Early this week, I received a letter informing me that Berryton UMC was a participant int he 3rd wave of the National Congregations Study (NCS) and that I was “one of a small number of religious leaders from across the U.S. chosen randomly to again represent [my] religious community in the 4th wave of the NCS.”
This is pretty great! I have looked at the key findings of the previous waves of NCS research and have appreciated the research. I participated in the phone interview this week and it was fun to be part of the ongoing research on religious congregations in the United States.
I was asked a number of questions about Berryton United Methodist Church, including around the history of the congregation, staffing, worship services, groups and activities, financials, and my background. I am looking forward to seeing the results of the work when they are published and glad to have been part of the process.
You can find out more about the National Congregations Study here.
Columbus Day, Columbus Day. Each year the United States, along with other countries in the Western Hemisphere commemorate the landing of Christopher Columbus in the “New World.” There is much that could be said about the legacy that Columbus left, but instead of diving in to what could be a quagmire, I’ll ask instead:
“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land — not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Amos 8:11, NIV.
What a powerful illustration! The previous chapters of Amos outlined many possibilities for physical difficulties for the people, however this is perhaps the most threatening. God’s Word is integral to our life in right relationship with God and others.
Throughout my life, I have kept a regular journal on and off throughout the years. I have a stack of journals from elementary, high school and college in our basement. Currently, I have been keeping a one sentence journal up to date. I am looking at options (Office Drop for the outsource and my ScanSnap for cheaper in dollars and more expensive in time) to digitally capture these journals to store for the future on Evernote (Is that even going to be effective?)
I enjoy looking back at my perspective and important events from years ago. In the future, I hope to be able to do the same for my life today. I do not believe that Facebook will be a useful tool to reflect on my life in the future. The birthday wishes, comments and status updates fade into the internet, unlike a birthday card that is received in the mail. Even scanning a birthday card captures the color, handwriting and sentiments that were expressed at a particular time in the past.
I spent last week at a youth camp, Institute 2010: God’s All Stars, which is a ministry of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry of the Kansas East Annual Conference. This post is part of a series reflecting on the week and making applications for the local church.
Institute is an institution with the good and the bad that it brings. There are rich traditions and a history that brings the past to light and looks to the future. Many of the adult leaders at camp this summer remember an experience of the very same camp when they were young. One of the pastors among the adult leaders remembers feeling first called to ministry in the very place where we had morning worship during the week. However, the rich history has the side effect of narrowing the vision of what could be possible for a camp among the high school students of the Kansas East Conference. There are some practices that are clearly leftovers from time gone by and while faithful have ceased to be relevant.
What about in your local church? How has the past shaped who the community is today? In what ways does the history shape both the present and the future?
I have continued to pitch micro churches as a way of finding renewal within The United Methodist Church and building Christian communities where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. I am currently working on training leaders to launch these faith communities. I hope that by the end of August there will be three micro churches worshiping regularly. I want to share with you the documents and presentation that I am using as a guide to train these leaders.
These continue to be works in progress. I am working on a document now to address sacraments and will post in a later post when it is prepared. Will you please take a look at these documents and offer your response, ideas or opinions?
I am excited for the potential that exists for micro churches to create new places for new people to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.