September 2008

The biggest obstacle to team based ministry is trust. Without it, teams seldom work. While consulting with Prince of Peace, I began to realize that there are six levels to developing and encouraging trust. Each stage must be achieved with all of the staff before trust can be achieved. It is ideal if all of the staff are at each level before moving on to the next level.

Bill Easum

  1. Are we building relationships built on trust within the congregation?
  2. Are we communicating about the ministry, finances and stewardship in such a way that builds trust in our faith community?
  3. Are we having enough small group, informal, conversational and relational gatherings to understand the community context and honor the history of the ministry context?
  4. Do you have a written 60 day plan to increase the trust among your congregation with you and each other?  I suggest that you include, sermons, newsletters, the web site, blogs, email newsletters and as many one to one conversations that you can with leaders, members and potential members

The Organic Conversations
The Organic Movement is a kissing cousin to the Incarnational movement and a distant cousin to the Emergent movement. Like the other two it doesn’t see as much of a need for the institutional church has had traditional Christianity. But unlike the Emergent movement it is more literal in its interpretation of Scripture and truth. Neil Cole has long been one of the leading voices for the organic church. In his view the house church is the primary form of church. I have no problem with this view because Cole doesn’t dismiss the institutional church. In fact, one of my partners, Bill Tenny-Brittian, has extensive roots in the house church movement. I see it as a kissing cousin to small groups that multiply.  However, a new voice on the scene is Frank Viola and his book (with Barna), Pagan Christianity. This book stands in direct opposition to the Emergent folks because it takes a more literal approach to the Scripture. His book documents the problems with the institutional church that functions more like a business than the living organism it was created to be. Pagan Christianity is not only a logical sequence to Barna’s recent book, Revolution, it also is an interesting and accurate account of the historic events that have shaped today’s counterfeit form of Christianity.  



THis is an excellent article by Bill Easum.  His observations and challenges are valid to the Organic Movement.    I am evaluating the emerging movement, organic movement and house church movement.  I would like to share some conversation about the three especially for those involved in urban ministry.

Is There Room At The Table is an article that articulates my frustrations and I want to develop a framework to discuss the hopes of an urban ministry paradigm that extends beyond the tokenism to the multicultural, gobal neighborhoods where we do ministry. 

Sheila Fowler is 43. She has short brown hair, a soft, girlish voice and three grandchildren. What she does not have is teeth, or a way to pay for dentures. But Fowler is stoic; she jokes that she’s got tough gums, adding that she can even eat pretzels if she sucks on them for a bit.

Fowler has made the hourlong journey from her home in Cleveland, Va., to the small town of Wise to take advantage of a huge annual medical and dental expedition set up by Remote Area Medical, a nonprofit organization that provides basic medical and dental care to people in the world’s most inaccessible regions. This year, more than 1,800 volunteer doctors, dentists, nurses and assistants descended on the small town near the Kentucky border, setting up enormous field-hospital-style tents in which they saw roughly 2,500 patients over the course of two and a half days in late July. The Wise operation is coordinated locally by a team of nurses with the Health Wagon, a tiny health-care outreach program.

By the end of the weekend, the medical team, had extracted 3,857 painfully decayed teeth, administered 156 mammograms, screened hundreds of people for diabetes and heart disease, and given out 1,003 pairs of eyeglasses. About 30 people, chosen by lottery, were fitted for free dentures. Hundreds of people were turned away by volunteers who headed off cars at the main intersection when the clinic reached capacity.


I really like this once a year free clinic but I am sure that as disciples of Christ we can do better.  We spend hundreds of dollars and lots of time on mission trips overseas and in South America.  I am not suggesting that we stop these trips but I would like to challenge the church to spend some quality time here at home. Jesus introduced himeself to many of the first century communities through healing someone. What an awesome way to introduce Christ to the marginalized and poor in every state of the Union. In every state there is at least one community where a free clinic is needed. In every state there are at least 50 churches that can collaboratively provide a free clinic. The poorest of the poor, those limited by transportation and cultural isolated populations can experience a benefit. 

We are called to follow the lead of Jesus

18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me
      to preach good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
      and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,
    19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Universal healthcare would be nice but with or without universal healthcare the church can do better at meeting the healthcare needs of the poor here in the United States.  As disciples we have a responsibility to find a way to bring healing to all of God’s people.

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 On Faith at the Washington Post has asked a question challenging many conservative/ evangelical denominations.  This is the same group of people who are championing Palin’s partnership with McCain.  Albert Mohler’s Commentary is also insightful to this paradox.


Women are not allowed to become clergy in many conservative religious groups. Is it hypocritical to think that a woman can lead a nation and not a congregation?
Posted by Sally Quinn and Jon Meachamon September 3, 2008 3:54 AM


“On Faith” panelist James Anderson is a retired Episcopal priest, an almost full-time volunteer in the community, a part-time farm manager, and independent writer. Anderson is the author or co-author of three books on ministry in the local church: To Come Alive (1973) and The Management of Ministry (1978), co-authored with Ezra Earl Jones, have been widely used in the training and education of clergy. Anderson, who has wide experience as an adviser and consultant to a variety of religious organizations, also served as assistant to the Bishop for Congregational Development for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and director of Field Studies for the Cathedral College of the Laity at the Washington National Cathedral. Anderson was one of four founders of the Alban Institute in Washington, D.C., and served as first president of its board.

Will Conservatives Tell Palin to Practice What They Preach?

