Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pastors and social media

The latest edition of Leadership Journal arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

In an article called "What's Changing, What's Not", Dave Travis writes:

"Senior pastors under 40 who are leading large churches all use social media... This is a radical shift in how we understand leadership. Fifteen years ago, pastors were wondering how they could be less accessible. Today, younger pastors want more access."

Is your pastor part of this trend? Are there pros? Cons?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Answers about my new role

This past Sunday people in our three church services heard some big news.

First, our interim lead pastor announced his June 30th retirement from pastoral ministry. He has been ministering at HMC for 19 years.

Second, our ministry council chairperson announced that I will be assuming the position of interim lead pastor effective March 1st.

Since then I've been asked the same questions repeatedly:

1. How do you feel about this new role?

I'm excited and I'm looking forward to it. To date, it will likely be one of the greatest challenges of my life. It's also something that I sense God calling me to do.

2. How do the rest of the staff feel about you stepping up to lead?

I asked them the same question before I officially accepted the position. They all willingly threw their support behind me. I would not have accepted the role if the other pastors were not in favour of it.

3. How does this affect your teaching commitments at Emmanuel Bible College?

I will continue teaching at the college for the remainder of the semester. Then, I will transition into the interim lead pastor role full-time.

(My current ministry role is 3/4 time at the church)

4. What happens beyond the interim period?

That question is best addressed by members of the ministry council. My interim contract will extend from March 1st to September 1st. During that time the search for a permanent lead pastor will continue.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sermon Help - The Discipline of Study

Calvin Miller writes, “Mystics without study are only spiritual romantics who want relationship without effort.” Miller, The Table of Inwardness, 83.

Study is more than a consumption of information. It is a spiritual discipline that requires time, focus, and a willingness to change. For Christians the Bible is foundational in our pursuit of God. So how does the discipline of study help us know God and ourselves?

In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster outlines four steps that are central to the discipline of study:

1. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. It may seem juvenile but it works. Just count how many times you see the same television commercial during your favorite primetime show. When it comes to the Bible, the more you repeat a word or a phrase, the better chance you have of believing it. Try taking a scripture text and recite it throughout the day. Pin it on your refrigerator; tape it to the bathroom mirror; stick it on your computer screen. Before you know it you’ll have it memorized and it’ll be rolling around in your head.

2. Concentration. In a world where change is the only constant, the ability to focus is a rare treasure. Once you’ve found a text, focus on it. Centre your mind upon it. Take a walk and think about it as you repeat the text.

3. Comprehension. Knowledge of the truth sets us free. Repetition and concentration can only lead so far. Eventually, there is a need to understand. Have you ever caught yourself reading pages from a book and understanding nothing? If that happens as you read the Bible try asking God to help you understand. Go back and read it again. See if it starts to make sense. Without comprehension there is no insight or discernment.

4. Reflection. This is the final and often neglected step of study. It’s tempting to read the Bible for information purposes alone. But failure to apply it to our lives will lead us to become puffed up and arrogant in our knowledge. Reflection is the antidote to this deadly disease. Reflection leads to two things: an understanding of the material being studied, and an understanding of self. So, take time to reflect on the materials being studied. Your learning will take on a whole new meaning when you find yourself being transformed by the living Word of God.

Helpful books from this session:
Packer, J. I. Knowing God
Foster, Richard. Celebration of Discipline: The path to spiritual growth
Foster, Richard. Life with God: Reading the Bible for Spiritual Transformation
Willard, Dallas. The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding how God changes lives

Monday, January 18, 2010

Leadership and Rejection

I wonder if rejection is a prerequisite for leadership?

Are there any leaders, ones that people voluntarily follow, that don't know the sting of denial. It's likely the primary pathway God uses to humble and break those who walk arrogantly.

Some of the greatest leaders I know did not enjoy favour with everyone around them:

1. Jesus, the greatest leader of all times, was forsaken by the very people he loved and embraced.
2. The apostle Paul, culture shaper extraordinaire, had to remind the people in the churches he founded that he was "the good guy" when facing opposition from false teachers.
3. Even my mentors, every one, could call up a long list of people who misunderstood or wrongly accused them.

