Thursday, August 31, 2006

Refuting Real School

I mentioned being back in in school a few days ago (or was that just yesterday) and alluded to how Nova, the community college wasn't real school.  Of all the people to refute me, my own wife comes across Talking about Five Myths About Community Colleges on Encarta.  It's definitely worth looking through.

I chose Nova for four main reasons:

  1. It was easy to get into.  I registered online and was accepted as soon as I hit submit;
  2. it is close.  All other schools I'm considering are at least an hour away;
  3. it's cheap, you can't beat $250 per class; and
  4. it was safe, if I Fail a class it doesn't affect my GPA for other schools at all.

Apparently I really am back in real school.  God is just continuing to work my life in some amazing ways, letting me know that heading off to Nova is a pretty darned good idea.  I'm excited to see what comes out of it.


Owning What You Deliver

delivering a big presentLast August I came back from a mission trip realizing that the job I do isn't one where I find much satisfaction or purpose. I recognize that I need to work and I have a "good" job that many would envy. Others aren't so blessed. I've heard a lot of feedback from people that they need to figure out how to just "suck-it-up", they're unhappy in their jobs but it's the sacrifice we make for our family.

There are a couple of different factors to work discontent, but this post by Seth Godin on marketing really got me thinking about what it is we're making, what we're selling and who we're selling to.

Thank goodness I'm not selling cigarettes or something else hurtful. I'm developing and selling applications to the government to manage and solve their IT problems. Sounds glamorous, I know. Honestly it can be pretty fun and interesting at times.

Seth points out:

The same way the marketer at Marlboro needs to acknowledge that by being a good marketer, she's putting her kids through college at the same time she's killing thousands of people. It's a choice--her choice.

We're responsible for what we sell and how we sell it. We're responsible for the effects (and the side effects) of our actions.

It is our decision. Whatever the decision is, you need to own it. If you can't look that decision in the mirror, market something else.

While I don't market much of anything I do take people's money and try to give them something back that is worth that investment. I've been asking myself, am I proud to own the product I've built or the information I've given. Do I think that product and information was worth the amount of money people spent on it?

This answer is different for everyone. Erin loves what she does and I'm excited to watch her work. While she groans at doing a proposal (where we tell the government our solution and the cost, essentially marketing our product) I also know that she really enjoys it. She believes in what we offer and likes to be a part of a team of people that feel the same.

When trying to define my discontent I'm coming back to this question. Am I excited about the products we make? Do I really think they are worth the money or make a large impact on the world? I sure hope and pray that you do.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More Than I Can Do Alone

Jason over at Granger Community Church mentioned the iDate video that Jeff, one of their video creation gurus, put together.  Watching the video is just amazing, but I was also surprised to watch the credits roll by.

There were a bunch of different people that went into making that video a reality (not to mention the 5 days it took for the computer to render the video).  It wasn't a team of 20 or anything (looked like about 5 by my count, not mentioning the network storage guys) but it wasn't just Jeff either.

I have no doubt that Jeff could have created something amazing all by himself.  For all I know he could have done 99% of the work himself.  The fact that other people are listed makes clear that there was a lot of input into that video.

I have just finished Reclaiming the Fire by Dr. Steven Berglas (on the whole a book I don't really recommend) who referred to Lou Gerstner's story:

Apart from his managerial skills, Gerstner's success was due, in large measure, to a passionate refusal to live a lie.  After being touted as the ubermanager responsible for RJR Nabisco's profitability, he took the top spot at IBM... He admitted he knew little about the technological underpinnings of the business he was hired to manage... and could not have cared less.  Gerschner was strong enough to allow skilled IT professionals to do their specialized engineering work while he did what he knew best: creating efficient systems to market, sell, distribute, and service the product. (emphasis added)

There are so many times that I see a need and want to learn whatever I can to try and meet it. 

Right now we've recently implemented an Active Directory environment at church, something I know little about besides that we need a central control of users.  So I have books on Windows Server and Active Directory, learning what I can.  It's been interesting and even fun (I'm a geek at heart) but I know there are more knowledgeable and more interested people out there I should be relying on (thankfully I think I found a co-worker who will help).

My point is this.  I could never make a video like the iDate video.  In fact I'd be irritated that a ton of my work went into something that was seen only a few times and then shelved forever.  There are much more artistic, technical and experienced people that love this stuff.  I might have a vague idea to pitch, but it's the team of people that love what they do who will make it happen.  If I tried to do it myself you'd see a 5 second video of two stick figures making out (and by video I mean video taped flip-book).