Governor Palin clearly proved she can be the attack dog for the Republican Party. Will conservative Christians hew to their scriptural guidelines reminding her and the world that the Bible says “suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

James AndersonRetired Episcopal Priest | 16COMMENTS
Sep 8, 2008 at 8:31 AM

Rabbi Irwin Kula is the President of CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center in New York. The “On Faith” panelist has served as rabbi of congregations in St. Louis, New York City and Jerusalem. He is author of “Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life” (Hyperion, Sept. 2006)  winner of a “Books for a Better Life Award,” and selected by Spirituality & Health magazine as one the “10 Best Spiritual Book of 2006.” He is a regular guest on NBC-TV’s “The Today Show,” and co-host of the popular weekly radio show, Hirschfield and Kula, airing on KXL in Portland, Ore. In 2007 he was identified as one of the “Top 50 Rabbis in America,” by Newsweek. He is co-founder of the Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living in Chicago. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia Univ., his B.H.L. from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA) in NY, and his M.A. in Rabbinics and Rabbinic Ordination from JTSA. He has served as rabbi of congregations in St. Louis, MO; Queens, NY; and Jerusalem, Israel.

Religious Hypocrisy and Women as Leaders

Irwin KulaRabbi, author, commentator | 7COMMENTS

Martin E. Marty is Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he taught religious history, chiefly in the Divinity School, for 35 years, and where the Martin Marty Center has been founded to promote “public religion” endeavors. For a decade prior to entering academia, the “On Faith” panelist served parishes in the west and northwest suburbs of Chicago as an ordained Lutheran pastor. Marty is the author of more than 50 books including Righteous Empire: The Protestant Experience in America (1970), for which he won the National Book Award. His additional honors include the National Humanities Medal, the Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the University of Chicago Alumni Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal of the Association of Theological Schools, and the Order of Lincoln Medallion (Illinois’ top honor). Marty has served as president of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the American Catholic Historical Association. He also has served on two U.S. Presidential Commissions and was director of the Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Public Religion Project at the University of Chicago. He is Senior Regent of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Nations are Easy, Congregations are Hard

Martin MartyAward-winning author and professor emeritus, University of Chicago | 6COMMENTS

Baroness Julia Neuberger is an ordained rabbi and member of Britian’s House of Lords. The “On Faith” panelist also is a trustee of the British Council, Jewish Care, and the Booker Prize Foundation, as well as founding trustee of the Walter and Liesel Schwab Charitable Trust. She has served as Chairman of Camden & Islington Community Health Services NHS Trust and Chief Executive of the King’s Fund—a major independent health charity. Currently she chairs the Commission on the Future of Volunteering in England . In the House of Lords, she is a Liberal Democrat member and in early 2006 she was Bloomberg Professor at Harvard University Divinity School . Neuberger writes, speaks, makes trouble, and has published several books, of which the latest is The Moral State We’re In (2006). She is working on a book about old age, and thinking about a new book on death and dying, as well as one as a counterblast to Richard Dawkins on why religion is so important in the rather godless United Kingdom.

Peculiar and Inconsistent

Julia NeubergerChair, Commission on the Future of Volunteering in England | 6COMMENTS

Brian D. McLaren   |   Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon   |   Willis E. Elliott

How To Survive Hostile Meeting

Over the years I have had my share of meetings. Sometimes those meetings are productive, sometimes they drag on, sometimes I walk out wondering why we even meet.

I also have been in some bad business situations and even some situations where I felt like I was fighting for the life of the organization.

But if you are living in a hostile situation. One to where people are attempting to take your leadership or undermine your leadership. There are are certain things you need to do before, during , and after the meeting. CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE

September 9th, 2008 by Phil Longmire

This is a great article if you are aware that you are about to enter a hostile meeting

Easum Bandy Tenny Brittain – Guiding Christian Leaders for Ancient Mission for a Contemporary World

Church Leadership Insights with Nelson Searcy

The Ooze – Conversation for the Journey – An Emerging Church Conversation

Ministry Best Practices

Church Marketing Sucks

Midnight Oil Productions | Telling the Story in a New Light

Telling the Story in a New Light. Midnight Oil provides resources and training for ministry in a digital culture.

Church Leader’s Five Must-Do’s for Every Day

Bill T-B | August 12, 2008

It’s said that the average leader spends 80 percent of their time doing little that will further their mission. That means that the important stuff gets short shrift by a bunch. What would happen if the average leader spent 80 percent of their time on the real important stuff … on those tasks that would further their mission the most? Well, they wouldn’t be average leaders anymore. They’d be excellent, high powered leaders.

Before I reveal the five things every church leader must do every day, let me remind you of the one thing every leader must have before they can even be as good as an average leader. This is Curley’s “one thing” that you have to figure out. The One Thing is your personal mission … your purpose … the reason you get up each morning. The sad reality is that most leaders I work with fumble around, mutter a bit, and get flustered when I ask them what their mission is. How can a leader know when they’re on task or not if they don’t know what their mission is? How can you know what tasks are important and which tasks are not if purpose is a mystery? It’s been said that without a mission, we live in a fog and simply respond to whichever foghorn is loudest at any given moment. So, what’s your mission? If you can’t spit it out immediately with conviction and commitment, stop reading now and go get it figured out. (BTW, my mission is to be a source for spiritual transformation … it’s not only what I do, it’s who I try to be). CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

The Disciplines of a pastor committed to making disciples includes each of the five steps that my friend Bill T-B describes. I really appreciate the self disclosure of his personal mission statement and the challenge to raise our leadership skills above the average