Ministry in Context

Mandatory Abuse-Reporting Laws

Did you know that 4 out of 5 states require clergy to alert authorities when they suspect a child has been abused or neglected? USA Today published a chart in their Dec. 16, 2011 issue showing which types of adults are specifically required to report abuse in each state, and whether failing to report it is a crime. Find out what the state law says for your internship site.

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Lay Committee at the Mid-Point

Having completed the mid-point evaluation (it is completed and submitted, isn’t it?), March is a good time for the lay committee to check back on some of the basics, the things we look at when the internship year begins, but might forget about later. Such as:

  • Learning Goals. While these are essentially worked out between the intern and the supervisor, it’s good for the lay committee to know what the goals are. You might have seen it at the beginning of the year.  Whether you did

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Don't be late for church

Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 11.  If you are one of our perfectionist interns, you will set your alarm clock for 2 a.m. when you go to bed on Saturday night, then wake up and push the proper buttons to set the clock ahead one hour.  If you are a normal productive intern, you will set the clock ahead before you go to bed on Saturday night. 

If you are one of those I-do-my-best-work-at-the-last-minute (meaning I-only-work-at-the-last-minute) types, you might still be

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The glories of chaos

They were a little short on parent volunteers to help with the kindergarten Valentine’s Day party, so the lovely Mrs. McKinley and I volunteered to join the merriment in our grandson Luke’s room with the stipulation that I not be asked to help with a craft. I don’t do crafts, even at the kindergarten level.

So there I was, assisting at a Cupid Bingo game, helping the young scholars differentiate between the picture of the heart that said “Hug Me” and the picture of

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Blip or Trend?

"Is it a blip or a trend?" That is a FAQ among our Contextual Learning team. With great regularity, one of us will note something relative to internship sites, interns, supervisors, congregational profiles, pastors' bios, financial situations, an experimental mission, a cluster of comments or questions, or some other phenomenon—and soon we are pondering the question: "Is this a blip on the radar screen, or an early sign of a significant trend?"

Many of you are squarely midway through your internship

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Save the Trees!

The CL office is running out of file space—and you can help! Once you have submitted your mid-year and final evaluations online, all we need from you are the signed signature pages that accompany them. There is no need for you to print and submit the entire evaluation form; we can access that portion online ourselves. So please think of our files (and consider the trees) when you go to print your evaluations—and just go for the signature pages!

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Fighting F.O.M.O.

We did a lot of baptisms at the church where I was serving in October 1987. Although we discouraged the practice, there would often be a little honorarium for the pastor after the service. The one I got on October 25 knocked my socks off: tickets to the 7th game of the World Series to be played that night at the Metrodome, matching the Minnesota Twins with the St. Louis Cardinals. After extensive discussion at home, agreement was reached that my son would accompany me to the game.

There we were, seated

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On weeping with those who weep

I am part of a large family, at least by modern standards. Nancy and I have five adult children and a growing number of sons and daughters-in-law and grandchildren. We have five siblings between us, each with spouses and children, so there are cousins spread across the country.

Given the realities of life, it’s a rare time when someone in the extended family isn’t experiencing difficulties or challenges. There is no shortage of suffering, no lack of need for prayer. This is simply true.

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For the lay committee: Evaluation coming

Within the next two months most of our internships will reach the halfway mark. When six months of internship are completed, the lay committee is invited to join with the supervisor and the intern in completing an evaluation. Planning for that evaluation might well begin in January.

First of all, look up the evaluation questions on our website.

This will give you an overview of the task ahead. Review the questions together as a committee. If there are topics no one on the committee has knowledge

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Tacky's vision of success

My old pal Pastor T. Albert “Tacky” Carlson was in town visiting his in-laws over the holidays, so we got together for a cup of coffee and some catching up. Tacky served at Melanchthon Memorial Lutheran Church down the street before giving up on snow shoveling and taking a call to St. Susan by the Seashore down in Florida a few years ago.

“Not much of a winter you’re having here,” he greeted me, clad in a classic Norwegian winter sweater and slurping on a peppermint

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