Thursday, November 21, 2013

"The Joy of God's Realm" - Isaiah 65:17-25

This week we did a little study on poverty and stewardship in light of the radically peaceful vision for the future the Lord has for us.

Will the Peaceful Kingdom come to pass?  Would we let it?  Do we have the power to feed ALL of our neighbors?

November 17, Celebration from FUMC of Arlington on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rethink Creative

So, it's pretty rare that I'd ever endorse a business.  In fact, I don't think I ever have.  So this must be pretty good, right?

I'd like to introduce you to a group of guys that have dubbed themselves the Rethink Creative Group.

They have a goal, and that's to be a full-service creative hub to get the Gospel News into the world.  They're uniquely aware that most churches in Christendom are awful small.  Most can't afford truly original graphic design, website design, videography - but they can generate it for any local church. They even help pastors generate topical sermon series complete with visual content.  Maybe one of the more unique things they offer are their custom music arrangements to suit a local church's worship needs.

In other words, they're an original content generator for any church's context.  They have their rates ... But they know their clientele.  These guys love the church, and want to serve it - in the universal sense.  They provide a service that many smaller churches could use to up their media and worship games.  Local churches are often behind the times when it comes to media for a variety of reasons ... Church size, church age, time ... Here's a great option to bring your interaction with media and the church forward.

*Full disclosure - One of their founders did buy me a plate of cheese fries last week at lunch.  They were really good.  I won't endorse just anything for cheese fries, but they do make me pause and think.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

"Embracing Our Inheritance" - Ephesians 1:11-23

Sunday was a pretty thick day for us as far as themes go ... On the one hand we celebrated All Saints Sunday, on the other hand we also started off our stewardship season ... But it seemed that the two went hand in hand, as we celebrated the good stewards who went before us, those who have passed the faith down to us through the ages.

Thanks be to God for the living ministries of the saints!

November 3, 2013 - Celebration from FUMC of Arlington on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

UPDATED: Hope is on the Way!

I've been kind of silent on my blog lately, and I can finally share the reason why!

For the last two months, I've been working on a writing assignment for GBOD Worship - sermon preparation ideas for the Hope is On the Way Advent Series I helped to put together for my faith family at FUMC Arlington.

It was a tall assignment, working out seven sermons a couple of months out, but it was a really fun project and a blessing to get this opportunity!

The GBOD published it all today!  So, if you're looking for a little bit of help with your sermon preparations for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, I hope you'll check out what we've offered.  With these notes, I also wrote out a few ideas each week for you to discuss with your worship planning team, questions to ask and ideas for you to own your worship this season and glorify God in your context.  Combine them with the liturgy resources we have, and it's a comprehensive resource to serve your congregation!  It's all free, but I'd love for you to comment if any of this is of help to you, or if you have a different perspective than from what I've given!

Blessings as you plan!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hope is on the Way Series Art

One of the many blessings of working at the church I'm appointed to is having a trained graphic designer on staff who takes on most of our communications needs.  She doesn't just make fliers (though she does), she also manages our website, email communications, and designs our publicity materials for our various campaigns and sermon series.  As pastor of communications, I don't have to do the tricky stuff ... I get to deal with overall vision and scope, while my team does a stellar job of bringing our big ideas to life.

I don't know if you're church needs it or not, but we're offering our main graphic for our Advent series here for free.

It should give you a lot of room to use as you're church needs, for bulletins, fliers, banners ... Whatever you need.

As always, if you use it, just leave a comment to let us know how far it's gone!

You can also check out worship helps for the Hope is On the Way Series here.  And sermon notes at the GBOD worship site here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

"Why Rock Star Worship Leaders are Getting Fired"

I observed this headline on my twitter feed this morning and quickly followed the link ... "Why Rock Star Worship Leaders are Getting Fired" at

I'm not going to lie here, I'm both surprised ... and not.  

I am a staunch advocate of modern worship styles, and all genres that fall under that umbrella, from contemporary to Taize to African and Latin styles ... It's all good to me - when done well, and when used to actively help the congregation get after the heart of Christ.  As opposed to the heart of the worship leader.

I think maybe our larger mega churches might be realizing that they have an authenticity problem on their hands, hiring extremely talented musicians and song writers with no real training in worship leadership.  No real training in Bible study.  And probably not a whole lot of skill at communicating with a pastor in helping communicate the message for the week.  All while building their own album-launching platforms.

That's why I'm not surprised at the trend this author is pointing out ... Though, I'd love to see some real data! 

But why am I surprised?  The trend for a while has been flash over substance in worship.  The more secular the better, the more hipster the better.  I realize I'm saying that as a mostly hipster-looking pastor, but hopefully you know what I mean.

On the other hand, to my worship leader friends - go and get yourself that $100k job!

What do you think?