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Can Deacons Really Lead?

This question haunts me. I hardly dare to raise it. But so much depends on the answer.  I'm afraid to raise it - afraid of the issues and feelings it might call forth.  In a nutshell, I am hopeful, but cautiously hopeful. Deacons DO lead, lots of them. But where there is...

Deacons
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Identity or Intruder

I’ve wondered why many older people who live with significant disabilities do not identify themselves as disabled, and even take offense at being called disabled. Yet, other people who live with disabilities not only embrace the term but even talk about “disability pride.”

Disability Concerns
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Empathy is key

Empathy is a perspective, a decision, and a skill to reach outside of yourself to connect with someone else. Empathy puts the Golden Rule into action.

Disability Concerns
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Here Comes Trouble!

Yes, good ideas are often trouble. Timing is wrong, or they're not really that good, or they're great but no one can execute, or you have to exert energy heading them off without offending the source, and on and on....

Deacons
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Really? Small Groups at the Fitness Center?

 ... today my small group world and work-out world collided when I saw a sign advertising “Small Group Personal Training.” For a very reasonable price we are offered the opportunity to get the benefits of a personal trainer in a small group setting. The sign promoted other benefits of these small groups:

Small Groups
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Still Looking for Mr. Right?

The search is on for Sunday school leaders! If you’re having trouble finding leaders who will commit for the entire season, be creative about using people’s gifts and abilities even if their schedules are limited.

Children's Ministry
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What Did YOU Do on Your Summer Vacation?

Well, it has been a couple of weeks since I've been on-line. Yes, my family and I have been "on holidays," as we say up here in the "true North, strong and free"--or as Bob Dylan calls it south of the border, "the north country fair." Whatever you call it, after a hard start to our holidays with the death of a young mother in our congregation (see the blog, "Claudette's Cancer: A Hard Sanctification?"), God blessed us with opportunities to re-connect as siblings, cousins, parents, childen and grandchildren in two rounds of family reunions.

Pastors
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You Gotta Come With

If the Christian message is true, it is not an act of love and care to keep it to yourself. The caring thing to do is spread the news widely because receiving it is beneficial to the hearers. 

Global Mission
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Spider Deacons

What a picture of the organization THAT is! The denominational bureaucracy suddenly looked like a living body, eyeballs connected to kneecaps in ways that were meaningful, and affirming, and exciting. I saw “organic” instead of hierarchical. It looked sweet.

Deacons
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“Contemporary Worship” Doesn’t Have to Be Empty of History

We were on holidays and decided to go to a “contemporary service” in a CRC with nearly 100 years of history. Now, I LIKE to be critical—part of the "old man" still kicking around, I guess. But my wife is a kind and gentle and just woman. So, imagine my surprise the next day when she energetically called it a “dipstick” service. Yikes. How come?

Pastors
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A Sober Warning

An op-ed from the August 7 New York Times, written by a United Church of Christ pastor is called "Congregations Gone Wild." G. Jeffrey MacDonald sketches a serious warning to pastors and congregations about our consumerist culture's potential to blow out the foundation and integrity of the pastoral calling.

Pastors
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Feature Focus: Short Descriptive URLs

Look up; at the top of the window. Up in the address bar is the URL of this website. Have you looked at the addresses that your website is using? Your church is probably using a system (CMS) that automatically creates the URL for a page based on a template. Usually the default is for ugly unusable URLs. However, with most of the popular CMSs there are options to change the way URLs are structured.

Church Communications
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Things I Learned On Vacation

What did I learn on vacation? If I had quit climbing that mountain, I would have missed an awe-inspiring view of God’s wonderful creation. I don’t want to quit on my spiritual formation, either. There are times when it seems really tough and too difficult to keep-on-keeping-on

Small Groups
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Community in a Lonely World

 "There are three activities absolutely vital in the creation of community.  The first is eating together around the same table. The second is praying together.  And the third is celebrating together.” 

Elders
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A Whisper

About a month ago I bumped into one of the daughters as she was visiting a local sister. I had recently visited her mom. We shared our experiences, wondering what stuck in her mom’s mind, what penetrated the formerly glowing eyes that only infrequently glimmer with God-knows-what powerful memory or affection. At one time the daughter sighed, “We all wonder what purpose God has for letting Mom live like this. Why is Mom still hanging on?”

Pastors
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The Next Generation

Interest in missions seems to vary considerably by generation.  For many in the Builder Generation (born 1928-45) missions was seen growing up as an exotic activity done by a few spiritual giants.  For many Millennials (born 1982 and after), it is something that they do, not that they support financially.  OK, those are caricatures, but they do bear some resemblance to reality, right?  Several people recently have talked to me with deep concern about missions committees at churches with which they are familiar. 

Global Mission
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Your Church's Online Presence: Get Past the Planning and Jump in

Over two decades ago Nike coined the phrase "Just do it". While this has taken on numerous meanings, the original meaning still rings true: even if it's not going to be perfect or close to perfect, just do it anyways. If you are waiting for the perfect moment and for everything to come together perfectly, it's probably not going to. Instead, take the first small steps, and go from there.

Church Communications
Blog
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From Stranger to Friend

We are strangers to each other. We know each other’s names. We can sketch some truths about the other out. But more often than not there are secrets so deep and movements of the heart so hidden that we remain strangers.Hospitality is a way of grace. It is creating safe compassionate places to free the soul to become more human, where sinners are loved into wholeness and where the self-assured can become more Christ-assured.

Elders

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