Ministry in Context

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 the

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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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Wonderful, but messy

By and large, life is a wonderful gift. A bit messy, but good. By and large, ministry is wonderful. Very messy, but very good. We are in the season of Advent, with all the deep delights that accompany our trip back to the manger in Bethlehem. As you wonder and wander with the shepherds, may you find joy and peace in the days ahead.

But on occasion the messiness of life takes a darker turn. We encounter horrific pain or downright evil. In recent weeks we have seen glimpses of that dark reality as

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For the Lay Committee: Thinking about the holidays

Here we are in Advent, that hectic and joyous time. We celebrate Christmas as families gather for gala celebrations, festive meals and traditional activities. That is great.

But for some interns, this could be a hard time. Some interns might not be going home for Christmas for the first time. They will be missing out on things they have always done and the people they have always enjoyed these holidays with. If the intern has a family, the intern’s spouse will be going through the same kind

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