Do You Ask Good Questions?

Asking good intentional thought provoking, information gathering questions can take your small group to a whole new level of sharing.  How are you at asking questions?

Have you ever been frustrated during an intense conversation?  Dumb question, I know.  Of course we all have encountered the frustration.  Not the best question to begin a blog on the topic of asking good questions. The reason I started with that question is because it is often the type of question we ask; it only requires a “yes” or “no” answer not to mention it’s a question we already know the answer to.

In my ministry as a pastor I work with people on a daily basis and often times I sit with folks who are trying desperately to communicate their thoughts and feelings but sometimes lack the vocabulary to do so. They also struggle with clarifying what it is that is actually going on in their minds, feelings or life.  Good questions are very important in helping a person come to some clarity in order to better understand.  It’s good for me and them.

Why I Want to Go to VERGE 2012

So there I am checking my Twitter feed on Tweet Deck and see a friend tweeted about this VERGE Conference 

2012 contest.  It sounded great to me, but I had to write a blog post and retweet stuff.  So here I am giving you the shpeel as to why I want to attend VERGE 2012.

Since Verge began I’ve wanted to someday make it to a conference.  Their focus has been on developing missional communities, churches that act like Christian churches — being the presence of Christ in their communities through outstretched arms of grace, without being judgmental, but just pointing to Jesus.

Having grown up in a very traditional conservative denominational community (praise the Lord that is beginning to change), mission has always been something you do “over there”, but certainly support it financially and prayerfully.  While that is vital for any ministry to succeed, I had always felt while growing up that God wants me and the church to be missionaries in our own backyard with everyone we meet.   Continue reading Why I Want to Go to VERGE 2012

Building Bridges

Back in May 2010 our church adopted a new mission and vision statement, one that has, I believe, the potential to inspire and motivate our church family to greater things for the kingdom of God.  The mission is simple and yet extremely challenging, much like the great commission and great commandment Jesus set forth for his followers (Matt 22, 28).  But it is empowered by the Holy Spirit and Jesus did say, “I will be with you until the end of the age. ”

That’s a good thing because we’re toast without his divine presence and intervention.  But the task still remains for us to be his presence and his ambassadors to a hurting world who desperately need the healing touch of Jesus.

I begin thinking about the bridges that need to be made into our community.  We do have some good bridges since some of our folks are involved with the Women’s Resource Center and we have SERVE and CCSP (Christian Community Service Projects) all summer which bless the lives of so many people. More recently we have begun special community missions during months with five Sundays through our Faith In Action ministry. We’ve been cooking and serving with La Puente homeless shelter for over a year now.  We offer a Vacation Bible School every year as well. I think these are extremely valuable and viable inlets into the community and I’m excited to see more and more people becoming involved and challenged. But what I find interesting is that there are a significant number who still don’t participate.  It’s easy to stay at arms length from mission.   Most of us feel connected financially and vicariously.  But “vicariousness” by it’s very nature suggests a measure of disconnect from the event or action itself.  So then, how involved are you?

In order to achieve our mission and the vision we believe God by his Holy Spirit has laid on our hearts, we must move from vicarious participation to active participation in building bridges into our community.  And since we are some ten miles from town, we will need to really become creative in order to span the distance.

We know that a number of the people we are trying to reach and connect with may not have the means to make the trek to our location.  We will need to assess the needs in our community in order to consider how we might be able to build a bridge.  Literacy and healthy parenting  are just a couple of huge issues and often among those in poverty.  In order to bridge this gap we may have to set up a space or rent an office in town to teach classes?  Maybe one of our bridging endeavors would be to some how close the distance that separates our church from the town of Alamosa.  Let’s face it, people don’t want to drive any further than they have to these days.

We need to dream big because we have a big God who wants to flex his muscles.  He’s just waiting for his people to live as if they have a big God.

Not all bridges need to be long.  Some are very short and are between you and your neighbor, coworker, the check out clerk at the grocery store.  We all have natural connections that require some intentionality and cultivation so that relationships can grow.  Who knows, it could turn out to be a relationship in eternity.

Bridges are key to our mission and vision.  So what are some expanses that need to be spanned?  And, how’s your engineering?

“A Spiritual bridge always involves a physical reality.

People need to see to believe.”

Robert Lewis

’til next time,