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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
Blog
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What If There Were A Revolution!

 Could it have started while we weren’t paying attention? We didn’t notice the first sign – it was Overture 16 to Synod of 2010, followed by the decision of Synod to say YES

Deacons
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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
Blog
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Spilled Salt: A Cup of Coffee

I am frequent user of caffeine. My caffeine flavour of choice is Tim Horton’s coffee, a large with two sugars. Because of this, I am in Tim Horton’s restaurants (if you can call them that …) a fair bit. The other day, I was buying some Tim Cards for some special people, and was working with the manager to get it all sorted out.

Youth Ministry
Blog
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Consider the B's

As I observe community life around me, I see that over time groups can tend to be more “exclusive” rather than “inclusive.” There seems to be a tendency to gradually build up walls around our group when deciding who fits and who doesn’t. Rather than reflecting Jesus’ inclusive love toward those around us, we find reasons to be exclusive.

Small Groups
Blog
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Spilled Salt: Unspiritual

Mission is not just about going to the slums in India where this young adult went or to the tribes in Africa that don’t have Bibles in their own language. Join me in asking and answering a few questions.

Youth Ministry
Blog
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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
Blog
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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
Blog
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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
Blog
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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
Blog
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Do Christians Become Jerks Online?

A month ago Blizzard (a video game developer) announced they were going to require users of their online forums to use their real names with a hope to reduce trolling, flame wars, and other non productive comments. This was a bold move by Blizzard which shows the severity of their problem. Immediately, many users complained, and Blizzard ended up cancelling this requirement.

Church Communications
Blog
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Re-thinking a FAQ

Given our busy, individualistic Western lifestyle, a once-a-week small group may be too much to ask of a lot of people, but obviously not all. Those who have a vision to experience community that transforms lives and cities are ready. 

Small Groups
Blog
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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
Blog
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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
Blog
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Sidelines: Always Learning

As a "pastor family" there are several things that can set your family apart within the church congregation. Some of those things are obvious differences (like not being able to complain about the youth pastor's sermons!) and some are self-inflicted (like choosing not to get involved in things due to conflict of interest situations). But...

Youth Ministry
Blog
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Elders, Learning and Doing Theology

Every conversation about the things of God is laced with reflection about God. As elders, we are challenged to lead people in clear thinking. But that means elders need to think things through as well. So this makes me wonder: when and how do elders practice disciplined learning in the matters of faith?

Elders
Blog
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Living the Gospel

Imagine this. You’ve been in an ongoing spiritual discussion with someone and are asked, “So what is the Gospel?” How would you answer? I had a pretty pat answer in mind until I spent time reflecting on the first four verses of Isaiah 61. This passage points out a bigger understanding of the Gospel than I’m used to thinking

Small Groups

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