Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This is good for us?

Last Saturday I went to get the mail and pulled the current Time magazine from the mail box:

If you want to see the cover, go to this link: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/current

What got my attention was the seven word headline under “The End of Excess.” That headline read: “Why this crisis is good for America.” When I read those words, I thought that the magazine cover was an April Fool’s joke from Time.

If you want to read the cover story, go here:

Among many things the author, Kurt Andersen, said was that we we’ve been on a gambling binge in the past years, that the party is finally over, and that this correction will make us better people.

This economic crisis is good for America? Hmmm. Since the start of the year I’ve talked to many people who are scared—scared about their jobs, wondering what they would do to feed their families if they lost their jobs, worried about losing health care. I don’t think that they would describe their anxiety as good.

As I read the article I thought I was hearing my mom say to me “you shouldn’t have eaten that candy bar last night, eat your cooked spinach even though you don’t like it, and because you’ve eaten that terribly tasting food you will be a better person.”

I don’t think I would spin our economic crisis into such a simplistic moral storyline. A storyline that says, we were bad, we deserve to suffer because we were bad, we’ll take our medicine, and emerge as better people in the future.

During the worst personal crisis of my life a counselor told me, “you’ll be a better person because of what you’re going through.” I immediately responded, “if this is the way to be a better person, then I don’t want to be a better person.”

I think suffering can be redemptive and that it is possible to be more complete people because of suffering. I also think that suffering can cause people so much pain that they never recover.

I believe in the power of the prophets—but now is not the time to be a prophet. We needed to heed Jeremiah and Amos’ strong words during the earlier part of this decade. Right now we need to offer people comfort and a listening ear—and help people find jobs if they are unemployed. Spinning the last decade into a simple morality play doesn’t seem to be helpful.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Learning on the way.

Because of the suggestions of Dennis Sanders from the Twin Cities Area Presbytery office I have changed the look of this blog. Dennis and I spent a couple hours on Friday talking about technology and then playing around with this blog, Facebook, and Twitter. He is a wonderful resource for anyone who has technology questions.

This is the start of the third week of my blog. I don’t have a grand plan for blogging—I decided when I started that I would start blogging and learn as I go. I feel a bit uncomfortable starting this way, but this will be a fun way to learn. As of right now I don’t have a strong written purpose for this blog, I don’t have a name for this blog, and I’m very willing to change the look and format of this blog.

What I do know is I like to write, I have plenty of ideas or reflections about the church, the culture, literature, politics, technology—well you get the idea. What I also know is I have a call to serve as the Organizing Pastor for the Chain of Lakes Church. Even though all of what I write on this blog is my personal opinion, I want this blog to serve the general ministry and mission of our new church.

I also know that I want people to read this blog. The intent of this blog is not for it to be a personal journal—one where I am the only person who reads it.

Yesterday I had a conversation with another pastor about blogging. When I said I started a blog he said that doing that takes discipline. My plan right now is to spend no more than 45 minutes a day in blogging. My initial plan is to write on four out of the five week days. No weekend blogging for now unless I come across something that grabs me so deeply that I can’t wait until Monday to write about it.

I think I’ve always had a secret desire to be a newspaper columnist—writing a daily blog is the next best thing.

Please share some comments. Let me know what you think about the look of the site. Please sign up to receive this blog via Feeburner. Doing that is easy—just type in the E-mail address on the side of this blog and you’ll get this blog delivered to your E-mail account.

Help me keep learning!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Coincidence, Fluke, or a God thing?

This past Wednesday our new congregation hosted an event we called “Meet the Pastor” at the Hampton Inn in Lino Lakes. The purpose of the event was to give people interested in our new congregation an opportunity to get to know me better. I am the Organizing Pastor of the congregation.

The main way we advertised for the event was to have the Emerging Community invite their family and friends. The Emerging Community is a group who has been meeting every Wednesday night during Lent.

My goal for this “Meet the Pastor” event was to have five new adults come—adults who haven’t been a part of our Emerging Community.

Guess how many new adults came this past Wednesday?

Oh come on, take a guess.

The answer is---------------------------------------five new adults came.

My goal and the result were exactly the same.

Do you think this was a coincidence, a fluke, or a God thing?

I think it was---------------------------------------a God thing.

The entire event this past Wednesday was marvelous. We had 24 people attend—15 adults and nine youth and children. We have more 6th grade and under children in our new church than I had at Community Presbyterian Church in Plainview when I started there.

