July 31, 2014

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Guide for Identifying the Crazies Print E-mail

When interviewing pastoral candidates to lead a new initiative in church planting, it’s likely that the search committee will ask all the right questions regarding the core skills and gifts a pastor will need to effectively shepherd an established church. However, it has been my experience after serving an established church for five years before embarking on the hazardous but rewarding adventure of church planting two years ago, that the gifts that serve a pastor well in an established congregation, like leading public worship, pastoral care, teaching, and program development, will be virtually useless without a subset of entrepreneurial sensibilities that are easy to spot after the fact but hard to name before.

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Church News 9-10-13 Print E-mail

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Church News 9-3-13 Print E-mail

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Church News 8-27-13 Print E-mail

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Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. Print E-mail

"Pay Attention. Be Astonished. Tell About it." [1] These were the opening words at a recent worship service I attended at the annual American Theological Library Association conference in Charlotte, N.C. Leighton Ford used this excerpt from a Mary Oliver poem to  preach a thought-provoking sermon entitled "God Is Paying Attention - Are We?"

What about it, how often do we really pay attention, to anything? When was the last time you were truly astonished? If we are honest, in today's hyper-connected world of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, we tell about everything. These instant messaging tools encourage us to tell all, with no requirement for "paying attention and/or astonishment."

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Church News 8-20-13 Print E-mail

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Impossible People Print E-mail

This blog post was guest-written by Louisville Seminary trustee Dr. F. Morgan Roberts.

George MacDonald's best known sermons were never delivered. Forced to leave his pulpit because of his controversial message of God's universal grace, he preached thereafter with his pen, producing 619 pages of Unspoken Sermons. Here's an undelivered, unspoken sermon of mine that has been aging in my "possible sermon" file.

It starts with a story about violinist Joshua Bell who was concertizing in Washington, D.C. in 2007. While there, the Washington Post employed Bell for an interesting experiment. Dressed as a musician who was "down on his luck" and begging, Bell leaned against a subway wall and played for forty-five minutes. His underground concert consisted of six glorious but difficult pieces, which he played on his $3.5 million Stradivarius. A hidden camera recorded the audience's response to this master musician whose concerts can cost $100 per ticket. Of the 1,097 people who walked by, twenty-seven dropped their pocket change into Bell's box, but walked on without stopping to enjoy the music. How many stopped long enough to listen? Seven!

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Church News 8-13-13 Print E-mail

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Church News 8-6-13 Print E-mail

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Church News 7-30-13 Print E-mail

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