Showing posts from June, 2017

Putting the FUN in Fundraising

The other day I received a letter from Lydia Patterson Institute (LPI). If you do not know what LPI is, you should-- it is an incredible story. It is a United Methodist mission school in El Paso. Students from Juarez walk across the bridge to attend high school. More than 95% of those kids go on to attend college in the U.S. It is an amazing, life-changing and life-saving institution. My wife Christy is actually a graduate!

Anyway, inside the envelope was a letter to encourage supporting the school. I regularly receive similar letters from Sam Houston State University, Perkins School of Theology at SMU, and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Do you receive letters like these? If not send a gift to a local hospital or food pantry. Then check your mailbox regularly! These letters from non-profits are different from the typical solicitation letter one receives from a church in some very significant ways:

No ominous predictions (If you don't support us we'll have to tu…

Narrative Preaching: Hagar and Ishmael

Not sure what a narrative sermon is? Check out last week's post.

"Lost in the Wilderness" Genesis 16:1-16, 21:8-21
They grew up in different countries, spoke different languages, worshiped with different traditions. Though they had different roots, both lived in an oppressive, patriarchal societies where women were viewed as little more than property. As strange as it sounds to modern ears, in biblical times the value of a woman's life was determined by her relationship to men: her father, husband, sons. If these relationships were healthy, she had value; if these relationships didn't exist, she herself might as well not exist.

So it would not have been unusual at all for Sarai's husband to insist that she introduce herself to powerful men as Abram's sister, rather than wife. This happened to her at least twice, first to the king of Egypt, then the king of the Philistines. When Pharaoh bought Sarai as a wife, Abram acquired great wealth: herds of sheep a…

Communications Strategy for Grace UMC

The other night in Bible study a woman I had never met before came in and sat near the front. After class she introduced herself to me. "My name is Regina. I am Catholic, and I worship at St Patrick's in Denison. I wanted to learn more about the Bible and I saw this class on the website. Is it OK that I attend?" "Absolutely!" I said. And I gave her my copy of the participant book. Regina made my day.

When I first came to Grace a year ago, I heard people say, "Communications is an issue here." After 20+ years in ministry, my first reaction was, "What church doesn't have communications concerns?" I knew the website needed updating. Jan Sutter, who handles our offline communications, like bulletins, newsletters, emails, etc, spends lots of time on paper-based media. I began researching bulletin and website designs from other churches, as well as online church communications forums to learn best practices of growing churches.
Since we were alr…

Narrative Preaching

Yesterday morning I tweeted this, reflecting on the style of sermon I was offering:
Narrative preaching: Don't talk abt Abraham & Sarah (Genesis chaps 12-22); tell the story with comments. Text stands on its own-Experimental — Pastor Frank (@revfrankdrenner) June 18, 2017This was somewhat confusing to some, so I'll clarify its meaning. And share the experience of trying out a new format for sermons: Narrative preaching. Yesterday was the first Sunday of a new sermon series on Genesis. I am a Lectionary preacher, so I am following the outline of the texts listed there, for the most part. The Sunday before last, June 11, was Trinity Sunday. Genesis 1:1-2:4 was the assigned Old Testament reading for the day, but Pastor Leon preferred to preach from the Matthew and 2 Corinthians texts. The next Sunday, June 18, the Lectionary jumped to Genesis 18:1-15. Cain and Abel, Noah and the Flood... skipped. And several vital interactions with Abraham, specifically Chapters 12-17, were s…

Wonder Woman

The days between Mother's Day and my wife Christy's birthday are called "Christymas" in our home. It's a time to celebrate her. According to the calendar, that range of days can be anywhere from two to eight days. I buy her little trinkets for each day. This year since I was traveling I lined out the gifts for her to open each day. One of the days included a Wonder Woman plastic water cup, some WW car fresheners, and... five tickets to take the boyos to see the new film on opening day at the Alamo Drafthouse, one of my favorite places on earth! We went yesterday. The whole experience was incredible.

Christy has loved Wonder Woman since she was a little girl. She wore her WW t-shirt. She posed front of the Metropolis background flying the invisible jet while wearing WW's crown and bracelets. I have great pictures but she banned me from sharing on social media.

Wonder Womanis not our first exposure to Gal Godot. She appeared in last year's otherwise disastr…