The Church is currently treading through stormy seas. Jesus beckons us to step into the midst of the cultural waters, but our sight is easily diverted from Jesus to the swelling waves threatening to swallow us whole. For many, it feels like we are drowning in the chaos and we are uncertain what the future holds for the Church’s life and ministry.
Pastor Stephanie Dyrness Lobdell begins the new year with a love letter to her church. It’s been two years, Beloved. Did you remember? I did. I remember because I was so uncertain. I remember because I was fearful, hesitant. I remember because I did not know if my heart would love you, could love you. And it wasn’t you. It was me, with my wounds and hurts, my aches and sadness. I came to you, wondering if I had a single thing to give you, if I had even a solitary word to offer up.
“Go from your family and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” 1 This is the call of God to Abram, which is not an easy call for anyone; especially someone who is part of a nomadic family. Nomads, because they had no permanent residence, relied on their family for survival, security, and future. Yet, God’s call blows all that to smithereens. God says, “Leave your family…” This would have been the larger family unit, or tribe, Abram would have been from. These are the people you see once a year at your family reunion, if you go, who you really do not know. “Leave your kindred…” This would have been your extended family. This is your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. “Leave your father’s house…” This is your immediate family. With every few words, God’s call closes in tighter and tighter on…
Pastor Kelli Westmark writes about one of the most meaningful moments a pastor can share with her people: being present at their dying. Kingdom of God moments, sometimes unnoticed in the rush of life. This morning I kissed the forehead of a woman who was dying. Someone I love and cherish. As if to say goodbye for now, my lips have tingled all day with the sweat beading from her balmy ashen colored skin. I sat and held her hand, as her breathing labored, her husband of sixty-six years held the other hand, rubbing it with his seasoned thumb. Somehow it brought her comfort. She didn’t even need to open her eyes to know her husband was holding her hand. And she knew me, even without make-up as if she would care, as I rushed out the door from the emergency call. Yet it is a raw moment for me,…
A pastor should never be seen in public outside of a suit. It is appropriate for a pastor to put on jeans and a t-shirt when mowing the lawn, but if you run out of gas while mowing the lawn you must go inside and change into a suit before going to the gas station. Once you are home you can change back into jeans to finish mowing the lawn.
The CPL Blog is an open forum for pastors and church leaders from many different contexts to share their stories, wisdom and personal insights about ministry and beyond. This week’s blog features Pastor Eric Paul who reflects honestly on the tragedies of last week and the issue of ‘white privilege’. Eric currently serves as a missionary-pastor on the Big Island of Hawaii, using his gift of teaching and commitment to community development to prepare the next generation of 'indigenous' leaders.
When my husband and I were young and naïve, we visited a handful of local churches looking for something specific. We were pretty sure we would find what we were looking for but, surprisingly, we didn’t. We weren’t looking for stellar children’s programs or music that was artistic, yet worshipful. What we were looking for was the opportunity to serve.