stream of consciousness

Here’s what’s on my mind this morning:

  • Happy birthday to New Vintage Church! We turn 9 today at 10am PST…but who’s counting 😊
  • Starting a church is both exciting and extremely difficult, as is sticking with it when things are extremely challenging. Nevertheless, there is nothing in ministry as fulfilling, in my experience. It has the lowest lows of anything out there, but the highs are just breathtaking in ways that make you want to bow down in worship.
  • Galatians 6:9 comes to mind: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” NVC’s best years are almost here. As a birthday present, I got some things for you I’m going to give you next week. But, it’s a surprise 😊 Ssssshhhhhh.
  • I started a podcast quickly as the COVID-19 crisis hit as a way of staying in touch with our church and providing some extra things to think about during the week. It has no cool name. It has no cool host. It’s just me reading things I’ve found interesting and commenting on them.
  • I actually think when all is said and done, the forced, temporary closure of church facilities will turn out for the church’s good.
  • One of those is church online is here to stay. I admit I was an agnostic about it before. No longer. Live will always be best. But its opened my eyes to the possibilities online for a wealth of tools/experiences.
  • OK, let’s talk about the outrage and sadness of no baseball.
  • The most common mistake in biblical interpretation among Christians remains verses quoted or interpreted out of context.
  • I think the YouVersion Bible app might be the greatest innovation by a church in 100 years. It’s that significant.
  • We need someone to write the next great preaching book.
  • My handwriting has gotten awful. I think it’s because I’m always hurrying when I write.
  • Why am I hurrying when I write?
  • Brian Banks – go see it. Great film that opens eyes to the injustices of the judicial system.
  • They are strange, but man I love college kids. What energy, humor, and possibility!
  • I actually think the decision if/when to move church to online only was far easier than the decision to if/when/how to go live again. That one will be hoot.
  • A local sports talk-show host posed this question: If you were a GM and both Michael Jordan and LeBron James were available in the draft, who would you take? I’ll take Michael. In today’s whistle-happy NBA, the dude might have averaged 50+ a game. He played old-school basketball…where mugging was called a just a foul and only death was called a flagrant foul. It’s a little bit like yardage comparisons between QBs.
  • Real headline: “Woman’s attraction to chandeliers not a sexual orientation, ruling says.” I’m so glad they settled the confusion………………………………………………………………..
  • “Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”― Andrew Murray
  • I miss the preaching and writing of Jim McGuiggan—a name many readers won’t know. The real Irishman has such a marvelous knowledge of both Scripture and literature. He preached as though it might be his last sermon, and his writings are just fantastic. I’ve been reading, “The God of the Towel,” recently, and it hasn’t aged at all.
  • What’s the best ZOOM background you’ve seen in your many meetings?
  • One good, right hire can transform a church faster than almost anything. One poor, wrong hire can set a church back remarkably.
  • Hiring isn’t a mechanical process in ministry. It may be the most challenging hire there is. The talent pool itself is slimmed down remarkably by faith-based criteria. Then there is a matrix of qualifications that slim the possibilities further. Then, they must want to come to your congregation. Then, you must be able to pay them what they request. There are hundreds of thousands of congregations in the United States–all needing capable ministers. What to do?
  • For the most part, you have grow your own food, and go outside for hires requiring it. If you never have anyone inside the church you’d want to hire, that’s a fairly strong rebuke of your systems and leadership. There is nothing wrong with hiring from outside the church. You’ll just never be able to keep a team that eclectic together over time. The misfires will bleed the budget, and it’ll take a ton of time you likely don’t have.
  • Beyond the faith-based criteria, the first thing I look for in anyone on a staff team? Intrinsic motivation. Do they have their own motor, or will I have to kickstart them every 4-5 hours? Ministry has intrinsic worth. If they don’t understand that and aren’t self-motivated toward its end, they likely aren’t cut out for it. I’m talking here not about a sluggish phase…but a way of life. “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” – Proverbs 6:6
  • What’s the best show of the 1980’s? It has to be the Cosby Show (all external considerations eschewed). After that, I’d go Cheers. Family Ties was great. Different Strokes…great. Magnum P.I….legendary. What are yours?
  • The churches that prevail during this unique time are those seeing it through the lens of opportunity rather than ruin.
  • We all need to be calling our church members and checking in on them. This is a great time to be a minister, albeit a strange one. Let’s go ahead and get after it.