Last summer I ran into a former volunteer from our youth ministry team, now going into his senior year in college.  When I first met him, he talked about God nudging him in the direction of ministry, and he truly has a gift for sharing the love of Christ.  I hadn’t seen him in a while, so we caught up briefly and I then said to him, “Are you still considering going into ministry after...

The Vital Congregations Plan for The United Methodist Church points to five marks of vital congregations.  For those involved in fruitful, passionate, vibrant congregations with a Christ-centered ministry and presence in local communities, these likely sound familiar.  Vital congregations are made up of disciples who worship, make new disciples, engage in growing their faith, engage in mission,...

In reading through Mark in my devotional time in the past week, I’ve been struck by Jesus’ questions (all quoted from The Message).  “Why are you so skeptical?” (2:8)  “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? “  (4:21)  “Why does this generation clamor for miraculous guarantees?”  (8:12)  “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for...

I can be a complainer. I don’t mean to be. It’s just that it is hard to stop myself. I believe it is a by-product of being a perfectionist. I so want things to be right. That isn’t so much an excuse as a realization. Here is what I know wholeheartedly, however, even about my own complaining. Being a complainer is not helpful. It’s a lousy way to go through life and a poor trait if one...

For those who watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics, there was a powerful metaphor for empowering a new generation of leaders. In a break with Olympic tradition of at least more recent years, the torch was lit by young, future Olympic hopefuls instead of past Olympic heroes. As the young athletes ran around the stadium track, accomplished British athletes of the past and present met them...

In my first job out of college, my boss sat down with me one day and said words I’ll never forget, “Brian, you need to work on replacing yourself in this position.”  Talk about a question not to ask out of context.  I was sure for a moment he was asking me to prepare to leave the organization.  He went on to explain, however, that the lifeblood of our organization was that...