Ask the Expert(s): The Digital Eucharist

With so many churches flipped over to live streams for their services, the inevitable question arises about what should and should not be replicated. One element that many churches are considering is communion.

On a whim, I asked Dr. Michael Svigel, department chair of theological studies at Dallas Seminary, if he’d come on to live stream an episode of our podcast. Dr. Svigel had argued that churches could replicate many things, but communion was not one of them.

Dr. Svigel said he would do it, but only if Dr. John Dyer, dean of enrollment services and distance education at Dallas Seminary (also a coding ninja), would join. Dr. Dyer writes on the intersection of theology and technology. This week he wrote about historic views of communion as well as how churches approach participating in communion online.

Graciously, and on short notice, both came on to discuss, and the conversation was incredibly helpful. Watch below. (Podcast episode will drop as normal on Monday):

A few links for you:

Leading Small Groups when Even Small Groups are Canceled

So COVID-19 has taken the world by storm and is uniquely addressing how we live life in Texas—as well as basically anywhere. The city is largely shutting down for at least two weeks as we all attempt to “flatten the curve” (most of us not knowing what that meant until recently).

Many churches have stopped meeting for a while—with the large majority of church gatherings exceeding the recently-established 50-person threshold, while all of them fail to keep people from being in “close contact” with others. Never fear, many churches have small group gatherings that meet in homes throughout the city. We got this . . . right?

Then, today happens. And social gatherings of 10 or more are encouraged to cease for at least the next 15 days. That’s a while. So how do we address this?

Continue reading “Leading Small Groups when Even Small Groups are Canceled”

Sign Stealing From a Sports Fan (and Pastor’s) Perspective: Forfeit

There is a general principle in my house: if there is a significant game on for a team that we have a rooting interest in, we can stay up and watch it. School the next day? Doesn’t matter. Game goes past midnight? That’s fine. The kids (and parents) can go to sleep when they want, but they are free to watch until the end. Parenting—in large part—is about memory-making, and we love these memories.

One of my favorite memories (up until recently) was watching all of the 2017 World Series with my family. Game 7 is where the principle applied. We didn’t own a television at the time—I think we had Youtube TV or something like that and would watch the games on a secondary computer monitor on our kitchen counter. My oldest was the only one who had the stamina to watch until the end.

It was awesome. Until it wasn’t.

What we know now chances my perspective forever—and basically every sports fan’s perspective. As I’ve watched press conferences and player interviews and read commentary upon commentary I’ve tried to figure out where I landed with it all, and I think I figured it out:

The Astros should forfeit their World Series Trophy and Altuve should do the same with the MVP.

Let me explain . . .

Continue reading “Sign Stealing From a Sports Fan (and Pastor’s) Perspective: Forfeit”

To My Younger Self: Invest in a Few

I recently finished up ten years in pastoral ministry and I keep wishing I had a time machine. Not only would I tell the younger pastoral version of myself to emphasize faithfulness and to pray more, but I have a few more that are on my mind (scrawled on a piece of paper that as sitting in my car—which has since been lost in the roughly six months it has taken me to restart this series).

Note: I grab all of these pictures from a stock photo site and don’t spend a ton of time finding the perfect image. I don’t walk down train tracks with folks.

Any time you enter into a ministry job (I think this might generalize to other jobs, but I’m not sure) there is an (often) unstated expectation that you’ll start changing things around. “Where are we headed?” becomes a pretty normal question. Different people have different expectations for their church, and they want to know what you are going to do, and how you are going to do it. That’s all fine and good—I might be the same if the roles were reversed—but these questions put a unique pressure on ministry leaders to get something done and to get it done quickly.

However, discipleship doesn’t happen quickly.

Continue reading “To My Younger Self: Invest in a Few”

To My Younger Self: Pray More

There are few things as significant to a Christian as prayer, and there are few things that are so easy for a young pastor to neglect as prayer. Prayer doesn’t feel like it “does” anything. People aren’t known for prayer—it isn’t sexy and it doesn’t bring accolades.

As I started this little blog series, I wanted to focus on things that I’ve learned after about 10 years of pastoral ministry. I do this for me because it helps me to figure out how I have changed (and likely how I need to keep changing). The first post was about how faithful ministry is better than fast ministry. How does ministry remain faithful, though? Through prayer.

Continue reading “To My Younger Self: Pray More”

To My Younger Self: Faithful is Better than Fast

I graduated from Dallas Seminary a little over ten years ago. At that time I was 25 and we were expecting our first child. I knew so much.

August 1st will be the ten-year anniversary of me starting pastoral ministry (in a paid capacity) and will also be the one-year anniversary of my time at Genesis. (I guess I like to start things August 1—perhaps to coincide with the school year.)

I’m still a pastoral ministry spring chicken—at least that’s how I feel. At the same time, I often think about the ways in which my perspective on ministry has changed over a decade. What would I do differently if I could start over? What would I do more of, and perhaps do it with more intensity?

One topic comes to mind almost right away: when it comes to pastoring, faithful is better than fast.

Continue reading “To My Younger Self: Faithful is Better than Fast”