; Confidence/Courage/Conviction; Practice; Knowledge of what others are needing; Training; Mentoring; Energy
4) Generosity, Understanding of Stewardship, Prayer, Time in the Word (Daily), Prioritization, Brokenness, Tolerance, Patience
4) Patience, Live the Word, Prayer, Guidance from God, Bible Study, Love, Support, To take part (participation)


These are the answers from the congregation, and I got to thinking about what the answers to these questions were back in seminary, and how they correlate to what comes next for us as a church.

The seminary answers were:

Question 1: What is the Church?
The Church, the universal body of people who call themselves Christians, is God’s living embodiment in the world today. We are to be “little Christs”, acting, teaching, and glorifying God as Jesus did.

Question 2: What is church for?
Church is for the gathering of the Christian people for strengthening one another in faith, holding one another accountable, and sending each other out from the gathering to continue to share the Word of God in all the world.

Question 3: What is the job of clergy (ordained ministers)?
The job of the clergy is the administration of Word, Sacrament and Order. That is teaching, preaching and living the message of the Bible as Word of God. Sacraments in the United Methodist Church are Baptism and Communion, and are the only activities restricted to the clergy. And Order is to ensure that we are following the rules, of the United Methodist Church, as outlined in the Book of Discipline and the Conference Rules, and rules defined by local, state and federal laws.

Question 4: What is one thing YOU need to become a better disciple?
To be a better disciple there are two things we need. We need to know what makes one a Disciple, and then we need practice at doing so. Discipleship is at the core of what we do as United Methodists, not just because it is our Mission Statement, “Making Disciples of Jesus Christ, for the transformation of the World”, but because it is a mandate from Christ himself, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19).

For a full overview of what Discipleship is and entails, in the tradition of the United Methodist Church, consider checking out this article from the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church website. http://www.gbod.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=nhLRJ2PMKsG&b=5503321&ct=7922219

We will also be looking at Discipleship more in the coming months in the Pastor’s Corner here in the Voice.

Peace,
David Camphouse

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

August Voice Notes



Pastor’s Corner


HOW ARE WE GOING TO ALLOCATE OUR RESOURCES?

During August, and September I will be leading discussions with the church surrounding a focused approach to our budgeting and ministry plan for 2013. Already I am working with UMW (Monday, September 10), UMM (Saturday, September 8), Choir and Bells, and Youth Group (Sun/Mon August 12-13) to set up times to meet with them. If you would like to join any of those relevant groups for those meetings you may. Additionally, I will have open meetings on Sunday, August 26th following worship at 12noon, with a light lunch provided; Tuesday, August 14, 10AM; and at Church Council August 23, 7PM. All are invited, and welcome to attend any of these meetings.

Utilizing the information provided from our other gatherings, and the decisions of the Church at Church Conference, we have a budget of $260,000 for 2012, and a desire to “live within our means” for 2013 and following.

If we were to commit ourselves to a budget directly related to our regular income level trends over the past few years we can expect about $190,000 for 2013. This would account for some more deaths, no major gifts, and that no further persons would leave the church, as well as that all persons would continue to give at current levels of giving.

Decisions will be based on what ministries we deem most important, and what resources we feel we can bring to bear on these ministries. In an effort to make these conversations more effective, a draft budget of maximum $190,000 will be brought forward to each of the gatherings, built from the ground, up.

Additional meetings are in conversation with our current ministry partners, Happy Hollow Parents and Families, Academy of Music Parents and Families, Boy Scouts Troop 87 Parents and Families, Girls Scouts Troop 50072 Parents and Families, and Coastal Voices Participants. Each of these groups has a vested interest in our success as a church, and has the potential to be a draw for the church, as well as additional support. We need to talk to determine how we can support one another for successful long-term ministry.

The ministry plan will then outline specific ministries we will focus on, means by which we will engage and support new persons to the church, and care for those already in our congregation. Funding will be one aspect of this ministry plan, as will evangelism, congregational care, lay ministry and pastoral roles.


For further consideration on your part - here are some of the highlights of the recent demographics report on the Orcutt area surrounding St. Andrew UMC.


