Tag Archives: next step

Insiders and Outsiders of the Church

Over the past few weeks, I have been pondering what it means to be part of a faith community. When I am in a group setting I am often aware of what may not make sense to a newcomer. I find this to be true in worship, events, camp, meetings, etc. I believe that this has developed primarily from my service as a pastor at Resurrection. As an organization, we pay particular attention to welcoming first time guests.

The reality of insiders and outsiders in a community has troubled me in some circumstances. However, I recently realized that it is necessary to have insiders and outsiders for a community to have boundaries and any sort of cohesiveness. Without insiders and outsiders, the church would not have any distinction from the rest of the world and the people of the church would not be expected to live to any different standard.

God has not called the church to be a community without borders. There are clear boundaries of belief and practice that identify the church. The question is not, In regard to the church, are there insiders and outsiders? because the answer to that question is necessarily, Yes. The important question is, How are outsiders welcomed and invited to become insiders? How do we live as a community where every person – inside and out – is invited to take a step forward in the journey of becoming a deeply committed Christian?

What’s Next for 6qumc

Earlier this year, you were invited to join in a conversation which sought to raise questions for The United Methodist Church. This effort was called 6 Questions for The United Methodist Church (6qumc). 6qumc officially closed on September 30.

I am working on compiling the top 6 questions in each category into a book which will be available for print or download from lulu.com. I hope that these questions will be distributed as widely as possible throughout The United Methodist Church to help shape the conversation within our denomination.

Will you consider being a part of the spread of this conversation?

Check back here a week from Friday to access the final product

Invitation to UMC Young Clergy Collaboration

“Give me one hundred [people] who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergyman or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon the earth.” –John Wesley

Does this describe you? Are you under age 35 and a clergy person in the United Methodist Church?

I invite you to be a part of a collaboration of young clergy at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection on October 8, 2009 just prior to the Leadership Institute 2009.

We will continue on the trajectory set by 40 Days of Prayer and 6 Questions for The United Methodist Church and seek to raise up leaders, share stories and create next steps to renew the church.

You are invited to:

  1. Make arrangements to be present on October 8, 2009 at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.
  2. Sign up at http://ow.ly/jjEE to confirm your presence.
  3. After sign up, look to receive emails with “UMC Young Clergy Collaboration” in the subject line for time, location and how to prepare for October 8.
  4. Invite two other young clergy to join you.

Guest Blog – A 3-Year Plan

This is a guest post from Kyle Holt of The New Parables and The Bible in Rhyme. From his blog: Each person is called to use the talents God gave us; to be a voice of one calling out in the desert, “Prepare the way for the Lord. Make straight paths for Him.”

I turned 30 years old in January, and it’s an age that should make any Christian pause and think. Jesus started his ministry when he was 30 and it ended 3 years later upon his death, but what he did during those three years has influenced billions of people over the last 2,000 years.

So what am I going to do in the next three years?

This is a question that we ought to be asking ourselves every day of our lives, but we get caught up in our own routines and forget this very important question.

I have a two-year old son, and I want to see him grow up. But if my death at thirty-three would bring billions (or even thousands) to God, wouldn’t it be worth it? It’s a scary thought, but Christ tells us that those who love their lives will lose them, and those who give up their lives for him will gain everlasting life. We’re not to martyr ourselves, but it is a call to be in the world, not of it.

Businesses and individuals often make 5 or 10-year plans. In the same vein, I would lobby that Christians should set forth a 3-year plan. The messiah completely redefined the world in three years. He was setting an example for us. As if to say, “I did it, and so can you.” Given, we are not the perfection that Jesus was, but if we strive to be, then we can reshape life as we know it.

If I live to be 75 years old, I have the opportunity to develop fifteen 3-year plans during the remainder of my life. What an opportunity! But in order to maximize that opportunity, I have to start now.

In 2006, I felt called to start working on a project called The Bible in Rhyme (www.thebibleinrhyme.com). It is my hope and prayer that God intends this to be a part of my 3-year plan. I pray that it is something that can work in the hearts, minds, and spirits of Christians and non-Christians alike. I don’t know what will happen, but I trust that God will guide me the way He wants me to go. And I know that it will require a lot of hard work on my part.

Besides, isn’t hard work what God asks from all of us? We are called to love and to believe, but that’s just the beginning. To really make something happen, we have to be ready to get our hands in the dirt and work for Him. To give up our worldly lives do His will here on earth.

So today, tomorrow, and definitely at each birthday, I recommend you ask yourself, “What is my 3-year plan?” Leave 5-year plans and 10-year plans to businesses. Make the 3-year plan God’s.