I'm so glad there are people around us that have passions which I don't share.  People who are so much more talented than I am.  I really need to keep myself focused on God and pray that He continues to bring these gifted people into my life and gives me the guidance and trust to let them do what they do best.


Sundays Off

I was just reading Michael's blog and loved what he had to say about taking a day off.  Up until this post I would have been upset to say that I rarely go to church when I'm on vacation.  I know, shocks of awe and horror abound.  It didn't sound like something a youth minister would do.

If you're at all involved in our church, you'll know my wife and I are there quite often.  It's a wonderful place to be and there is very little I would trade it for.  Every now and then though, it's nice to take a week off.

We both feel way too guilty to just sleep in some Sunday if we are around.  It's a bit like Jess commented; don't ever think you have an excuse to miss it, because it only gets easier to skip.  At this point I seriously doubt that would happen, but I just don't feel right being local and not going to church.  It's much easier not to miss it if it's impossible to go.

This is true for everyone, from the general congregant through the active volunteer and up to the staff.  It's hard for me to miss a Sunday partly because it means someone else has to take my place.  I don't like making someone do what I can do, feels like I'm shirking my responsibility and giving grunt work to someone.  This is definitely something I need to work though, since it clearly leads to me not allowing others to really excel.

In any case, when I do relax on some Sundays, I come back having really missed church.  I feel a bit more energized and ready for a fun Sunday.  So, when's your next church vacation?

As a side note, I'm convinced he must have just watched this video from Luke's post.  It would be great to do something like this at church, if only I had rhythm (or even style like these guys)!  Seriously though, you have to watch the video.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'm a Student Again

Ok, so I’ve always been a student of the world like the rest of us. Now I’m also officially a student of Northern Virginia Community College.  It doesn't sound like much, but it's definitely a step for me which I've needed to take.

studying hardFor the past year I've been thinking that I need to enroll at some school and just start taking a few classes.  Get familiar with being in school again and figure out where God's hand is leading me.  Somehow I've continued to put it off.

While I can come up with a lot of reasons that I've procrastinated, I think it boils down to one thing.  Fear.

I am really not sure I'm going to do well in school (even if it's just one class).  Even more than that (and that one is pretty big) is the fear of what it means as I begin taking more classes. 

I have a strong suspicion that I'm going to be pulled more and more away from the work I currently do.  That isn't going to make things easy financially by any stretch of the imagination.  With all things financial they lead family discussions and possible life change, something I'm not sure we're ready for.

In any case, I'm thinking of signing up for Survey of the Old Testament to just get my feet wet.  I'd rather do Introduction to Greek, but I'm sure not driving to Alexandria every Wednesday evening.  Any other suggestions on good classes or good teachers at Nova (if you happen to have gone there)?

Next Fall I plan to switch to a real school (I know I'll get grief for that) where I know the credits will transfer to wherever I go full time.

Do any of you have advice on going to school?  I used to be crummy at taking notes and I doubt that's changed a whole lot.

Prayers are always appreciated.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Gems of Wisdom - Overheating Car

I’ll be the first person to say that there isn’t a ton of practical information that comes out of my blog. Well, that changes right now.

Here’s what you do if your see that your car is overheating. I learned this in high school sometime (and unfortunately had to use it then and a few days ago) and realized how few people know what to do.

Still runningSo, here’s my piece of practical knowledge for you to know. If you are driving down the road and you hear a strange “ding” and see a little image of a thermometer that wasn’t there before, or if you have a temperature dial and the gauge points to the little red area, your care is overheating. This generally means something has gone wrong with the fan blowing off the heat your engine produces or you are out of antifreeze so the radiator isn’t cooling off the engine correctly.

I’d definitely recommend pulling over and getting a tow to a shop. Since I’m too cheap to pay for a tow (I don’t have AAA and this car isn’t under warranty) I decided to drive to the repair shop.

CW being excited about the fire suitI decided right away that I would prefer not to arrive at the shop with my car as a ball of flame. As amazingly cool as that would look on the road, I forgot to pack my heat suit. While I’m willing to light my hands on fire for a visual, I haven’t quite decided to light my whole body on fire.

Here’s what to do if you still need to drive a car that’s overheating. Open the vents, turn the heat all the way on and turn the fan all the way up. You may want to open the windows, it gets crazy hot in the car in the summer with hot air blowing full blast at your face.

