This past week marked the one year anniversary of the passing of Steve Jobs. Because I am such a big geek I read tech stories and listen to podcasts that have been writing and talking about the Jobs era. The question that keeps coming up is the conversation that apple and apple followers are having. They continue to ask ,”what would Steve did?”  Or more to the point “this would never have happened under Steve’s watch.” This last comment directed the apple maps issues. Yet people seem or forget about things like the ping music service that finally shut down this week, mobile me and other cloud syncing that didn’t work or maybe most famously the iPhone antenna issues a few years back.

As I read and listen about the era of Jobs I can’t help but think of the church.
Continue reading “WWSD”

I <3 FCA


When I can (when my calendar and alarm allows) I love going over to the high school and just hang out with the students who attend the early morning FCA. 

Today one young woman asked a very pointed question that gave the group pause and took them off the printed lesson and into a deeper conversation about faith. 

Do you think it is wrong for people to be Christian just to get into heaven?

The small group had conversation around the question and there were lots of great comments and ideas. 

What is your answer to this question?

How does our answer to this question reflect our understanding of who God is? 

Shift is going to the press


The next installment of the Young adult Mag,SHIFT, is well on its way to print.  I am excited to see how it is received.  This issue is about finding our roots again. 

Take a read.  I will post when it is out. 

Shotgun vs hand holding ministry

I am a fixer…

Though I know my limits (cars and things that cause expositions that could take off an arm), I really like making things better.  I don’t think that this is an uncommon desire.  If you see something broken or someone hurting many times there is a desire to fix it.

I am a guy…

I have a limited attention span, I missimplied meanings (ask my wife) and have to have things explained to me very simply.

Finally I don’t like the details…

The phrase “the devil is in the details” is used frequently by some of our staff.  Well that is fine, I think to myself, I am a pastor and should stay as far away from the devil as possible and therefore should only touch details with a ten foot pole

What do these three things add up to…they mean that I have the tendency to look for the quick fix.  If there is a problem I would like to fix it, move on and not worry about the little things.  this is where my shotgun imagery comes in.  At times I will blast out an e-mail, or make a decision that I know will fix or address a problem that is in my ministry.  I will throw a bunch of stuff at my target at one time and hope something sticks.  Have a problem the church is facing preach a sermon, the youth are going somewhere they shouldn’t lock that part of the building…problem solved.

I am quick to fix and move on to the next thing.  I like to make things better in one fowl swoop, but I know God (being relational) calls me to act and lead differently.  Look even at the way we find our salvation.  Not through a magic wand, but through the very personal and very relational life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

I have to be reminded that I can’t bombard a problem and them wash my hands of it.  In our ministry people are the priority, not just because they matter to us us because they matter most to God.  Rather than being the fixer, I have to slow down and journey with student, friends and family to see what they are really saying and going through.

When we are able to the a community (a church) that journeys together and holds hands through the hard things we are becoming the people God has made us to be.

How are you practicing hand holding ministry rather than shotgun programing?


Finding a clear path through life seems to be rarity these days.  We pride ourselves in having 40 different kinds of tooth paste to choose from at any given time.  While variety is the spice of life, do we really need the choice of spearmint, peppermint, fresh mint, berry mint, cool mint, or cinimint being one that takes up a great deal of time?  It would seem that we have been cursed with the cloudiness of too many choices.

The church is no exception.  It seems like the path of discipleship in many cases is more like a choose your own adventure book where we blindly try to find our own way rather than a place where intentional discipleship is laid out in a focused and purposeful plan.

For the past couple of weeks I have been reading, searching and trying to develop a discipleship pathway for my congregation.  While this is a very daunting task for someone who has trouble focusing on even the largest details, I can see where this will become a very valuable tool.

For new folks coming through the door I can’t help but think that the pathway will give guidance and a framework that can be followed so that new members can become part of the faith community in a way that best feeds their soul.  The intent of the pathway for the new member is one that will give guidance to spiritual growth, but had enough flexibility that it can be taylored to each individual rather than teathering everyone to the same set of expectations.

For leadership talking about the pathway in a way that it becomes part of the DNA of the church is helpful in terms of keeping focused on the mission of the organization.  Keeping the pathway in sight and on the lips of conversation, the color of carpet becomes a minor issue and deepening the faith of yourself and others becomes the prime motivation.

I am excited to see where our pathway takes us as we develop it in a way that will shape things to come.

Do you have a pathway at your church or in your ministry?  I would love to hear about it.  What works and what doesn’t?

Volunteers vs. Unpaid Servants

I was at a worship conference that week that was amazing.  One of the things that Mike Slaughter, Lead Pastor at Ginghamsburg UMC, talked about was creating a culture where there are no Volunteers.  Rather at GUMC they have teams of unpaid Servants.

The difference he explained is that people who volunteer do it on their time when that have it to spare.  Where as unpaid servants are poeple who are serving with their whole selves and doing it the best that they can.  This kind of service demands commitment and a mentality to serve the church.
I think this is a wonderful way of looking at the people who give of their time and gifts to ministry.  It raises the bar and the expectation level to a place that would then “demand” excellence out of those who serve the church rather than just giving the church your leftovers.  I really thought that this was a great perspective and term for those who give to the church.

Faith Lab and The Disney Difference

I was so struck by the wonder and magic of Disney that I wanted to post something.  Time has been flying by since we got back from Disney, but it was a wonderful trip.  Basically I wanted to post a short little video with the question, “What if we approached ministry with the passion Disney approaches putting magic into people’s lives?”

Take a look.  Sorry the stills are so poor looking but you get the point and can see some on Flickr in a little bit.  Most important is that you comment on how you would like to put wonder back in the ministries you are a part of.

The Disney Difference from Chris Bishop on Vimeo.

A quick thought and reflection on what the church could learn from Disney World.