WHAT ARE THE NEEDS IN ORCUTT? (ref. Demographics 2010 census and updates)
[This report is available in the church office, and can be reviewed in full if desired]

People growth highest: D04 (MissionInsite Index -p.363) Small City Endeavors [Lower income, young, old, singles, families, working-class towns;] F02 (MissionInsite index - p.498) Moderate Conventionalists [Mobile, middle-class singles/couples, modest homes, second-tier cities]; L03 (MissionInsite Index - p. 1008) Grey Perspectives [Small towns, prison and institutionalized population, some military barracks.]; B03 (MissionInsite index - p.158) Urban Commuter Families [Upscale, college educated Baby Boomer families and couples living in comfortable, single detached homes in city neighborhoods on the metropolitan fringe]

Persons over 55 growing in Orcutt at faster rate than CA.

High Drive for Affluence
High Devotion to Family
High Commitment to Career
High Faith and Practice
High Desire to Broaden Horizons
Low Sense of Wellbeing

Population Definitions: Global, Traditional, Sociable, Planned, Secure, Leaders

Lower education rate
Higher Divorced/Widowed
Poorer Household Income than average/CA
Higher family size per household (5+)
HIGH Hispanic population (160%ORCUTT/100% CA)
HIGH Filipino/Japanese populations

High Blue Collar population
No Management Services
Low Manufacturing
Low Professional Services

High Carpool/Vanpool population
High Close proximity to work population

Trending down Family/Empty Nest Population (35-55)
Increasing Some College Education Population
High Farming/Protection/Sales force




Ultimately we need to answer the question: “Who is Jesus Christ? What has he done for me, personally? Why would someone else want to participate in following Jesus Christ?”

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bold Goals

Thinking about missional engagement recently, and we have a dashboard worth of goals from the denomination, but I kept thinking about making it more concrete for some of the basic principles I understand about Discipleship.




What about Bold Goals?:

-That everyone in the congregation would reaffirm their membership vows.
-That everyone would bring one friend to church during the next year, and then take some time to listen to the other person’s evaluation
-That every member of the church share three other people they will commit to visiting this coming year
-That every member participate in a Bible Study during the next year, and lead one in the next 5.

-That every person in the church would, within the next 3 years (that works out to a chapter a day), read the entire Bible.-That every member commit to praying for this church, the pastor, the United Methodist Church, Santa Maria/Orcutt, and at least 3 other people for 5 minutes each day.
- To faithfully engage in at least one local Mission Area ministry with an extra mile gift, or participation in time.
- to establish at least one way to tangibly show each of the fruits of the spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Gentleness and Self-control; then to show each at least once a week.
-To fast for 24 hours at least once this year (barring medical reasons)
-To share at a non-church function one or more meals with one other non-family church member this year
-To surprise another church person from your church, from a distinctly different age bracket than your own, with a generous act of kindness

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thoughts for today

I started blogging several years ago, at first to connect to other bloggers, then to provide a digital storage space for some of my thoughts, and those ideas that captured my mind.

I moved to MySpace, Orkut and Facebook to expand the connections I had made through the blog and with various chat board friends.

Twitter caught my attention again to connect and branch out in thoughts that weren't quite as deep or refined as I wanted in a blog.

I live my life in a world where connection is the key. As a pastor, we have to connect to the individual and connect to the divine and try to make sense of both in a world that is even more connected and disjointed at the same time.

I wonder what happened to my personal reflection time in the midst of this, and family life, and see the growing need to take a digital hiatus, and disconnect, so that I can be more energetic in each of these other pursuits.

I ask, then, for your prayers as I try to reach the finish line of some immediate projects so that the time of disconnect can be more effective. Pray also for that time when I do disconnect that I can stay disconnected for long enough to recharge.

The irony of it all is that to charge our digital power sources we have to charge them by connecting, and to charge my personal power source I need to disconnect.

Thanks Mac!

From Emergent Village

Confidence in leadership

I have no idea what's going to happen, or if my specific plans are going to come out the way I envision them, but I am completely confident that if we get people together and keep service to the Lord and to our neighbors at the center of our thinking, that He will make something wonderful come out of our efforts, one way or another. My personal ego has some very specific ideas of what the Lord ought to do with our efforts, but I know my God is wiser than me, and thinks bigger than I ever could, and sees the long-term big picture, and so I'm ready to find out what it is He will make of all our plans and efforts.


-Mac Frazier

Friday, February 10, 2012

Values Clarification

There was an old game called Values Clarification, sometimes called Lifeboat. Christian artist Steve Taylor even wrote a song about it.

