Category Archives: pastor

One Year Old & 1st Sunday Evening Gathering

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What if people actually came to our new service?

All I can say is that it feels a lot better being on this side of the launch of our evening service than on the other side. We launched as a community on September 17 of 2006 and today we added a service at 6 pm. We need the space, and we have heard from many who work Sunday mornings (stats say 30% of working adults are working on Sunday!) and others who have never had a “go to church” tradition find getting around to do anything on Sunday morning is an obstacle. Then there are the people who are gone for the weekend and can be back for an evening service.

Anyway, today was it. Not a smashing success in terms of numbers (68 in the Commons Room Gathering) but the spirit was alive and it felt very positive. We had quite a few people who had never been part of Jacob’s Well before, who loved the gathering and were thrilled that an evening service like this was available to them.

I think our total for the day was nearly 300, so that is pretty amazing. But it was really a lot of work. And we have a long, long way to go.

Thanks to all the people who have worked tirelessly to make this happen. If I try to name you all I’ll forget some. I know there were people I didn’t even recognize in some roles today. That is incredible. Thanks everyone! Soli Deo Gloria.

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“What if…?” ==>> “Why not…?”

As a pastor I do a lot of writing. Sometimes I learn more by what comes out when my pen starts messing around with thoughts than I ever intended. I like that.

That’s what happened with “What if…?” (our current theme at Jacob’s Well) for me. The typical church and human response to “what if…?” is to control it. “What if” threatens status quo. But God loves possibility and relies on our “what ifs” to help explore them. Rather than dismissing or discouraging them, perhaps God likes to say, “Why not?”

I don’t suppose that God wants to meet just any “what if” with a “why not,” but we might be surprised at how many God might be willing to work with. That’s the point after all. God doesn’t just let them go by, God gets involved, and with God involved there isn’t a lot that isn’t worth trying.

Friday morning sabbath

Fridays are the closest thing I have to a Saturday. Being a pastor means that weekends are work time. But when things are relatively caught up (and ‘relatively’ is the operative term because there is always more that ‘could be done,’ if not ‘should be done’) Fridays can be a little slower. I spent the morning out on the back porch, enjoying the birds, the air and a couple of homemade Americanos with my wife, Kris, talking about impending school stuff,  reading the paper, and pulling together loose ends of our service on Sunday at Jacob’s Well. Basically, mulling over and making sense of the different parts of my world, and doing it at the speed of life.

I’ve been getting a lot of input recently from many and various sources to make sure I have a sabbath (day of rest) each week. My question is “Why not two? Isn’t that what a weekend is?” But for now, one will have to do; I’m not very good at even taking that. A weekly sabbath isn’t just a nice idea, it’s essential. One of the deadliest enemies of a pastor is pumping out of the well when you aren’t putting anything in.  I can’t imagine it is different for anyone.

So today there are a few tasks to take care of, but I spent the morning watching the dew shine on the grass, watching chickadees, cardinals, goldfinch and grosbeaks working over our feeders, sparrows washing in the bath, squirrels making the leap from the birch to the silver maple. I’ve still got the State Fair to go to this evening, a run around Lake Nokomis and some time with my family ahead. I think I’ll be ready for what’s next.

The point isn’t what I do on my sabbath, or even how long it is exactly, but what I don’t do and how open what I’m not doing allows me to become.  To stop, or even pause, is a first step to unlearning.  It permits different questions, priorities, perspectives to arise.  It walks around the inside of the box I live in most of my week and kicks at the walls, almost always opening windows in some of them.  I suppose it is pretty hard to not live in a box of some sort as long as there are windows to see out of.

Puts a whole new spin on “Honor the Sabbath, and keep it holy.”     Exodus 20.8

Why ‘precarious’?

Why ‘precarious’? Well, I’m a sailor. I don’t get to sail too often, but it is a passion for me and the main way I get to sail is by taking groups out. I took what I love to do most and made a ministry out of it at the church I served. If you’ve ever wandered through a marina you have noticed the wide range of names of boats, each reflecting something about the owner. With that in mind we ask everyone on our trips, “If you were a sailboat on the journey that is your life, what would the name of that boat be?” For me the name was obvious, my boat is The Precarious.

To be precarious is to be on the edge of what is safe, risk-free, known. I know all my life isn’t lived on the margins, but my calling is to go there and explore them, to discover what God is up to out there where many are unwilling to go.

One of the fun things about being precarious is that it isn’t only full of possibility, but it wakes people up. People step aboard with a little (or a lot) of fear and trepidation. By joining the journey they’ve made a few important decisions; they will trust me on the journey of discovery, and they aren’t expecting status quo.

I’m also a pastor. It isn’t just an occupation. It is who I am – my wife and kids are painfully aware of this, I think. This blog is intended to be the truth of my precarious journey as a pastor. This isn’t the path of making sure everything works out, so my posts will contain as many “won’t do that again’s” as it will “wow, that worked great’s.” What being precarious does is open me up to God’s promise which is the verse I cling to more than any other…

The power of God at work within us can accomplish abundantly far more than we can ever ask or imagine. Ephesians 3.20 (my version)

Thanks for reading.