At the event this past Wednesday my wife Amy and I played a duet, Amy beautifully entertained the crowd with three short flute solos, I shared my faith story, and I explained how people could get involved in the church. We then formed a circle and offered individuals an opportunity to pray before we all said the Lord’s Prayer to end the meeting.

Many of us stayed very late eating desserts and sharing in conversation.

The event was a big success.

People have asked me how they can get involved. People can connect to our new congregation in three ways:

1. Join our Emerging Community. This group meets every Wednesday night. Our next gathering is on Wednesday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lino Lakes Government Center. Child Care is provided. On Wednesday, April 1 we will watch a video and have conversation. No reservations are needed. If you are interested in coming, just come!!

2. Join our Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is functioning as the Session of our new church. The main task for the Steering Committee right now is to develop a Purpose Statement for our new church. The Steering Committee is still an open and fluid group, meaning people can still join. The participants on the Steering Committee and the terms of service for people serving have not been finalized. Right now the Steering Committee is meeting once a month. The next meeting is Monday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. at our office, 6776 Lake Drive #225 in Lino Lakes.

3. Come to a “Larger Group Gathering.” At least once a month we’re having a “Larger Group Gathering,” times when the wider community is encouraged to participate. The “Meet the Pastor” event was an example of a “Larger Group Gathering.” The next “Larger Group Gathering” will be an Agape Feast which will be Thursday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Hampton Inn in Lino Lakes. We are doing some heavy newspaper advertising for this event.

People can also call the office, (651) 528-7321, or E-mail the office at: colpres@comcast.net for more information too. I am in the office every weekday.

Praise God for a wonderful “Meet the Pastor” event this past Wednesday!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Play Like Champions

Yesterday I watched at Williams Arena the second half of the New Prague/Mankato West state tournament boys basketball game. It was an exciting game—New Prague was ahead at half time, but couldn’t get its offense going in the second half. They ended up losing to West—who is ranked #1 in class 3A—by 12 points.

The game meant more than the final score because New Prague had been coached by Jeff Gravon, one of my best childhood friends. Jeff died of cancer in January. I journeyed with Jeff during his fight—and it was a fight for Jeff—with cancer. I went to some of his doctor’s visits, talked frequently on the phone with him, and sat with him as he had drugs put into his system. The night he died I was called over to the hospital and sat with his family during those awful early morning hours. I then officiated at his two funeral services.

John Millea of the Star Tribune wrote two beautiful articles about Jeff and the New Prague team, one the week after he passed away and then another one in today’s paper. The second article can be found at:

As I shared in my funeral sermon Jeff was not a complicated man. He cared about two things in life: 1) his family and 2) coaching. He rarely outwardly shared his inner emotions, but he would have been very happy yesterday coaching at the State Tournament. All that was most important to him were present at Williams Arena—his two younger kids were cheering in the stands and he was coaching “his boys.”

Today he would be dying inside—as all competitive coaches would be after losing in the State Tournament. He would have been analyzing every play, wondering what he could have done differently, thinking about the lost opportunities. But after the sting of that loss went away—and this wouldn’t have happened for a while—Jeff would have been very proud of his team.

New Prague had a wonderful Boys basketball season. The New Prague team was successful in athletics, but I can’t help but think how the players grew to be men. I’ve hardly been more impressed with a group of teenagers than I was at the funeral in New Prague for Jeff. Three of the players from the team stood up and with composure talked about the qualities that Jeff had passed onto them. Speaking with such poise in that situation was more difficult than having to shoot two free throws in the final five seconds with your team down by one.

A few nights before Jeff died, he left the New Prague hospital and coached his final game. At a player’s party afterwards he told his team that they had played like champions. That became the motto for the New Prague season. Almost everyone in the New Prague section yesterday was wearing a T-shirt that had “Play Like Champions” on the front of the shirt.

Our culture celebrates winners. There is a movement within athletics and our culture that argues that we have watered down the achievement of winning. Just the fact that the Minnesota High School Basketball Tournament has four classes is an example of this thinking.

I go back and forth in my own mind about this argument. What I do know and what I think most of us could agree upon is winning goes far beyond achieving the most points in an athletic contest.

In the funeral sermon I shared about Jeff I said that he loved to call me and talk about this players—he would call them “his boys.” Today I think we can call the New Prague basketball players, “his men.” When athletics helps boys become men, then we all are winners.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I had a small degree of success in inviting someone to an event that our new church is having tomorrow night. I have to share the story.

