Episode 029: Doing Ministry in a Secular Age (4/18/2018) - When Jesus told his followers to make disciples in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and all the ends of the earth, he meant that the gospel should be brought to people where they are and in their contexts. So how do we as pastors and leaders bring the gospel to our neighbors in today's secular age? We talk about it in this week's essential conversation. Episode 029 – SHOW NOTES – Doing Ministry in a Secular Age   One of my favorite metaphors is to think of the world as like an arena with a retractable roof, where the roof closes and Read More
Episode 028: Singing Our Hope (4/11/2018) - What happens when we worship? How do we select songs for congregational worship that instill hope? In this conversation, Dr. Glenn Packiam talks about what he learned as he researched the expression and experience of hope in our worship. SHOW NOTES – Episode 028 – Singing our Hope   The thing that was most surprising to me in my research was how little the songs dealt with the future… we don’t sing about the future (or the past) all that much… it concerned me that songs about hope had no future orientation…   It might be that the spirit of Read More
Episode 027: The Bible and the Church Pt 2 (4/4/2018) - In this conversation, we pick up where we left off talking about the Bible. What is it, and how should it inform our lives and ministries? Episode 027 – SHOW NOTES – The Bible and the Church Part 2 One of the mistakes we’ve made over the last several decades is that we’ve tried so hard to show how the Bible “relates” to people’s lives that we’ve eliminated what is unique, sacred, and divine about it…   If the Bible is just generalized life advice, we’ve actually domesticated the Scripture out of use… part of the job is to recover Read More
Episode 026: The Cross of Christ (3/28/2018) - A special episode just in time for Holy Week. In this conversation, we discuss the importance of the Cross of Jesus Christ. What exactly do we believe about Jesus' death and why does it matter? Listen in and enjoy this reflection as we move towards Good Friday.     Episode 026 – SHOW NOTES – The Cross of Christ   The cross is the crux of the whole story, the unexpected plot twist… who could have seen that God would rescue by becoming the afflicted one, by becoming the judged one…   Good Friday reminds us of the costliness, the Read More
Episode 025: The Bible and the Church Pt 1 (3/21/2018) - In this conversation, we ask a simple and slightly funny question. What is the Bible? Perhaps one of the most taken-for-granted elements of Christian faith, we wanted to dig down and talk about what the Bible is, and what it isn't. Episode 025 – SHOW NOTES – The Bible and the Church How we see this book [the Bible] determines how we approach it… everybody knows they are supposed to read the Bible but we don’t often stop to ask, “Just what is this thing?” I think the best way to get to an answer [to the question of why Read More
Episode 024: The Creed (3/14/2018) -   What can a centuries-old creed teach us about how to lead our ministries? In this conversation, we talk about how and why our church adopted the Nicene Creed and how it informs and shapes our ministry. Episode 024 – SHOW NOTES – The Creed   Instead of having a unique statement of faith that highlights the ways that we are different from other churches, why not go back to this statement of faith that shows how we are all united?   In a world that is drunk on individuality, the Creed sobers us… in a world that loves what Read More
Episode 023: Spiritual Authority (3/7/2018) - Spiritual Authority is a significant biblical concept that recognizes that God sends people into our lives to speak to us and guide us. In this essential conversation, we talk about the importance of spiritual authority, why people don't accept it, and how, when it is done right, it can be a beautiful gift.   Episode 023 – SHOW NOTES – Spiritual Authority   Spiritual authority is an awareness that God has placed people in my life to help guide me to the place that the Lord has directed me… It is because of the frailty of human life that we Read More
Episode 022: The Purpose of Sunday (2/28/2018) - Sundays come around with an alarming regularity. As we plan for our weekly worship services, the constancy of the calendar can inhibit us from stopping to focus on the lens through which we plan or what our end-goal should be. In this conversation, we talk about the factors we consider as we plan worship services that allow people to meet Jesus, to be formed into disciples, and to encounter God.   Mission, formation, and encounter are the three broad approaches to worship… I’m of the opinion that we are meant to hold all three of these together in tension…   Read More
Episode 021: Healthy Transitions (2/21/2018) - Transition is something that every church staff will experience. What matters is how those transitions take place. In this conversation, we discuss how to facilitate and enact healthy transitions.   Transitions can be beautiful if we’ll embrace them… when I arrived at New Life, I arrived in a healthy condition [because of how I was sent]…   A lot of times, transitions get messy when people arrive with a predetermined future… but when you come openhanded, you give people a chance to send you into the next place…   No one should be punished for exploring other opportunities… if you’re Read More
Episode 020: Hiring and Firing (2/14/2018) - In this conversation, we talk about what we've learned about hiring well and how to navigate firing people well, too. Maybe you're leading a church staff and facing a big decision regarding staffing, or perhaps you're curious about how a church staff might handle a staffing issue at your church. We hope that this conversation leads to greater health and trust among the staff at your church. You hire people for where you’re going not where you are… many pastors hire out of a panicked need or a felt burden right in front of them… most of the time, when Read More