You’ll definitely notice a bit of an odd smell. It’s the smell of the antifreeze boiling a bit and entering the air. It will stop soon, but that’s actually not such a good thing.

Ok, there’s my gem of wisdom for the day. In case you were wondering the car didn’t blow up, but with a $1,100 repair bill I almost wish it had J



Out Into the World

At work I've worn a bunch of different hats. Besides the jester's cap, which I can't seem to shed, I am often wearing the "team leader" hat a lot. This generally means that I train and lead other people to do what I do, but better.

So far all of the people I have trained or led have since left either our team or the company. They're continuing to develop and I do get to talk to them regularly. Really I couldn't be happier for them.

I started wondering what it was that these people keep moving away. I'm starting to think there's something about me that makes that happen. In most cases it boils down to a lack of opportunities to grow on our team.

Some people train to keep the individuals within the team. We train with the idea that this person will eventually replace me. I'm beginning to realize that I may actually take a different approach. I care more about helping the individual grow as their own individual than I do about keeping that person within the team.

This means I'll have to train a whole lot more people at the same time. If I want to keep a successful team going then I need to be continually brining up new people to fill spots that keep opening up as we send people out into the world.

Right now I'm thinking that successful teams may actually e those which are constantly in flux. People are constantly growing and changing so the team needs to set them free or change accordingly.

The more I think about this the more problems I can see from this idea:

  • Keeping institutional knowledge is difficult
  • Getting a cohesive group of people that trust each-other is hard when the people keep changing
  • The amount of energy needed to get new people up to speed is difficult since we do it for so many people
  • Keeping the group focused on one goal instead of the goal of whoever the "new blood" is
  • I guess I'm going to just have to keep growing and learning myself.

Maybe I'll find people who don't like to keep trying new things, and then I'll just plug them in and be done with it. Knowing me it probably means I won't get along so well with them.

Can you tell that I'm a fan of change?


Thursday, August 24, 2006

My Life as a Book

2006-08-23 - Staff Retreat001.JPGI just returned from a very fun, emotional, enlightening and relaxing staff retreat for church. I have to say that we are very, very blessed to have such a diverse group of people who feel comfortable making their thoughts clear while having an open mind to pursue God’s will for our church.

During breakfast on the last day Rob laid down the bombshell on me. He simply said, “Since we’ve been on the retreat you haven’t read my blog yet, have you?” Of course this brings up the suspicious thoughts that only friends can bring about. Turns out Rob tagged me for a meme (something I generally don’t enjoy doing).

The topic is all about books. Mentioning some of the questions we actually had a very good discussion around the table about the questions.

This is exactly why I like getting together as a group to casually talk about whatever is on our minds. I learned more about the people in that 30 minutes then 2 hours of discussion can ever bring.

So, without further ado, here are my answers.

1. One book that changed your life: 1979 Book of Common Prayer. When we discussed this over breakfast we decided The Bible was a cop-out answer (so I saved it for a later one) and I had to really think. Going through books by Orson Scott Card, Terry Pratchett, Dean Koontz, Vernor Vinge, Dan Simmons and even some non sci-fi books (amazing, I know) I think the Prayer Book is the one. If it hasn’t changed my life, it’s at least been there during all of the big changes. It was part of my marriage, part of Rachel’s baptism (I was baptized Catholic), part of my confirmation and continues to be part of every Sunday of my life. It’s got some interesting stuff and great prayers. Not to mention it makes every Episcopal Church I visit feel familiar (St. Matthew’s is actually probably the least familiar, but still the best).

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I’ve actually gone through the entire series twice and Ender’s Game a few times. This whole series brought me to recognize the connections we share with those around us, and where faith can fit in. As Kate recently mentioned regarding quantum physics, Orson shows a future where we can really harness the human potential.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: The Bible. Yeah, it sounds hokey, but if I weren’t alone on a desert island I’d probably keep putting off reading it all the way through. I’ve gone through once in bits and spurts, but a solid reading would be nice… If only there weren’t so many other books out there to read.

4. One book that made you laugh: Another Fine Myth by Robert Aspirin. This book (and the whole series) is flat-out humor. If there’s anything to take away it’d be the magical threads which again hint at something more to this world that we can’t see but is ready for us to tap into.

5. One book that made you cry: Hyperion by Dan Simmons. The depth of the characters moved me so much that I’d have to put the book down at times. The story about Rachel brought me to sobs.

