If you are new to this blog....

Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

ministry passions

I'm archiving/moving things between blogs... this is the "ministry passion" page I created when I was standing for moderator of the PCUSA in 2012. 

Some of the distinctive areas that I am most passionate in pursuing in daily life, relationship, and ministry...

Co-officiating a wedding with
presbytery colleague, Rev. Leslie Dibble
Truthful and Hopeful Collegiality
From an early age my father lifted up the value of a liberal arts mindset: the ability to listen and learn from any and all contexts.  Focused through a real desire to have the attitude and mind of Jesus Christ, this has translated into what I would call a "truthful and hopeful collegiality" that finds authentic friendships and community the best place to seek and speak truth in love.  Even when differing theologically, I have found a freedom and invitation to share honestly as I listen and learn from friends of all perspectives inside and outside the church.  For example...

Gracious Witness Overture
When I was a commissioner to General Assembly in 2008, I was convicted to write a commissioner's resolution calling on presbyteries to be a "gracious witness" to the Gospel and the watching world by developing a pastoral response to congregations seeking dismissal from the denomination.  While this action, approved by that General Assembly, has morphed into "gracious dismissal policies" - the original action ties together much of what I'm about... a pastoral love of the church, a desire to listen well to one another, a passionate concern for our mission and witness to the world around us, and a calling to be a resource to the denomination.  See the link below for more of the story and the contents of that original overture and Assembly action.
  • Gracious Witness Resolution - the story of the overture I wrote in 2008 appealing to Presbyteries to create pastoral and grace-filled ways of responding to congregations seeking dismissal; the story in itself (also linked in the post) is interesting
Lighthouse/Searchlight Church - missional ministry model
In 2006 I began developing a metaphor for ministry with my local congregation - we would strive to become a "lighthouse" of welcome, guidance, and sanctuary in Christ; we would strive to grow as a "searchlight," carrying the Good News of Jesus Christ out into our nearby neighborhoods and community.

"Wednesday Night Out"
bluegrass at the neighborhood coffee shop

This has been a long journey - as our understanding of church and Christian identity has been transformed by God's Word and Spirit.  Our guiding question for ministry and mission is: "What is God doing in and around us and how can we/I be a part?"

My "Lighthouse/Searchlight" website chronicles much of that journey and features regular posts along the way. This has impacted every area and ministry of our congregation, including creative arts, youth ministry, local missions, and more.  See the links below for one specific way I have sought to bring this to our presbytery.
Good Shepherd Youth
  • Searchlight Presbytery? - some ponderings on whether the presbytery can transform in some of the missional ways our local church has been transformed; submitted, along with follow-up to the middle-governing bodies commission, which was formed by the last General Assembly to re-vision how our presbyteries and synods might better serve the mission of the Church
This is a help site I began before the 219th General Assembly (2010) to "simplify and organize the whirlwind of information, technology, and competing voices for commissioners as wellas for folks back home."  In addition to being a resource for thechurch, this is also an expression of how I endeavor to listen to andbring to the table all the perspectives in the church on variousissues.  A current page detailing all the different conversations about "what's next?" demonstrates the way I've organized the site.  There are also links to news sources across the spectrum, and closer to General Assembly, a more topical organization of key issues.

Pastor Robert teaching at the confirmation retreat
Teaching Church Models 
Over time, at Good Shepherd, we have had more and more opportunities to share resources with other congregations, sessions, and pastors. We have cultivated lay preachers among our ruling elders (and a few youth!), have had a regular stream of seminary interns, and have opportunity to "take on the road" much of what we do at Good Shepherd in both teaching and creative arts. Most recently, at the invitation of some seminary professors and administrators, I constructed a proposal for "Intentional Residence Communities" as a new model for theological training for  ministry.  We are in conversation about hosting a pilot project for this model. 
Teaching "Biblical Theology of Worship" at
Bible college in Nicaragua
Worship, Music, and Creative Arts
Too much to squeeze into one space!!  Here's what goes on every bulletin, and we mean it:
The style of worship at Good Shepherd is an intentional blend of ancient, traditional, and modern forms of liturgy, prayer, music, and communication.  Our starting point for planning each service is God's Word, the Bible.  Each week we seek to provide effective and numerous ways for worshipers to gather around, hear and respond, and go forth into the world with the good and hopeful Word of God in scripture.  We also intentionally gather as a family of believers of many ages and backgrounds, and so use all the means at our disposal to invite each worshiper into the presence of God.  It is our hope that each person present will not only worship God in Spirit and truth, but also in community.  It is a joy and a privilege to worship God with you this morning!
Our commitment to the arts and my own interest in worship, music, and the creative arts has been blessed and multiplied so that we have artists, actors, songwriters, screenwriters, and more.  We see creative arts not only as an integral part of our worship, but of our mission as well, and are seeking more and more ways to connect with our neighborhood, community, and world through the arts.  My D.Min. project was on the theology of worship and music and I've written other material on worship, including music for worship.

Technology and Ministry
I am a computer enthusiast!  And as with music, one of the things I most enjoy is exploring how this interest can be used in ministry for the Kingdom of God.  I am a blogger, twitterer, faceboooker, and more... but am eager to help teach and resource others to use these TOOLS for ministry.

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