June 18, 2015 

Friends:

Like me, most of you woke up this morning to the terrible news of the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, my home state.

I am saddened and angry to hear that a gunman sat through a Bible Study and then took out a gun and killed the pastor and eight other people; nine lives of God’s children taken in cold blood!

I am especially sickened that this heinous crime occurred in a church, in a sanctuary. Lord, if we cannot be safe in our churches, where else can we go? But painfully enough, this is not the first time such a crime has violated the sanctuary of God’s space.

Even as people of faith who share the Wesleyan tradition of grace, we feel doubt, anger, sorrow and sympathy collide in our hearts. We may be wondering where God is at this moment. (more…)

Rev. Dr Jack Sullivan

Ok, do I wish former Spokane NAACP branch president Ms. Rachel Dolezal had been honest about her race?  My goodness, yes!  If she had been truthful about her race, Ms. Dolezal would have been rightfully and cheerfully counted among the untold numbers of courageous White people who have labored honorably and sacrificially alongside African Americans and other people of goodwill to defeat the often discounted and always unnecessary systemic evil which is racism.  Having established that, I would caution the scores of people who seem quite willing to denounce Ms. Dolezal. (more…)

Growing churches welcome new people!

*Increase the number of worship visitors.

*Increase the visibility of the congregation in the community (e.g., Web site, paid newspaper and telephone book ads, good outdoor signage, participation in community events).

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*Encourage members to invite others; equip members to invite effectively (e.g. Bring a Friend Sundays, special events).
Identify and make personal and telephone follow-up contact with all visitors, especially first time worship visitors.
Offer a group for new people. (more…)

Originally posted on Missional Field Notes:

check from Flickr via Wylio © 2010 Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Here is a brief, not exhaustive, check list of things to consider:

  • Be sure: Know that this is a God idea not just a good idea.
  • Vision: Seek and clarify a clear vision for the proposed Missional Community. First with the leaders of the group then with the members.
  • Explain: Clearly set out the idea and the vision.
  • Be patient: Not everyone will get it straight away. Don’t rush, take your time.
  • Room for everyone: Allow everyone in the group to contribute to the discussion.
  • Space: Allow space for reflection and prayer. Encourage each member of the group to listen to God and each other.
  • Opportunity to contribute to the vision: Allow everyone in the group to discuss and contribute to the vision. However don’t be sidetracked away from the core vision God has…

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Pastor Chaney:

Can this approach be used to teach the community how to study as well as reflect? I like it and hope that it bears fruit

Originally posted on Missional Field Notes:

Canonical from Flickr via Wylio 2009 brett jordan, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

I have tried to make a little bit of Bible study a part of our fledgeling communities. I’m very intentionally trying to not turn it into just a Bible study and I’m very intentionally making sure that everyone is able to share a bit about what the passage might mean to them. I want it to shape the lives of the members but also let them know they have the ability to interact with the Bible through the Spirit.

Alex Absalom gives some pointers here:

What we are trying to develop is a way of reading the Bible in missional communities that democratizes the process, so that anyone can do it. This requires a confidence in the power of the Bible, by giving it room to breathe and shape thoughts and behaviors within our group without us first micromanaging the…

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By Barbara Brown Taylor

That is what Holy Saturday has taught me about being Christian. Between the great dramas of life, there is almost always a time of empty waiting — with nothing to do and no church service to help — a time when it is necessary to come up with your own words and see how they sound with no other sounds to cover them up. If you are willing to rest in this Sabbath, where you cannot see your hand in front of your face and none of your self-protective labors can do you one bit of good, then you may come as close to the Christ as you will ever get — there in that quiet cave where you wait to see how the Maker of All Life will choose to come to you in the dark.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-brown-taylor/learning-to-wait-in-the-dark_b_5175191.html – to read the entire article

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