Blog Reboot: An Ideal Target Person (2 of 4)

I have been using Lift as a tool to help restart this blog and I thought I would share with you some of that process. One of the steps is identifying an ideal target person – someone for whom this blog is written. So, here goes:

The ideal target person for this blog is Methodist clergy, church staff or committed layperson.

Q: What are they passionate about?

  • They are passionate about spiritual renewal in the people and congregations of the United Methodist Church.
  • They care deeply about introducing people to Jesus and helping others grow in their faith.

Q: What are their goals?

  • They want to be effective in their ministry in the local church.
  • They want to have a fulfilling personal and professional life

Q: What are their fears?

  • They are afraid that they have to be on the extreme right or left to find theological companions on their journey.
  • They are afraid they do not have the resources they need to be effective.
  • They are afraid that the United Methodist church is doomed.
  • They are afraid that they are the only ones that don’t have it all figured out

Q: Why should they care about your blog?

They should care about my blog because they will find:

  • resources which they may need for effectiveness
  • encouragement and guidance to be fruitful in ministry,
  • examples from someone who has gone before them in ministry
  • new ideas for day to day life

So, dear reader, does this describe you? What is on target? What is missing?

Perhaps, most importantly, what are your answers to some of these questions?

Advertisements

Raking Leaves and the Spiritual Life

I enjoy taking care of our yard. It is good for my soul.

Last fall, I did not have a chance to get in a final raking as the snow fell early and stayed on through most of the winter. This meant that we were left with a mess of wet and matted leaves to take care of this spring. I was outside raking and saw different results. Where there were thick leaves some of the grass had died and in other locations the grass was not as full and thick in coverage. A good raking cleared out the leaves as well as dead grass that had built up. This let air in and more importantly let the grass see the sun.

The grass is like our spiritual life.

There are places in my soul that are covered and matted down and not able to get the sustenance that is needed. These are the areas in my life where there continues to be sin. Confession and reconciliation clears away the sin, some of the effects of sin and more importantly lets my soul see the Son.

Transition: M-R Pastor of Congregational Care

This week, Bishop Jones announced that Rev. Steven Blair will be appointed to Resurrection on November 1 and will be responsible for those whose last names begin with M through R. You can read the full update to Resurrection here.

I have known Steven for several years and he is an excellent pastor and a great communicator. I believe that his presence at Resurrection will have a positive impact on the entire congregation. I am excited to have the opportunity to be on the same staff and continue to learn from him.

I will be ending my role as pastor of Congregational Care and beginning a role as pastor of Resurrection Internet Campus. I am excited about the potential for in this role and believe that it will be a key part of continuing to build a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.

In between the ending of one role and the beginning of another is a time of transition. Over the next 44 days, I invite those of you who are currently part of the M-R pastorate to set up a time to meet with me if you would like to have a one on one conversation about the transition. I hope to arrange an event before November 1 to give you an opportunity to hear about my new role and have an opportunity for closure as I depart my current role.

I care about making a good transition.

I have some ideas about what might be most helpful, but also look to you for guidance. In past pastoral transitions, what has been most helpful for you? What has not been helpful? What guidance do you have for me for making a good transition?

Jesus’ Pastoral Care (2 of 2)

What kind of pastoral care did Jesus provide?

I continued to consider this question at our small group this week when we read the story of the man born blind from John 9. Jesus makes some mud, puts it on the eyes of a man who was born blind and sends him to wash in the pool of Siloam in verse 11. The man’s sight is restored and he has a series of run ins with the religious leaders of the day and Jesus is nowhere to be found.

11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.

I don’t know. Where is Jesus? He disappears from the picture until verse 35.

It is important to walk with people through difficulty times in their life, but it is not necessary to walk every step of the way with them.

What do you learn about Jesus’ pastoral care from this story?

Jesus’ Pastoral Care (1 of 2)

What kind of pastoral care did Jesus provide?

I was challenged to consider this question by a co-worker last week who used the story of Lazarus as an example. Here are the opening lines of this narrative from John 11, TNIV:

1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)

3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

Mary, Martha and Lazarus may have been some of Jesus’ closest friends outside of the twelve men who traveled with him. Jesus receives word that Lazarus is sick (in the hospital or hospice, if it were today, as we know from the story that he is near death) and Jesus proceeds to respond by staying where is for two days.

Two days is a long time when your best friend is near death.

There is little that is truly urgent in pastoral care.

What do you learn about Jesus’ pastoral care from this story?

Micro Church: New Church Start (5 of 5)

I believe that over the next several years, micro churches will become an important part of renewal within The United Methodist Church.

While there are many different settings in which micro churches might thrive, I believe that the greatest potential may be in planting new churches. As micro churches continue to multiply and grow, leadership would increasingly be pushed to the local level. A pastor could be appointed to oversee a network of 20 micro churches and serve as a circuit rider in ways that are similar to early Methodism. This allows churches to be planted with little overhead and initial expenditure of resources and for healthy congregations to more easily birth congregations than may otherwise be possible.

I believe that micro churches will have a significant impact on the way that churches are planted in The United Methodist Church.

How do you respond to this idea?

This is part of a series of posts about micro churches. You can read more in the next several days at these posts:

Micro Church: Existing Congregation (4 of 5)

I believe that over the next several years, micro churches will become an important part of renewal within The United Methodist Church.

I believe that existing congregations could be a place where a micro church could flourish. Utilizing a live stream of worship could enable existing congregations to begin another worship service with a small amount of resource commitment. It would not need to be in competition with existing worship services, but could serve to supplement existing worship opportunities. Encouraging and equipping leaders might bear fruit by leading groups in homes or in an existing church building. This might also be a way for congregations that might otherwise be closed by the annual conference to continue to sustain a community life together. This could bring new life to existing congregations and serve as a tool for renewal.

I believe that this will be an important way of rethinking existing congregations in The United Methodist Church.

How do you respond to this idea?

This is part of a series of posts about micro churches. You can read more in the next several days at these posts: