Bearings Review 2015

Sustaining Ministry through Soulful Entrepreneurship: Finding New Tools for a Changing Church

In the past decade, an increasing number of social entrepreneurs—individuals who feel called to make a difference in the world while earning a living doing it—have been establishing themselves. From mindful consultants to healers to savers of elephants and rainforests, these entrepreneurs find ways to live their passion and at the same time make an… Read More

Re-Imagining the Story: Can the Mainline Church Put Away Childish Things?

Elizabeth Drescher’s recent piece on “Bearings” asks the question: “What if we had the next great awakening . . . and everybody slept in?” As a church pastor, I’m beginning to wonder that, myself. There are times when being a mainline church pastor feels like being Sheriff Woody from the “Toy Story” movies—adventurous in ways… Read More

What’s the Point of a Pastor?

“One of the reasons that people need pastors is precisely because God is always present but usually not apparent.” – M. Craig Barnes In my Presbyterian faith tradition most pastors wear black preaching robes. I promise we don’t do it for comfort. Or looks (obviously). These robes signify, in part, the relationship between the church… Read More

Coming Clean on Bringing Millennials Back to Church

Can you hear it? It’s the sound of Mainline ministry leaders around the country breathing deep sighs of relief, patting themselves on the back, and smiling in self-congratulation in response to the recent news that what Millennials—that generation woefully absent from their churches—really want from the church is . . . the sacraments. In her… Read More

Self-Giving God, Self-Giving Church: Letting Go of the Church into the Love of God

Each year as Holy Week comes upon us again, we have another opportunity to be formed by the stories and practices of death and resurrection. Our formation this year depends on what’s happening right now in our minds and hearts, church and world. Several current conversations in my church are shaping the way I take… Read More

Selma’s Prophetic Call to Ministry Leaders

The movie “Selma” opened across the nation last week, anticipating Monday’s Martin Luther King holiday. Featuring David Oyelowo as The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, a star-studded cast enacts the wrenching circumstances and political wrangling that resulted in the historic 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery,… Read More

Descent and Altitude: Eyeing Hope in the Gaze of God

Editor’s Note: Pam Shellberg first offered a version of this reflection during an Advent service at Redeemer Lutheran Church. We are privileged to share it with you. I have done a fair bit of air travel in the last month or so. A work-related trip, a professional conference, and spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my… Read More

The Return of the Holiday Prodigal: It’s Complicated…

This time of year marks the return of the “C&E” crowd to churches—the folks who appear at Christmas and Easter. I imagine that lots of clergy and regular congregants have mixed feelings about these seasonal prodigals. On the one hand, it’s pretty magical to have a packed house at holiday services with extra voices ringing… Read More