100 Conversations in 100 Days

Today is my 32nd day as the preacher assigned to Berryton United Methodist Church. It has been a wonderful journey of learning, sharing, and welcome. I am so grateful for the warm welcome that we have received from the congregation and community. One of the ways that I have been learning about the congregation is something that I am calling 100 Conversations in 100 Days.

I hope to share a one-on-one conversation with 100 people so that I can hear their thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the church and community. My hope is to get this accomplished in my first 100 days, which gives me until October 8. As of today, I have four down and ninety-six to go. If you live in the Berryton area, would you be willing to share a conversation with me about the church? Visit www.calendly.com/AndrewConard and click on “100 Conversations” to set up a time to meet.

I have been updating and adapting questions from Eleven Questions for Getting to Know a New Congregation. Here is the original list:

  • Tell me about a time when you felt especially proud of some members or leaders of your congregation, when you felt they were really following Christ. What makes this incident stand out in your mind?
  • Whom do you especially respect as leaders? Why do you hold them in high regard?
  • Tell me why you’re glad you are a member of this congregation. Why did you join this congregation instead of another one?
  • How has being part of this congregation helped you and members of your family grow in faith? Please give me some examples of experiences or classes that made a difference. How did you change?
  • Tell me a story about when congregation members resolved a conflict or difference effectively. What do you think the congregation learned from this experience? How effectively do leaders and members handle differences now?
  • What have you especially valued about your pastors and other congregational staff? (Be specific.) Do any sermons, initiatives, or attributes of your previous pastors come to mind?
  • Tell me about a time when you were disappointed with members or leaders. What happened?
  • Complete this sentence: “God is calling this congregation to be …”
  • What do you think God wants your congregation to emphasize in the next three to five years?
  • What else do I need to know in order to thrive in this congregation and community?
  • Do you have any other concerns or suggestions?

What strategies or techniques have you used to learn about the congregation and community in a new appointment?

Exodus 4:24 – In which, God almost kills Moses

Moses the prophet, Russian icon from first qua...
Image via Wikipedia

One of the passages in the scripture that I find baffling is in Exodus 4:24:

“At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Mosest and was about to kill him.” (NIV)

This is as Moses was on his way to Egypt after meeting God at the burning bush and being sent to return to Egypt to tell Pharoah to let God‘s people go.

What do you make of this short verse?

Back from Paternity Leave

A view of Paris from the Galerie des Chimères ...
Image via Wikipedia

I am back from paternity leave and am considering resuming posting here at Thoughts of Resurrection. However, when I checked my stats of views over the past few months, I found something interesting.

In the month of January, I made no posts to the blog and the average page views per day was only down 16% from the average of the entire year of 2010 when I sought to post 5 days a week.

So, I ask myself – is it worth the time to post on a regular basis? Clearly it is not all about the page views and who might connect with this content. There is value in me spending time to pull together my thoughts and put them down.

What do you think? Would you enjoy more posts here at Thoughts of Resurrection? What kind of content would you find valuable?

My Favorite Topic in 6 Questions for the United Methodist Church

My favorite topic as a part of 6 Questions for The United Methodist Church is for a member of a local United Methodist Church. I have found that this topic has generated a large number of questions and I have found them to be most helpful.

What’s your question? Visit http://bit.ly/6qumc to get involved.

Read and share a press release about 6 Questions for The United Methodist Church at: http://docs.google.com/View?id=d3ggnsj_566f3g432cq

6qumc – What’s Different? (1 of 5)

6 Questions for The United Methodist Church (which you can read about here) is a new kind of project within the denomination.

This project is distinct in that it:

  • seeks to shape a conversation, not produce immediate action steps.
  • offers the opportunity for any question to be received on the same playing field.
  • does not give preferential treatment to any person’s vote.
  • becomes better with more participants.
  • provides a simple way to gather input from across annual conferences.

To participate visit: http://bit.ly/6qumc

To read more, visit: http://www.umcyoungclergy.com/6qumc

Is this a new kind of project? What do you think?

Speedlinking – March 23, 2009

Is the church handicap accessible?

I received this question from a blog reader like you. Do you have a question? Check out this post to let me know.

 At The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, our facilities are fully accessible according to ADA guidelines. In regard to the particular questions from the reader:

  • Is it easy to get in the door to the church? Yes. There are automatic door openers at each door to the West Building and several main doors in the East Building.
  • Are their spaces reserved for wheelchairs in the auditorium? Yes. In many of the sections on the main level.
  • Are your handicapped parking spaces accessible for vans with ramps? Yes. Not all of the handicapped parking spaces are accessible for vans with ramps, but there are some that are available.
  • Is it easy for a person in a wheelchair to use your bathrooms? This is a more difficult question for me, but I believe so. This is based on ADA compliance. I do not know from a conversation or personal experience.
  • What other provisions do you have for people in wheelchairs? Before the worship service, parking attendants guide those who are in need of priority parking to the right places. Additional assistance may be provided by ushers if necessary.

This question has meaning beyond facilities. I believe that our church is handicap accessible in our purpose, vision, journey, programs and ministries. I believe that, as the church, it is essential to be inclusive of all people and to communicate that God loves them, we love them and that life can be different [through Jesus Christ]. (Thanks to Mike Chamberlain for the last three points.)

Is the church handicap accessible? Yes and it should continue to be in physical facilities and in spirit of the community.

Speedlinking – January 19, 2009

Who is Jesus to you?

I heard this question last week and it really stuck with me.

It is a simple question that can say a lot about someone’s journey of faith. I think that it could be asked effectively to both Christians and non-Christians. It doesn’t have a pre-supposed “right answer” and is non-confrontational.

My response?

Jesus is my Lord and Savior. He continues to teach me about what it is like to live as one of his followers in a kingdom that is not of this world, but is coming into the world.

What is your response?

Speedlinking – August 21, 2008

In what way does God answer prayer?

I received the following email from a Resurrection attender this week. I have included my response below and some additional thoughts. It has been edited for anonymity

Email Received:
A friend of mine has a perspective on prayer that falls under what the internet refers to as Prosperity Gospel. She repeatedly says, “If I pray hard enough, God will make it happen.” Interestingly, her latest comment relates to her pregnancy where she says she is praying hard (and is fully convinced) that God will grant her a little girl. I tend to disagree with this perspective because it makes it about the person and not God. God answers prayers, but for his purposes not ours. We will always get a yes, no, maybe later type of answer.

Any thoughts?

My Response:
In response to the “If I pray hard enough, God will make it happen.” I do not think that prayer will direct the gender of an unborn child. I agree with the types of responses that you suggest to prayer. This question also touches a bit on open theology – How and in what way does God respond to prayers? How does prayer make a difference? These are questions that I continue to think about.

What do you think, dear reader?