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Blog
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What Kind of Help Helps?

I once had a boss who was in the habit of copying a page or two out of a book, and then giving it to me, saying, "Here, I think you'll find this helpful". He left me to imagine what situation or behavior of mine he was trying to help!

Deacons
Blog
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View From the Sparrow's Nest - Day Two

I mentioned in my first synod blog the anxiety I felt driving to synod and then how it seemed to dissipate with meeting and greeting old friends and colleagues.  I felt like the sparrow protected by God's almighty hand.  So I'll refer to these synod blogs as the "view from the sparrow's nest".

Safe Church
Blog
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Synod - Day One

Synod for me is like a lot of training events.  In one respect, synod is a friendly environment to discuss a subject matter that is dear to my heart and therefore easy to talk about.  On the other hand, delegates, like conference attendees, often ask pointed questions and challenge the speaker's knowledge or the opinions of others.  It is this second respect which draws out the anxiety in me and probably in a few other speakers. 

Safe Church
Blog
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An Exchange about Membership Transfers

Here's a brief email exchange about some technical issues on membership transfers between congregations and different denominations. I thought this might be helpful for elders, deacons, pastors, members because I think we deal with this at least ten times a year for people either transferring in or out. I think the two notes below are self-explanatory...

Pastors
Blog
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Recruiting New Committee Members

Finding the right people for your missions committee or GO (Global Outreach) team is key to a vibrant missions program. What are you doing in order to discover and attract excellent committee members? Here are a couple of thoughts. 

Global Mission
Blog
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Daring All Deacons!!!

When is a deacon like a doodle bug?
In an entirely unReformed tactic, I dare you, in fact I double-dare you, to be the first deacon to post a story on this site. What do you have to lose?

Deacons
Blog
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Different Isn't Bad

Usually different is bad. I don’t see miniskirts in retirement villages, kelly green sport coats at bill signing ceremonies, or polyester dress slacks resting on Harley-Davidson seats. People steer clear of a person who is different.

Disability Concerns
Blog
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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
Blog
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Let's Go!

Here we go! The Network discussion on small groups is making the transition from “discussion network” to “guided network”. Congratulations to us!

Small Groups
Blog
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Church IT Survey

Ever wonder what operating system other churches are running on their servers? What they use for email? What solution other churches use for their staff intranet? What their IT budget is? The Church IT Survey is a survey that provides responses for these questions and forty others from over 150 churches.

Church Communications
Blog
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Afterglow

Another Sunday school season has gone by. It’s time to breathe a sigh of relief and whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s continued faithfulness. Pour yourself a tall glass of cold lemonade to sip as you savor Sunday school memories.

Children's Ministry
Blog
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Spilled Salt : Ripple

The skies were grey, and the weatherman was calling for more of the liquid sunshine. There was a single puddle left over from the previous nights rain fall in the middle of the church parking lot. For some reason I stared at this puddle, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Then a single drop fell, and hit the puddle.

Youth Ministry
Blog
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Mission Emphasis Planning

Pentecost is past; the school year is winding up; and summer is upon us.  Before you know it fall will be here.  Many churches have a mission emphasis celebration between mid-September and mid-November, and now is a good time to plan those events.  The scope of mission emphasis celebrations runs all the way from prayer and the collection of Faith Promise pledges to a nine day period with four worship services and mid-week events that cover ...

Global Mission
Blog
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How Can a Church Unleash Its Deacons?

Is there any regular and routine setting in which the deacons are asked HOW they have ministered to the poor, and to the wealthy during the past month?  Is the congregation regularly encouraged to tell stories about how they’ve lived out diaconal service? Are worship services planned regularly with references to diaconal messages, functions, roles, office?  Is there a story to tell? 

Deacons
Blog
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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
Blog
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Fourth Question in the series "I'd like to know something about..."

The fourth in a series of questions frequently raised in training sessions:  I am a man who cares deeply about sexual abuse, but what can one man do to make a difference?  Isn't (sexual abuse) primarily a problem women need to learn how to keep themselves safe? Gerry Heyboer writes the following response.  The answer to the first question is "A lot!"  The answer to the second question is "No!"

Safe Church
Blog
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The Trouble with Jesus' Ascension--and Its Promise

May 13 was the least known, possibly most important Christian holiday—Ascension Day. It should kick off big-time Christian parties, like those after the Prime Minister is sworn in–but bigger. It remembers when Jesus—Immanuel, God-with-Us—returned to heaven after his crucifixion and resurrection. From there he rules the universe at God the Father’s right hand.

Pastors
Blog
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Technical Preview of Office Web Apps

Two aspects of the web that are driving innovation are collaboration and lowering costs, of which almost any new web service or site provides. Recently Microsoft started the
Technical Preview of Microsoft Office Web Apps
which includes both of these. Office Web Apps (OWA) enable the editing, sharing, and storing of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote files online, through most browsers and any operating system.

Church Communications
Blog
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God's Counter-cultural Call

I’m concerned with developing small groups of people who covenant to a shared life together as they grow in Christlikeness and join God’s mission together.  That leaves me with this question. How do we establish counter-cultural groups in a culturally relevant way?

Small Groups
Blog
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Time to Redesign?

At least twice a year, those who lead small group ministries need to ask, “What are the next steps for this small group ministry? Where is God leading us?” If you don’t, chances are you’ll become stuck and ineffective.

Small Groups
Blog
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First Steps on Bisbee Drive

We would love to form a neighborhood small group where everyone on our block knows each other well, joins in spiritual conversations, prays for one another, and finds ways to serve in our community together. It’s a wonderful dream that we talk about often. The problem is, we don’t know our neighbors!

Small Groups
Blog
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Reality Check

Secondly, I need to remember that part of developing a disciple-making, mission-shaped small group ministry means offering safe places for those who find themselves needing extra support as they go rough patches in life.

Small Groups
Blog
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Things I Learned from my Mother

Relationships began to be built and conversations were broadened. Because these strangers were included, they began to feel a sense of belonging and experienced a bit of “the communion of the saints.” 

Small Groups
Blog
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Spilled Salt: Contact

Technology is wonderful. We have phones that enable long distance communication. We have automated call service centers. But actually, God wants us to have personal relationships and face to face conversations with one another. 

Youth Ministry

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