Most unusual: The parking lot was already lined with cars when we pulled in. Inside the church office, my desktop was almost clear. I made photocopies of various last-minute instruction lists and reminders, and posted them in conspicuous places, the way you might for your first overnight … [Read more...] about Farewell to My Church on Pentecost
A Baptist minister, a Methodist pastor, a Catholic priest, an Episcopalian rector and a Presbyterian clergywoman walk into a fellowship hall . . . What will happen next? Perhaps the scene is familiar. In Poolesville, we clergy gather once a month for a bring-your-own-bag lunch. We rotate from church … [Read more...] about Three Clergy Walk Into A Fellowship Hall . . .
Fall is the time of beginning, with its backpacks still unsmudged, its pages still unwritten, its eraser-heads still pristine. A favorite time of the year, even before the leaves fall so we can scuff through them down the sidewalk. Soon there will be marks of all kinds, on the pages and notebooks … [Read more...] about A Beginning: A Church Transforming
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. (Psalm 16:6) When people hear that I work two-thirds time as a solo pastor, they usually smile knowingly and say, church work is never part-time. Like most truisms, that one has a grain of truth but also perpetuates a myth. If part-time … [Read more...] about Boundary Lines: Is Part-time Ministry Possible?
Last evening we had our third of three "Super Saturdays" at church. Each Saturday has been different. The first two were centered on adults getting work done at church, while kids had a VBS-type experience with a Bible story, crafts, singing. Each was a wonderful day, and full of good energy. "Fix, … [Read more...] about No Substitute for Time Spent/Wasted
This week, one of my elders twittered me from a mission trip to West Virginia, where 17 teens and adults are spending the week with Son Servants. Twitter has been my only contact with them, so yes, I started paying attention to my Twitter account in a new way. Lately I have become aware that some of … [Read more...] about Technology & Church
Driving up, the church property looked great after yesterday's Super Saturday, which accomplished major hedge trimming, gardening, and floor cleaning. The property looks like somebody loves it! Two families who are on vacation each left an older teen at home. Those kids came to church today. On … [Read more...] about What Made Me Happy Today at Church
In the past two days I estimated our pew capacity in two different ways, which has been enlightening. 1. On Saturday I was writing my column for the church newsletter (about the "should we go to 2 services" question) and decided to estimate our pew capacity. There are 14 pews, each of which holds … [Read more...] about Calculating Pew Capacity: Theory vs. Practice
Yesterday we celebrated Ascension Sunday. What did Jesus mean when he said BRB, Be Right Back? I began by having the congregation read the Apostles Creed out of the hymnal. "He descended into hell. He ascended into heaven." Familiar words which reinforce our "three-story" notion of the cosmos: … [Read more...] about Bending Space & Time: Ascension Day
Today six of the leaders at my church, and I, attended an all-day "Transformation Training" event (sponsored by National Capital Presbytery). I am so impressed with each of the six of them (100% participation!) for their dedication and their gifts for ministry. I'm also impressed with … [Read more...] about Systems Theory Goes to Church
Here's the Catch-22: our sanctuary is too small to house a congregation large enough to support itself. Our sanctuary is one of the smallest I've ever seen, built pre-Civil-War, of brick, and seating 80 people. Picture coming through a tiny foyer (narthex) into a rectangular space. There are 7 … [Read more...] about Options: Go to 2 Worship Services?
The next spiritual discipline in our Lent series is Sabbath-keeping. I think I'll focus on the basics: what is Sabbath and how do we keep it? The biblical exhortation to keep the Sabbath mentions the fact that God ceased working after six days and rested on the seventh. Accordingly, on the most … [Read more...] about Sabbath-Keeping: A Lenten Practice