Is This What it is Like?

I spent about two and a half hours yesterday over a sausage and pepperoni pizza and a steaming cup of black coffee. I was with another pastor. I, just finishing my first year as a pastor and he, coming into his last year as a pastor. I was able to express some of my painsContinue reading “Is This What it is Like?”

…God First Loved Us

I had the privilege of administering my first baptism yesterday.  It was an infant who was recently born of one of the families in our congregation. It was a wonderful celebration of the sacrament of baptism.  The liturgy is beautiful, the child was adorable and dressed in this lovely white dress.  She fussed a littleContinue reading “…God First Loved Us”

The Minister as Particular Theologian

I have not been very faithful the last couple of weeks in my writing.  The reason for that is largely because I have been immersed in writings by and about Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).  Jonathan Edwards is most known for his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”  This is, of course, in aContinue reading “The Minister as Particular Theologian”

How the Teacher Becomes the Student

The highest assembly of my denomination, the General Synod, meets annually in June. There are delegates which are elders and ministers, and there are corresponding delegates which can speak but not vote. Corresponding delegates are often people with particular expertise or particular experiences that make them valuable additions to General Synod and the denomination valuesContinue reading “How the Teacher Becomes the Student”

That Which Gives Us Value

On Sunday mornings, I lead worship at my church.  I look out and look at my congregation.  Many of them are unemployed, some of them stay on the street, many of them struggle to make ends meet. Many in my congregation are visibly broken and noticeably hurting.  We collect an offering, because stewardship is importantContinue reading “That Which Gives Us Value”

I almost gave up on someone, and I’m glad I didn’t

Like many inner-city ministries, we often have people show up who are at various levels of intoxication.  We, as a rule, do not turn people away simply because they are drunk.  If people come to a worship service intoxicated, or show up to our Saturday morning breakfast program intoxicated, they are welcome to join usContinue reading “I almost gave up on someone, and I’m glad I didn’t”

The City and the Redemption of Creation

I try not to talk or write about politics very often as a normal course of my ministry.  My congregation is composed of people of all political stripes, and I strongly believe that no one political ideology has a corner on the Gospel.  However, something has been disturbing me as of late about the WisconsinContinue reading “The City and the Redemption of Creation”

Examining Students of Theology

Yesterday we had our Spring classis meeting (the classis is the regional assembly of ministers and elder delegates from churches [If you’re interested in the governance and structure of my denomination, there is information on its website), and at that meeting we have the opportunity to examine our enrolled students of theology.  These students areContinue reading “Examining Students of Theology”

Our Greatest Need? Hope

Because of the nature of my ministry, and the fact that nearly all of our funding comes from outside sources, I find myself in contact with people from other churches in many different places and many different contexts.  There is a question that is asked by almost everyone is some variant of “what is theContinue reading “Our Greatest Need? Hope”

Get up (or sit down) and eat!

As I am sure is the case with many clergy-type folks, Sunday mornings are incredibly draining for me.  When I deliver a sermon, I am not just giving a lecture, or a talk. I am pouring my whole being, my whole spirit, my whole emotional self, often times my whole being into the preaching moment. Continue reading “Get up (or sit down) and eat!”