I’m pleased to announce the upcoming aXiom Calgary two-day missional training event. We’re pleased to have Karen Wilk and Cam Roxburgh in town, two seasoned practitioners in helping churches thrive in the neighbourhood. The landscape that the church has operated in is shifting and aXiom seeks to offer fresh yet rooted insights and training for church leaders to see God at work and join him in that work. You can download the full .pdf poster here: Axiom Calgary Poster
It’s true, this year I did make some quiet half-verbalized resolution to be more healthy. Too many hours at my desk or in my car is making me soft – and I was feeling it! But for me, health is more than just exercise, it’s about ensuring that I put my priorities in order. How do I spend my time? Is ministry about desk-work? Is the time I spend driving about town helping me connect with my neighbours? The question is less about my exercise, and more about joining God in the work he’s calling me to. How do I stay healthy in the work I do?
An article in the Fall 2010 edition of Neue magazine says this,
“From obesity to depression, clergy burnout has become a major concern. A Duke University report found that in teh Evangelical Lutheran Church alone, 69 percent of ministers are obese, 64 percent have high blood pressure and 13 percent take anti-depressants. Of all Christian clergy, 76 percent were overweight – 15 percent higher than the general US population. With ministers working up to 60 hours a week, experts say they must make room for sabbatical, Sabbath days and healthy habits.”
Do you think there is a connection between the overall health of our pastors and the health of our churches? Thoughts?
One of my DMin peers works for Focus on The Family and writes some good stuff. Laird Crump offers some tips to pastors for a healthy Christmas season of (sane) ministry. I especially like this advice:
Cultivate a non-anxious presence. As the festive rush takes over the lives of the congregation, attempt to personify “all is calm”. You may even have to take a mid afternoon “sleep in heavenly peace” on your office couch. If we want to experience spiritual depth we need to ruthlessly eliminate hurry.
Check out the rest of the article here.
I recently read an article from Rod Wilson, the President of my alma mater, Regent College. In it, he was reflecting on the questions that they ask as an institution. This caught my attention,
“Recognizing that these are the questions students are bringing to Regent College in 2010 means that we must raise issues about curriculum (what we teach), pedagogy (how we teach), community (in what context we serve), messaging (how we describe what we do) and finances (how we fund what we do). We are doing this in a fresh way at this point in Regent’s history, not to communicate that the past is worse and the future is better, nor to engage in paternalism or consumerism, but so that we might continue to be sensitive to the work of the Spirit as we steer Regent College through this next season.”
Questioning methods and assumptions is healthy, it helps keep an institution on track, it helps keep people united and vibrant in their service, and it drives people towards excellence in ministry. Regent College has been a Canadian success story in Christian higher education with a student body of about 700 and world renown faculty; but even so, they frequently pause to ask the important questions of themselves. We should too.
Rhythm In Twenty is an interesting approach to developing young leaders. It’s a two-year program for church leaders age 25-35 that takes a group of twenty on a number of spiritual retreats and formative experiences that create new rhythms of faith and leadership. I don’t know enough about the program to vouch for it, but it’s an interesting approach. Right now, leadership development in the ELCIC is tightly defined, hierarchical and generally quite linear. Committees choose candidates, move them through several years of education, bestow titles, and connect them with a church. But we live in a world requiring a complex adaptive approach to the discontinuous change our churches face. Do we need a more dynamic approach? We need to educate leaders well, but education alone does not a leader make. What if we created new approaches to leadership that helped people (clergy and others), explore the ways God is working in their lives and shaping them for service. Maybe it’s a one year intensive experience like Vantage Point 3, perhaps it’s a two year series of retreats like Rhythm in Twenty, perhaps it’s a degree from a seminary, or maybe a mixture of experiences. Whatever the case, we would do well to re-imagine leadership development in our context.
Motivation is a funny thing. Organizations tend to live in the thinking that since money motivates people (and since we’re short on cash) then we will not have the power to motivate people or affect any real change. But studies show that motivation is not tied to money in the way we might think. In fact, some of the best ideas and innovations came about when money was not a big consideration. Here, this short video will explain it better…
Cool eh? Now, what are the implications? How do we create a healthy and vibrant motivated community of pastors, church leaders, seminary teachers, and ordinary church-goers like you and me? I have ideas, but based on this video, what are your ideas?
I just read a powerful response to the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a opinion piece in the New York times call “Who Can Mock This Church” In it Kristoph writes from Sudan about priests providing top rate education to the poor of Sudan, or a nun who after working with women in Appalachia , when to El Salvador in the midst of its violence and now work in Sudan education school teachers. And a priest who followed his flock into a refugee camp. The article reminded me powerfully of two things. The first is that what in part defines Christian Spirituality is that it is not individualistic, rather it is about a particular kind of life modeled on Jesus lived with and amongst others. The second key point is implied already. If we model our lives on Jesus, then the lives we live are ones lived with the poor, serving the most vulnerable, working to restore wholeness. In short the Christian faith is about lives of Justice. Without these Christ centered lives, we are lost, we are only a corrupt old club. Perhaps it is time for people to again live these radical lives of faith, to share their stories, and to invite us in to this life of Christ. For it is these lives modeled on Christ that will proclaim the gospel much more clearly then mere words spoken from a soap box pulpit.