Miscellanies

The Ministry of Presence

Browsing a lovely bookstore in Kalamazoo, MI, I came across The Road to Character by David Brooks, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times and an instructor at Yale. In this 2016 publication, Brooks encourages us to “rethink our priorities and strive to build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth.” He…

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The Preacher as Prophet

It has been pretty easy during my nearly forty years of pastoral work to preach messages of hope. It has not been as easy to preach prophetically. My deep-seated insecurities and ever-present need to please people have all too often encouraged more therapeutic sermons that calm the fears than prophetic ones which excite them.  Perhaps…

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Five Steps to Denominational Renewal

Most pastors will acknowledge that the relationship between their congregations and their denominations is tethered by but a thread. One simple explanation for this is that denominations serve but a small percentage of the essential needs of their congregations. For many congregations, denominational services may be limited to insurance plans, pensions, seminaries, and ordinations. Outside…

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PC or MAC? Relational or Attractional?

For years I have used and loved my PC but my employer just provided me with a new MAC. As you may know, the two computer systems are similar but differ significantly – and the difference between the two is frustrating me! I am an older, pleated-pants kind of guy and am tempted to give…

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Congregations Explore "One Church Multiple Locations"

An historic meeting took place on Monday, May 19, 2014 in Morrison. Fourteen individuals, representing three congregations (First Christian Reformed Church of Fulton (IL), Bethel Christian Reformed Church of Fulton, and the Morrison (IL) Christian Reformed Church), came together, with the authorization of their Councils, to discuss a future of shared ministry. The conversation was…

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A Servant's Prayer

Heavenly Father, creator of the universe, source of perfect love, to You belong all glory and praise. To you belong all things. In your bounteous love you have provided for us. You provide for our needs before we know that we have needs. You love us in our inadequacy. You offer us salvation in our…

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A Relational or Attractional Approach to Reaching Out?

As congregations determine how best to seek and save the lost, they often choose one of two models or a hybrid of both.  These types of approaches may be labeled “attractional” and “relational.” The attractional model hopes to attract people to Christ through programs, such as a Sunday morning service. Once in the doors of…

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Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots: An observation, a Gospel Reading, a pastoral experience, and a word from the fourth century. An Observation: Christianity is hurt more by the inconsistent behavior of Christians than the abhorrent behavior of non-Christians. Take, as one example, the number of professing Christians who refuse to seek reconciliation with fellow Christians, even fellowship…

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A Pastor Who Affirms But Doesn't Agree With Every Jot or Tittle

What is of more value to the local congregation? A pastor who wholeheartedly and unreservedly believes in, agrees with, and subscribes to the doctrines of a particular church and its denomination? Or a pastor who promises to affirm wholeheartedly and not publicly contradict the doctrines of a particular church and her denomination? Granted, a congregation…

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The "We Need a Young Pastor" Myth

One of the more common assumptions of aging folk in a body of believers is that their congregation would benefit from a young pastor whom they assume would better relate to (and attract) the younger generation – the Millennials or Generation Ys (those who came of age at the turn of the millennium). In that…

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