This is a repost from the summer of 2015 that is still relevant today and points to a resource that is still active!
In light of the mass murders this week at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC many congregations will think about, perhaps rush to deal with, security issues for their congregation. In the midst of their response congregations need to seek some common sense about security.
I recommend congregation download the Download Guide to Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship published by FEMA. It is a helpful comprehensive, common sense piece.
Here is the FEMA site: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/33007
I also recommend congregations contact their insurance provider. Many have developed or have recommended material and guidebooks for houses of worship.
Be wise. Be loving. Be inviting. Be careful. Be safe. Be Christian.
I am just having an opportunity to read the 2016 Barna Report produced in partnership with Cornerstone Knowledge Network entitled More Than Multisite: Inside Today's Methods and Models for Launching New Congregations. I will likely post several times about it.
One term I have already learned that I like very much is "Location Partners". I am going to use it here forward as a replacement for "Nesting Congregations". Location Partners are defined in the report as "a separate congregation meeting at, and sharing resources with, another church (for example, a ministry reaching a specific demographic groups, such as a young adult congregation or an international group with services in a different language)." [p. 10]
The only thing I would change is to indicate that Location Partners can be several congregations sharing facilities and other resources. I have visited church sites where up to six congregations meet for worship, discipleship, fellowship, and other activities.
I also like Location Partners as a title as Nesting Congregations as a term has implied in many cases a parent/child relationship. Location Partners should express more of an adult/adult relationship. For some churches who own their facilities, however, this is a stretch when a group of a different ethnicity or socio-economics is their Location Partner. Perhaps some growth in relationships can happen in this case.
Today I attended a presentation and dialogue on changing the way the Church views racism. With me were six people representing various member congregations of the Columbia Metro Baptist Association.
It was sponsored by the Fellowship of South Carolina Bishops. Guest speaker was Drew Hart of Messiah College in Pennsylvania, and author of Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church View Racism.
In the dialogue around our table, one team member suggested there is competition between Jesus and our brain. Here is my spin on what she meant.
Our relationship with Jesus is one of unconditional love. Through such a relationship external racial reconciliation is possible. It involves our awareness of racism in our words and actions, repentance of racism in our lives and the systems of society we enable, and forgiveness for our sin of racism. This awareness may ultimately lead to actions to rid society of unjust laws and systems, racist cultural practices, and racial privilege.
The challenge is our brain. Among things that may be missing in the Jesus-focused actions of racial reconciliation is forgetting. Reconciliation is about repentance, forgiveness, and forgetting. Forgetting is the harder of the three to achieve.
This week I had the opportunity to speak to the leadership, and some invited guests, of one of my favorite organizations that seeks to recruit, train, place, resource, and coach interim pastors for congregations.
It is Interim Pastor Ministries.
My relationship with the people of Interim Pastor Ministries goes back almost nine years when its current executive director—Tom Harris—was serving as interim pastor for a church in Atlanta, GA, and saw an invitation where I was leading a church consultation weekend where others were invited to observe a Friday night session. He signed up, attended, and we talked briefly.
I few years later Tom become the executive director for Interim Pastor Ministries. Three years ago, he saw another invitation where I invited people to shadow me through a four-day weekend experience with a church. He signed up, we had extensive conversations during that weekend, and since then we have been together a dozen times.
The most recent was this week in Myrtle Beach, SC.