Every person needs to feel appreciated. Pastors, and their spouses, are no exception. I remember getting movie tickets in the mail. No note, just tickets. It brought tears to my eyes. A small thing? Some would think so, but to us it was huge.
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John Calvin includes this peculiar statement in the introduction to his institutes: “Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God.” It is such a strange statement from someone so focused on God first and foremost. This statement sounds like something that would come from a 20th century proponent of the therapeutic approach, rather than from a 16th century Reformer.
Some in Denmark aim to make the nation a “Down syndrome-free perfect society” (actually a headline from a Danish newspaper). If you were to build a perfect society, how would you build it? What you would include in it would be telling. But perhaps more revealing would be what you might exclude from your perfect world...
I wish I could be afraid. Like Peter was afraid, once.
It happened this way. One day, after a fruitless night of fishing, Jesus told Peter to throw the nets out on the other side of the boat. Peter thought, "No way. Wrong place; wrong time." But to humor Jesus — who had, after all, just healed his mother-in-law — Peter did as he was told. And according to the story Luke tells, Peter caught a huge load of fish. It seemed a miracle.
A few years ago I came across a cartoon that struck me as unfortunately true. In the first few panels, a pastor was engaged in various dimensions of ministry: consoling a grieving family, talking to a judge about one of his parishioners who had been arrested, encouraging a man who just got laid off. Then, in the last frame, a angry parishioner confronts the pastor in his study and says “You ministers don’t know what it’s like out there in the real world!”
Like most people, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was sitting in my car at a gas station on Godwin Avenue in Midland Park, NJ, listening to my radio as an attendant filled my tank. No sooner did I hear a reporter say that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and I got out of my car to see for myself. On most days in Midland Park you could see the twin towers clearly as you looked down Godwin Avenue toward New York City. That morning was especially clear—almost cruelly so.
Today I retire.So I’d like to say a thing or two about this venture, The Network, and give you an opportunity to weigh in on its future. We launched The Network on February, 2010, not knowing exactly what to expect. We’ve watched it grow during each one of these last 18 months.
I would like to think that I am a Reformed Charismatic but I wonder what that means. So, here’s one attempt to clarify the convictions of a Christ-follower who believes that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and that John Calvin had a pretty good understanding of the apostle Paul.
It’s not that we don’t have leaders; we just don’t have enough of them with the mind and skills sets to lead us through this particular phase of our church’s life and challenges. In the past we have produced a certain kind of leader. But leadership needs have changed. The outcome (product) needs to be different if we are to grow and flourish.
We segment children and youth into their own programs of education, fellowship, and even mission so everyone ends up in their own little “silos.” It seems like a good thing—reach them with their peers, teach them at their own level. Let them worship in a way they can relate to. How can that be wrong?
A question that some have asked may be worth some thought. The question, stated rather bluntly, is this: “Why are so many candidates from other denominations coming into the CRC when we have so many of our own candidates still waiting?”
There has been a rise in Geekdom as of late from The Big Bang Theory on CBS to the recently crowned Miss America coming out and saying she’s a huge history geek and loves Star Wars. For the longest time, many of us kept our geekiness a secret lest we be found out. We are doctors, scientists, music teachers, housewives, farmers, dentists, nurses, and even (gasp) pastors...
Over the last three years of being a pastor (as an intern and ordained) I’ve lost about eighty pounds—and all in front of people who see me changing week to week to week. And yet, for most of those three years, it hasn’t been something we talk about. Most of the time, people are afraid to bring it up while all I want to do is
It’s time we talked about one of the most agonizing experiences of preparing for ministry: that of waiting for a call. Seminary graduates who are declared by synod as candidates for ministry enter into a period of searching, researching, and waiting. For a number of years they have been dreaming of serving
In working with congregational leaders, I often point out that the ultimate goal of congregational care is discipleship – helping people mature in Christ. This too is the ultimate goal for the annual home visit, even though few churches do this well consistently. For this reason, some congregations have replaced the pastoral care activities of elders with an emphasis on small group ministry.
What picture comes into your mind when you hear the word “missions?” Does the picture change when you read “missio dei? Or missional?” Recently I had someone rather vigorously object to the term missions. For him the missio dei was a good thing and missions were evil. I’ve had similar...
Leonard Cohen sings a long, complex song called “It’s Closin’ Time.” It’s full of varied images and scenes that evoke life’s excitement, unpredictability, the rare possibility of controlling much, but dealing with it without anxiety. Sort of like The Network.
Today we’re starting a new, weekly e-newsletter for pastors in the CRC.Why? If you are like many pastors we know, your email inbox fills up fast. Too fast. And we are partly responsible. Consolidating the announcements we send you into a single email allows us to reduce the number of mailings without cutting you off from information you might want and need.But this isn’t just about sharing announcements. It’s also about pastors sharing with each other...
This has been quite a week for both home nations of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Two events of political and pastoral significance riveted us - the death of Osama Bin Laden and the federal election in Canada.