Posts Tagged ‘Reader Participation’

Penultimate Name Competition Posting

May 26, 2011 3 comments

I’ve gotten some great feedback on the name of my new blog that will be specifically about church planting.  Far and away the winner of the competition between the two names I put out there was “Ushering the Kingdom.” 


Most people hated both, and this was the less weak of the two.  Ok.  I hear you, people.  Good feedback.  I won’t go with either.

It helped a lot.  I got to hear from you and you were good and honest and gave me some things to think on.  I should have done this way earlier with even lamer names so that you would speak up the first time I asked.  Isn’t that the way things usually work?  When a pastor asks for feedback and gives no specific choices they get very little help, or if people like the options they see they won’t say anything.  But, hey, give them two options they don’t like and you will seriously hear about it. 

So…cool.  It worked.  I got good feedback and now you will just have to wait for the reveal of the new blog name.  I’ve chosen it, and I think you’ll be pleased.

                                                                                                    Penultimate: second to last

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Name My New Blog Competition Nearing Finale

May 24, 2011 8 comments

Well, we’re getting down to the end of the name my new blog competition.

I believe we have two finalists and I would like your input into my final choice.

In no specific order the two I hope to choose from are:

1. Consistent Adequacy

The reason for this is that I believe that God has called me to do the job that I can do, and that God will do the rest.  I don’t have to be spectacular, just me, and just adequate on a consistent basis.  This name leaves it up to the Spirit to do the heavy lifting.

2. Ushering the Kingdom

The reason for this is that I believe that our task as followers of Christ (not necessarily in church planting) is to be ushers of the Kingdom of God as it breaks in and as we enter it and help it change our world.  We hold the playbills and then we step on stage.  We are ambassadors who point the way and then get out of the way.  We keep the path clear to the cross.

List your vote either here or on facebook.  Thanks for your participation.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

You Name It

May 12, 2011 7 comments

Here’s something interesting: starting this summer I’ll be keeping a web log (otherwise known by the general public as a “blog”) for the Reformed Church in America.  That’s the denomination I’m a part of.

So, this web log here (the one you’re reading) will still be pretty much the same, but the other one will be focused on church planting.  So there won’t be any stories about my kids or strange observations.  It’ll be business-y.  I asked if I can still be cynical and a little rude.  They said that would be fine.  So I said I was “in.”

Here’s the thing: I am not good at naming things.  If it were up to me, Alex would be named Efton – no lie.  I want your ideas.  What should I name this new blog?

When we named Embody it took forever and we spent tons of energy on it.  Let’s face it, folks, I am on the lazier side of things when I get an option to be so.  Therefore I introduce this blog’s first competition.

I don’t have a name for the competition (if you have one, let me know).  But the competition is this: name my new blog.  The winner will receive the prestige of being the person who named my new blog that will be read by literally 10’s of people.

So, submit your blog name idea either here in the comments or on facebook.  The competition ends when I need to come up with a name.  I’ll let you know what we come up with.

Two Hobbies (Part 2)

April 28, 2011 2 comments

If you haven’t read (Part 1) yet, you might want to.  Or not.  Obviously it’s up to you.

I’m sharing two of my hobbies.  The first one was about smiling at people (surprisingly more difficult to pull of than you might think).  The second one is far less noble and in fact I’m kind of confessing my depraved self to you.  It’s this: I like to entertain super mean ideas.  I’ll explain.  I think of the most random and mean things to say or do when people wouldn’t expect them.  For instance: I’m out to dinner and the people at the next table have a little baby who is cooing and babbling – not even crying or fussing – and I fantasize about turning around abruptly and yelling, “Shut up!  Shut that baby up!” and then calmly returning to my hamburger.

I know.  Mean, right?  I’m sorry.  This stuff really goes through my head.  Here’s another one: I was at Western Theological Seminary the other day and there were people setting up for a fancy dinner that will happen later that evening.  The people were food service caterers from Hope College (which is a little sister of a school to Northwestern College in Orange City, IA).  I thought to myself – self, you should march in there like you have authority and strongly assert the following: “No, no, no!  We expressly asked for the RED tablecloths!  Aaargh!” and then storming out.

