Skip to main content

Life Long Learning

Several years ago I saw an advertisement in a church magazine for an event called the Festival of Homiletics. It was a gathering of hundreds of preachers from around the country for a week of worship and learning from leading pastors of mainline denomination churches (Presbyterians, United Methodists, Lutherans, etc). I had some continuing education funds to spend, so I signed up. I think the conference that year was in Atlanta. I loved it. It was great to sit in gigantic, beautiful churches, like Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, and listen and learn without having to do any of the difficult work of planning. It was a rare opportunity to be a participant in worship, not a leader.

That was probably the year 2000 or so. Since then I have attended the Festival of Homiletics (homiletics is the study/art of preaching) in cities across the country: Minneapolis, Denver, Atlanta again, Nashville, Washington, DC. I took a few years off while I was working on my doctorate in preaching (2007-2009), and the last few years I have not attended; the speakers, while still great, are mostly the same every year. When I was exploring opportunities for continuing education this year I discovered the Festival would be in our own backyard: the Riverwalk in San Antonio. So I'll be there May 15-19.


One of the featured speakers is Rob Bell, who produced the wonderful Nooma DVD series a decade or so ago, as well as several very thought provoking books, like Velvet Elvis and Love Wins. Another presenter this year, whom I know well because we did our doctoral work together, is Dr Amy Butler, senior pastor of the Riverside Church in New York City. Another voice I am excited to hear is Nadia Bolz-Weber, lead pastor of the House of All Sinners and Saints in the Denver area. And there will be the usual suspects who speak at the Festival every year: legends like Barbara Brown Talyor and Walter Brueggemann. I would invite you to remember me and the thousand or so other preachers in attendance, that this would be a week of renewal of energy and spirit. While it is an amazing privilege to be a preacher, it is exhausting and stressful work. Thanks for listening every week!

Speaking of listening, we're trying to share the good things happening here at Grace with more people in our community. There are several ways you can participate in this effort. They are easy and cost nothing. What's to lose?

  1. Facebook has more than a billion daily users. If it was a country it would be the world's third largest, trailing only China and India. If you are on Facebook, like Grace's Facebook page (click on the link to go there now). Liking the Facebook page will keep you up to date on events, like this Sunday's Grillin Chillin and Fun church picnic. Then you just click share to invite others. Easy!
  2. Write a Google or Facebook review of the church. Share what you like: music, a sermon, Bible study lesson, service opportunity, whatever. People are looking for a place to learn, grow, and help others. Help them find us!
  3. Check in on Facebook when you come to worship. Open up Facebook, click check-in, then click Grace UMC. Say something like, "I love my church family!" or "Excited to be here today!"
You'll hear more about these and other tips to tell others about Grace in the coming weeks.You are the most effective tool we have to reach others for Christ! If you invite, they will come. So join the effort! Go Grace Team!

Peace and Joy,
Pastor Frank

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reflecting Upon Newtown

Note: I offered these words during the prayer section of worship Sunday, December 16.

Last Friday was a day full of surprising ministry. After I wrote my usual Friday email devotion to the church, I received a call from Byron Proutt, our missions coordinator. He and others had recently partnered with Park Cities Presbyterian on a project, and their missions director called Byron to say another ministry was unable to pick up several boxes of food for their pantry—could we use it? Of course we could! So Pastor Gregg, Mr Johnny, and I rolled out to the warehouse and hauled back 80 boxes of food. Praise God! After we unloaded it Gregg and I went to Kroger to give them a letter of appreciation for making our Thanksgiving baskets for hungry families a priority. After I dropped Gregg off at home, I turned on my radio for the first time that day and heard the reports of the shootings in Newtown, Conn. I could not believe what I heard, especially as a father of young children.

I came back to m…

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…