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Disturbing the comfortable & comforting the disturbed.

Staff thoughts and life lessons about poverty, injustice, leadership, religion and other social issues in the world today.

Why is your missions comittee so frustrating?

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 3 minute read

Having worked in a church, and now from working with hundreds of churches in global mobilization, it’s often the very group of people who are supposed to champion missions who become the obstacle.

Missions committees are those things in churches we seem to need but don’t really know why they are there or what specifically they are supposed to accomplish.

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When not helping hurts more

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 3 minute read

I have been part of the international relief and development community and discussion for about 13 years now. And for all of the right reasons, there has never been such a huge discussion and focus placed on not doing harm when we are trying to help the poor. All the buzz words right now have tipped the scales toward considering “best practice” to maximize our aid effectiveness.

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I’m flawless?

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 2 minute read

Apparently I am, and that is the gospel. The gospel is not only that I’m going to heaven. (And, doubtless, it is good that I am spending eternity with God as a result of the gospel.) But, for the here and now, the Good News is that because of the cross, I’m flawless.

I grew up with this notion that, while I was saved by grace, I had to behave right and religious in order to keep God pleased with me.

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Watch Your Language

Thoughts by Daniel Mack – 4 minute read

Words can change your world. They can revive you or crush your spirit. How you interpret them can drastically change their meaning. The message you intend to pass on, by your words, might not be received how you expect it to be. Communication is hard work. 

Whenever we have a message to convey we use the tools we have at hand. An English speaking Canadian might only be expected to have conversations in English—unless she feels led to butcher the minimal French she remembers from elementary school. Sometimes we communicate non-verbally—using our body language, musical gifts, emoticons, or mad skills with a paint brush. Today, however, I am concerned only with words. 

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Heart-check questions for the professionally religious

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 3 minute read

Notwithstanding what self-absorbed motives we are trying to beat down in our hearts, a temptation of the professionally religious is to do our best to present the best spiritual image we can. We may tend to know the right things to say, but how consistently does saying the right thing reflect the real core value motives of our hearts?

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Size does matter

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 3 minute read

Most of us know enough to say that size does not matter. And while we know it shouldn’t matter, let’s be honest, it actually does. We ask the size question in various ways. “So...how many attend your Sunday service now?” “What’s your program attendance?" Or, “How many staff do you have?” “What’s your annual budget?”

As soon as these kinds of questions are asked, our biggest task is to hide the wide-eyed look of insecurity to pretend we don’t care about being compared to something. Some of the thoughts that can go through our heads include “Maybe I’ll round up to make it sound better.” “Maybe I’ll give a range that includes the attendance at the Christmas Eve service.” Depending on who is asking, maybe I’ll say something about the good things happening in people’s lives.

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The temptation to be relevant

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 5 minute read

For the next three chapters, I will be borrowing from Henri Nouwen. His book “In The Name of Jesus,” based on the temptation of Jesus, targets three temptations of the professionally religious. His short book, written more than twenty years ago, is one of the best works I’ve read in my study of leadership, and it deserves to surface again. I will simply do my best to summarize. I have identified other temptations that plague the professionally religious and will highlight those in following chapters.

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Calvin's counterpunch

Thoughts by Daniel Mack – 5 minute read

Let me ask you a question. Could it be possible that a church (lower case “c”) might put too much pressure on its primary leadership? And, if that church is lucky enough to employ more than one individual to handle its various needs (its many, many diverse needs), is there a chance those tasks have been assigned improperly?

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The big deal about buildings

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 3 minute read

Before embarking on a building project, I think ministry and church leadership should ask themselves some hard questions. Gone are the days of “if you build it they will come.” I think I’ve heard all the arguments and reasons that people should support a building or capital project. We usually appeal to something outreach related. Something like, “We want to use our building for outreach in the community, so we need to do this building project.” That might sound altruistic, but I have never heard of a church growing because it has a really nice or newly renovated building. I have never heard someone’s conversion story go like this: “I turned my life over to Jesus because the church on Third Avenue has a nice building.”

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The scariest thing Jesus said

Thoughts by Dave Blundell – 2 minute read

In Jesus’ first sermon, there are three verses that, for me, are the scariest things Jesus ever said. Apparently, it is possible to work for Him my whole life, have an incredibly effective and powerful ministry, change people’s lives, be used by the power of the Holy Spirit, and still not spend eternity with Him.

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