I am excited to be a part of a grass roots prayer initiative developing amongst some young leaders in the United Methodist Church. Ben is the mastermind behind the project and you can read about it’s origins here. More recent information about the project is posted here.
Beginning on May 18th and running through June 26th people are being asked to pray for the future of the United Methodist Church. These dates coincide with most of the annual conferences in the United States. During these 40 days young clergy and other young leaders from the denomination will be writing prayers for distribution and reflection. The mechanics of the project are still being finalized, but I invite you to be in prayer for Ben and for others leading the charge on this.
I will update here with more information as the logistics are finalized.
Each year Resurrection names a number of Strategic Priorities. I have the privelege of serving as the project leader this year on one of those priorities:
Raising Up a New Generation of Pastoral Leaders for the United Methodist Church. To address the present and future leadership challenges in churches, we will help young high-capacity Christian leaders to listen for God’s call into ordained ministry. Specifically, our hope is to prepare 100 young people to enter seminary before they turn 30 by the year 2020.
It’s a huge aim, but one that I’m excited to be working on during the coming year. We had our first meeting last week and I’m really excited about the team that has come together around this priority.
I’d love to hear your initial thoughts, comments, etc. about the work that we’ll be doing during this next year.
My wife is a clergy spouse (duh). My dad is a clergy spouse too. I have friends who are clergy spouses (some even to each other).
A recent article by the United Methodist New Service caught my interest. I wonder how the role of clergy spouse will continue to morph and evolve as we move further into the 21st century.
A few weeks ago I ran to the Target near our home in Olathe on a Sunday evening. There were just a couple of things on my list and I ran in near the end of the store’s business hours. I grabbed what I needed and then headed to the only open checkout line. As I placed my items on the cart I watched the woman and young man in front of me. The woman was clearly the young man’s mom, it seemed he was likely in middle school.
I was most impressed by the way this woman interacted with the Target salesclerk. The woman in line asked the clerk about her evening, about what time she might be done at the store, about what plans she had after arriving at home. The conversation was natural and it was clear that the woman in line was simply a caring and compassionate person who was genuinely polite and engaging.
After they completed their transaction this woman and her son headed to the door and I bought my couple of items and followed closely behind them. As I reached the door they were putting their cart away and the woman engaged me in conversation, “Hey, I think you’re one of the pastors at our church.”
The woman and her son were indeed Resurrection members and we had a nice visit for a few minutes. As I walked away I reflected on what it blessing it had been to see a member of the church in action, genuinely caring about others. I often find myself thinking about what a special place Resurrection is, but was particularly touched that evening by the way in which I had seen it lived out, in my own neighborhood.
Ben has put forth a great proposal to get young leaders throughout the denomination joined together in prayer.
I’m excited about being a part of this initiative.
I had a great time in Staff Chapel yesterday morning and was blessed by the opportunity to be in worship. It was a nice worship experience in general, but it concluded with a blessing that I found particularly touching. It is a celtic blessing by an unknown author and though the last two verses were excluded yesterday, I have included them below.
“May the blessing of light be on you, light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine upon you and warm your heart till it glows,
Like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come
and warm himself at it, as well as the friend.
And may the light shine out of the eyes of you,
like a candle set in the windows of a house,
Bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you – the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up,
And shed their sweetness on the air.
And may the blessing of the great rains be on you,
that they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there many a shining pool, and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you – the great round earth;
May you ever have a kindly greeting for people you pass
as you are going along the roads.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly.”
The NCAA tournament began today and I am yet to watch any of it. I haven’t missed TV anywhere near as much as I thought I might since giving it up for Lent three weeks ago, but I’m thinking about it now. I can follow scores online, but it’s not the same. I want to see the highlights, hear the talk about the exciting things that have happened and that are happening, and watch all of the madness unfold. I guess that’s why this is a sacrifice.
I also realized this afternoon that KU is playing tomorrow while I’m scheduled to be in a lunch meeting at a sports bar… It is a meeting that I actually thought I had last Friday that has been on the calendar for some time now. This ought to be interesting…
Last night Heather and Hannah and I camped out with some great friends in the parking lot of a Buffalo Wild Wings. It was opening today and the first 100 customers were going to receive free wings for a year. I had never camped out for anything like this before (black Friday, movie tickets, etc.) and while I thought free wings for a year would be pretty stellar, I was most excited about the experience with friends. In fact, as I reflected on it last night I realized, were I to compose a bucket list, a camping experience like this would surely be on it.
Heather and Hannah and I arrived about 7:30 last night and it was a great night. The long story made short is that we did not succeed in getting wings, but we had a great time. After roughly 16 hours in the parking lot (of which I’d slept about .5) it was dissapointing not to receive the wings, but much good came from the night:
- We learned that Hannah is going to be a good camper which is exciting as we plan a trip to Arches National Park this summer
- We had a great time bonding with dear friends
- We watched people give selflessly of themselves
- We spent time with 100+ young adults in our community in a way that we never would have been able to otherwise
- We received a visit from a friend last night
- Friends came and brought coffee and encouragement this morning.
- We made it on the 10:00 news.
- Clif Guy wrote a great blog about his visit – Resurrection Pastors on a Wing and a Prayer.
Memories were definitely made last night that will last long after a year’s worth of free food ever could.
Over the last couple of years I’ve taken up running. I’m not sure I’m yet to a place where I can call myself a runner, but I am enjoying it more and more. Over the last several Saturdays Andrew and Ben and I have been meeting to run. Last Saturday I ran my second 5k with them and had a great time.
Just this week I decided that I am committed to running a 10k this spring. We’ll be running the Heart and Sole Classic on May 2nd. Andrew dug up a nice training plan and I plan to utilize that in the coming weeks as well.
I am excited about the opportunity to further push my body and mind in preparation for this run. Less than two years ago the thought of running even a mile seemed laughable to me. This week I’ve already run 4 miles twice and the idea of 6.2 seems reachable.
After each worship service in Resurrection‘s Sanctuary communion is available in a small chapel located in the narthex. As a pastor I have the opportunity to help serve communion from time to time and it is always a blessing and a joy to watch people come into the chapel to receive communion. Some stay and pray awhile and some receive communion and head out the door. Some come on their own and some come with spouses or children. It is always special to look people in the eyes and to extend the love of Christ to them in a real and tangible way.
This weekend three young children came forward to receive communion while their dad stood in the back of the chapel waiting for their mom. I’m bad at guessing ages, but would say that the kids were all between the ages of 7 and 11; a young girl with two older brothers.
As they came forward together they were very reverent and they focused on what was being said as they received communion. After receiving communion they walked back down the center aisle and the young girl turned to her brothers and gave them a big smile and a thumbs up. I’m not sure what was going through her mind, but in that moment I gave God and the gift of communion a big thumbs up myself.