When a church already has a Mission statement and a Vision statement, it might be time to work with the congregation on Values Clarification. What are we to be about going forward from here. While the initial framework for the local church does feel an awful lot like the game Lifeboat - "Who are we going to continue to let live and who are we going to throw into the water", there is a deeper sense when a church does this that perhaps all can be saved, and that with the right focus all can be saved and that a "new thing" can happen in the life of the church.

Values Clarification provides a platform to evaluate the programs of the church, and the desires of the people, especially as those things relate to the community at large and the will of God.

As such I hope to work with St. Andrew UMC to develop our core values, and create a deeper sense of commitment and connection with what we are about at Christ's church today.

I have to admit that I always start with the people. I start with who they think they are, and what they want to be. I follow that with God and the larger community where the people are, and the wants and desires of God and the larger community. From this triumverate we can develop actual action plans that might have some deeper hold, as well as a better idea of what resources are already in place, and what attitudes will have to change for things to be effective.

It is, in essence, holding a mirror to the people, and allowing them to decide how they will act out their beliefs, with ownership and conviction.

At the end of the day, we must return to God's will, holding at least some of these values in place for the focus and force of our ministry in our location, even if we add more, or limit ourselves to only 1 or 2 of these values.

  • Do good to those that harm you.
  • Turn the other cheek.
  • Walk an extra mile.
  • Blessed are the poor.
  • Feed the hungry.
  • Labels:

    Monday, February 06, 2012

    Challenging the Pastor

    For most pastors, the role is understood in many ways, but some of them include poking, prodding, coaxing and challenging the congregation to the "Next Step" of faith.

    I know every pastor has their own idea of what that "Next Step" looks like. Some come into every congregation with the same "Next Step" and they spend their entire career getting the congregation to live out that next step.

    We wheedle, cajole and bargain with the members of the congregation.

    All the while, the congregation holds out expectations of the pastor. The pastor should look this way, believe this, do these things. And no small amount of backhanded compliments, wheedling, challenging and goals are laid out for the pastor to develop into the pastor the congregation wants.

    But, the very real question comes out about who is responsible to challenge the pastor, and help with that accountability, as well as help the pastor grow in faith.

    After all, the goal of the church is to help people grow in faith, by developing deeper understanding of the scriptures, in word and deed.

    The pastor too is part of the church, and is called to lead the church, but that doesn't mean the pastor shouldn't be questioned or challenged. There are a number of ways to do that, but I have to admit I am the greatest fan of the person who takes the time to check out the claims of the pastoral leadership of any church, in the law, doctrine, and scripture.

    Take the time to talk with the pastor. Be willing to engage, but be aware there are more than a few pastors (myself included at times) whose greatest desire is to be in charge, and taken at "my word", because I have done the work to get the answers - don't you believe me? And I tell you, that when your pastor answers that way, you can answer "of course I believe you", and because I believe you I went to find out more about it for myself. When I did so, I came back with these questions, or ways of understanding."

    And when your pastor is mentally healthy that pastor can have a conversation with you. When unhealthy, questions are cut out and you might be too. When that happens, allow your pastor a chance to cool down, try again, but find another "pastor" in your life, who may not be clergy at all. Because, pastors and congregation members are not the only ones who can check each other. Pastors have to check pastors, and congregation members need to check congregation members, as well as the pastor-congregation dynamic.

    Peace,

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Not that bad...

    Mikey's Funnies is generously hosted by Agathon Group, website development and hosting with a ministry heart:
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    today'sFUNNY===========================

    YOU KNOW YOU'VE HAD TOO MUCH COFFEE WHEN...

    ~ You can type sixty words a minute...with your feet.

    ~ Instant coffee takes too long.

    ~ You chew on other people's fingernails.

    ~ You answer the door...before people knock.

    ~ You sleep with your eyes open.

    ~ You go to sleep, just so you can wake up and smell the coffee.

    ~ You don't even wait for the water to boil anymore.

    ~ You're the employee of the month at Starbucks and you don't even work there.

    ~ You lick your coffeepot clean.

    ~ You go to AA meetings just for the free coffee.

    ~ You're so wired you pick up FM radio.

    ~ You have a picture of your coffee mug, on your coffee mug!