March 2020: Best Practices & Encountering Jesus
Best Practices for Ministry
From February 19th- 23rd, I spent sometime in Phoenix, AZ at the Best Practices for Ministry conference. Best Practices is a yearly gathering where thousands of pastors, teachers, DCEs, and lay people alike gather to share ideas, network, and encourage each other with the Gospel.
Look below at some pictures from my travels.
I attended a variety of sectionals and even taught one myself on Emotional Wellness & Awareness, and its application in ministry. Here are some of the sectionals I went to:
Spiritual Leadership: Equipping Spiritually Healthy Leaders with Ted Kober
A New Way to Engage Families in Worship with Micah and Sarah Greiner
Worlds Apart, Worlds at War, and What do they have to do with Worship? with Dr. Michael Eschelbach
Small Church, Big Impact with Nathan Grewe and Jacob Hoyer
Help I am Running out of Volunteers with Debbie Arfsten & Kevin Borchers
Finally, my sectional had way too long of a title: Considering the Elephant: How emotional wellness and awareness elevated preaching and habit formation.
Over the next month in Bible studies and meetings I will be sharing some summaries of these topics and some of my thoughts about the impact they may have on ministry here at St. Paul.
The biggest takeaway that I always receive from Best Practices is solidarity in the fact that we are not alone. There are churches all over the world that face similar challenges as we do. It is harder to keep the younger generation engaged. Left on auto-pilot churches continue to decline. None of this is new. However, this gathering celebrates what is working in ministry at similar Lutheran churches all over the country. The Gospel is alive and well and continues to save souls and change lives all over the world. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that.
Over the next year, ask yourself questions about how can we be the Church that God would have us be. If you want to be encouraged and get some new ideas, perhaps think about joining me next year at Best Practices.
Worship Notes for Lent to Easter
We have just spent a month wrestling with the teachings of the teacher on the sermon on the mount. This month the discipleship that began there is going to develop in two directions. On Sundays we will be looking at stories where Jesus has a one-on-one encounter with an individual. We will pay close attention to the outcomes of these interactions, while asking questions like: how do you receive Jesus? Do you see yourself in these stories? If you were to have a one-on-one conversation with Jesus, how do you think it would go?
Then on Wednesdays we will continue, in a sense, with our meditation on the Sermon on the Mount and zoom in and take a closer look at the Lord's Prayer. How does the Prayer form us to be people of God?
Included are the dates for Holy Week as we finish our Lenten journey and walk out of the tomb on Easter!
Sundays in Lent
3/1 Encountering Jesus in the Wilderness, Matthew 4:1-11
3/8 Encountering Jesus by Night, John 3:1-17
3/15 Encountering Jesus Midday, John 4:6-26 (27-30, 39-42)
3/22 An Eye Opening Encounter with Jesus, John 9:1-41
3/29 Waking up to Encounter Jesus, John 11: 1-45
Wednesdays in Lent
3/4 The Lord and His Prayer: Deliver us from Evil
3/11 The Lord and His Prayer: Our Father in Heaven
3/18 The Lord and His Prayer: Thy Kingdom Come
3/25 The Lord and His Prayer: Give us this Day
4/1 The Lord and His Prayer: Forgive Us Our Trespasses
4/5 Palm Sunday: Believe in the Light
4/9 Maundy Thursday: The New Commandment
4/10 Good Friday: That You Also May Believe
4/12 Easter Sunday: Encountering the Resurrected Christ
A lot of ministry is coming. I'm excited as I hope and pray you are as well.
Coming off the mountain to get to work,