Articles tagged with: leadership

31 October 2014

The Church Kids Will Be Alright...You're Welcome

Posted in Leadership, Church

Skateboard-WingtipsLost in the debates over generational shifts in the church between Boomers and Millenials is a forgotten generation, Gen-Xers. And we might have a chip on our shoulder about it. Check out my new post that's getting a lot of buzz on the new online magazine, The Narthex, which I edit with Elizabeth Drescher.

Here's an excerpt:

You see, Gen-Xers know that the church has never and will never belong to us — not that we would want that. We are deeply skeptical of institutions. We understand that we are a transitional generation. We console older generations in their lament for how things used to be, even as we pry their clutched fingers from the reigns of power and control. And we are hurriedly trying to prepare the ground for Millenials, with their much needed technological and cultural fluency, to have voice and shape the Church and American Christianity.

Most of us are not digital natives, but we love technology and lead digitally-integrated lives. We are the last generation to enter seminary or divinity school thinking that ministry was a stable livelong career choice. And it turns out — lucky us — that we get to help preside over the death of Christendom and nurture whatever it is that comes next. We grew up with Boomers — our parents—but we associate ourselves with Millennials.

Read the full post here at The Narthex.

Photo credit: Jay Mantri. CC 0 license.

03 April 2014

Introducing The Digital Cathedral: Networked Ministry in a Wireless World

Posted in The Digital Cathedral

CanterburyCathedralHello Friends,

I'm sure you've noticed that things have been pretty slow here on my blog of late. The reason is that I'm working on a new book:  The Digital Cathedral: Networked Ministry in a Wireless World, to be published by Church Publishing, the publishing house of The Episcopal Church. (Yes, they let Lutherans write for them too.)

I'm really excited about this project. It builds on many of the ideas I've been writing, blogging, and speaking about—and experiencing in my ministry—over last few years. It builds on ideas Elizabeth Drescher and I introduced in Click2Save: The Digital Minsitry Bible, but goes beyond the basics of how to use social media, and explores the character of ministry leadership that is required today in our digitally-integrated world. 

The Digital Cathedral is intended to evoke an expansive understanding of church in a digitally-integrated world, one that extends ministry into digital and local gathering spaces, recognizes the holy in our everyday lives, and embodies a networked, relational, and incarnational ministry leadership for a digital age.

13 December 2013

On Advent and Liturgical Fundamentalism

Posted in Church

adventcandlesI recently posted a rant on Facebook about how so many ministry leaders were posting about the color of Advent candles and singing Christmas hymns in Advent. It went something like (well, exactly like) this:

“I have no patience for debates over the color of Advent candles and whether or not to sing Christmas songs in Advent. God became incarnate *mind blown*...and candles and carols are all some church professionals on Facebook can post about? Give me a break.”

I had seen so many colleagues posting about these things that I finally snapped and posted about it. 139 likes, 45 comments, and 5 shares later, it seems to have hit a nerve. Facebook informs me that its on of my most popular posts of 2013. Oh, well.

Here’s my problem with all this.

16 October 2013

Two Talks on Evangelism in the 21st Century

Posted in Leadership, Church

Ethiopian-iPhoneWhat does evangelism in the 21st century look like? How is it different than 5, 10, 15, or 25 years ago?

In these two talks/sermons, I take on those questions and offer up strategies that have worked for me.

In short, evangelism must begin with repentence and it should involve more listening— holy listening— than it usually does. 

I draw on the work of the Barna Group in the books UnChristian and You Lost Me, Nadia Bolz-Weber's spiritual memoir, Pastrix, research from Elizabeth Drescher, and the work of Paul Hoffman described in Faith Forming Faith

What does evangelism at the ouset of the 21st century look like where you are?

04 October 2013

Pastrix: Nadia Bolz-Weber's Cranky and Beautiful Memoir (Review)

Posted in Emerging, Leadership, Spirituality, Church

Pastrix3Nadia Bolz-Weber makes me want to be a better pastor. She also reminds me that I'm bound to fuck it up.

In her new book Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, Nadia chronicles her upbringing in a fundamentalist church, her path to self-destruction as a young adult, her improbable call to ministry, and her journey with her people at House for All Sinners and Saints.

It is beautifully written, funny, and heartbreaking. It will make you laugh out loud and, if you're like me, choke up and wipe away the tears pooling up in the corner of your eyes. Often all on the same page.

Surely, Pastrix is one of the first great spiritual memoirs of post-American-Christendom.

Pastrix speaks profoundly to those who are alienated from the church. I want to buy a copy for all my friends, and I've got plenty, who have given up on church long ago.

For my part, I can't help but read Pastrix from my own perspective as a ministry practitioner and Lutheran pastor.

What I have learned from Nadia, in our conversations and again in Pastrix, is that being a better pastor is not about accumulating skill sets and eventually, finally, getting it right. Its about being open enough to God (who she refers to as "Jesus the Boyfriend," who gets all up in our shit) and God's people to have your heart broken.

25 July 2013

Practicing Theology Without a Net: Theology Pubs, Spiritual Direction, and Letting Go

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Church

guerillatheology

Lately, I've been practicing a lot of what I have been thinking of as theology without a net.

Theology without a net happens in public spaces. It does not involve a presentation, PowerPoint slides, or a written text. It does not rely on the expert knowledge of professional ministry-types.

It does not offer or promise neat answers. It is an ongoing conversation, which is shaped by whoever shows up that day. It is responsive, not leading. It listens more than speaks. And it has to be authentic. It lives at the intersection of faith and life.

This is different from how I was trained to do theology. Theology happened controlled environments: in church or academic buildings, classes, and worship, with subject matter experts (pastors and professors), who were training me to become one too. And, hey, I loved it. I absorbed it. I got good at it.

But the world we live in demands that we do theology in a different way, on-the-fly, in different places, with different people, on someone else's turf: theology without a net.

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