Tomorrow night—Wednesday, March 25—our new church is hosting a “Meet the Pastor” event at the Hampton Inn in Lino Lakes. For those of you who are interested, the Hampton Inn is located at 579 Apollo Drive just west of Highway 23 off of exist #36 from 35W.

This is our first outreach event as a new church. We’ve had a group of about ten people who have been meeting on Wednesday evenings. We didn’t do much advertising for this event tomorrow night; the strategy is to encourage our group of ten to invite a friend or family member and to give our group of ten the resources to invite someone.

Research has shown that over 90 percent of people first come to a church because they receive an invitation from a friend or family member.

As the pastor of our group I am a model for inviting. I have only been a pastor here for five weeks, so I hardly know anyone to invite. When I don’t know what to do I pray. So I’ve prayed the last week about who I could invite to this “Meet the Pastor” event. In particular I wanted to challenge myself to invite somebody I didn’t know real well.

For the past four weeks I’ve been buying my morning paper at a local convenience store. I’ve gotten to know the convenience store clerk a little bit. He seems like a classic Minnesotan—a nice guy—in his late 20’s. When I buy the paper we sometimes talk for about 10 seconds about the weather.

Recently in my morning prayers the idea of inviting this man to the “Meet the Pastor” event came to mind. I thought—“what do I have to lose—I’m just extending an invitation.”

So this morning I printed out a flyer for the event and went to buy my newspaper. I will admit my heart was pumping a little faster than it usually does when I buy my morning newspaper.

I came into the store, bought my newspaper and said to the clerk, “I don’t know if you’re looking for a church, but I’m starting a new church. We’re having an event tomorrow night, and if you’re interested you’re very welcome to come.” I then gave him the flyer for our event.

He then floored me by saying, “in fact my wife and I are looking for a church.”

I wasn’t expecting that response.

I went on to let him know where the event is. I told him about our office sign—which says Presbyterian Church and is quite visible from the highway. I told him “no pressure” but we would love to have him come tomorrow night

I have no idea of this man will come to our event tomorrow night—but our encounter was a success. The two of us took a step in our relationship—maybe even a friendship. We’ll have more to talk about the next time I buy a morning newspaper.

I think there are many lessons to draw from this encounter. The one lesson that I draw is the importance of prayer in doing ministry. I had no idea that this man was looking for a church. I believe that God led me to invite this man. If I hadn’t been praying, I wouldn’t have extended an invitation to this man.

I can’t imagine doing the work of the church without the support of God through prayer.

Which leads me to a request to everyone who reads this blog. Would you take a moment to pray for the mission and ministry of the Chain of Lakes Church? In particular would you pray that God would touch the hearts of the unchurched in Blaine/Lino Lakes? While you are praying, would you pray for a successful “Meet the Pastor” event on Wednesday, March 25?

Unexpected success feels wonderful!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Writer's Conference

This past Friday and Saturday my wife, Amy, & I attended a Writer’s conference in La Crosse called, “Awakening the Soul of the Writer.” The Conference was sponsored by the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse and the La Crosse Women’s Writer’s group. They did an impressive job of organizing the conference—everything was done first rate.

We arrived on Friday morning just in time to catch the last part of a presentation by Ellen Kort called “The Poet/Writer as Healer.” I had one of those scary experiences of unknowingly walking into a room full of people. Thank goodness they all had their backs to me. I was very surprised by the large number of people who attended that session—I would guess 150. I had never heard of Ellen Kort before, but she made some statements that were meaningful to me. She said to search for the truthline in a poem and to know what we stand for as writers.

After that talk we were hustled into the Franciscan Spirituality Center where the workshops were held. I attended a workshop called “The Agony of Near Defeat: Techniques to Meet the Deadline.” I signed up for the workshop because I had faced deadlines for 16 years when I was preaching weekly. Anne O’Connor lead the workshop. She is a writer for a monthly newspaper in La Crosse. She started us off by giving us a minute to write 15 words about ourselves and then 15 words about her. We talked about our experience of meeting this imposed deadline. Anne O’Connor then talked for about 80 minutes on meeting deadlines. Some of what she said was helpful to me:
· She said that the more we care about something the harder it is to write about it on deadline. We have to prioritize our level of care about something.
· She said we can write a lot in our heard before sitting down to the keyboard to write.
· When we have a problem writing on deadline she encouraged us to find an audience of one, that is write for the one person in the world who loves us and accepts us.

