In the dark, in the car, hands on the steering wheel, I sighed in frustration. “I can’t do this anymore,” I said out loud, startling myself with the fierceness of my tone over the sound of the car’s heater. On that frigid January night, I was brittle with fatigue and hollow with disappointment. I had… Continue reading What Is Your Reference Point for Success in Ministry?
A great gift that accompanies every invitation to speak at women's events is the opportunity to observe and to learn from leaders in a variety of contexts: What's working for them? How often do they meet? How does their leadership team function? I love working with the women at the church I call home. We've… Continue reading Innovative Solutions for Women’s Ministry Leaders
"But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you." (I Thessalonians 5:1) Paul's words come embedded with a warning to the church--sort of a, "It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway" message regarding a certain watchfulness and an inspired willingness to live in the present… Continue reading Concerning the Times and the Seasons: Summer 2019
It all started as a strategy for outreach. We sat around a table and began to dream out loud, trusting that the fire of shared passion and the wisdom of group process would yield creative ideas for communicating the love of Christ to our community. I don’t mind confessing that I loved my dream. We… Continue reading When Your “Perfect” Plan Has Crashed and Burned
The garden is running late this year. Cold nights (making for cold soil) have resulted in pea plants that sprouted on schedule, grew to a fixed point, and then sputtered and stalled out, stunted. The prophet Isaiah had things to say about who is in charge of growth, both in the garden and in the… Continue reading The Quiet Miracle of Roots and Leaves
Conversations about missionaries and missions strategy are commonplace in our home. We talk about the latest newsletter updates, who's "home," and who's "back on the field." We wonder about the members of our missionary family when we don't hear from them, and we puzzle over big picture concerns in an era in which more missionaries… Continue reading Is There a “Right Way” to Do Church Ministry?
Ministry professionals rarely lead with their weaknesses. We want church leaders with plenty of personality, charisma, and confidence. Missionary letters and reports may dip into Brené Brown vulnerability territory for a paragraph or two, but the overall theme is generally a litany of accomplishments and success stories. The 21st century church largely agrees that blessing and… Continue reading Pastoral Ministry: The Courageous Calling to a Faithful Love
When a pastoral search goes well, everyone wins. Last year when a soft-spoken lobsterman rose to his feet and challenged us at Spruce Head Community to seek a shepherd who would lead us and love us, we began praying and seeking to that end. The seeking and the finding has united us, and we are… Continue reading A Bundle of Letters on the Church’s Doorstep
Life-changing . . . When I was fifteen, I attended a ten-day training event in preparation for a summer of children’s ministry. For the life of me, I’ll never remember what possessed me to think that I could hold the attention of a group of kids – or that I would dare to open my… Continue reading Relationship: The Active Ingredient
“I should have worn sturdier shoes.” “What was I thinking?” Well, for one thing, I was thinking that an invitation to go for “a walk” issued by a seventy-five-year-old woman with a snowy crown of fly-away hair would be a rather sedate affair. I was thinking that we would chat, and that Helen would tell… Continue reading Vocational Equilibrium – A Tribute for Women’s History Month