Monday, April 30, 2012

Ministry in a changing world

This past Saturday I had the privilege of attending the “Ministry in a Changing World" workshop at Valley Community Presbyterian Church. The workshop was organized by the ChurchDevelopment Team of our Presbytery—Twin Cities Area.

I was very pleased to see the good-sized group whogathered—95 people. Chain of Lakes hadseven attend, including myself.

The workshop was divided into two segments. In the morning M. Rex Miller presented. He immediately recognized that we only hadone person in the group who was a Millennial. The rest of us were Immigrants. His words were true not only for the people at the workshop, but many Presbyterian churches. We Presbyterians are gettingolder and not adapting to the needs of this and younger generations.

Miller’s full presentation can be bound in his book, “The Millenium Matrix.” Miller shared a timeline of four digital cultures. Theoral culture existed until the development of the Printing press in 1454; theprint culture existed until the development of the television in 1950; the broadcastculture existed until the use of the computer and ultimately the Internet in 1992. We are currently living in thedigital culture. He went on to share howspace, truth, and the gospel were understood in each culture.

The key for all churches is to understand our culture and then deliver our message in an effective way.

His presentation was not at all prescriptive—he described the cultures and helped us see the differences between them.

In the afternoon Kevin Ford shared a presentation called “TheLeadership Triangle.” The presentationwas a condensed version from his book by the same name.

Ford talked about three primary types of leadership challenges—tactical, strategic, and transformational. He described each of the three leadershipchallenges and shared that every problem—especially the problems we have in thechurch—involve all three leadership challenges.

The idea that resonated with me is often we in the churchare trying to solve tactical strategic and even transformation problems withtactical solutions. We’re looking forthe one answer to the problems we are facing. Unfortunately the “silver bullet” doesn’t exist.

After Kevin Ford spoke congregations had the opportunityto explore a continuing partnership with TAG consulting.

Each of the presentations were so rich and extensive thata morning and afternoon session wasn’t adequate. I plan on reading each of their books andsharing more.

At a minimum this was a marvelous opportunity forPresbyterians to gather and receive high quality presentations on leadership inthe church in 2012. Because we had such a solid number of people from our new church attend we will have a reference point to discuss doing ministry in a digital age, and what the leaderhsip triangle can teach us as we do ministry together.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blaine Planning Commission meeting

Last week by a unanimous vote the Blaine Planning Commission forwarded the purchase agreement for the Chain of Lakes property to the Blaine City Council. This was a very significant step for our new congregation.

Approximately 60 people from the neighborhood attended the meeting. They had a list of reasonable concerns about the purchase of the property which they shared with the Planning Commission. Many of these concerns were addressed in a report prepared by the staff of the City of Blaine.

After the meeting many folks from Chain of Lakes and I had an opportunity to meet and greet the neighbors. It was a wonderful chance to talk about the future. I was asked many questions by some neighbors about our potential use of the property in the future. I shared with the group that this process has been a bit strange for us as we are forecasting what will happen down the road. As a congregation we are not ready to pay for or construct a building. To get asked questions about a potential building is different. I was asked a number of questions by the neighbors:

If our traffic was so heavy would we pay for a traffic control?
Absolutely—we’d love to have a need to do this.

Are we planning on doing Vacation Bible School on the property this summer?
No. We had thought about doing this, but had decided a while ago (and before our first community meeting) for logistical reasons not to have Vacation Bible School on the property this summer.

Are we planning on putting up a pole shed on the property?
No. Any building will be constructed tastefully and will be fit in architecturally to the neighborhood. When we are ready to construct a building we will have a skilled architect develop the plans.

How are we paying for the property?
In our Presbytery, we have a tradition of the Presbytery paying for property for a new church. The congregation then has to pay for buildings on the land.

Some of the neighbors talked about having a pie social when the property purchase is completed. I think that would be a blast. At Chain of Lakes we want to be terrific neighbors.

The Blaine City Council will vote on the Purchase Agreement in May. If the vote is favorable, then the Presbytery will close on the property. After the closing—Chain of Lakes will hold and use the property in trust for the Presbytery.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter worship at Chain of Lakes Church

Yesterday we had a beautiful Easter worship experience at Chain of Lakes. What made it wonderful was the two faith stories that I was able to share in the sermon. I talked about how Dwight Zovrak and Melanie Vosdingh have experienced resurrection over the past two years. Their stories are powerful. I encourage everyone to watch the sermon at:

The resurrection is not a one-time event that only happened to Jesus 2,000 years ago. The resurrection happens in our lives. Our task is to walk through the open door.

Happy Easter season!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stories of Resurrection

Pastors all over the world are working feverishly on their Easter sermons right now. When people preach about the resurrection they often share stories and illustrations of the resurrection. The resurrection is not a one-time event that happened in Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago. The resurrection happens in our lives too.

This week I had the privilege of video taping the faith stories of Melanie Vosdingh and Dwight Zvorak. Each of them has encountered challenges, but with the help of their faith each has experienced resurrection. This Sunday in worship at Chain of Lakes I will be sharing edited video clips of their stories in worship.

It was a privilege to talk to Melanie and Dwight and listen to their stories. Neither of them were completely thrilled about going on camera and sharing. Both of them are private people. But both of them took a risk and let me capture their stories. I believe that their stories can help all of us experience resurrection.

I have not look forward to an Easter service so much for a long time. I encourage the community to join us in worship at 10:30 a.m. We start serving food at our FREE breakfast at 9:00 a.m. My daughter, Hannah, will be sharing her musical gifts in worship.

The above card shares our thoughts at Chain of Lakes. I’m guessing that all of us are hunting for more. I think we can find that through our faith. To get directions to our worship site go to