6. One book you wish had been written: The Secret Thing We All Share. Every time I think we humans are all pretty much the same deep down (wanting to be loved, having our own unique and perceived hurts and wanting to be treated as “normal”) other things pop up making me unsure of that. I want a definitive answer to make sure I’m not nuts, or to tell me where the core is in each of us that we do share (I know it’s there). This would probably have to be written by God I guess.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Sourcery by Terry Pratchett. This was the first book I read of the Discworld series and I can’t ever stop. I’ve read everything by Pratchett (and went quite broke buying his books in England when I was there for a semester) and can’t get enough. I’d have had a much more social life if it weren’t for the sheer number of books this one has gotten me to read.

8. One book you’re currently reading: Chazown by Craig Groeschel. It’s been over two months of picking up and putting this back down. It’s been a very thought-provoking look at God’s vision for my life. Not the job I should have, but my own gifts, mission statement and vision. I’ve given it to most of the graduating seniors at church.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: The Crystal City by Orson Scott Card. You’d think I loved Orson, and in some ways I do. But after meeting him it’s gotten a little harder to be quite so addicted. In any case I’ve had this on my shelf for two years, and at this point need to re-read the rest of the series.

10. Tag 5 others: Here you go! Jessica, Kate, Alex, Mason/Miriam (who I’ve recently found shares my love of the same types of books) and Cindy (Who has a new and adorable baby boy, check out the pictures!).

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Christ vs. Christians

I’ve heard it said a lot over the past year.
I Love Christ but I can’t stand Christians.
This has been said by both people I know and world-known leaders. I was reading notes by Tony Morgan about an interview with Bono during the Willow Creek Leadership Conference and he mentioned something similar.
[Bono]'s never had a problem with Christ, but Christians have been difficult for him. Christians seem strange to him. They can be very judgmental. They tend to judge people by surface problems.
Finally I began to understand the “I Love Christ but not Christians” statement.

This came even clearer when I read this entry by author Phyllis Reynolds about a Christian man who stole a book from the library because the child questioning their faith didn’t come around to Christianity in the end.

Why is it that Christians seem to be the most intolerant people I know? Why do we come to Christianity thinking that we’ll be safe there and that things won’t change or upset us?

Christ upset everyone he came in contact with. Where he went things changed. He certainly didn’t live safe, and neither did his disciples. Want to die by hanging upside down on a cross?

Then there’s the intolerance. Truly, what Christ intolerant? I’ve been listening to some talks with people related to the XXX church who are out ministering to porn stars. They have received threats, attacks and everything by, you guessed it, Christians.

I’ve finally figured out that people like this do exist around me. There was recently some discussion about moving a youth activity because of some drug activity that happens around the corner.

I’m not saying that I want our teens going and selling/buying drugs. At the same time some of them do have friends who are involved with drugs. I want them as far away as possible, but I also want them to love these people (kind of a clash, I know). I want all of us to not be afraid of the normal screw-ups around us.

I don’t want us running away from awkward situations. Honestly, I don’t even want us running away from some unsafe situations. How can we show non-Christians the beauty of what it means to be Christian by avoiding them?

I guess it’s a good thing I’m not the youth minister... huh?

Truthfully though, we have some absolutely amazing parents. They’ve recognized that the teens are not involved in the activity (I don’t think any of them have even seen or know it existed) and have decided to put a little control while still letting them stay.

I can’t ever explain how amazing these adults are. People so committed to kids that they’ll volunteer and help out even if they don’t come to our church and even when it doesn’t benefit their kids directly.

These people are the Christians I like to spend time with. They’re the people I strive to be.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Real D.C.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I live relatively close to Washington, DC (about an hour outside). I also grew up in DC until I was 21, so I know the area relatively well. While I’m glad to have moved out and avoid going back unless I have to, I am often impressed by the sheer diversity between man and nature.

We have tons of art museums (almost all free), unique sculpture, parks (D.C. has the highest percentage of national parks of any city in the world), architecture and the national buildings which just seem to stir our emotions (like the Capitol and the White House).

I got pointed to the group blog Metroblogging D.C. by my friend Jessica. More interesting to me is their Metroblogging Washington D.C. Pool Flickr site where any random person can contribute their pictures of and around D.C. Having grown up in the city these photos are just fascinating. These are the pictures of the real city. Pictures from the park, clubs, Northeast, colleges, everything. If you want to see the real D.C. this is a great way to check it out.

