Trinitarian Theology of Ministry

I am grateful for my time at Asbury Theological Seminary for the doctor of ministry program (2004-2008). It was certainly worthwhile … and formational. One of the statements that has shaped me the most came out of one of the three required courses, “Theology of Ministry,” taught by Dr. Stephen Seamands (author of Wounds That … Read more

Education as Formation

Recently, I was reflecting on my journey, specifically as it relates to formal (ministry/leadership) education. A long time ago, I came to believe that the highest goal of education (for me, at least) was formation, not knowledge acquisition, or the diploma at the end of the program. Formation is a goal of all personal growth … Read more

Sleep Adjustments

It’s been a while since we’ve posted an update on how Sarah is adjusting (last two posts were Family Leave Report and Checking in on Sarah). Sarah has been with us a little over four months now, and all along, we’ve been saying that she is adjusting really well. The two areas that were perhaps … Read more


Last fall, Leadership Network offered a free online leadership event called, The Nines (see my posts, The Nines Marathon and More on The Nines). Now, they are offering another online event called Aha!. Aha!, which is expected to last about four hours, will focus on fresh ideas in the church coming from about 40 different … Read more

Simple Church 2.0

Picking up where we left off five months ago (due to parental leaves), our Covenant Groups resumed last night (see Simple Church 1.0). Our Covenant Groups (a requirement of our ordination process) are discussing Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger’s book, Simple Church. Since we had only read chapter one for our September 2009 meeting, we … Read more

Radical Hospitality

Schnase defines Christian hospitality as “the active desire to invite, welcome, receive, and care for those who are strangers so that they find a spiritual home and discover for themselves the unending richness of life in Christ.” It is active: that means we have to do something! It is offered to strangers, those we don’t … Read more

Cultivating Fruitfulness

The theme this Lent at West Side UMC is based on Bishop Robert Schnase’s Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations: Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service, Extravagant Generosity. The purpose of this study is to move toward greater fruitfulness for the glory of God. Schnase points out these five practices “are … Read more

Pastor’s Hangover

There’s sort of a common joke among church leaders that pastors write many Monday morning letters of resignation. Along these lines, I once heard Rob Bell use the term “pastor’s hangover” in a sermon, and it’s stuck with me ever since. Perhaps it’s because I know what it feels like (although, mine are normally mild). … Read more

Lenten Growth Plan

I have had a sense (or at least a hope) that Lent 2010 will be an especially transformational time in my life, in my home, and in my church. Knowing that we have to be intentional about our own spiritual growth, I’ve been thinking specifically about my growth plan for Lent (this continues the thinking … Read more

Lent 2010 Begins

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. This morning, I was finishing up reading through Ezra and his prayer toward the end of the book sounded like a good prayer for the beginning of Lent. Ezra, who has returned to Jerusalem with a group of Israelites that were in captivity in Babylon, … Read more