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On Confessional identity being important, yet hard to accomplish

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My colleague and blog and internet buddy Paul VanderKlay, a CRC pastor in California and former missionary shared some thoughts I feel are worth sharing with you all:

http://paulvanderklay.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/why-the-church-must-have-a-solid-confessional-self-to-do-embody-gods-mission-to-the-world/

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Communal Worship as celebration of spiritual growth

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I gave a brief description of aspects of this line of thought on Sunday evening, but here is a post that lays it out in written words. The idea is that too many people come to Sunday worship with their spiritual batteries too low for an effective recharge that can last a whole week. It is better that people come as wells of living water, not as dried up cisterns. How fair is it if the majority arrive dried out like that and then expect the worship leaders and pastors to ‘fill them to overflowing’? It is not.

Here is the post: http://wp.me/P3etrg-g6

Church size matters to the kind of pastor you need

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It is dangerous for any pastor or any congregation to think one size fits all when it comes to churches. There are of course many factors that affect ‘fit’ between a pastor and congregation, but today I want to explore just one with you, namely how the size of the congregation makes a huge difference in what skills a pastor needs to have.

Here is the page for this week: http://wp.me/P3etrg-fK

Life Together

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Life Together

I didn’t get around to creating a new post of my own this week, but did come across this one today by another CRC pastor that has relevance, so I am sharing it. You can see the whole post by clicking on the title above. But here are the best bits:

The Church is the community that births, nurtures and mentors believers towards mature, active faith. She is the womb of faith, mother of believers, Body of Jesus. She is living, organic – not some institution.

What’s Church all about?

  • We provide safe space for people beat up by life… or others.
  • We provide coaching and mentoring and teaching to counter the often deceptively harmful influences of the world, and to guide people in living authentic Jesus-following lives, growing in their relationship with him.
  • We foster relationships that encourage and support.
  • Together we serve in ways that as individuals we simply couldn’t accomplish.
  • And…..we WORSHIP.

We take time each week to stop whatever it is we’re doing and we deliberately focus our time and energy and passion on the Triune God that made us, rescued us, and now dwells within us… Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We worship, we live.
We share…..
Life together.

And so I’m wondering a little about…

Do we focus here on relationships instead of rules?
How about people before policy?
How about mentoring before membership?
How about hospitality before hierarchy?

Nothing New under the Sun

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As if to prove the truth of the observation of the author of Eccesiastes, at our last Transition Team meeting a document surfaced that was a report Rev Mel Poole gave to this Classis back in 2005 and 2006.

We briefly looked at it in the meeting and all took home copies. I believe it is helpful for all to be reading this. Even if only to have you understand that this Transition process is not about Classis punishing a church or about Pastor Pete being difficult, it is about addressing common factors that are well known to cause problems within congregations, and between congregations and pastors. In fact, if I was King for a day, I’d want all incoming members of council to memorize this material!

When the Transition Team report comes out, you will do well to look back at these pages. In a way it is both astonishing and comforting to realize that some of our struggles here are ‘normal’ dysfunctions. My hope is, again, that this recognition increases the desire to get healthier.

In this first page, he shares a bit of his history and background (click on the underlined text. That should open it. If you want to open it in a separate window, click on it with the right button and select “open in new tab”) and also some commonly encountered problem areas. They come down to two words: clarity of expectatons and accountability processes. Of the 9 he mentions, I have only begun to address small bits of ones I have found relevant for Nobleford, talking some about accountability and having clear mandates. I have done most work addressing “curtailing inappropriate critics and controllers” in educating council (Elders mainly) somewhat in how these manipulations work and the anxieties they are driven by. It will be up to you collectively to be determined to keep working at these.

In this page, he describes how the church is a system (a living body) and how all parts have a responsibility to help keep it healthy. You will see how the same two things recur again and again: job clarity and healthy feedback.

Next are two pages that seem to be taken from a larger report.

Page 1

Page 2

May you be edified and directed by what this experienced CRC ‘helping’ pastor notes.

One Right way, all else is wrong

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OK, I thought I could take a break and shut my mind and spirit down for a week, but it is not to be. Some recent conversations triggered some reflection on how Black and White or Wrong or Right thinking has a side effect, namely that people begin to believe there is only one right way for Christians do do things and all others are wrong.

Here’s the reflection: http://wp.me/P3etrg-eY

Value integrity

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I feel a need to give my creativity and deeper thinking a rest this week. So instead of creating a new posting I’ll share one I wrote and shared on the CRC network a few weeks ago. It has relevance here, but really addresses a broader issue for all churches.

http://network.crcna.org/pastors/expressed-values-lacking-integrity-lived-values

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