Blessings of Ministry – Teaching (3 of 3)

There are many blessings of being in ministry serving as a pastor at a local church. One of these is the chance to teach classes about knowing, loving and serving God. This week I finished the second of a six week class in which we are looking at how we respond to God’s love and how our lives might be different as a result. I really enjoying sharing about our faith and the church, answering questions and helping people take the next step on their journey of faith.

What blessings do you find in ministry?

1 Chronicles 13:8 – Worship with All Your Might

David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets. 1 Chronicles 13:8, NIV

Yesterday we completed a two week series at Resurrection in which we looked at what it means to worship. I found this verse to be particularly timely and inspiring in light of this series. Doing anything with all my might is pretty intense. Yet this is what we are called to do in worship and in loving God.

Psalm 71:18 – Leaving a Legacy

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come (Psalm 71:18, NIV)

This verse clearly articulates the desire to leave a legacy of faithfulness and sharing good news to the generations that are coming ahead of us. I hope that I am declaring God’s power to the next generation today as well as years from now. This is a key task for me as a father and as a pastor. I hope to do this by raising my son in the faith and being intentional about offering mentoring and guidance to those younger than me.

In what ways do you share God’s power with the next generation?

Living Without Fear in an Age of Terror

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I am preaching this Sunday at Resurrection West. I am looking forward to the opportunity to share good news with the congregation. I am particularly looking forward to it as I did not have the opportunity to preach while serving as Pastor of Resurrection Online.

We are in the middle of a series in which we are reflecting on the events of September 11, 2011 through the lens of the Christian faith. I am preaching on Living Without Fear in an Age of Terror and will be using verses from Psalm 27 and Mark 5. If you are interested, you can follow my progress in the days ahead at the Google Doc – http://j.mp/pTdEht It is pretty rough right now and won’t be in a finished form until some time Saturday night. If you take a look at it, will you please share your thoughts feelings or opinions? I would love to hear from you.

Pastoral Excellence: Equipping People

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In my pastoral ministry, I hope to be effective at bearing fruit in God’s kingdom. I believe that one of the ways that I can be part of God’s work is to be excellent at equipping people.

There are some things that I can do, say or ways that I can be that can bear fruit in God’s kingdom. As a United Methodist Elder, there are things that are distinctively my role – word, order, sacrament and service. While there are things that I can do, I believe that it is more important for me to be about equipping other people for God’s work.

Sometimes I hesitate to equip others because there are times when it is faster and easier to just do something myself. It is far more important that I be about helping people live out the gifts that they have as part of the community. Equipping others is one of my most important roles as a pastor.

What do you do to equip others? What are effective ways of calling out God’s gifts in others?

The Scriptural Holiness League

Last week I sent out this message on social media networks in which I am involved:

http://twitter.com/#!/andrewconard/status/90893551919038464

I heard back from people who had ideas for what this might look like and I want to try to take the next step. Generally I am not very interested in groups that cohort, advocate or politic within The United Methodist Church. However, I am interested in connecting with people across the connection who are seeing evidence of God‘s work in their lives and in the lives of the communities where they serve. I want to be part of a group that:

  • shares stories of life change
  • offers encouragement and accountability
  • is committed to continually growing in faith
  • seeks to spread scriptural holiness across the land
I believe that this type of network happens within an annual conference. However I believe that there could be great value in connecting people from across the denomination for these purposes. Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about the possibility of this type of coalition?

Mission and Vision: Local Church + Annual Conference + Denomination = ? (3 of 3)

 

It is important for organizations to have mission and vision statements to guide the future of the organization. I currently am serving as part of an organization that has three different mission statements.
What is the best way to navigate these differences? What takes precedence in ministry? Who best decides how differing mission statements are integrated, adjusted or ignored? Why do these statements need to be different (or the same)?

Mission and Vision: Annual Conference and Denomination (2 of 3)

Like a local church, an annual conference and denomination with a mission (Why do we exist?) and a vision (Where are we going?) are more likely to contain vital congregations. The clarity of purpose and direction helps shape the life of the community in both subtle and significant ways.

The United Methodist Church has a mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the World. The annual conferences where I am currently connected have a mission or vision statement:

  • Kansas East – The Kansas East Conference’s mission is to connect and empower people and churches in living out the Gospel‘s call to invite, nurture, equip and send forth disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • Kansas West – “As we make disciples of Jesus Christ, the Kansas West Conference calls God’s people to invite through radical hospitality, excite for intentional faith-sharing and unite in risk-taking mission for the transformation of the world.” – Kansas West Conference vision adopted May 2008

Scripture Monday – Psalm 19:14

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14, NIV).

These words are very familiar to me. I remember hearing them before every Sunday sermon that my Dad preached. I do not remember wondering about their origin while I was growing up. I heard them as a prayer both for the congregation and for the preacher. While I don’t preach on a regular basis in my current role, I believe that this prayer from the Psalms while be part of the regular ritual when I am in a role of preaching every week.

Should I Change Churches?

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I recently read How to Choose a Church by Bruce Reyes-Chow and wanted to take time to share with you some of the things that I share with people considering either leaving Resurrection for another church or beginning to attend Resurrection from another church.

It really matter to me whether you attend Resurrection or not. What I care about is that you are part of a faith community where you are both comfortable and challenged. I don’t want you to dread coming to worship every Sunday, nor should participation in the community be a chore for you. However, I hoep that you would be involved in a church where you are challenged to continue to grow and develop in your faith. Each one of us is on a journey of growing in our faith and the church in which you participate plays a big role in that journey. If that place is at Resurrection, that’s great. If not, that’s okay too. I care most about you growing in your faith and living as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

How do you feel about this response? What conversations have you had with people leaving a church to attend another? What could be done better? What is good about this approach?

Scripture Monday – 1 John 4:10-11

10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:10-11, NIV).

I don’t have much of a question about these verses.

They are a beautiful picture of the love that God has for us.

We are able to love others because God first loved us.

Scripture Monday – Luke 10:17

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“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. … The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” (Luke 10:1, 17).

The seventy-two returned to Jesus with joy. Their task was one that led to joy. I appreciate this perspective, as there are times that the work of ministry does not feel like joy. Maybe it is a change in perspective, change in task or change in remembering who is responsible and in charge. Whatever the shift may be, these followers of Jesus encourage me to approach God‘s work with joy.