A Modest Proposal: The Minimum Standards in the Texas Conference

My friend Jeremy Smith, whose blog Hacking Christianity I’ve followed for years, posted yesterday about my conference’s Proposed Minimum Standards for Entering Candidates. As I have a little bit of knowledge about this, I thought I would offer some clarifications and challenges to what he has written. If you are new to my blog, welcome! … Continue reading

In Company

On the wall of my study hangs a poster-sized picture of my confirmation class. It’s a game for my church members to come in & try to find sixth-grade-Josh. Not a hard game, actually. I keep it even though I can’t remember everyone’s name—it was a big class, and not everyone was a regular at … Continue reading

On the Security of Appointment, the Judicial Council, & Being Clergy

I’m a lifelong United Methodist, an elder in my 8th year of service, and the new chair of my Conference Board of Ordained Ministry’s Conference Relations Committee. I spent a few days last week with other bright, passionate, warm, and capable conference BOM leaders at a training sponsored by GBHEM in Dallas where not a … Continue reading

What would you teach your leaders?

I’m putting together a leadership curriculum for the student leaders in my campus ministry. For good or for ill, I’m staying away from how-to books (though there are some good ones) and instead provoking a deeper level of reflection about servant-leadership and Christian formation. Here’s what I’m toying with (yes, I know it’s a long … Continue reading

And You Give Yourself Away

The theme for this year’s Texas Annual Conference, reflecting the idea of Extravagant Generosity, immediately calls to mind U2’s anthemic “With or Without You.” Without a doubt, it was one of the best annual conferences I’ve been a part of. The highlight was Tuesday night’s service in which my wonderful wife Christie was ordained as … Continue reading

iPhone Apps for Clergy

Christie and I have had iPhones (of the 3G variety) for nearly 2 years now, and have come to value their functionality, simplicity, and beauty (even if we also need to join a support group from time to time). And we’re just 2 of the growing number of pastors & church workers — many of … Continue reading

Discipleship, Leadership, and Community

For those of you who have read my blog somewhat regularly over the past year, you know that one of the questions I have is about how communities of faith grow both excellent leadership and provide a context for high-capacity Christian discipleship to flourish. [picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=greenhouses&iid=284895″ src=”0281/7c83f863-b104-4c59-8e83-424a3a407263.jpg?adImageId=10544181&imageId=284895″ width=”234″ height=”350″ /]One of the metaphors … Continue reading

Hugh of Lincoln

Reflecting on the life of Hugh of Lincoln (November 17), and learning lessons from this lesser-known saint: wisdom, creativity, good stewardship, faithfulness, and justice.

The Preaching Life: Countercultural

[picapp src=”f/3/7/a/Cardinal_Francis_Arinze_133a.jpg?adImageId=7433719&imageId=4948037″ width=”234″ height=”384″ /] …there is a certain contrary character to all faithful preaching…The words of the sermon will be expressing our culture in need–beloved by God, but not itself God. So the preacher’s life, as well, will have certain countercultural strains to it. Perhaps simply being willing to become a preacher was already … Continue reading

Formative Experiences

What experiences shaped you into the pastor/minister/priest/teacher/lay leader you are today? What people, events, courses, or service called you into the ministry of God?