Friday, January 29, 2010

The Church Funeral

via my MIL

The Church Funeral

A new Pastor in a small town spent the first week making personal visits to each of the members, urging them to come to church the next Sunday.

The following Sunday the Church was all but empty. Accordingly, the Pastor placed a notice in the local newspapers, stating that, because the Church was dead, it was everyone's duty to give it a decent burial. The funeral would be held the following Monday afternoon, the notice said.
Morbidly curious, a large crowd turned out for the "funeral." In front of the Church near the altar , they saw a closed coffin, smothered in flowers.
After the Pastor delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited his members to come forward and pay their final respects to their dead Church.

Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a "dead church," all the members eagerly lined up to look in the coffin. Each "mourner" peeped into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look.
In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror.

Remember the cross proves Christianity, the empty church denies it!
Attend and support the church of your choice!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
- George Santayana


Friday, January 22, 2010

More on Haiti

*Methodists Survive Haiti Earthquake - Sarla Chand and Reverend Gulley recount their experiences in Haiti, trapped under rubble for days. Watch the videos at

*Haiti Needs Your Help - Donate to the Haiti relief fund through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. 100% of your donations go towards Haiti earthquake relief. Learn more at

*Learn What Methodists Are Doing to Help Haiti - Visit for the latest news, videos, photos, and donation information.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Connecting Discipleship

There are two things I have had heavy on my heart of late. Connecting better, and more often; and building Disciples.

I am sure the two are related, and I am still stumped at this early hour about what makes them so interrelated.

I am reminded of the Covenant Discipleship Model

The Top Arm is Works of Mercy
The Bottom Arm is Works of Piety
The Arm to the Left is Inward Works
The Arm to the Right is Outward Works

Now for the internal conversation I need to have about where Websites, Facebook Pages, Blogs and Twitter feeds intersect these Works from Covenant Discipleship. At the end of the day I want to build new Disciples, and Disciples who are deepening their faith.

I see what is there, and for a guy who is prone to seeing the connections, and looking at things sideways, I am struggling with the relationships between these two areas of interest, and still am seeing or comprehending what I need to in order to help others understand.

Suggestions, ideas, or how you see these coming together would be helpful.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

United Methodist Haiti Response

Friday, January 15, 2010

Prayer Request

One of the initial barricades I met upon entering ministry at Santa Maria St. Andrew UMC was a deep sense of fear and anxiety. I took time to pray it out, and to ask for prayer cover from members of the congregation, and from some of the prayer institutions of Santa Maria.

I asked and received anointing for the ministry I had ahead at St. Andrew. I sought out counsel and ideas for how to effectively pray against those forces of evil and dread in the world I encountered, both in the church, and in the community at large.

I had begun to feel a sense of ease and relief. I had continued in prayers of protection for my child, my home and my wife, as well as for myself. However, I had let it go with the church. I had not continued to ask for prayers of shelter and protection.

I discovered this week how insidious the infiltration has been into the consciousness of the body of Christ at Santa Maria St. Andrew UMC. There is a Spirit of Fear at work. I need your help in asking God to bind that Spirit and to place a hedge of protection around this community of faith.

I ask that you would pray protection around each of the members of the church, and the staff of the church. I ask that you would pray God's healing and love to come in behind the exiting fear, that the church might have a chance to heal and grow in love. That indeed, we may come to be made perfect in love in this life. Thanks for praying with me.

The scripture guiding me at this time is

1 John 4:18 (New International Version)

18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For Those Playing Along at Home

Yesterday marked the launch of two new websites for the Santa Maria St. Andrew United Methodist Church.

We are now on Twitter, with the feed coming through the Fan Page on Facebook.

Check them out, say hi, and welcome to our community connections.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Building Presence

This week is a big adventure for me in the online realm.

We have a website for the church, that leaves you in lala land if you try to go to the Home Page from any other page within the site. There has got to be a fix for that.

We are connecting to the Boy Scouts and the Preschool, now. We are already connecting with the Music Academy and our church newsletter.

We are going to be working on making more connections. This week I am endeavoring to put us on Facebook and on Twitter as a Church, and make good sense of those media. I am also going to be working on a weekly online newsletter, through Constant Contact, or some other email format this week, so that we can make better use of the communication tools we have.

So for now, keep your ear to the ground, and keep communicating.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Football God Sacrifice

This is for the Alabama faithful and the bandwagon jumpers alike.


Todd eats Pickled Pigs Feet to appease the Football Gods before the National Championship Game.

Stay tuned to the end, and check out what else Todd has consumed this year to help Bama maintain an undefeated season.

I'd say it beats praying to God that Bama wins. That doesn't seem fair, after all Bear is near to the heart of God, according to SEC lore.

Have a great day. I know mine will be made exceptional with a Bama win tonight.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Adjusting the Course

This year I am committing myself to doing a better job.

There are some great improvements in the local church, and I want to continue to foster that change.
To that end:
-I am writing 10 letters/notes per week for ministry purpose
-I am training at least one committee per month (starting with full Job Descriptions for all committee members in January)
-I am completing the visitation schedule I started when I arrived, attempting to visit with every member (about 20 per month), and at least 5 outside members of the community per month

At home there are some changes in the works too. Most have to do with my weight/health
To that end:
-I am starting P90X next week
-I am taking on a dietary component of the workout as well as the exercise segment
-I am going to play at least one season of indoor or outdoor soccer this year



Sunday, January 03, 2010

Some Sunday Fun

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Emerging Trends In Christian Education

I was asked the other day what I thought some of the emerging trends in Christian Education are.

I thought about it some, and I realized that what we are getting up to in 2010 at St. Andrew UMC is one of the emerging trends. I shared a brief bit about why I think it is an emerging trend. And I add to this the way in which we will be addressing Christian Education in the context of training new leaders at St. Andrew UMC.

During 2010 we will be focusing on Job Descriptions, fed primarily by the Guidelines, and Job Descriptions and Leadership Training in the United Methodist Church 2009-2012: A Leader Development Guide by Betsey Heavner. Additionally, we will look to the basic Job Descriptions for United Methodist Christians. From the United Methodist Discipline, our Mission statement: "Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Scripture also instructs us in Matthew 28:

The Great Commission
16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ina]" style="line-height: 0.5em; ">[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

And now to my original response:

I think there are a couple of emerging trends coming from some of the same problem. We have a shortage of leaders in the church. As such, there is an increasing trend to train pastors for the years to come. Some of the places where this is coming out is Church of the Resurrection, and in the increased sense of urgency in many local congregations to train up pastors. The second is training leaders. We are beginning to watch the passing of many of the local church leaders who have been stalwarts and managed our churches for many years. As we see them die, or become incapable of continuing we are found lacking for people to come into leadership to fill those voids. We are having to train people to do those jobs, and then we are already beginning to look down the road and ask those leaders to then train the next generation behind them, beginning now.
Some places are obviously ahead of the curve, but most of our
local churches are just now entering the curve.
To that end, we are realizing that Christian Education is more than just
Sunday School and Bible Studies. It is teaching people to lead with the Spiritual Gifts God has granted them to lead the people of God in this time.

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Friday, January 01, 2010

A Prayer for Today

This prayer is the Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition, and as I heard it told is often repeated by British Methodist Churches in their services at the first of the year. Many local congregations in the United Methodist Church do likewise. I offer it today for personal benefit.

I am no longer my own but yours,
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now glorious and blessed God,
Father , Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
May it be so forever.
Let this covenant now made on earth
be fulfilled in heaven. AMEN