Church Interviews Are Like Speed Dating: Pastoral Redemptions

You have met the person of your dreams, and after knowing them a month, you are ready to marry them. Most people on hearing the last sentence would raise prudent caution. Friends would ask you to slow the relationship. They might even try to talk you out of the hasty engagement. It is not because they want you to ruin your happiness. No, like many in our culture they believe a rushed engagement is unhealthy and will lead to future unhappiness.

Similarly, many congregational churches use this “speed date” method to hire their next pastor. To be fair, not all congregational churches use this approach, but many churches and pastors reflect this “speed date experience.” It goes something like this: Continue reading “Church Interviews Are Like Speed Dating: Pastoral Redemptions”

The Veggie Boat Tour: Pastoral Redemptions

As a pastor, I get to know a diversity of people. Some of these individuals have hobbies and resources they shared with me and my family.Thankfully, these resources have provided good memories from my time as a pastor. Specifically, this story will cause me to fondly remember speedboats, couples’ communication, and veggie sandwiches.

Now, these people are some of my favorite people I have ever had the chance to pastor. Not only are they still they great supporters of both Amy and me, but we had a lot of values we shared together. Still, though they are friends I will refer to them as Larry and Sara in this amusing story.

Our boat journey began at a local State Park where we would put their boat into the lake. Unfortunately, our entry into the lake would be delayed because Larry forgot the ignition keys. This oversight was already embarrassing enough, but to make matters worse Sara fussed at him with her frustration. As an outsider to their debates I believe she too was embarrassed, but for different reasons.

Fortunately, Larry’s mistake was correctable since they only lived 5 miles away. This fact of convenience did not comfort Sara as she still spoke her mind towards Larry about his error. The fervor she expressed seemed like he had done something much worse. Larry, being the wise man he is decided to stop arguing and drive off to get the keys. Finally, he returned and Larry, Sara, Amy and I were on the lake with only a delay of 30 minutes from our original launch time.

Together, we each enjoyed the rest of the morning. As we traveled over the lake’s water Lary and Sara showed us how close their house was to the lake. Additionally, we saw other landmarks such as favorite dive points to the lake’s wealthier homes. It was a fun time and without incident…until lunch. Remember, earlier Larry suffered his share of embarrassment; now it was Sara’s turn. Continue reading “The Veggie Boat Tour: Pastoral Redemptions”

We Need Messy Bibles For Our Lives

In high school, my friend Eric Wren told me, “If you’re Bible is in good shape, you’re probably not!” His phrase suggests we should have marked-up Bibles than pristine. Despite this truth, it can be hard to highlight or write in our Bibles; but we need to be messy!

In a previous post, I shared my Bible highlighting system, which I try to follow when possible. However, there are times when a deviation is needed. The exception creates a dilemma because I feel if I’m going to mark Bible I want the marks to be consistent. Having talked with others I know I’m not alone in this struggle. A challenge that can impact our Bible intake, so, what to do? Again: Be messy!

Our faith rests in a relationship with Jesus. It’s not a set of rules; it’s not indulgence in ourselves, it’s a dynamic relationship when led by the Spirit can look different than other Christians. Like other healthy relationships, our faith with Jesus can be messy, not because He is a wreck, but because He is taking our mess and turning it into His message. Jesus creates this message for His glory as we grow in our relationship with Him. Therefore, our Bibles don’t have to be consistent when we mark in them. Again: Be messy! Continue reading “We Need Messy Bibles For Our Lives”

Limited Texting: Final Thoughts

Today is Fat Tuesday, which is also the day that New Orleans and Mobile celebrate Mardi Gras since Mobile is where Mardi Gras originated. As many celebrate Mardi Gras, they will also participate in Fat Tuesday before a season of fasting begins. See the day after Fat Tuesday is Ash Wednesday when many Catholics (and now Protestants) choose at least one thing to fast until Easter. Personally, I have decided to “limit” my texting over the month of February. Therefore, today is the final day of my limited-texting lifestyle and here is my last assessment of my exercise.

1. Calling Is Now Preferred Over Texting. – There are times when texting is needed. For example, when my wife says, “Could you get some milk on the way home?” is better than a call. However, for more serious topics I prefer a phone call.

2. Relationships Matter. – By forcing people to call me, I’ve created deeper and better relationships with others. The best part of this is that it’s happened within my family. So the fact that I can say that I feel more confident in some of my family relationships due to phone calls over texts are a value I’ll cherish forever.

3. FLEXIBILITY & BOUNDARIES!!!!!! – Continue reading “Limited Texting: Final Thoughts”

No Texting: Mid-Month Reflections

My month of no texting in February is just about over. As I last reported, my goal changed from no-texting to limited-texting. Since making the change, a lesson I’ve learned is, the ability to say “no!”

We live in a society that loves to please others, even to a fault. Our texting communication is no different. Think about it, how often do we feel compelled or obligated to respond to someone’s text message? In contrast, how did you feel the last time you put off your reply to someone? How anxious were you? If so, then why do we place so much emphasis on texting? All of these questions beg this question: How can we then eliminate these negative emotions? How about saying, No!?”

Saying “no” is a lost art for our society. Personally, as I still struggle with determining who to say “no.” As I prioritize the text messages, I receive, I too am anxious. Still, I have learned to say “no” in a variety of ways: Continue reading “No Texting: Mid-Month Reflections”

The First Week Without Text: Relationships & Productivity

In the month of February, I made the decision not to text anyone because I wanted to deepen the relationships I had with people. Plus, I wanted my relationships to be more personal, than convenient. Overall this goal has been reached, while have learned the following:

images1. Relationships Do Improve – On Day-1 I had two people engage me either face-to-face or with a phone call. Each form of verbal communication was fantastic! On one occasion I felt the call produced a quality 10-minute conversation that we would have missed out on if we had been texting. As a result, I want to talk to that person even more!

2. Some Things Are Not Worth It – On Day-3 I received a text from someone who is a friend. He is also someone who wants to do business with me. After responding to him with a text stating that I was not texting, he never followed up with a phone call. His lack of response made me realize that 1. He didn’t want my business as bad as it previously seemed. 2. Some opportunities are not as important as we make them.

3. Mistakes Happen – It wasn’t until Saturday, February 4th that I made my first text. Continue reading “The First Week Without Text: Relationships & Productivity”

28-Days Later: No Texting Experiment

imgresNo texting for 28-days that is my goal!

This announcement has brought curiosity from friends and family. Some wonder “how” I’m going to abstain from text messaging. Others want to know “why” I’m not texting for so long. Positively, I want to enjoy life and other people better. Sadly, I think texting negatively interferes in the following ways:

1. Texting is A Poor Form of Communication – It may be the worst form of communication. With emojis and abbreviations, the text lingo is constantly changing. This shift creates further misunderstandings between each other as the language is always changing.

2. Texting Loses Tone of Voice – We read texts towards our positive or negative biases, which the author may not have meant. The reason for our misinterpretation is that we can’t hear the author’s tone of voice. Yes, there are grammar rules to help infer one’s written intentions. Texting, however, is an informal means of communication where the problem only worsens.

3. Texting Increases Conflict – We’ve all had a fight over text. Since we don’t know another’s tone of voice our text arguments can escalate even more. Plus, too many people use the “lag-time” found in texting to manipulate the conflict to try to “win the argument” than solving it. They’d rather save face for themselves that reconcile with their loved one. If one were face-to-face, this approach might not be as tempting, while our reconciliations then become more affirming. Continue reading “28-Days Later: No Texting Experiment”