Tag Archives: Ministry

Church Leadership Churches Inspiration

What Happened This Weekend

         Well, my daughter got her first hair cut, the Patriots won the Superbowl, oh yeah, and TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE READ MY STORY OF LEAVING THE CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE.

         Let me just say that having your story read by thousands of people you don’t know is nerve racking. At a certain point, you have no control of what people will do with you. Most people sent words of care and comfort. Some have shared their stories of staying or leaving. Some have questioned my story. A few have questioned my motives. As the number of views and comments grew, I prepared myself for some negative comments. But, you know, it’s still nerve racking.

I want to quickly say a few things and then share something that happened because of that post. read more »

Christian Culture Church Leadership Churches Life

Why I Left the Church of the Nazarene

          Thank you everyone for reading and sharing my story. The reach and response have been absolutely overwhelming! Thank you for all your comments on this page, on Facebook, and through private messages. I read all of them, though I may not be able to respond to all of them. Thank you again. I have also made one correction below: the church that I served and worshipped at while I was in college was an Evangelical Methodist Church, not a Free Methodist Church as I had thought. 
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          About 5 years ago, I left the denomination that introduced me to Jesus. I didn’t walk out of the Church of the Nazarene with fanfare, fireworks or middle fingers. My relationship with the CotN had more of a soft closing. But I did leave. I let my credentials lapse.  I’m currently serving, preaching, and pursuing ordination in the United Methodist Church. When I first left the CotN, I got emails left and right from different pastors and friends wanting to know if it was true that I left, why I left, and if I’ll consider staying. Eventually, those kind of emails stopped. Now, I get emails from young Nazarene ministers asking me why I left, if they should leave, where they could go, and how to leave gracefully. I haven’t been shy about this conversation in person, but I haven’t Facebooked or said anything publicly about leaving the CotN, mostly because I love the CotN and I don’t want to hurt my friends there or somehow appear bitter. But I think it’s time I shared my story because I am entirely uncomfortable caring for so many ministry hopefuls who feel like they can’t serve in a church they love.

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Church Leadership Family Life St Paul's UMC Uncategorized

30 Goals For My 3rd Decade (apparently this is my 4th decade)

I turned 30 last Saturday, and when I showed my ID to the woman handing out wrist bands as last week’s Zoo Brews (beer festival at a zoo = awesome), she burst into tearful laughter and told me I look way too young. I guess I’ve still got it.

Anyway, thinking about this next decade made me want to put together some goals, and I’m happy to share them with you. I broke them down into 3 areas of my life: career, ministry, and life. Here you go:

Career

1. Finish my Doctorate of Ministry (D. Min). I’m about a 3rd of the way through.

2. Receive ordination in the United Methodist Church. Pretty much just waiting on my D. Min.

3. Clean my office. I’m about a 3rd of the way through. read more »

Church Leadership Churches Life St Paul's UMC

My Work Week

What’s a Sabbath with you?

sabbath permission

God gathered up a people who only knew slavery in Egypt. As God started to shape them into a people that would bless the world, God gave a commandment to this group of former slaves: rest from work for a day each week. Imagine what it means to a group of former slaves. Their God is commanding them not to work. Beautiful. They are truly free. When Moses reiterates the 10 commandments in Deuteronomy, he adds this reminder to the Sabbath commandment: Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day (Deut 5.15).

In short, my sermon yesterday was this: Sabbath is a gift from God to proclaim our freedom and God’s provision. You are not a slave to anything. God has set you free. You don’t have to work non-stop. God provides.

We also passed out Sabbath permission slips, which I thought were pretty cute. You can have one too.

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advent Spiritual Practices Youth Ministry

God of the Present Tense

Every now and then, when I’m teaching at youth group, a teenager will roll his or her eyes at me and say something like, “We’ve already learned this, ugh! We already know this!” Most of the time, I resist throwing whatever is in my hand at the teen that makes the comment (most of the time), but it always gets me thinking about what I’m teaching, “Have they heard this all before? Am I boring? Am I making God’s Word boring (which is a sin if you didn’t know)? If they know all this, what am I suppose to teach them?” Then there comes a moment of thankfulness, because I remember that God often speaks through the complaints of teenagers whether they know it or not, and this complaint reveals something that I’ve forgotten—the thing that’s really important in youth ministry…scratch that, all ministry.

We are coming up on the Christmas Season in the church. I’m willing to bet that we are going to hear familiar stories, see familiar colors, and hear familiar songs. I really doubt anyone will say, “Boring! Heard it! I know all this stuff already!” When I think about the repetition of this story, year in and year out, I’m reminded that ministry, worship, and community (the things that make us who we are) are much more than simply the transfer of knowledge. We already know the story, but when we hear it again, we are reminded that God’s love is present, right here and right now. Ministry, worship, and community help us experience God’s love right now, in our very present.

I’m guilty of trying to make my ministry primarily about teaching teens things that they’ve never heard. Some times I forget that ministry is about letting teens experience God in the present, after all, the present, this present moment is the only place that we can experience God. It’s the only place that we are. We already know so many truths—God is love, God loves us, there is nothing more that we can do to be any more loved than we are right now. The trick is remembering it in this very moment.

There are so many things in our pasts and in our futures that tempt us to regret or worry, when the truth is that God is present to you right now, loving you more than you can imagine. So rest in that love, right now. And right now. And right now. It’s always exciting to hear a new idea or new knowledge, but sometimes we just need to remember the things we know, and be present to God in the moment. Merry Christmas!

advent Fun Uncategorized Youth Ministry

Free Advent Bingo!

Hey everyone, I spent way too much time making this Advent Bingo set to not share it in the world! Throw in some M&M’s and prizes, this thing was a hit with teens and children. There’s 60 unique Advent Bingo Cards with only 34 different icons (so the games don’t last forever). I also made a little list for calling out the icons. I liked this better than some of the things you could pay for out there. Have fun!

Here’s the 60 game boards!

Here’s the call list!