The gist of this article first appeared as a devotion given to a group of mission administrators and missionaries. It later appeared as an article in Unfinished magazine (Summer 2008, Issue 41) under the title, No running, please. It is presented here, in updated form, due to my ongoing work in my own local church in the area of outreach.
As a teenager, I worked for a period of time in my uncle’s chicken house. I recall the preparation for the arrival of the chicks. Workers brought in fresh pine wood shavings to spread over the entire floor of the chicken house. Heaters were lowered from the rafters to keep the chicks warm, and circular tin walls about two feet high were put in place to keep the chicks under the heaters. After they were safely put in these brooders, I took much pleasure in playing with these cuddly, yellow-down chicks.
Continue reading Avoiding a Chicken House Approach to Outreach
In a couple of weeks, we will be starting small groups up at St. James UMC here in Athens and I am stoked. I harken back to a time in Clay, AL, when a group of us young marrieds in our late twenties and early thirties formed a small group to gain spiritual maturity and foster community. We named the group, Foundery Fellowship, after the first Methodist meeting place in England. We also patterned the meeting on a blend of the Wesleyan class and band models. Continue reading Why I Love Small Groups
There is a splendid three-minute scene in the movie Glory, the Oscar-winning film about the all-black, volunteer 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment led by white officers during the Civil War. In the scene, Colonel Shaw walks up on target practice being led by Major Forbes and observes Private Sharts very deliberately and methodically hitting bottles with his rifle shots.
Shaw compliments him to which Sharts ascribes his proficiency to squirrel hunting. Shaw then tells Sharts to reload and as he does Shaw keeps telling him, in ever-increasing volume, to go faster. Finally, a fumbling Sharts gets the shot off, but we see no bottle broken. Again, the Colonel tells him to reload and then asks the Major for his Colt 45. This time, as Continue reading Telling, Teaching, Training: What the Church Needs to Get Right