Posts by Sam Hamstra

Why am I raking leaves?

Why am I blowing, raking, and burning leaves?  Why not just let nature takes its course? Well, I want the lawn around my cabin to weather the winter and flourish in the spring. But that answer simply prompts another question: Why did I spend so much time taking care of my lawn…thatching, aerating, fertilizing (not once…

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Why Small Churches Make Better Disciples Than Large Churches

In his 1905 essay on the family G.K. Chesterton writes, “The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world. He knows much more of the fierce varieties and uncompromising divergences of men. The reason is obvious. In a large community we have the freedom to choose our companions. In a…

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Lead Pastor Opportunity with Ebenezer Reformed Church (Morrison, IL)

Ebenezer Reformed Church (Morrison, IL) has begun a search for its next Lead Pastor. This numerically and financially stable congregation is known as a dedicated, caring, loving, and generous congregation. More importantly, Ebenezer has been serving its community for 100 years and looks forward to a future that includes both numerical and spiritual growth. The…

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Lead Pastor Opportunity (South Holland, IL)

Thorn Creek Reformed Church (South Holland, IL) has begun a search for a pastor to lead it into a new chapter of ministry during which the congregation seeks to be a community where faith and life meet by making disciples who follow Jesus together. The ideal candidate for this opportunity will be an experienced pastor…

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The Unintended Message of Live-Streamed Sermons

Have you heard the phrase, “The Medium is the Message”? It was once penned by a ground-breaking Canadian philosopher named Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980). He taught that a communication medium, like live-streaming, is so powerful that it actually shapes the message being communicated. The medium embeds itself in the message and influences how the message is…

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The Pastor as a Servant of the Word

Most historians, it seems to me, value the lessons and experiences of the past as a tutor for the present. That assumption explains my fascination with John Nevin. I am a purpose-driven pastor who needs a reason for being. When I began pastoral ministry thirty-five years ago, I discovered that neither I, nor my congregation,…

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This Feels Like Grandma’s Church

TWENTY WAYS MY DAUGHTER’S CHURCH DIFFERS FROM HER GRANDMOTHER’S While shopping for a new home, you checked out a three-bedroom ranch most recently owned by a 90 year-old grandmother who had lived in it for over 40 years before her death. It was priced to sell by her children who indicated the home needed a…

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Meetings Without the Pastor About the Pastor

Yet one more time, I received word of a secret meeting without the pastor about the pastor.  The most recent was like most of those which preceded it: A couple men in positions of authority “felt led” to invite others to an off-site meeting so the two of them could share their concerns about the…

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What is our mission as a church?

It was hard to admit but after several weeks of conversations with congregants, Grace Church was forced to acknowledge that their mission as a church was maintenance. They discovered that their entire purpose boiled down to keeping the church running and paying the bills.  Now there are people who get excited about maintenance, auto mechanics…

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Through Thick and Thin

As Christ-followers, we worship the Lord through thick and thin.  We worship the Lord in good times and bad, with plenty and with little, after victory and after defeat, during storms and while basking in the sun. We also worship the Lord through thick and thin practices.  Have you heard of that distinction? Those who…

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