Institute: Real Life Outcomes (4 of 5)

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.

I have a tendency, for good and bad, to focus on the outcomes of projects, events or ministry areas to which I commit my time. The outcomes of Institute seem to be a mixed bag for me. This year there were clearly students whose lives were changed by their experience of God at camp. This is an undeniable outcome that is difficult to dispute. If even one life is changed or one student decides to follow Jesus, is not the entire effort worth it? Maybe so… I cannot deny that God is at work through Institute. At the same time, I believe that with changes the week could be more meaningful for a greater number of students with lower anxiety for leaders, student and adult.

What about your local church? What are the outcomes of the projects, events or ministry areas? Is there good as well as bad that is accomplished through the work of the community?

Who are the major competitors to Resurrection Online?

I am working with a design firm on a redesign of the Resurrection Online website and part of the process is an assessment of the current website, including: “Who are your major “competitors”?”

I can tell you that it is not primarily other churches. For Resurrection Online, competitors include

All other content on the web.

When you show up to a physical church building you have decided that you will be there and there is a good deal of social pressure that will keep you there until the service is over, or almost over. Online you can be gone in a click. Hmm…

Who are the major competitors to your church?

Reading Time: Blogs vs. Books

One of my responsibilities as a pastor is to be theologian in residence for the congregation which I serve. One of the ways that I seek to do this is through reading and study – primarily of the Bible and secondarily in other sources.

I use Google Reader to keep up with blogs. I currently have 71 subscriptions and read 547 items over the past 30 days. Blogs help me keep up on the latest news in social media, theology and peers in ministry.

I also have a bookshelf that has books many classics as well as several that are still unread. Over a year ago, I decided to add books to my Amazon Wish List until I had read all the books that I currently own. Adding a book to my Amazon Wish List sates my desire to purchase it and works 99% of the time. I have hundreds of books on this list. (You can find it at if you are looking for a good gift for me. 😉

Let’s assume that I have a finite amount of time to read, while carrying on the other responsibilities in my life. (I recognize that this could be challenged, but for the sake of this exercise let’s assume that it is true.) So here is my question for you:

Is the time that I have for reading better spent on blogs or books?

What are the pros and cons of each? What books or blogs would you add to my list? How do you decide where to spend your reading time?

Speedlinking – April 9, 2010

These are posts that I enjoyed and recommend. Enjoy!

Simple Life: Time, Relationships, Money, God

Simple Life: Time, Relationships, Money, God by Thom S. and Art Rainer is a follow up to Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples with the focus shifting from church to one’s personal life. Rainer and Rainer suggest moving through action steps of clarity, movement, alignment and focus in the areas of time, relationships, money and connecting with God. Common sense principles are mixed in with interview from individuals who were experiencing stress in these areas.

I appreciate the idea of simplifying one’s life. Simple Life offers practical steps to moving forward. However, I experienced the content as a bit fluffy. The meat of the content could have been produced in a book half the length. This book would have been more effective if the authors would have taken on the challenge of editing to a more concise length.

The connection to the successful book, Simple Church, seems contrived and a mechanism to market a nominally effective book. I recommend over Simple Life for simplifying one’s life.

Speedlinking – August 19, 2009

–  from From my Dad’s trip to Africa

Speedlinking – July 6, 2009