Vision Questions for Resurrection Online

Yorkminster

I have recently been asking those who regularly worship with Resurrection Online questions about vision. Here they are:

  • What is Resurrection Online?
  • Why does it matter to people?
  • Where do you think it is going now?
  • Where do you think it should be going?
I have received some interesting and insightful responses. How might these be applied for you? What other questions do you ask stakeholders about the church or ministry area?

Resurrection Online: Extension or Campus?

One of the questions that people ask about Resurrection Online is this:

Is Resurrection Online one of the regional campuses of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection or is it an online extension of Resurrection?

In some ways it is both. There are people who are primarily connected at one of Resurrection‘s physical locations that worship online each week. These are people that are sick, out of town, recovering from surgery, have a sick child and any number of other situations that leads them to worship online that week. There are people who are not at all connected with one of Resurrection‘s physical locations who worship online most weekends during the year. For the former group of people, Resurrection Online is an online extension of Resurrection. For the latter, Resurrection Online is one of Resurrection‘s campuses and this is the way that these individuals connect with our purpose of building a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.

While Resurrection Online may be experienced in different ways for different people, it makes sense to focus on one vision for the ministry and continue to move forward in that way. That vision is that Resurrection Online is one of Resurrection‘s campuses. Our goal is to move toward offering the opportunity to live out all the membership expectations of the church online and encourage people to get connected in person, when possible. I hope that Resurrection Online will be a tool for people to be more engaged in their faith and not less engaged. Developing the opportunity to grow in your faith outside of worship and serve God inside and outside the church are key areas that Resurrection Online are key areas ahead for this ministry area.

Resurrection Online is a campus of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. In the months ahead, we will focus our efforts on continuing to develop Resurrection Online to be a place where we more fully live out our purpose to build a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.

Leading Ideas: Welcoming Newcomers (1 of 3)

Historical tram No. 10, 140 years of public tr...
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I continue to appreciate the work of Lovett Weems and the entire team at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. The offer a great number of resources for pastors, congregations, students and denominations at http://www.churchleadership.com. I wanted to draw your attention to Leading Ideas – a biweekly newsletter from the Lewis Center. You can find more information here.

One of the recent great articles was about the Top 10 Learnings about Welcoming Newcomers.

At Resurrection, we try to have excellent hospitality – in worship, events, service, small groups – nearly anything that is connected with the church. How do you welcome newcomers at your church?

Good, Holy or Great Friday

Crucifixion
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No matter how you refer to this day, it is one on which we remember the pivotal event in human historyJesus of Nazareth was crucified, suffered and died in a way that was redemptive for all creation.

I am looking forward to participating in the Good Friday Prayer Vigil at Resurrection. How will you commemorate the day?

Use this link to find out more about Good Friday.

How to Launch Online Worship or an Internet Campus for Your Church

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This is a collection of posts from this blog that you might find helpful when considering beginning online worship or an internet campus at your church. These are collected blog posts from my experience as Pastor of Resurrection Online.

Before Launch

Launch

Continued Development

Easter Break

As you may have noticed, I had a bit of an unannounced Easter break here on the blog. I should be back to regular posts these days.

On a fun note, Nicole and I stopped by the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture on Saturday and picked up a bunch of tomato plants for transplant. I took out a shrub and now have the beginnings of a tomato garden in our back yard landscaping. I have some more to plant and a few to take down to my parents.

Nothing is delicious like fresh tomatoes from the vine.

Stories from Easter (3 of 4)

Nicole and I had the privilege to serve as ushers at the 3:00 PM service which was a new thing for me. Volunteers were low for that service and Nicole and I were assigned to section N (center in the mezzanine, for you Resurrection folks). It gave me a new appreciation for the role that the ushers play and recognized the great value in all the volunteers that make worship on any given weekend possible.

Thanks to all of you who make worship possible on any given weekend!

Stories from Easter (2 of 4)

I lead worship at the 5:00 PM Saturday and 9:00 AM Sunday services. Resurrection had services at the following times.

  • 5:00 PM Saturday
  • 7:00 PM Saturday
  • 7:00 AM Sunday
  • 9:00 AM Sunday
  • 9:00 AM Sunday (Resurrection West)
  • 9:15 AM Sunday (Student Center)
  • 10:00 AM Sunday (Grand Avenue Temple)
  • 11:00 AM Sunday
  • 11:00 AM Sunday (Resurrection West)
  • 11:00 AM Sunday (Internet)
  • 3:00 PM Sunday
  • 5:00 PM Sunday

Each of the services that I helped to lead were near capacity (3200 seats) in the sanctuary. It is really cool to lead worship in a space that is full – no matter what size.

