July 6, 2018

A Tight Rope of Humility and Courage

NOTE: This is an edited version of what was in my July '18 newsletter. Go subscribe and you'll be the first to read these kinds of updates.

This week, I am in Austin with thousands of people from across the Episcopal church. Months ago, I thought this would be a huge opportunity to recruit church planting leaders. I sent emails and made phone calls, inviting people to sit down with me to discuss partnering with my office to start new congregations. Half a dozen people responded to my meeting requests. A little disappointing but I gladly reached out to those people to set up meetings. Guess what happened next?

Nothing.

At the end of the day, no one would agree to a time and place. Before casting blame, I reached out to wiser leaders and mentors asking, "What did I do wrong?" Was I intimidating, too informal, too formal, etc. The response I received? "People are not prepared or desire to take risks." Granted, I've learned to improve how I recruit leaders and at the end of the day I've connected with the right people to partner with in other ways. Nonetheless, I think these mentors are right; most people want to take a familiar path, a path with a predictable outcome.

I find that boring.

You don't have to come to Texas and plant new faith communities with me but if you have an imagination for something new and different, take the risk and do it. Whatever you learn, however you grow, no matter the outcome it's a win because you were the one to do it. Notice how I framed the benefits of risk-taking? The competitive edge is internal. Those that take risks, learn from the risk–whether failure or success, and try again are those that walk a tight rope of humility and courage. It has far less to do with whether you're "the best" at something and so much more to do with whether you're willing to try and learn. Being "the best" is an external perception. The will to try and learn is internal and matters a lot more.

What risk are you going to take?

July 5, 2018

Part II for the Episcopal Herald

Here's the second part of the article I wrote for the Episcopal Herald:
“Prepare the way for the Lord,” cries out the messenger at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, “make straight paths for him.” Anyone living during the first century within the boundaries of the Roman Empire knew quite well who made pathways straight. Caesar did. Across the empire, the government took on a massive public works project to develop a highway system that would connect the entire domain. Valleys filled, hills lowered, roads made smooth and straight. In ReInvention, Anglican priest, Mark Whittall points out the Roman highway system of the first century was how mass communication happened. Early Christians took full advantage of this communication tool.
Read the rest.

July 4, 2018

My Latest Newsletter Went Out

My newsletter just went out again. You missed it this time. But you can subscribe here and get it next time it goes out. It's where I share the stuff I am working on; news about my podcast, what I'm doing at work, music I'm listening to, books I'm reading, etc. All in one place. In your inbox.

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July 3, 2018

Ep. 22 Chantal Morales McKinney



My conversation with Chantal Morales McKinney, Episcopal priest and church planter. Chantal is leading the new faith community, Christ's Beloved Community or Comunidad Amada de Cristo. You can also find the community on Facebook.

You can read a Lenten reflection by Chantal here.

Referred to in this episode is Ray Oldenburg's book, The Great Good Place.

Chantal mentions "asset-based community development" in our conversation. To learn more about this method, I recommend Building Communities from the Inside Out by John McKnight and John Kretzman and The Abundant Community by John McKnight and Peter Block.

I also mention episode 1 with Anthony Smith and episode 21 with Luke Edwards.

Music created by Adam Powell of Best Friends Creative.

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June 30, 2018

Article for the Episcopal Herald

I wrote an article for the Episcopal Herald. Go check it out. Part 2 coming soon!
The word “evangelism” shares linguistic origins with the word, “gospel” which means “good news.” The text book definition for “evangelism” is the announcement of good news. What, then, is this good news? In some Christian circles, “the gospel” is framed as a set of doctrines, but as Vincent J. Donovan wrote, “The gospel is essentially a history, at whose center is the God-man born in Bethlehem, risen near Golgotha.” In other words, the good news we are announcing is a story. Specifically, it is the story of Jesus of Nazareth. It may then be more appropriate to say that evangelism is telling the story in which Christ is at the center.
Read the rest.