Archive for the 'Ministry Formation' Category

Leadership, Ministry Formation

Free Webinar on Leadership — “How We Do It” 9/27

A while back, I wrote about participating in webinars, and how distracting it can be trying to participate from your office vs. being at a conference. Yet, price-wise, there’s a big difference between sitting in your office and traveling to attend an event and pay a registration fee.

Leadership Network is putting on another free webinar next Tuesday, September 27th, at 10 a.m. EASTERN time. This year’s theme for The NINES is “How We Do It”. Each of the speakers has just FIVE minutes to tell us how they do it… with nine main themes: Family, Staff, Time, Vision, Money, Discipleship, Grace, Physical and Emotional Health, and Preaching.

This year’s NINES features 99+ speakers, and will last a little over 9 hours. They are planning a full day of input for you. I’ll probably be in and out with my participation. But, they have a great line-up of speakers!

To get people to sign-up in advance, they are giving away a $1,000 church leaders library to one lucky registrant as an incentive. Seriously. This is one killer book collection. Authors include many NINES speakers like Dave Ferguson, Leonard Sweet, Ed Stetzer, Philip Nation, Reggie McNeal, Mark DeYmaz, Scott Wilson, Carey Nieuwhof, Hugh Halter, Bruce Miller, Eric Swanson, Rick Rusaw, Neil Cole, Matt Carter, Darrin Patrick, Bob Roberts, Pete Briscoe, John Bishop, Dave Gibbons, Dave Browning, Amy Hanson, and Shannon O’Dell. 50+ church leadership books, in fact. It could be a great asset to you, your staff and church team!

Here’s the link you can look at for the library they are giving away:

Here’s the link where you can register for the conference:

If this looks interesting or you participate, please let me know! I plan to participate part of the 9 hours.


Change!?!, Ministry Formation, Missional, Third Places

Thesis on Evangelism

I recently took my last Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) class on thesis writing. The past three years have been challenging, but most stimulating and inspirational! The program has been through Gallup University (Omaha, at Gallup Headquarters) and Bethel University. I’ve shared class with 7 other outstanding individuals, including one from South Africa.

My thesis research topic is, “How Clifton StrengthsFinder can empower Christians who feel inadequate in faith sharing with non-believers?”. Part of my research will be to interview Christians who have been instrumental in bringing others to Christ. I would like to do this from an emergent perspective.

I chose this topic from all my experience as a pastor and Congregational Life Team member. During all these years, it was hard for a congregation to engage in evangelism. Many feel inadequate for personal faith sharing. For some, evangelism is a dirty word. But, God calls us all to share our faith, or give a reason for why we believe. It’s not enough to just do good works of service. But rather than learning a new program or things to memorize, what if Christians could experience empowerment by simply understanding better how God has created them? From the understanding that Clifton StrengthsFinder gives us, what if we could learn to share our faith out of this natural, God-given, and unique gifting?

If any of you are familiar with Clifton StrengthsFinder or interested in this research topic, please get in touch with me. I’d love to engage with you.

Blessings to you,

Leadership, Ministry Formation

Leadership Development Webinars

I’ve just been watching “Staff Infection”, a webinar put on by Leadership Network. From time to time, Leadership Network and others offer free webinars to help train or pass on information to people so they can be more effective leaders and servants to others in ministry. Sometimes these webinars last 4 or more hours, without a break, except for a 5 minute infomercial of something they are promoting.

Bethany Seminary has also joined on this bandwagon by broadcasting different Church of the Brethren events. For a listing of their offerings, click here.

Are you a fan of these kinds of learning experiences? On the one hand, they are very convenient! You just need to turn-on your computer and watch/listen. You might even multi-task and do some work at the same time. On the other hand, I can get very distracted by things that need to get done that it’s hard to really pay attention and listen. I also miss the community of learning with others, whether it be commenting to each other or even seeing the non-verbals of agreement, disagreement, or confusion to what the speaker just said.

I would find these events more enjoyable, it they were shorter — say no longer than two hours. Longer than that, I think I would prefer traveling or getting together with others to watch.

What’s your experience? Do you participate in these kinds of learning experiences? What are you likes or dislikes?


Change!?!, Ministry Formation, Spiritual Formation

Does Failing Equal Failure?

I was at a pastor’s retreat earlier this week. During one of the group conversations, I remembered a quote from when I used to work with and learn from emergent churches and pastors. One of them once told me, “Failing is not failure, unless you fail to learn from the experience.” I also remembered how some churches encourage their leaders to take risks. They believe that in taking risks for Christ, you are more likely to experience his power at work.

Remember the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 (Mt. 14:15-21)? The disciples wanted Jesus to send the people home, so they could find food. Instead, Jesus tells them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” If I had been one of the disciples, I probably would have disagreed and started encouraging people to leave to find food. There were no supermarkets or Micky D’s nearby. Instead, the disciples took a risk, finding 5 loaves and two fish. They brought the food to Jesus, he blessed it, and everyone get a bellyful of food. They took a risk to obey Jesus, not seeing how it could be done, and a miracle took place.

I also remember conversations with emergent pastors where they ask their prospective ministry leaders during an interview, “Tell me about a recent failure. What did you learn from the experience? What are you doing differently since your experience?” These churches desire to be risk-taking and learning organizations in order to be faithful to their calling to ministry.

I wish I was more obedient in risk-taking, like the disciples were. I wish I was not fearful of failing, but fearful of playing it safe, of only doing what my mind can figure-out. I hope I can remember more often that “Failing is not failure, unless you fail to learn from it.”

Ministry Formation, Spiritual Formation

What’s Your Epistemology?

I’m sitting in a Doctor of Ministry class today on the topic of “Theological Epistemology”. The class is being taught by Dr. Thorsten Moritz, from Bethel Seminary. He is challenging us to think about:

What is your epistemology? How do you approach knowledge and understanding what knowledge is?

What is your methodology in approaching the Biblical text? Where does that methodology come from? Does it bring-out the true meaning of the text, or does it reveal what you want it to say?

How do you know what is truth? Because of the Enlightenment, the professor is saying that we use prescribed methods or steps to understanding the Bible that might actually block the true meaning of the text.

One classmate shared that, “If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” If we only have one methodology for approaching the text, then will all of our understandings of the text start to look like a “nail” (i.e. fit our preconceived notions)?

What scholars to you listen to in your Bible Study prep? Do you know what tradition they are come from? Is there an epistemology above your or your favorite interpreter’s understanding of knowledge?

These are just a few of the questions that we’re reflecting on today. Dr. Moritz is trying to impress upon us that there is a problem on how pastors approach the Bible and teach their congregations the message(s) of the Bible.

How do YOU do theology and approach the Bible?


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