Why is rejection important for a leader? Because it has potential to accomplish two things: it can draw us into a life of submission, confession, and humility before the Saviour; or it can drive us to dig in our heels a little deeper, clench our fists a little tighter, and curse those who curse us.

So, if you want to lead then you might want to get ready for rejection. Rejection hurts but it's not as important as what you do once you've been spurned. For what you do will determine the kind of leader you become.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Change is in the air

I wonder what this week will bring?

Lately, I've been asking myself that question. This week is no exception.

I'm back teaching in the classroom on Fridays. This semester I have a morning and an afternoon class. I'm also preaching a lot more these days. It means I'll be squeezing every ounce of opportunity out of life.

I'm also trying to maintain a somewhat regular writing routine. As you can tell from my last blog post, I'm not as regular as I'd like to be.

Two weeks ago it was a new haircut. Last week it was a new semester. Anyone want to guess what this week will bring?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"and his strength left him." (Judges 16:19b)

Tonight, I received my first real haircut in 7 years. It was genuinely fun; nothing like my junior high nightmare. Back then I went to my dad's "one-cut-wonder" barber--a little, bald, Italian man whose most interesting barbershop feature was the stack of black combs that he kept in a questionable blue liquid stationed on the counter.

Two of my twelve-year-old friends had recently started sporting flashy new hairstyles--short on the sides and back and long on top. In the interest of staying on the cutting edge, I decided to pay the barber a visit. I gave him the verbal specs of the new do; to which nodded sharply, patted my apron clad shoulder, and started snipping and buzzing. I knew I could trust him. I had no worries. After all, he had done this cut on hundreds of young lads.

Except that he hadn't. And his confident nod and pat were really just a smokescreen meant to distract me while he chiseled the same cut he always gave, except with some horrendous alterations. By the end of my time I knew one thing for certain: my friends didn't get their hair cut by my barber.

So, I gave up on the barber and went to a hair stylist. That lasted through my teenage and young adult years. Then one day I stopped going altogether. I guess I wanted a change. And now, I'm ready for change again.

So tonight I shed my locks after years of living like Samson, minus the riddles and Philistine warriors. I left my ponytail lying in fragments on a friends kitchen floor. Now, only one question remains: did I shed any strength with my hair?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mean people shouldn't manage toy stores

Our family took a little road trip to the Tri-cities yesterday. Erika and I both had things to do. Since our kids don't naturally enjoy spending hours in the car, we added an incentive; a trip to the Lego store in St. Jacobs. Without complaint they endured the seventy-five minute drive, marched around the college campus with dad, and waited patiently while mom stocked up on supplies at the fabric store. Finally, we made our way to Legoland.

We parked the car, opened the oversized mall doors, scurried up the stairs, then began the trek down the long corridor. As soon as the red square was in sight, our son started his sprint to the doors. Clomp, clomp, clomp went his little winter boots against the shiny cement floor.

Nothing could have prepared us for the tragedy of the moments that followed. The lights were on, there were employees behind the counter, but the doors were locked. The store was closed. It was inventory day.

After doing our best to calm our little ones down we struck a compromise. We would go back and simply look in the window at the displays throughout the store. I secretly thought that the adults inside might even take pity on us and let us in for a brief look around. Perhaps, since they work in a place of eternal happiness--the lego store, they might even bend and let us spend some money there.

As we peered innocently through the glass a woman saw us gawking at the star wars keychains and quickly darted for the door. She unlocked it, swung it wide open and stated, in her meanest voice, that the store was closed for the whole day. In other words, go away.

Who would have thought that someone who is surrounded by toys all day could be so mean.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's 2010. And just so you know, it's now pronounced twenty-ten, not two thousand and ten. Thanks for clarifying Luke.

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions but I do set life goals. It started around ten years ago when Erika and I went through premarital counseling. The pastor invited us to dream about the future. Then he asked us to draft up a five year plan and ten year plan.

Surprisingly we didn't stray too far from our predictions. We planned to have children, pay off student debt, and I had ideas about returning to seminary to do a Masters degree. All of these things materialized.

But we also planned other things that didn't come to pass. Teacher's college and church planting are two examples. And we never thought we'd be living in Hanover, ON.

So, here we are. Do we have big dreams for the next ten years of our lives? Stay tuned in 2020 to find out.
Related Posts with Thumbnails