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Death by Suicide

My husband’s suicide brought us pain that was and is immeasurable ... I hesitate to use the word “acceptance,” for how do we “accept” what is totally unacceptable?

Elders
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Pastoral Care, Homosexuality and the Elder

Increasingly, church communities are seeking new ways of living in community with countless people for whom the role “heterosexual, married with children” does not apply. How do we talk about the pain, the struggle and the violence (physical and verbal) that has accompanied the journey of many among us? 

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The Various Roles of an Elder

Recognizing our various roles, considering what is required by them, and accepting their limitations goes a long way to keeping appropriate boundaries in the church’s life. 

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Do You Love Me?

It is the question Jesus asked Peter. It is the question every member asks the elder.  
When we become an elder, the tasks of the office loom before us. We will have to attend meetings, engage in church management, arrange visits with members, and take on leadership responsibilities. If you are a first time elder, these responsibilities can be overwhelming.

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Just-in-Time Learning

In our just in time culture, just in time learning has come to work of elders. Very few churches have a program of preparation in which people are enrolled prior to their call to be an elder. Which means most elders start the work of eldership feeling unprepared for the challenge of the work. Learning needs to happen on many fronts. Just by reading this, you are seeking information and encouragement for the challenges you face.

Elders
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On Good Questions

So I began to wonder what have been some of the best questions in the context of the elder’s work in the congregation. Leading the congregation in good conversations that create fresh consideration of the way we seek to live our lives faithful to God is vital to our call.

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On Reading Mel Lawrenz Whole Church: Book Reflection

In church council we are always concerned about vision in the life of the church. We are also concerned about building unity in our common life. This book addresses both. His vision is summarized as “engaging God, God’s people, community, and mission to the world”.

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The Easter Story and the Way of the Elder

As I was thinking about the sermons for Good Friday and Easter Sunday, it struck me (once again) that the story we tell was not intended to simply give us a wonderful celebration 2000 years later. Jesus came to bring change.

Elders
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Leading When We Feel Like Tottering Fences

Yesterday, we reflected on what happened in elders lives this past year. When they said yes to serving as elder, they considered the pros and cons, their schedules and abilities. They knew they faced challenges. But all things considered they accepted, as the form says, that this was the call of God on their lives. Then life happened...

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Fresh Eyes Ears

My grandchildren have me looking as if for the first time once again. They see what I pass over. They are delighted with what I consider common. They hear in a fresh way. Observing them takes me out of my world and into theirs. Fresh ears and eyes that see and hear with wonder. It reminds me of what Jesus said: “unless you become like a child.”

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Christian Maturity & the Call of the Elder

Paul desires a maturity in Christ. Clearly, to be filled with the fullness of God requires that the love of Christ shapes our very being. Jesus makes it clear that this includes loving your enemies and forgiving those who sin against us. Mature Christian living is not just a matter of experiencing Christ’s forgiveness but being transformed in Christ’s love to reflect the love of God for his world. Elders are agents of such transformation.

Elders
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Joy in the Work of Elders

Elders have often said to me that one of the highlights of being an elder is listening to the testimony of those who want to become members of the community. Now they were given a chance to teach. And they found joy in their ministry.

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Ascension Day

To confess Jesus is Lord is to say The Market is not, the President is not, the Banks are not, the Taliban is not. This is counter-cultural. We need many occasion to remind ourselves of this truth we so easily forget in the day to day demands on our lives.

Elders
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Confusion in Communication Strategies

At a council meeting, we were talking about communicating a particular concern and decision to the congregation. That’s where it began. The ones who were dealing with the youth suggested that we put in on facebook. The ones with email thought that was adequate. The luddites suggested that the mailslots in the church were adequate. Everyone agreed that just putting it in the bulletin was inadequate: it is never read well enough. 

Elders
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Nomination Time

A name is mentioned. There is a collective hesitation. No one really wishes to speak. To open a conversation is to open the story of a mixed past.

Elders
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Discipleship, Discipline and Naming Sin

In order for elders to exercise their shepherding responsibility and name sin in a person’s life, there needs to be a relationship of some meaning. We may be frustrated by another’s behavior but perhaps we need to reflect first on the nature of our relationship with the person.

Elders
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Taking Time to Grow

I was working on new material for our catechetical program for the fall. In our first sessions, we want to focus on how we grow as Christians. I want youth to know what they need to practice in order to grow to maturity. In the process I listened to some youtube videos of Richard Foster. (Get a Life: the with-God life ).

Elders
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Reliability and Spiritual Life

I started looking for a new car. It is an interesting journey. One question I ask involved reliability. I want to drive the vehicle for a long time. This means I am looking not only at first impressions or even cheapest price; I want the vehicle that has long haul credibility. I will accept fewer luxuries to gain greater reliability. Reliability is a quality of the Christian life...

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Spirit and Desire

What do you want? It is a simple question. But the answers touch on many complex matters of the human heart. Dealing with human desire is one of the common features of spirituality in many religious traditions. Each one agrees on this: getting what we want often leads us astray.

Elders
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Taking Care of the Pastor

Spring is slowly awakening my garden. We don’t plant much food. A little lettuce. Some beans. Still it is nourishment. In order for us to get the nourishment from this small plot, we need to tend the plot, ensure adequate water, and get rid of the weeds. It is neither instant nor effortless.
Often times the image of feeding is used to speak about preaching...

Elders
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Waiting for the Spirit

Acts 1 begins with Jesus telling the disciples “wait”. It is not that the disciples were without skills or abilities. But that was beside the point. The basic principle is simple: not by might, nor by power, but by the Holy Spirit.

Elders

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