Friday, July 28, 2006

Mission-minded or Missional?

Is there a real, definable distinction as it applies to the mindset of the church today? I say, yes.

Take a moment and define each in your own words while I wait...

Okay, time's up. (Take time to make comment to me with your thoughts, if you wish.)

My interpretations:
Mission-minded: interested in missions, send money to missionaries and agencies, take "field trips" to learn about missions, talking and praying about missions as a priority in the service of Christ, a small percentage (and usually the same individuals) are involved in active mission work. In essence, the major emphasis is on funneling money through a budget (and that portion continues to decline) and a few special offerings.

Missional: a church that is at the work of reaching people for Christ and making disciples, actively involved in mission work, partnering with missionaries and agencies through work trips, dedicated prayer and support teams for the missionaries and agencies, significant numbers (more than the majority) involved in a mission based on their call to service as a priority in the service of Christ, a well-defined and growing budget that seeks to provide funds that will make the most significant impact and individuals clamoring to do more.

In one word each:
Mission-minded: Contemplation
Missional: Action
Which one changes the world?

And so the struggle. What are we at FBC?
But the bigger question, what am I?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Chance, That's All They Ask

An emerging ministry at First B is bearing the name, "Elizabeth House." Just like Mary's relative Elizabeth opened her doors and arms to mentor and keep safe a pregnant Mary, we are developing a transitional, short-term ministry to young women in crisis. This has arisen from several recent incidents of needing to provide benevolent care to young women, but not being to provide for their basic needs of security, shelter and sustenance of soul and body.

Led by Pastor Susan Omanson and director Rev. Carolyn Salberg, this program will provide safe and free housing, mentoring and counseling opportunities, and a place for young women at risk or in transition to belong. At present, one of the church-owned homes is being transformed into a caring and warm environment. Our new, visionary Church Council has endorsed this ministry and is eagerly watching its development.

The intent is not to provide permanent housing for a woman, but a bed, companionship and meals as she sorts out the issues she finds life has dealt her.

Many, throughout our congregation and community, have begun to provide furniture, paper goods and financial support for Elizabeth House. Many more have offered their assistance as mentors and financial trainers to help the women become fully functional in society and break the cycle of despair and hopelessness. Can you help?

First B has a rich history of seeking ways to minister to the hopeless in Sioux Falls and surrounding areas. This is the latest opportunity for us to provide a level of care and compassion not presently found in the community. I encourage you to learn more about Elizabeth House and to seek your place in helping this emerging ministry of grace and mercy.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Parenting Isn't For Cowards

We have a wonderful daughter and couldn't ask for more. Laura is bright, intelligent, conversational and just plain all-around good. So why can't I get that through my skull?

Parenting not for cowards? (I know I stole the headline from Dr. James Dobson.) The courage needed is not just for discipline or attitude adjustment during the growing up years (hers and mine); courage is absolutely required to complete the "letting go" now that she's an adult. My only task in these past nearly two decades was to train her to be on her own and she's learned her lessons well. But it's so hard to not ask where are you going, with whom and when do you expect to return. How is it that the change from giving advice and counsel (unrequested) to being available for questions requires courage?

To you young parents out there ... this is a process. Prepare them and yourselves for these days by learning to release more and more. Too abrupt a change can be harmful for parents and child alike. Too much freedom, too early, ditto.

To you older parents (empty nesters or experienced in releasing) ... take some time to help (mentor, counsel, and especially pray for) the younger parents as they traverse the rushing waters of moving their children through this process. You know the pitfalls and the joys. Share them freely.

Why not read Ephesians 6:1-4 today and remind yourself and your child of their Godly call. I have faith God has given me the courage to be the parent He wants me to be. I pray the same for you.