Grace in the Details

United Methodist Elders are ordained to Word, Order, Sacrament, and Service. It seems that during times of transition Order is one that takes precedence. In both leaving and beginning, there are a almost innumerable number of administrative items that need to be cared for, passed on to others, or at least communicated in some way.

For example, upcoming weddings… There are two on the calendar for the fall in 2018 at First UMC El Dorado at which Rev. Mik King will officiate and one on the calendar for me at Berryton UMC at which I will officiate. These are an incredibly important day in the life of the couple and their families and they are ones for which the pastor has a great deal of responsibility to go well. So, contact information for the couple, helping make the transition – these details are important and need attention. When I arrived in El Dorado in 2012 I had a wedding scheduled in July. I am grateful that in each of these three cases they are later in the year.

There are also details that have to be attended to nearly immediately. July 1 is the first day of the appointive year and this year it also happens to be a Sunday. Worship happens every Sunday and each congregation has a variety of practices around how it is planned and executed, as well as a number of different associated items that need to be prepared in some way. These are important details that need to be attended to right away.

It is impossible to put together a comprehensive list – Where are the light switches? What happens on Christmas Eve? Who decorates the altar? Who purchases candles? Any number of things…

My personality is such that I try to attend every detail, as best as I am able. At times this is helpful and at others paralyzing. During these weeks, I am working on offering myself and others grace in the details.

Where have you found grace in the details? Either offered or received?

11,603 Pounds

Last week, I worked with a representative of our moving company to get an estimate of how much our belongings weigh. We had the conversation over FaceTime and I went through every room in our house, garage, shed, backyard – everywhere – opening cabinets and describing what was there. The next day, I received an email detailing our possessions and providing an estimate of their weight.

11,603 pounds

It was fascinating and sobering. I was amazed at the inventory that was able to be completed in just a short time and the specificity with which the estimate was made. I was sobered by the realization that this was an estimate of the totality of things that we have in our home. All the stuff that we have accumulated in our life together as a family. Much of it with memories attached, some items of utility and somethings leaving us wondering – why in the world do we own that?

I hope that we will be able to shed some of this physical weight before the moving truck arrives on June 18. We are planning to join the neighborhood garage sale on June 1 and 2, so stop by 502 S. Denver Street if you are looking for some bargains. Of course, the things from Nicole’s office and mine will be added to the total weight. I wonder how much that will add …

The moving van may be full and our hearts will be full, as well. Our hearts and souls are filled with memories, experiences, and relationships that will last longer than much of what can be found in the boxes currently stacking up in our living room.

And those travel light.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Scripture Monday: John 10:9

Russian icon Good Shepherd/ Икона "Христо...
Image via Wikipedia

I very much appreciate knowing Jesus as the Good Shepherd in John 10:1-21. This is a helpful metaphor for me. I was studying this with my small group a few weeks ago and came across this verse:

“[Jesus said,] I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9, NIV)

I was stumped with this question. If Jesus is the gate…

  • What does it mean to come in and go out?
  • Where is the pasture found?

Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this verse? I would love to hear your insight.

My #SXSW Interactive Experience – Day 5

I came to SXSW Interactive 2011 to gain perspectives, discover technology and learn practical steps that will help Resurrection Online fulfill our purpose of building a Christian community where non and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. I hope to share some highlights and next steps from the day for Resurrection Online and myself.

Long After the Thrill: Sustaining Passionate Users

  • Delightful challenges sustain passionate users.
  • Play & Challenges + Goals & Rewards = Game; Goals & Rewards ≠ Game
  • Quality is more likely with scarcity.
  • Once you have the core challenge figured out – then you can add gamification to the core challenge
  • Determine key motivation by asking 5 Why? questions in a row; If it starts to feel uncomfortable you are doing it correctly.

Shaping the Future with Small Moves, Smartly Made

  • Shaping strategy – mobilizing a very large number of participants to support a strategy to reshape an entire market or industry
  • Shaping view – a compelling view of a long term future of an entire market or industry that supports the strategy
  • Shaping platform – a platform with a lot of niches that reduces the investment required to participate in the shaping strategy and accelerates the realization of revenue from the investment
  • Shaping views and actions – Demonstrate ability to live into the shaping view, in the face of cynicism, through actions and commitment of assets.
  • Anyone has the potential to be a shaper, but over time that potential will diminish as people come in to reshape the industry; If you do not want to be a shaper, determine who will be part of the shaping and how do I participate in that strategy to be part of creating value

Next Steps for Resurrection Online

  • Design a user experience that will sustain connection over a long period of time
  • Pay attention to the motivating human behavior for worship online
  • Develop a shaping strategy and view for mainline church online
  • Determine whether Resurrection Online will become a shaping platform for mainline church online

Next Steps for Me

A Turnkey Solution for Online Worship

If you have answered the Top 12 Questions before Launching an Online Worship and are looking for a turnkey solution for an online campus, you might consider a solution from 316 Networks. Resurrection Online is currently using 316 Networks as our streaming provider and have considered using this solution. From their website:

316 Networks now offers a new option for your online campus. Designed to match your website’s design scheme, our Online Campus integrates the most popular tools to build an online community and more effectively grow your ministry.

Hosted as an extension of 316Networks.com with your own personalized address or, in some cases, delivered for integration into your own site, our Online Campus model launches quickly so you can begin connecting more effectively with your online audience.

You can find out more about this opportunity at http://solutions.316networks.com/onlinecampus.

There also seems to be a solution from LifeChurch.tv in the works at http://www.churchonline.org.

Nothing to Do but Save Souls in the UMC

Gwennap Pit

There is no group, connection, cluster or network of churches that doesn’t have issues. Being connected is part of who we are as Christians. There is no use complaining, but great value in working in God‘s kingdom and renewal within the church. I ran across this advice in a post by Matt Judkins from Tim Keller via DJ Chuang’s blog and found it valuable enough to pass along to you.

I wonder where you’d go to find a truly missional denomination? I don’t know of any. For missionally minded churches, any denominational connection will bring you into relationship with some other churches and ministers who downright embarass you. This will be true of any ecclesiastical body with more than 5 churches in it. I don’t think that going independent and only staying connected in to a missional ‘network’–which has no disciplinary authority–is the answer either.

My counsel: 1) inhabit a denomination with a historic tradition you admire (Reformed, Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist) 2) stay in a denomination if it gives you space to follow your calling, 3) don’t be marginal to it–be active in the denomination, but 4) don’t be too absorbed in all its workings and especially not in its politics.

I agree with Matt and would clearly add Methodist as a historic tradition. As John Wesley admonishes us, “You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work.”