February 2010

Straddling the Secular and the Sacred: Clergy Job Descriptions

As a non-United Methodist, I often wonder whether refining certain employment policies wouldn’t benefit annual conferences or the national UMC.


Today, the Call & Response blog on Faith & Leadership includes a post by Roger Parrott titled “Employee Policies are For Cowards”.  His points are well taken: beware of codifying into policy — and thus universalizing – your responses to one or two personnel problems or problematic individuals.  Doing so may not solve the issues at play, and may actually cause others.

Get Caught Doing This During Lent

I went looking for some exercises you can do at your desk, and, lo and behold - WebMD has two pages of them!

In the spirit of the Olympic Games, my Lenten discipline is 10 minutes of exercise every day.  I went looking for some exercises you can do at your desk, and, lo and behold - WebMD has two pages of them!  Warn the church secretary and the nosy volunteers if you're going to go all-out, or, better yet, invite them to join you.

Marching to a Different Drummer

In his book The Last Week, Marcus Borg suggests that Jesus carefully scripted what we call the Triumphal Entry...

In his book The Last Week, Marcus Borg suggests that Jesus carefully scripted what we call the Triumphal Entry, arriving Jerusalem from the East at the same time Pontius Pilate’s entourage entered from the West, attended by all the pomp and flourish of the Roman Empire.

When the Congregation Abuses its Pastor

Recently I heard the fifth story in as many months about a pastor being physically threatened, and his family verbally abused, by members of his congregation.

Recently I heard the fifth story in as many months about a pastor being physically threatened, and his family verbally abused, by members of his congregation.

Health and Effectiveness in Ministry

We find that pastors are often whipsawed by competing outside expectations and held to various measures of effectiveness, such as head counts or dollar figures, that may be unrealistic or unfair...

Divinity magazine is the glossy periodical for friends and alumni of Duke Divinity School. In the new issue, there is a column by Scott Field, a DDS alum and pastor in the Northern Illinois Conference.

Field’s first appointment out of seminary was to Wheatland Salem Church, a rural congregation averaging 50 in worship attendance, struggling to survive. Thirty years later he is still there, and the church has thrived during his tenure, erecting a new building to house its multiplying ministries, and growing to be the second largest church in his conference.

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Lift Every Voice

Did you know a little preventive care will help you avoid voice fatigue and chronic hoarseness?

 

Shortly after the Clergy Health Initiative grant began in July 2007, the Duke Voice Care Center (VCC) came to call, offering to help us with vocal health education, and to be a referral source for people having voice difficulties.  Their term for clergy, teachers, music directors, actors, and other performers is "vocal athletes".  You use and depend on your voice all day.

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Rebekah Hutto: Working Toward Sabbath

As ministers, we are called to service in the church, and within this call we have fallen into the pattern of leaving little time for ourselves for exercise, rest, or Sabbath.

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

~John 11:1, 3-6

As ministers, we are called to service in the church, and within this call we have fallen into the pattern of leaving little time for ourselves for exercise, rest, or Sabbath. Our professions do not fall within the category of 9-5 work, nor do they fit the patterns of week and weekend.

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In the News: Health Coaching

For those (like me) who are relatively new to the concept, it may be helpful to define coaching partly by what it is not: it is not therapy.

Via our friend George Jacobs of the Davidson Clergy Center:
A Massachusetts pilot study is assessing the effectiveness of health coaching.