“You can’t wear that yet,” came the sharp voice from behind me. An elder was speaking to a young pastor who was vesting for a processional at Annual Conference. “Not until you are ordained.”
Chagrined, the young pastor cast his eyes around, looking for a safe place to stash his stole. It looked new, perhaps only recently purchased at the Cokesbury display.
And so he marched in with the rest of us, one among many, but distinguished from the company he kept. While the men and women seated to either side of him were wearing long bands of ornate cloth draped over their necks, he wore only the scholar’s gown worn by most clergy in attendance.
The stole is a sign and symbol of particular authority that is granted solely by ordination which comes at the hands of a bishop after a lengthy process of examination and period of probation.
And yet, our probationary elders are functioning identically to our full-connection elders. Continue reading →
Leading out of Enthusiasm (Photo credit: glsims99)
What makes for a good leader?
Most folks think that “followers” would be the required component. But anyone who has led anything more than a rousing chorus of “Row Row Row Your Boat” understands that the measure of leadership is the number of leaders you produce, not the number of followers you attract.
Leaders don’t just magically appear. Yet, many congregations still expect their leaders to arrive. Rare are the congregations who expect leaders to grow out of the organic processes of discipleship. Instead, we search. We advertise. We recruit.
I have found a couple of major obstacles to developing leaders in the local church. Let’s take a look at both of them in turn while examining some of the solutions that can help us overcome them. Continue reading →
As a native Tennessean, I’ve apologized, on occasion, for the perception that we’re all backwoods Neanderthals. That perception often results from negative publicity generated by poorly thought out legislation, ignorant commentary, and behavior that suggests that we are regressive.
Today, I’m not apologizing for regressive behavior. I’m speaking out against it. Continue reading →
Everyone is talking about the Supreme Court of the United States hearing oral arguments on the matter of California’s Proposition 8, which banned homosexual marriage. But is anyone listening?
I sat down to an interview today on that matter. It’s been quite a while since I talked openly about the issue of homosexuality. In the last few years, it’s been like talking about taking a trip to the sun: Everyone knows where it is, but very few know how to get there, or how to deal with the basics without getting burned.
And so I hope to continue to the conversation. I want to reopen the floor for reasoned debate without the slurs and the stereotypes. Change begins with me. Say it with me: “Change begins with me.” Continue reading →