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Showing posts from July, 2012

Staff Gut Check: Are We Really Committed?

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Pastor Perry Noble of Newspring Church in South Carolina offered some valuable insight into how the staff of a church or organization needs to be on point when it comes to their level of commitment.  

You can read Perry's entire article here.

I have tweaked these a bit to adapt them not just to church but to any organization.  It will probably still have a church-y feel to it, but it's good stuff nonetheless.

Church/Organization leaders, these are great questions to have your staff answer, and then use their answers to help you optimize your organization.  As I worked through these, I saw some blind spots that I have as a leader, and ways that my church could get better.

#1 – Do I trust the leadership of this church/organization?
If a staff member can't answer "yes" to this, then there's a problem.  There is no way to achieve "buy-in" from staffers (or even pastors) when there is a feeling distrust between them and the leadership.  Create spaces wh…

Chicken Sandwich Theology: Chik-fil-A & Tolerance

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To begin with, I must offer full disclosure.

I love me some Chik-fil-A.

I love the chicken sandwiches at Chik-fil-A.  I love the homemade waffle fries at Chik-fil-A.  I love their shakes, their chicken nuggets, chicken sandwiches... heck, I even love their chicken soup.

I also love that when I go to Chik-fil-A the people who work there are polite, friendly, helpful, energetic and actually seem to care very deeply about what they do.  What a concept.  A fast food chain that actually has hiring standards.

Not to mention the countless charities that Chik-fil-A supports, education initiatives, and much more.

And here's something else I love.  I love the fact that Chik-fil-A bears witness to the faith and convictions of it's founder, Truett Cathy, who vowed not to serve chicken, or shakes, or nuggets on Sunday.

Despite the fact that Chik-fil-A is closed on Sunday, despite the fact that it doesn't have have the ubiquity of MacDonalds (which is on every stinking corner  of eve…

Life Without A Net - Part 5 "Living In Prayer"

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Just a little over a month ago, Nic Wallenda (of the famous "Flying Wallendas" family) became the first man to walk a tightrope across the mouth of the Horsehoe Falls of Niagra Falls.  The wire stretched nearly 400 yards across the swirling falls, and Wallenda walked through wind and mist to other side.  Here's a bit of the back story that made headlines after he made it:




The New York Times wrote this about the stunt, "[Wallenda walked ] in a mist so thick he was not visible on the Canadian side for more than ten minutes after he started.  The walk... had an Old Testament feel to it."

Old Testament feel...  Why?  Because of the mist?

Or because he prayed before during and after he walked four hundred yards on a two inch wire that was stretched across certain death.
And it was crazy.
And it was something a prophet might do.
Maybe all of those things, but I bet it was mostly because of the prayer.

Most of us find the time to pray when we are about to do so…

The Demise of the Episcopal Church: A Cautionary Tale

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Imagine that you are on an expedition to scale Mt. Unfathomable.  You reach a fork in the path near some treacherous cliffs.  It's foggy.  And I mean the kind of fog that you can't see your hand in front of your face.  


So to test things out, so to speak, you send one of the sherpas to the fork on the left.  


For a time there is silence, save for the sound of the sherpa slowly shuffling along.  Then there is a scream, a scramble and then the sound of a shrieking sherpa, falling to his doom.  


So you send another sherpa.  And this one also falls to his shrieking doom.  


You send yet another sherpa.  Shrieks.  Doom.  


Finally, you are out of sherpas.  


You turn to the other people in your expedition party and you say to them, 


"I dunno.  I think the fork on the left might be okay.  Let's get moving."

That's dumb, you might be saying.  I agree.

_____________________________

Let me share a story with you about a church that was...



There was a time in American history t…

Your Church (or Denomination) Might Just Be Stuck, Man.

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The recent General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA just ended, mercifully.  All that was accomplished during this 220th meeting of the national organization of the denomination within which I am ordained was... not much.  Some might call it a stalemate.  Other would call it an impasse.  I would call it an exercise in futility, a flailing about by an entity that is drowning, in death throes, or something of some such.

Have you ever had a friend who had a really huge zit, and the zit appeared right before they were about to get married, have their portrait painted or go to prom?  And they put makeup on the zit, and tried to hide the zit with a veil or a mask?

And then they asked you how it looked?

And you lied to them through your teeth?

So right now the question that you are about to ask me is, "What chance does the national organization of the Presbyterian Church (USA) really have to live, thrive, find relevance and do something cool?"

To which I would reply, &q…

Life Without A Net Pt.2

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Charles Blondin was the greatest tightrope artist alive in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Some might argue he was the greatest ever.  Blondin made a living out of walking a tight rope across Niagra Falls.  I've been there a couple of times,  so that impresses the heck out of me.   He got so good at it that he would go out on to the high wire in outlandish ways---on stilts, with a lit stove which he used to cook himself breakfast while on the wire... pretty crazy stuff.

There is a story of how Blondin once walked out on to a tightrope during an exhibition and then wheeled a wheelbarrow out on to it and back.  The crowd cheered.  Blondin then asked the crowd if anyone believed he could wheel the wheelbarrow out on the wire with a person in it.  They all affirmed that he could do it.  He then asked for a volunteer.

That's when things got quiet.

Finally, a man volunteered from the crowd and went and got into the wheelbarrow and was wheeled out on to the wire.  The man wa…