You might have some of these thoughts from time to time, but I really do have them about 20 times a day.  Mostly it’s cathartic for me.  I would never do any of those things.  They’re mean.  Might be funny, but mostly mean.  But now you know that about me.  Sorry if I blew my cover.  I’m really quite human.

What are some of your secret hobbies?  Seriously, tell me.  I would love to know.  I promise it feels good to get them out in the open.  Share them here.

Hutchmoot Frustration

April 7, 2011 4 comments

Last year I really wanted to go to Hutchmoot.  It’s a gathering of artists (musicians, writers, visual artists, etc.) who are also thoughtful Christians.  They are the type of artists I dig on and who encourage me in my little corner of the world.  But, Hutchmoot sold out before I could get in.  I was determined to get in this year (they only take 100 people).  I found out that it sold out in under 6 HOURS!!!

So…I’m a bit frustrated because I was really looking forward to using Hutchmoot 2011 as my professional development.  I’ve been saving my prof. dev’t money in preparation, but now I’m at a loss.

See, there are tons of opportunities for pastors to gather and grow and learn and professionally develop, but…  Well…  I’m kind of picky and want to use my time not necessarily to take a class or listen to 20 steps to making your church become a megachurch or how to start a small group this or how to successfully do this or that.  I’d rather do something that fills my soul, empowers me and propells me in a similar-yet-nuanced trajectory.

So…if you’re interested in helping me out.  I’m up for suggestions.  Please don’t send me any ideas that start with “3,000 people will gather” or “Vendors will be present between sessions at…” or “Famous person so-and-so will share their helpful tips”.  If you do I will send you this reply: “Thanks so much for your suggestion of how I can spend my professional development time.  I will most likely attend said opportunity directly after I finish sticking bamboo shoots under my fingernails.”

Sorry for that…it’s a mixture of frustration about Hutchmoot and a cynicism around those types of big gatherings.  If you’re offended by me slamming your kind of gig, I’m sorry.  I can see the validity and importance of those things.  They’re just not for me right now.  Are we good?  Thanks.

But, if you have a good idea or you’ve done something that filled you up in a healthy way, let me know and I’d love to check it out to see if it’s for me, too.  Really…don’t be afraid to send me ideas.  I won’t be mean.


March 10, 2011 Leave a comment

One of the fun challenges in church planting is generating momentum.  In particular, it is challenging to generate momentum in attendance.  We have 100 or so people in our directory, but an average attendance of 65-70.  I know, I know…this is a pretty normal percentage for a church, but we need, Need, NEED to gain momentum to take a next step.

I don’t want just numbers, but I do want to help those who have never made weekly worship attendance a priority or a practice/discipline feel the benefits of having an established rythm of worship.  So, I’m trying something fresh this week.

We are going to be walking through the book of Esther for the next 5-6 weeks.  The story is one of the funniest, most ironic, soap operas in the Bible and I think it lends itself to a series in the fashion we enjoy at Embody – conversational engagement of the text.

Here are some of the things we’ll be doing over the next 5-6 weeks:

1. One of our resident artists will be producing a weekly piece of art in various mediums during the worship service (we’ll see if this is helpful, distracting, or both).

2. We’ll read the story outloud.  Since this would take over an hour to do all at once, we’ll read our weekly portion outloud and use cartoon pictures (made by a resident artist) to recap the previous parts of the story before we read each new section.  By the end of the series we’ll have a cartoon handout of the whole story!

3. I’m inviting people to read each week’s passage before hand and turning in (via email) a 10-word or less summary, like a headline for the passage.  For instance, if we were doing the story of David and Goliath headlines might read: “Underage Recruits Used In Battle”, “King Refuses Lead Army In Battle”, “Ancient Weaponry Utilized”, or even “Shepherd Boy Defeats Giant, Leads Israeli Army to Victory”

4. If appropriate and if we’re able, I hope to use some people in reenacting parts of the story.  Physical representation of certain aspects might be helpful.

My hope is that this will give people a reason to continue to return to hear more of the story and to engage scripture as well as participate in the sermon.  I don’t have a number goal, but I do have the aim of having the same people return week after week.  We’ll let God do what God does best – work in the heart of God’s people!

Here’s how you can help with my sermon…well, with the intro to the sermon: I could use your summaries or “headlines” for this Sunday over Esther 1:1-2:18.  Send them to my email account .  Thanks!