Thanks to Travis for reminding me about the Resurrection West services and Janelle for the Internet stream. I apologize for initially leaving out these services.

Resurrection and Grand Avenue Temple – Easter Worship

Resurrection partnered with Grand Avenue Temple United Methodist Church in downtown Kansas City for Easter worship. Very cool stuff going on in this partnership. You can watch coverage from a local news station here.

Thanks to Jason Gant for finding the story.

Guest Blog: Hope

This is a guest post from deviant monk. I recommend both his blog and podcast. Would you like to guest blog at Thoughts of Resurrection?

If you click on this in the past, you’ll have to wait for the future to listen to the podcast

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.

Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

Holy Week begins in a couple of days. Throughout this next week, if we slow down enough to notice it, we will come face to face with the vivid reality of suffering. This seemingly senseless aspect of our lives is something we try, hard as we may, to escape as much as we can.

But in the contemplation of Holy Week, we are forced to come to grips with this reality that never seems too far away, that never seems to go away. For as much as we feel society to have progressed in technology, in medicine, in knowledge, in mastery of nature, yet this very grim presence constantly haunts our lives, and can easily strip the meaning from the rest of it.

In Holy Week we find that even God must suffer. We all face this inescapable truth- to be human is to suffer. We cannot escape it, we cannot shake it off. As Pope Benedict says in his encyclical “Saved In Hope”,

Indeed, we must do all we can to overcome suffering, but to banish it from the world altogether is not in our power. This is simply because we are unable to shake off our finitude and because none of us is capable of eliminating the power of evil, of sin which, as we plainly see, is a constant source of suffering.

In the face of so much suffering, in the reality of even the Son of God sharing the same lot as the rest of us, how are we to find hope? Perhaps it is really all just meaningless, senseless, purposeless.

However, Holy Week reminds us that suffering is not meaningless. In fact, it is from this participation in our suffering that God sheds hope abroad into the world. As was mentioned, we cannot eliminate suffering. as Pope Benedict says:

Only God is able to do this: only a God who personally enters history by making himself man and suffering within history. We know that this God exists, and hence that this power to “take away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29) is present in the world. Through faith in the existence of this power, hope for the world’s healing has emerged in history.

Through God’s uniting of Himself with humanity, God united to Himself our suffering. God was not content that our suffering should remain ours and ours alone- God shared in our suffering by suffering with us. It is in the midst of this sharing of suffering that love and hope are born. Pope Benedict says:

Indeed, to accept the “other” who suffers, means that I take up his suffering in such a way that it becomes mine also. Because it has now become a shared suffering, though, in which another person is present, this suffering is penetrated by the light of love.

When we try to comfort those who are suffering, we offer them consolation. In English this is at best the kind words we can offer those in pain, and at worst the token words we offer out a sense of obligation. But ‘consolation’ comes from the Latin “con-solatio”. Literally, it means ‘not alone.’ Consolation is meant to go beyond words and platitudes and wishes for hope and health and better days- consolation is ‘being with’ the one who suffers. The one who is alone, who suffers alone, ceases to be alone, ceases to suffer alone. Simeon in the Gospel was waiting and hoping for the ‘consolation of Israel’. That consolation came through none other than Immanuel- “God with Us.”

To love thus becomes to suffer and to suffer with others. Love must deal a painful death blow to the rights and intentions that belong to ‘I’. In that death of self is opened up the capacity to love others.

In this suffering alongside others, in this consolation is hope born. But it is still hope- it is not yet a reality. We still face the pain of our often bitter lives and the final sting of death that will befall us all.

The glory of Holy Week is that it ends not in suffering, but in a resurrection. It is on this event that the Christian hope is founded- the hope that suffering is not the end, that death does not have the final say and that somehow all of this means something. The God who created all things became like us to suffer with us and for us. In the Incarnation and the Passion and the Resurrection is wrapped up all of human history- all of our sins, all of our injustices, all of our suffering. In it all God demonstrated that Love makes suffering worthwhile- in the light of this grand exhibition we are empowered to, like God did for us, give the gift of ourselves to others. In this gift of self is an anticipation and deposit of the hope that we have- that Love is actually greater than suffering, and that there is meaning even in the senselessness of suffering. And since love comes from the One who is Love, we can have hope in its endurance beyond the fragmented years of our pain.

In the resurrection is the great hope of the Christian faith realized. Love is worth the pain we endure, and guarantees through faith the day when we will see the world set aright, and where Love will rule all.

So may we offer others consolation through not only our words, but also our presence.

May we remember that God became like us to suffer with us.

And may we hope in the resurrection, and believe that God is greater than our suffering.