Monday, March 16, 2009

Dan Dick: United Methodeviations

I have a problem with Dan Dick's blog, United Methodeviations: his posts have too much content for me to process. I am constantly bookmarking his posts because they are harder to take in with a quick scan (like I give most of the blogs I read). So I bookmark his posts, and try to get back to them later, ending up with a situation like my current one where I have 11 of his posts bookmarked that I still want to read more carefully. If you aren't reading his blog yet, you really should be. In an effort to actually read his posts more carefully and share them with you, here's a summary of some of the posts I've bookmarked:

Show Me the Money Mission - talks about giving being up during the recession in congregations that are mission focused rather than self-focused. "Too many churches focus on giving to the exclusion of generosity, ignoring the fact that you can alter a person’s giving patterns (behavior modification) without helping them to become a generous person."

Theology of Worship? - questions what theology undergirds what we do in worship. Not as in liberal or conservative theology, but what it is we think worship is about. "I am not advocating a particular theology that all United Methodist congregations should subscribe to. I am reporting that the congregations experiencing the most vital, vibrant, transformational and meaningful worship (as reported by the worshipers, not the worship leaders) are those where the leaders can articulate a clear, precise, deeply spiritual, and widely shared answer to the question “what are the underlying beliefs and motivations about God and the worship of God that shape and inform what you offer as leaders?”"

Mediocrity Not a Goal and Blasphemediocrity - why do we settle for (and sometimes even only strive for) mediocre in the church? "I have a fat folder of notes, e-mails, and letters from former lay leaders, pastors, council chairs, trustees, choir directors, children’s coordinators, teachers, and team/committee chairs explaining their decision to leave their church and go elsewhere — some choosing to leave altogether. The most common thread is this — the church has broken their heart by failing to be Christian. As one powerful letter puts it: 'I am not mad. I’m crushed. I am not leaving the church because it is doing bad things. I am leaving it because it isn’t doing any good things."

How Deep the Well - one of my favorite posts, about clergy wholeness/wellness. Pastors and parishioners should really take a look at this one. "How deep is the well from which we draw? If we are not being fed on a regular basis, what makes us think we have anything of value with which to nourish others? If we are not drawing from a renewing, sustaining source, why are we so surprised when we “burn-out?” The correlation is strong and, unless we as Christian leaders reorient our priorities, the message is clear. If we do not cultivate a vital prayer life, dedicate ourselves to an intensive study of scripture and spiritual teaching, participate in worship as a fully engaged member of a congregation, commit to regular and intentional self-care — physically, emotionally, and intellectually – and nurture and protect key relationships we will not be the people God needs to lead God’s people."
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