• Engage

    You Were Meant for Today

    You were Meant for Today! It was quite a shock when I found out I was pregnant, for the third time, nearly 5 years after having given birth to my last little bundle of joy.  To complicate matters, we received the news just weeks after we announced that we would be moving from our beloved community, leaving behind a life of ministry and part-time jobs that I loved.   Suddenly, I had to come to grips with the idea that I would now be going backward. Or, at least that is how I interpreted the situation. Of course, I have pursued motherhood out of a calling and it has been one…

  • Heartprints

    What Are You Selling?

    Before I got into ministry, I spent many years as a salesperson.  I learned so much about life while I was in sales and I find myself constantly finding similarities between sales and ministry.  I thought for fun I would share some of those with you today:  #1) You win some – you lose some! You are going to have days where you nothing goes right, people mistreat you, your lesson falls short, you make a change and you feel as if your volunteer staff, the kids and the parents are all going to hang you from a tree.  Those days happen and if we let the evil one get in our heads,…

  • Engage

    Pampered, Religiously Indifferent and Other Lies about Young Adults

    Often when the subject of young adults as a demographic arises, we hear negative descriptors like “snowflakes” and “pampered” and “religiously indifferent.” But are these actually true of most young people in the US today? Researchers Tim Clydesdale and Kathleen Garces-Foley in their new book The Twentysomething Soul: Understanding the Religious and Secular Lives of American Young Adults (Oxford University Press) say no. And they provide hard data to back up their assertion. The authors, a professor of sociology and a professor of religious studies, interviewed more than 200 young adults, which they added to findings from an existing national survey of 1,880 twentysomethings. Their process and conclusions, including summary graphs in…

  • Engage

    Get Organized—For Good

    Lots of folks are talking about tidying up these days. And January seems to be the month when doing so is especially on our minds. While we’re at it, why not dispose of items in a way that benefits some ministries or minimizes the effect of used goods on landfills? Here are a few options to get us started:  ·      Used Bibles and Christian literature. "Love Packages" recycles Bibles, Sunday school materials, VBS literature, and tracts. Ship yours to Love Packages, 220 Union Street, Butler, IL 62015.   ·      Technology. Take used books and DVDs to your church library or resale shop. Some electronics stores pay for phones—giving more cash for items with…

  • Engage

    Leadership and Friendship—Are They Mutually Exclusive?

    With whom can you be yourself—totally raw and without filters—without expectations? Someone recently asked me this question. Several names came to mind, but I realized my list was short. This person advised, “You need these types of people in your life, people who will listen to you without expectations or judgment, with whom you can climb down off the mentorship and ministry pedestal.” Regardless of the world in which you work or serve—corporate, construction, education, marketing, medical, ministry, research, restaurant, the arts, or the home—being a leader can make finding raw-and-without-filters friendships difficult. Why is that?   First, leaders are visionaries. They lead the charge. They think outside the box.…

  • Engage

    Introverts: The Forgotten Fifty

    Shy, timid, aloof, anti-social, not a team player, nor a good leader—what type of person does this describe? An introvert, right? No, not necessarily. Your boss and the most successful leaders in your organization might be introverts. Your favorite music artist who performs on stage in front of thousands might be an introvert. Many famous actors, athletes, authors, CEO’s, movie directors, teachers, presidents, vice-presidents, and human rights activists are known introverts. Despite a wealth of research on introverts versus extroverts, misconceptions regarding introverts still abound, and these misunderstandings might be damaging your church, organization, or company from furthering its mission and vision. The following is an excerpt from my book,…

  • Engage

    An Interview with Theologian Nika Spaulding: Instinctive Theology

    Today I’m happy to have as my guest Allie Mock, who talked with theologian Nika Spaulding about the need to have our theology deeply ingrained in us: Without even thinking about it, Nika Saulding instinctively jumped up and chased the man down the street, vaulting over chairs and pushing aside tables. She could see her laptop tucked under the thief’s arm. Her legs burned as she put on a burst of speed. Ahead of her, the thief veered off the sidewalk and straight into a getaway car. Nika watched, helpless, as the car skidded away, her computer safe inside. Replacing her laptop, though annoying and expensive, wasn’t Nika’s first concern.…

  • Engage

    Accept the Pastoral Position God Has for You

    The past few weeks have brought much discussion about the role of women in the church, seminaries, in ministry. To be honest, I found myself several times yelling at my computer screen for reasons I can only describe as temporary insanity. I huffed, not because of the discussions, but because of how nasty the people of God behaved. A bit ironic, isn’t it? Mostly I found it disheartening to read the attacks on those who shared their beliefs. If I could, I’d sit and have coffee (or tea) with all of them. I would pray with them and give thanks to God for the gift we have in thinking beyond…

  • Engage

    Singleness, Sex, and Cold Showers

    “Boys will be boys.” “It’s not healthy to suppress those sexual urges.” “You can’t expect a person to go without it for too long.” “If she (or he) doesn’t ‘put out,’ I’ll just look elsewhere.” We’ve all heard, or been told, one of these lines. Sexual purity and fidelity seem to be values of the past. Just read the most recent headlines associated with the #MeToo (#YoTambien) movement, and you will quickly learn of yet another actor, CEO, judge, pastor, president, reporter, or news broadcaster who has fallen from grace because of his or her history of promiscuity and/or sexual harassment.    Where are our role models? How can we…

  • Engage

    Mary Magdalene = #NotAProstitute

    What do you get when you mix myth, legend, incorrect interpretation, and a dose of Hollywood all together? The misrepresented life story of Mary Magdalene—shaken, not stirred. For centuries Mary Magdalene’s reputation as a reformed prostitute has lived on, despite her official Roman Catholic exoneration from bad-girl status in the 1960s. Just do a simple online search for Mary Magdalene and you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed by the plethora of books and movies that portray her not only as the penitent prostitute, but also as Jesus’s secret lover, an apostle greater than John or Peter, and the poster child of gnostic literature. Yet of the thirteen times the New Testament mentions…