Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rocky Mountain Youth

Late last night, I commended to my friends on Twitter and Facebook this excellent article by Denver area pastor, Rev. Matthew Bolz-Weber. The premise isn't new - youth are the church of today, not just the church of the future - but the way in which MBW articulates his point is refreshing. His closing statement is his best:

If we are not willing to actively give up the idea that young people are the church of tomorrow, then I'm tempted to start talking about older people as the church of yesterday.

I wondered what prompted Matthew to take no prisoners in his assertion that all of God's people, regardless of age, are full members of the Body of Christ.

Maybe it's because the Lutheran Youth Organization of the Rocky Mountain Synod raised $36,657.65 and established a resolution to be a pilot synod for the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. What an amazing witness!

How are the young people in your life teaching, leading, and inspiring you in a life of faith?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nobody Told Me!

I recently had the joy of talking about the LIFT project with folks at the SE Iowa Synod Assembly. The people who attended the workshops were enthusiastic about the work of this task force...and simultaneously frustrated that they didn't know much about it. Despite the best efforts of the people working with the LIFT task force, it seems that very few ELCA pewsitters are aware that the Church Council is initiating a conversation about the future of our denomination.

In the midst of these discouraged and frustrated people, I blurted out this unfiltered statement:

Just because organizations suck at communication doesn't mean they don't want you to know just means they suck at communication.

In other words, if you don't know about something, it doesn't mean there's a conspiracy or cover-up. It may just mean organizations are not doing a good job of navigating the turbulent waters in a vast ocean of communication methods.

For example, in my corner of the world, it's virtually impossible for me to have no awareness of the LIFT project...but I am a church employee who is constantly checking Facebook and Twitter. LIFT has a rather prominent presence in those places...which does very little for people who don't work in churches and don't own a computer or cell phone.

Some suggested that this problem would be solved if "the ELCA" would just mail a copy of the LIFT charter and discussion questions to each congregation. It might. Others would argue that this approach isn't cost effective, and that few (if any) additional people would participate if something was sent via snail mail. Who knows.

The bottom line is that most organizations are struggling with their methods of engagement. If anyone has experienced success with ways to effectively communicate with a diverse audience, I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Worth Reading

Here are four articles that have convicted, challenged, and inspired me this week.

Should the Episcopal Church Go Out of Business
Living in denial benefits neither God nor the growing non-Christian majority. Pro-actively adapting to a rapidly changing context and constituency will afford the church more leeway in defining and shaping its identity and form than reactively struggling to survive.

How Technology is Changing Church Culture
Top-down hierarchy is dissolving.
Power-brokers no longer have sole access to the information that brought them power.
Geographical boundaries no longer present the limitations that they once did.

Musings as a Pastor of a Small Church
If criticizing a larger ministry only makes you feel better about yourself and your ministry, isn’t that nothing more than narcissism fleshed out?

Why I Finally Joined a Church

I want my children to see that a group of people can work together, give of their time and talents, and support each other through life's joys and sorrows not because they're family or even necessarily friends, but because they believe that it's an important part of being human.

I also want to expose them to good, old-fashioned community in a world where, increasingly, community happens only in virtual spaces. I'm a huge fan of blogs, Facebook and Twitter, but I don't think there will ever be a substitute for sharing the same physical space with a group of people -- having conversations, making music together, offering each other a handshake, a smile, or a word of sympathy.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you've read...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Average Americans

The Center for Disease Control recently studied 5,000 adults (over 20 years old) and found the physical profile of the average American is:

Height - 5 feet, 9.5 inches
Weight - 195 pounds
Waist - 39.7 inches
BMI - 28.4

Height - 5 feet, 3.75 inches
Weight - 167 pounds
Waist - 37.5 inches
BMI - 28.9