Skip to main content

25 years ago we were part of a church in which one of the deacons made a point of wearing his suit and tie once a month, scruffy clothes once a month, and kahki's and a polo shirt twice a month.  His response to the church folks who complained (of the scruffy or the white-shirt days) was that he was consciously working to make the church comfortable for whoever dropped in.  I was impressed.  On a practical level, I appreciate it when churches tell you on their website what their dominant "dress code" is.  When we travel and visit churches, I always look for this.  One feels pretty weird showing up in a strange church if you are the only one in a dress or the only one in blue jeans!

This was a good question -- asked several years ago.  I'm wondering if any of the participants in this original discussion could tell us what happened.  How did things work out?  Advice for others considering join youth groups with other churches?


I like every one of these books you suggest, Mark.  But we've got to keep our eyes open for a female's perspective on these things.  Don't any Christian women write books and blogs about faith and life at the university?


The comments below suggest that there is a wealth of good training material available for deacons -- but it looks thin when it comes to elders.  Do people have any good resources to suggest for training elders?


Thanks for the thought about the recorded webinars.  I've helped with orientation for elders for decades now... starting in years when I could not be an elder myself.  Now I'm looking for ideas to help a younger generation consider the role and and responsibilities... 

The materials we have seem to present the role of elder as a pastor sees that role, rather than as elders actually experience it.  I'm particularly interested in how good training for council members could help create an environment in which Pastor/Council tensions are resolved without major trauma.  We are in conversation with the Pastor/Church relations folks, too.

Both as a university chaplain and as a prof, I often found that students were troubled about the way they saw their pastors and youth group leaders using sources.  They often looked at it as a personal issue: "how come he can paraphrase big hunks of Tim Keller without saying so, but I get nailed if I do that in a paper!?"  Rarely did they want to admit that their pastor was being unethical.  In the academic world plagiarism is a HUGE sin.  In the church world it seems to be a minor one. To me this is a shameful dilemma.

The solution that I have advocated for pastors and youth group leaders is that they borrow freely -- and give the citations and credit freely.  I like it very much when a pastor says something like "portions of this mesage have been gleaned from...(a variety of sources... three particular authors... whatever...) and you are welcome to check them out if you are interested.  The details are posted (in the bulletin... in the hall outside my office... wherever)."  This keeps the sermon free of distracting creditings, makes it clear that the preacher does not claim total originality and wants to give the sources their due, and lets geeks like me track down sources and ideas that interest me.

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post