In case you don’t know where something is (and they describe it) I’d be happy to take you there so we can check it out!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Strange Things are Afoot

Have you ever listened to a morning show on the radio and they talk about their Arbitron rated X number of listeners? In DC there’s the Jack Diamond Morning Show on Mix 107.3 which always boasts (sarcastically) an Arbitron rated 7 listeners. Maybe it’s more now; we stopped listening once we got XM.

I always wondered where this number came from, and what it meant. I know more than 7 people listen in the morning (especially after they added more songs to their repertoire (see how I can use repertoire in a sentence? Never mind that I misspelled it the first time). Unfortunately Wikipedia wasn’t any help this time around. So I’ll have to leave the mystery of the low number unsolved.

In any case I was changing the top banner for my blog and noticed the ClustrMaps Map for my site. I’m shocked not by where people are coming from, but the sheer number of people reading my blog… every day.

Up until a week ago I could have told you that I had three regular readers. Rob, Mason/Miriam and Jessica. Now, unless they really like what I say, I can’t imagine they visit my site at least 3 times a day each (on top of the 3 people who subscribe). All I know is that strange things are happening for me to have so many readers.

I’ve gotten so much support and people have come up to talk to me because of the changes coming my way and things I’ve discussed only in this blog. I am deeply touched by that, and I thank you all for welcoming me into a little bit of your life.

I don’t know that I give you all the same amount of knowledge, experience or emotion as I get from you, but I’m glad to know I get to share this life with you.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sticking With Tough Decisions

I am planning on taking a sabbatical from youth group. This starts either now or beginning of September, depending on who you ask. Generally I am continuing some activities until September, and then stepping back from it entirely. After the sabbatical is over I may come back to youth ministry, but it won’t be as the youth minister and it will be a very different role than I’ve lived so far. I'll come back to a role that really plays more to my own strengths, and gives me time for my family.

I’ve recognized that my heart isn’t in youth ministry like it was. I still have a deep love for teens, and my heart is into them, but it’s not in the weekly planning/ownership/oversight like it once was, and it was pretty obvious even to those who aren’t very involved. This isn’t a big shock, and even some of the teens suspected it simply by watching.

Truthfully, the weight of this decision didn’t hit me very hard until tonight. I started telling people that I will not be coming to Starbucks after August for the Thursday night gathering. This brought some very strong emotions, from teens which I didn’t expect it and even a parent which really floored me. As I drove home it really sank in, I’m choosing to step away from something (and the people involved) that I love.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. It’s not my choice; God has made it clear that this is the right way to go for a while. He’s also made clear that it’s time for some change. It’s time for me to make these decisions and stick by them.

Up until tonight this decision felt somewhat easy. Intellectually I knew it may be hard, but it just wasn’t impacting me emotionally very much. In a lot of ways it just didn’t seem real. Thinking about it all now, this is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, and harder still to stick with.

Thankfully I do know that by sticking with this decision God is opening doors for our teens and youth ministry that wouldn’t be there if I stayed involved. He’s going to rock the joint, and I’m going to have the privilege to cheer from the sidelines.

My heart is beginning to ache, and tears may be around the corner (things that don’t happen too often with me). You know that heart ache, like when you find the person you thought you’d spend your life with just isn’t the right person? Or the ache when a close family member passes away? Or even that ache when you hear your parents are splitting up?

I feel like I’m becoming an emotional basket case for a while. I am excited for what is coming, and so glad for the blessings I’ve gotten to be part of the people’s lives. It helps a lot that I’m not leaving the church and still have this support group. At the same time I’m going to be somewhat introspective and enjoy the pain that comes from moving on.

I’m not too proud to say that God has done some amazing things with youth group, and I feel like He’s used me in some of that. So, if you see me off and reflective, I’m always accepting of a hug. If I seem quiet, I’m always looking for someone to share a conversation. In the end though, I’m likely going to enjoy the fact that I do feel so much pain from this decision. If it weren’t painful then it would mean that in last 4 years my heart hadn’t been touched.

Sometimes it’s easy to make tough decisions, but it’s a lot harder to stick with them. I’m so glad for the changes youth group has brought to my life and my family. Right now I’m going to enjoy a good cry. I’m sure I’ll have some to share if you’d like to join me.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006


What are you passionate about?

Recently this question has come to the forefront of my mind. There’s no question that this goes along with my priorities. While your priorities give an idea to what your passions are, they don’t cover everything. I mean, what do you really get fired up about? What do you get upset about when you see other people brushing it away?

