Sunday, June 27, 2010

I am having a baby - well not really

Today is a strange Sunday for me. I am ending my time as the pastor of the single charge of West Grove UMC - Neptune Twp. Thursday I begin as the Pastor of a two point charge West Grove and Memorial UMC - Neptune City.

As I sit in my office this morning preparing for worship I can't help but think of this transition as the birthing of a new child. I guess there are several ways that one can look at a two charge appointment, I choose the birth analogy.

On Thursday we will have two group of people (the parents) of two churches coming together to form something new (the baby). We don't know what this birth will look like or act like or grow into. All we can do is put all we have into it and pray that the Holy Spirit continues to lead us.

I view this as the chance to bring new ministry to a larger group of people in the surrounding areas...however just like with a baby potential is not everything.

Potential must be lived up to...and for this baby to live up to its potential it needs three things. It needs the people of West Grove to embrace the change that is coming and see the possibilities for exciting new ministry. We need the people of Neptune City to also embrace the change and see a chance for a reigniting. Finally we need to be led by and filled by the holy Spirit in all that we do.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

An Experiment - fails or maybe not

As is often my pattern, last Sunday during worship I came up with some inspiration. I was announcing that it would be children's Sunday. As I said that I decide that it would be a great idea to try something new.

I told the folks at church to bring their phones to church that we would be using Facebook and Twitter during Worship. It was simply an off handed comment to get the church thinking and to perhaps even make them a little uneasy.

My week went as the week typically does and before I knew it Saturday night was upon me. All the preparation for worship were long done and the sermon was ready to go. then I got a text message. The message was to let me know that someone in the church had signed up with Twitter and was "ready to go" for church.

So lots of last minute changes happened...messages...texts...emails....tweets...went out.....
I knew that I needed some help for this to work their needed to be some participation.

Well this morning we gave it a go...I had my cell phone in my hand as worship began and had someone manning my laptop to monitor facebook and twitter... I put a rough outline of the sermon up and away we went.....

75 minutes later worship was over....It all did not go anything like I had originally intended. I did not get as much participation as I wanted however what I got was great and helped tremendously.

I have lots of thinking and praying to do about what this will look like going forward. I know that this can't be a one off event. If I truly believe anything I talk about...the reaching the unchurched...the thinking outside the box...the necessity of making the church more open to youth and young adults them I know that I have to do something.

So perhaps this first attempt can be classified as a failure.....but it was a start....and I think the Spirit is leading me to explore it some more....so keep on following I can't wait to see where we end up

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Worship Fever- Have you caught it?

I am very excited that the World Cup is about to start. We just got back from my son's soccer game and I was very impressed with the spirit of the kids as they battled to a draw.

The World Cup brings that excitement and adds the extra dimension of the things like national pride and the best of the best talent.

As many of you know, I love sports and can get caught up in the excitement of a sporting event very easily especially a tournament with all the twists an turns that it holds.

Yet I often find myself comparing that excitement level to the level of excitement that you may find in the typical Sunday Worship. Why is it so different? Why can't we get ourselves just as excited and on edge as we worship God.

It would seem that if anything can get us fired up it would be the chance to experience the Living God.

So as I find myself getting fired up for some soccer I can't help but wonder what we need to do to bring that excitement into the sanctuary this Sunday.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Back to School?

Well I just finished an online application for the Doctor of Ministry program at Drew. Am I going? Am I serious about this journey?

I am not exactly sure yet. It has been something I have been thinking about off and on for awhile. I guess it is like a test-cast if I was looking to buy a new reel.

How does the reel feel? Does it respond like I want in my hands?

So I sent out a test-cast tonight. I filled out the on line application and then I answered the questions for my personal statement and sent that off as well.

Now I guess I will look at what Wesley has to offer and perhaps throw out another test-cast later.

I guess it is time for a little prayer and we will see what happens.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Your are Welcome....but

On July 1st, I start two new directions in my pastoral ministry. The first is that I will be adding a second church to my charge. However, it is the second on that I want to talk about.

I will be the co-chair for the Conference Youth and Young adult team with my focus on the young adult side of that occasion.

With that in mind I had the privilege of spending time with some of the young adult at Annual Conference. Spending time with them I was very impressed and very encouraged with the group of young adults that I got to spend time with. Rest assured my colleagues there is some great people that are being raised up to do the ministry of Jesus Christ.

However, I also think we have so much work to do. Time and time again I heard stories and opinions of young people feeling as if they were not being taken seriously or not being allowed to use their gifts and graces in the life of the church. They felt welcomed.....but.....

And the truth is it's a very big but(t)....they are being told sometimes that this is the way they must do things or this is the way they must worship or their opinion matters only in certain circumstances....

We need to change that....I am sitting in Borders this morning working on a sermon on fear based on 1 Kings 19...Elijah running away from Jezebel.

Are we afraid? Are we afraid of giving up control? Are we trying to force people to change to be like us to be accepted into "our church"

What do you think?