The best line of the workshop was when she said, “I am certain when I’m on deadline that there is a closet to clean.”

In the afternoon I attended a workshop on journaling by Carl Koch. I got to know Carl through Amy. He was head of the servant leadership program at Viterbo when Amy attended.

Later on in the day I attended a workshop called “The Art of Writing” by Sara Sprister, a local Junior High writing instructor. She had us participate in a number of writing exercised. In one exercise we looked at a painted portrait. We were asked to write down 10 answers that Sara Sprister asked us. From that material we then each wrote a short story about the person in the portrait.

The highlight of the conference was the talk given the next day by Kathleen Norris. She is the acclaimed author of six books of non-fiction. Her best known works are “Dakota, Amazing Grace, and The Cloister Walk.” She recently finished a book on Acedia called “Acedia and Me.”

Acedia is a spiritual condition. She described it as a demon. Acedia is not caring about the world—and not caring that we don’t care. It’s part boredom, sloth, listlessness, and restlessness. The opposite of acedia is zeal.

Kathleen Norris talked about first coming across the idea of acedia when she read Evagrius, a 4th century Egyptian monk. In her book she described how she first suffered from acedia as a teenager.

For such a depressing topic Kathleen Norris did an excellent job of pulling off her talk. I was particularly impressed with how she handled questions.

The two days were fun because it was something new; I hadn’t attended a writer’s conference before. I enjoyed the talks I had with people during the breaks. I got to know a Lutheran pastor who just came to his church; I enjoyed a conversation with a woman from Eau Claire who is organizing an event this Tuesday by Harold Kushner.

I was particularly impressed that this small group of women who make up the La Crosse Women’s Writer’s Group could pull off such a big event.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let's take a breath

Before we go too far in throwing stones at the AIG folks, let’s take a breath and reflect on the spiritual dimensions of this issue.

I think I understand the outrage that is consuming folks in our nation. The line of thinking is not that complicated—“the financial industry got us into this mess, they made a buck and caused pain to the rest of us, now we’re giving them our tax money—and they spend it on bonuses? Let’s take them to the edge of the village and stone them!!”

In my formative years I grew up believing in righteous anger—and boy does it feel good to throw stones. There is a wonderful biblical tradition of social justice/righteousness. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos, Hosea—they would be blowing their stack at the AIG folk right now. I wonder what theatrics they would use to condemn them. And oh yes, Jesus probably would be blowing his stack too. He turned over the tables in the Temple when the money changers were exploiting the poor.

But are we surprised that people are capable of such greed?

The actions of the folks at AIG are a reflection of our culture—one that encourages people to consume, get rich. We’ve come out of a time of excess, we’re afraid, and now we’re looking for some people to blame.

What interest me more in this story is not that people at AIG committed terrible acts of greed. I’m curious about the faith stories of the people who took these bonuses. What were they taught about money growing up? Where did they attend worship? Where do they attend worship now? What type of faith do they have?If they participate in a faith community, what is the message about money that the churches are teaching?

I think all of us in the Church could take a step back and reflect on how we are doing on communicating Jesus’ values about money.

Jesus was very clear that the way we spend our money reflects our values. Remember what he told the rich young fool: “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

The folks at AIG are really not that different than the rich young fool. I just wonder who shared with them this teaching of Jesus.

I always smile when I hear people criticize the church for talking too much about money. I smile because Jesus talked about money more than any other topic. If we in the Church are bullied into silence about money, then we are missing a major point of Jesus’ teaching.

Instead of pointing our fingers, let’s recommit ourselves to sharing the message of stewardship that Jesus proclaimed. We have plenty of people in our churches who are not that different than the folks at AIG. What are we communicating to them? Until we in the Church are successful at teaching Jesus’ message, we will continue to watch these sordid stories of greed spin out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Small Steps

I’m still trying to figure out this Social Media and how it can apply to ministry in 2009. I think about questions like, “do I need to put on Facebook that our Organizing Committee is meeting tonight, aren’t I really wasting a lot of time in front of the screen today, what is the difference between day dreaming and blog reading.”

Then try to have a conversation with someone in their 60’s or above about Facebook or Twitter. Talking about Social Media garners a glaze in their eyes that won’t dissolve. It’s heavy—like a sugary glaze that I might expect to find at a Presbyterian Pot Luck. It prevents us from connecting and communicating across generations.

