Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Josh Kerr —  September 23, 2015

“This is the joyful feast of the people of God! They will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God.”

This joyful feast we in which we partake at the Lord’s Table is the center of many wonderful memories for me. I remember the conversations I had with my parents before receiving communion as a child. I remember celebrating the Lord’s Supper at summer camp surrounded by dear friends and amazing counselors. I remember the first time I presided at my ordination. The table, appropriately so, is one of the central objects/events of my ongoing faith development.

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Another memory I’ll never forget is a time I helped serve communion as an intern at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX. I held the cup while the congregation, including my wife and then two-year-old son, came forward, received a piece of bread from one of the pastors, dipped that bread in the cup, and partook, receiving the holy gift of God’s grace. Continue Reading…

I read an article by Jen Hatmaker in the Washington Post titled, “How a Consumer Culture Threatens to Destroy Pastors.” While I agree that our culture is a threat to pastors, I wondered whether we place too much emphasis on culture and not enough on our need to create boundaries and realistic expectations. (This spoken from a minister.)  What if we looked at ourselves and asked, “How do I make ministry harder than it needs to be?”  Below are five ways:

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1. It Feels Good to Be Needed

Ministers love to be loved. And one of the best ways to be loved is to feel needed. Yes, I’ll teach Bible study; yes, I’ll preach 45+ Sundays a year; yes, I’ll visit everyone in the church every month. Congregants love these ideas and pastors (myself included) love to be needed.

2. We Think Ministry Only Happens When We Are Present

It is a hard pill to swallow when a minister sees a successful ministry that s/he isn’t leading/creating/nurturing. This speaks to our need to be needed and how we often assume (we all know what that word means) we need to be the leaders/facilitators/guides for every ministry. Continue Reading…

For many churches across the country, this Sunday is Rally Sunday or Kickoff Sunday—a time to gather the church family together again as a new program year begins. This is a time to celebrate people, ministries, relationships, milestones, and God’s presence with us. All of this has me thinking more generally about celebrations in the church throughout the year. Every Sunday we gather for worship, there is an element of celebration; even at the end of life, we celebrate a baptism made complete with a Service of Witness to the Resurrection. And I think we should also celebrate the sacred among the mundane and the smaller miracles in life.

The Bible, of course, is full of celebration! Our ancestors in the faith celebrated God’s presence, God’s guidance, God’s help, God’s saving grace. There was dancing in the streets, singing, music played on many instruments, shouting, inviting, feasting and more. Celebration is an important part of our journey with God. In a time when there is a lot of gloom and doom surrounding churches in general—in regard to loss in membership and questions about leadership or how money is spent—now is the time for us to celebrate what God is doing among us. What are the signs of God’s power and presence in your church? How is God calling your church to serve the community? Where are the signs of new life in your congregation? Continue Reading…