Southerland Springs Calls for Solutions

Sutherland Springs  FBCO Lord, there are no adequate words to express our grief over the violent death of any individual. Every person is a person of worth created in Your image to live and to love. It is especially sad when a church at worship, gathered in sanctuary, is violently interrupted by an act of evil. 
 
We pray for all the souls gathered for worship at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, November 5, 2017, just as we pray for all the souls gathered for Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, just as we pray for all the souls gathered at various places of worship throughout the world who have had a visitation of evil, just as we pray for all places and venues beyond places of worship who have experienced a visitation of evil, and death as resulted.
 
Our world is not a ignorant world. We can figure with Your holy help a reasonable and peaceful solution to many of our incidents of violence. Our solution must be a dynamic response because of the presence of violence and evil in Your world. We must have the courage to go beyond simply asking Why?” We must have the conviction to develop complex solutions that are effective, and not simple fixes that are ineffective. 
 
May all the churches of the Columbia Metro Baptist Association and all Christians of good will be people of solutions. Amen.

Jesus and Our Brain Compete for Racial Reconciliation

Multi Cultural Bible StudySunday, October 15, 2017

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.

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Intentional Interim Pastoral Ministry is an Art More than a Science, Post One

Tom HarrrisSaturday, October 14, 2017

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.

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Not Necessarily FaithSoaring Churches Characteristics

Soaring-birdAnother set of characteristics exists which I call, ”Not Necessarily FaithSoaring Church Characteristics”.

(See article on FaithSoaring Churches Characteristics that preceded this article.)

They more clearly define who can be considered a FaithSoaring Church.

Already you may be typecasting or stereotyping who these congregations may be.

You are probably wrong at some points and right at others. Keep reading to discover the five "not neceesarily FaithSoaring Churches" characteristics.

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FaithSoaring Churches Characteristics

Soaring-birdWhat are the key characteristics of FaithSoaring Churches? Probably there is no perfect set of characteristics. Yet certain key characteristics emerge from my observation of multiple FaithSoaring Churches. No two congregations will have the exact same set of characteristics or formula. Each congregation is unique. Will FaithSoaring Churches have all the characteristics presented here? Not necessarily.

Here is one set of top ten characteristics of FaithSoaring Churches. Certainly other sets and types of characteristics could be put forth. Consider how many of these are characteristic of your congregation as you review them.

  1. FaithSoaring Churches walk by faith rather than by sight in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 5:7 and Isaiah 40:31. Second Corinthians 5:7 admonishes us to walk by faith rather than by sight. Isaiah 40:31 challenges us to mount up with wings as eagles and soar. Thus, FaithSoaring. One aspect of walking by faith is viewing the congregation in terms of its long-term potential rather than its short-term urgencies. Another is always imagining what is around the corner, over the next hill, or beyond the horizon.

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