But I’ve already experienced that Facebook can work. I met a young woman in our new church before I even met her in person—which is an interesting way to meet people. She knew that I was becoming the new pastor of the Chain of Lakes church, I shared with her that she could get to know me via Facebook, I shared my Facebook page, we became Facebook friends, she came to our first meeting, she looks at me now as her pastor.

I can’t imagine this virtual pastoral relationship starting 15 years ago.

I don’t believe that Jesus would be offended at this sort of transaction. Jesus was the most innovative religious leader in the history of the world. He changed the direction of religion and that change has lasted for over 2000 years. Instead of following the law, people could follow him; instead of performing works, people could focus on loving in their heart. Jesus changed everything.

But despite Jesus’ unbelievable ability to change and innovate, the church is one of the most change resistant institutions in our world. We do have prophets who are trying to steer us ahead of our culture, but our prophets don’t have much power.

The other night I was having a conversation with a late Boomer at a basketball game. This is a man who grew up in the 1960’s; he registered as a conscientious objector; he received a low draft number; if he had been drafted he probably would have gone to Canada. But he doesn’t want to do Facebook. (And I admit I don’t know if “doing” Facebook is the way to describe the interaction. I’m still searching for language to describe what happens there.) I think of him as a man who would embrace change and innovation. “I don’t want to be known,” he declared to me over the noise of the upcoming basketball game. “I don’t want to spread my information over the Internet.”

I can understand his hesitancy. I am a bit afraid to post this morning’s blog even though I’m sure it will be read by less than 10 people.

But the Spirit prompts us to change and innovate and try new things.

Jesus didn’t have too many problems communicating his message. We in the church have a lot to learn from him.

At our Presbytery meeting this past Saturday, the Presbytery posted the written reports on the wall. A favorite man of mine complained that this wasn’t needed. “we don’t need to have the written reports projected on the wall.” I was just glad that the Presbytery was using visual projection at a meeting. For right now it’s the little things—small steps.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saying "Good bye"

My wife Amy got up well before dawn today to go to the Rochester airport to say goodbye to Drew, her son. Drew has been in Rochester since February 26. He’s currently serving the Army as a medic in Iraq. He is scheduled to be done with this tour in June.

This goodbye doesn’t feel as painful as the goodbye we shared with Drew last May. Last May this new part of Drew’s journey seemed much more uncertain. We know more now than we did last May—Iraq is still dangerous but not as dangerous as in the past; we know that this tour of duty for Drew will be 12 months and not 15 months; we know that we can actually see and talk to him via Skype.

Last night we gathered for one of the rituals of saying goodbye—the going away dinner. We gathered last night with Nikki (Drew’s wife), her family, Amy, Hannah, and some of Drew’s friends gathered to eat and celebrate the time we had together.

I can’t help but reflect on how saying goodbye is a spiritual task. We’re fortunate when our individual faith journeys connect, but ultimately we all go our separate ways. This dance of connection/separation is part of our journey. Goodbyes are a common part of our humanity.

In my goodbye sermon to Community Presbyterian Church in Plainview last month, I joked about Minnesota goodbyes and Iowa goodbyes. A “Minnesota” goodbye is when we say goodbye and then put the coffee pot on; a “Iowa” goodbye is goodbye, out the door, goodbye.

I stayed at home with our daughter, Hannah this morning and thought about Amy, Nikki, and Drew saying goodbye at the airport. These difficult goodbyes are a common part of our humanity. I can’t help but think about all the wrenching goodbyes that are shared at airports.

Please keep Drew in your prayers these next three months. Pray for his safety; pray for Nikki as she waits patiently for Drew to come home; pray for Amy as she reflects about her son living in Iraq.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Presbytery meeting on Saturday, March 14