Recently I’m discovering that wile I love youth ministry, I’m incredibly passionate about it too. Notice though, it’s not a big priority for me, and honestly it’s been recommended that I take (and I greatly welcome) a sabbatical. Time off, and stepping back from the intense role I’ve had for the past 4 years sounds magnificent to me.

How can I be passionate about something I am excited to leave behind? I can’t really explain it. But I do know that I’ve made some incredible relationships with this youth group, and I truly think they have helped me grow as much, if not more than I’ve ever helped them.

What’s gotten me to recognize this passion? We are working on a recommendation to bring in The Riddle Group to help implement an evaluation they put together for us a few months ago. They had some unique, focused and really creative ideas for getting parents and teens involved in the life of the church and the community while growing their faith at the same time.

As with many decisions regarding money, you find a lot of differing opinions. Lots of confusion about what the money may go to and the different priorities individuals hold dear.

We’re having a vote soon to decide whether to bring The Riddle Group on. I’m a bit nervous about this, since it’s going to be a very clear expression of how others view my passion. It’s not a black or white decision, where we decide to spend our money (and where we don’t) shows what the community holds close.

While this one decision would not ever make me want to leave the church, I don’t think any one decision should be a reason to leave… It will certainly let me know the importance of youth ministry.

As of late I’ve been thinking about what I’ll say regarding all of this. Truthfully it will probably go something like this…

Actually, after writing it down I realized that I’m already on a bit of a tirade (or rant to stick with Web terms) and the last statement really isn’t well suited to the broad community. So, I’m leaving it off.

All I can ask from you right now is your prayers and support. I truly feel God leading one way, please pray to support the church in god’s plan for it (whether it’s what I see as right or to help me recognize that I am incorrect).

In any case, I can tell you that I love the passion I feel for the youth both within and outside of St. Matthew's. I'm glad God has blessed me enough to let me share my life with them.

What are you passionate about? What get's your blood boiling?

Passion (not peace),

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Experiential Storytelling

I’ve recently finished the book Experiential Storytelling (Re)Discovering Narrative to Communicate God’s Message by Mark Miller. This was a great book which has really gotten me to rethinking how to teach others. So often we think people want to hear what we have to say, really they want to do what we’ve done. We learn best by doing and taking part, instead of being lectured to.

Oddly I got through this entire book and grasped the Storytelling part without the Experiential piece clicking. It wasn’t until this past Sunday’s gospel reading that I finally understood how telling a story should be an experience for all involved.

Last Sunday we used Group’s curriculum for Vacation Bible School Fiesta! to tell the gospel reading. The congregation were the waves and the fish (after we figured out we were supposed to be fish there were some pretty funny fish faces). Others came from the congregation to be “actors” playing out the story as Bill read it. Truthfully, this was one of the most effective ways I’ve heard/experienced the story of laying down our nets, leaving our homes and giving up everything to follow Christ.

Rob’s display about needing to trust was pretty darned good too. It was all a big experience which is sticking with me days later. No offense to Rob (or the other 5 sermons I listen to a week), but I often forget even the one main point by the next day.

I wrote a newsletter article focusing exclusively on the storytelling piece. Talking about Rachel’s life and the ways she has grown based on a community which gives of themselves without asking for anything in return. My hope was that people would relate to either Rachel’s life, or the life of the community around her. I certainly relate to Rachel, my walk in faith has followed her growth from innocents and ignorance to have a lot of support by those around me, without me being able to give much back besides a smile and the love I have for people.

The biggest thing I had to get over in switching to a story instead of my thoughts for the day, was to trust that the person reading would be moved in their own way. 5 times (both at the beginning and the end) I wanted to add a statement like “Where do you see yourself in this story” but I refrained.

Mark states:
...pray and ask God to help us to trust those attending our gathering. Trust that they can understand Scripture more clearly and better retain what they have learned when they’re allowed the think for themselves.
This is still hard for me. I want to ask if I can edit the article to help the reader understand what I want to say. I guess I’ll find out in a few weeks if the message was understood, or if I need to go back to the drawing board.

In any case, watching a group of 200 people, from preschool through adult retirement taking part, laughing and being a part of a story finally made me realize how important experience is in learning the story.

If you’d like to borrow it, you’re welcome to my copy. But for about $9.90 from Books-A-Million, I’d recommend supporting the author.

I’m excited to refine this. I wonder how else telling (and recreating) stories can let people know what we’re thinking more than statements are able.


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