This past Saturday I attended our Presbytery meeting at Faith Presbyterian Church in Minnetonka. I arrived early at the meeting as one of my main intentions was to sign people up as prayer partners for our Chain of Lakes new church. One of my goals for our new church is to have the Presbytery invested in our success. I can see this happening by having people in our churches praying daily for the ministry and mission of our New Church Development. John Ivers came up with a brochure about our ministry and a pledge card for people to indicate their interest in being a prayer partner.
So I felt like a carnival barker exhorting people who walked by our table to sign a pledge card. The folks who stopped to talk were willing to do this, some did view us with a bit of suspicion, and most gave us the benefit of the doubt. We came away with about 25 pledge cards signed.
The meeting was packed. I came into the sanctuary late because of my work at the table and could hardly find a seat. I mentioned that I was a bit surprised by the size of the crowd to a colleague. I asked if the large number had to do with the Amendments to the Book of Order we would be voting on. My colleague rolled his eyes and said, “you think.”
Soon we got into the business of the day. The Amendments that attracted most attention were the ones to change to vows of membership (amending Book of Order item G-5.0200) and replacing G-6.0106b, commonly known as Amendment B.
I didn’t quite understand the debate to change the vows of membership. There seemed to be some reluctance to have people coming into a Presbyterian church to be examined by the Session. The Bills and Overtures Committee did not make a recommendation on that Amendment—the Presbytery ultimately voted “no.” I voted “yes.”
But the show of the day was the debate to replace Amendment B. Jin Kim started out the debate by making a motion to record the Presbytery as abstaining. This made sense to me. He remarked that there wasn’t even a microphone set up to let people voice their desire for a no action vote. The problem with Jin’s argument was a no action vote would really be a “no” vote. For this Amendment to pass a certain number of Presbyteries have to vote “yes.” To take “no action” wouldn’t add to the “yes” column thus making our action the same as a “no” vote.
I liked the spirit of Jin’s suggestion. I’m tired of these debates on human sexuality in the church. They have consumed much of our time, energy, and passion the past 15 years. I can hardly remember a time following a General Assembly where some action by the Presbyterys on an issue of human sexuality wasn’t required.
I am against Amendment B. My reasoning does not come out of my views on human sexuality. I don’t like that the Amendment makes obedience to Scripture and conformity to the confessional standards as our highest aim of living the Christian life. Even though the attempt is to legalize in a sense what it means to follow Jesus, I don’t think anything can take precedence over our following of Jesus. Though I have some problems with the wording that would replace Amendment B, I do like the intent. In the new Amendment officers of the church assent to the constitutional questions pledging themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confession. I like that order of priority—first Jesus, then the Scriptures, then the Confessions.
The Presbytery ultimately voted not to record a “no action” vote. Not surprisingly the Presbytery voted for the change to Amendment “B.”
The process was tiresome. People lined up to talk at separate “yes” and “no” microphones. I felt like I knew what each person would say before the person talked. I doubt if any person’s mind was changed in the process.
In a way we all want to be prophets—we want to have our votes recorded—to be on record about where we stand on the issues of the day. But when we record our votes some people end up being winners and some end up being losers. The losers become upset with the winners—and vice versa, of course. We focus on what divides us and not what unites us. I don’t think that is the way.
I think it would have been cool if the people at the microphones had paired up with a person representing an opposing view and gone into a room to pray in a twosome. Not to change the other person’s views or to understand how the person came to his or her own views. But until we pray for the people with whom we disagree I don’t think the world is going to take notice of our faith.
I’m more interested in praying with people than arguing about what divides us.
I was touched to be commissioned for ministry along side Joo H. Kim. He is the new Designated pastor at Knox Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. He came to Knox from church of all Nations in Columbia Heights.
Which leads me to my final point of this fairly long, first blog. Prayer partners. I would like every church in our Presbytery to have someone who will pray for the mission and ministry of Chain of Lakes Presbyterian Church. I am planning on sending out a bi-weekly prayer guide to assist people in their prayers. I want all churches—notwithstanding their views on changing Amendment B to be prayer partners for our fledgling ministry.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Observations on my fourth week of ministry.
I am almost done with my fourth week of ministry at Chain of Lakes New church. These are my observations so far.
  • I am very pleased with the core group that David Lidle and John Ivers organized. The group is very committed to building a strong community of faith. I've enjoyed getting to learn their faith stories and sharing my story with them.
  • I love the office that the Church Development Team has provided me
  • I'm learning about developing a small group. Our core group has been meeting on Wednesday evenings--last night we met for the third time. We are watching the video series done by Philip Yancey--"The Jesus I Never Knew." For some of the core group this is the first time we've seriously studied Jesus.
  • It's a joy to pray together as a group.
  • It's a joy to get to know the children of our group.
  • It's a joy to do ministry.
  • I'm very thankful that my Amy & Hannah have been supportive of me.
  • I can't wait to see what our Marketing group comes up with tonight