Being A New Member – A 6-month checkin

April 26, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Church New Member Process, Religion 

About 8 months ago, I wrote Church – A New Chapter, in which I announced that I was beginning the new member process for joining the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville (NJ).  I actually joined 2 months later.  That makes this about the 6-month anniversary.

Time for a report card.  I’ll stick with my hopes and fears from 6-8 months ago.

The overall grade is B+.  The church has come to feel like home, and I often refer to it with the same feeling that I would use to refer to my family.  There are some things that could be better, and I haven’t completely settled in yet.  The details are really long, so they continue below (those reading on the site itself will need to click the link below).

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Whoosh! and a question on calls

April 23, 2007 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Life, Religion 


That’s the noise that I probably made getting through all that I had to do this weekend.

Saturday, the Youth Sunday rehearsal ran long.  I was at church from 10:30am to 2:30pm.  I was completely impressed with the youth.  The 3 seniors who delivered the sermon hit the message perfectly and needed very little tweaking.  The rest of the crew adapted to their jobs quite easily.  I’ll write more on this later.

Sunday was Youth Sunday.  I was the usher-herder.  I also had to get prepared for the Adult Forum afterwards and eat breakfast.  Everything was a rush.  The service went great, and as I said above I’ll write more later.

After the service I had to run away from the youth and go finish setting up for the adult forum.  I was the 1st speaker of 3 – covering the biblical basis for environmental stewardship.  I think it went well (nobody came up and said that I did a good job, but they seemed to be paying attention).

After that, I ran home and had exactly 30 minutes to eat lunch, shower and change to go to the opera with Carolyn.  We saw Rigoletto in Trenton.  I’ll write a whole blog post on that for you.  The opera was good – the lead soprano was amazing.


Here’s the question on calls.

Last week sometime, in my way over-churched haze, I remember having a dream one night.  I don’t remember what the dream was about, but I do remember one snippet.

I was involved in something at church.  My current pastor passed me a note (it wasn’t during a service or meeting or anything – he just handed me a note as we met standing up somewhere).  The note said something like “Be sure to listen for a Call.”

Now I realize that I’ve recently become re-involved in the church, and that I’m a likely candidate for over-enthusiasm.  If you remember my story, once upon a time I was deciding between Computer Science and Religion as my college major.  Due to some unhappy church-related events Computer Science became my major, and Religion my minor.  I honestly believed going into college that I might be headed for seminary.

The only word I’ve ever heard encouraging this came more recently.  I told my current Youth Director (under whom I work as a Youth Advisor) my personal faith story.  He asked if I’d consider seminary now.  I told him that I’ve only been back a year or even a few months (depending on how you count) and that besides – I’m a bit too used to my current income level.

I don’t know what this dream means, but it is intriguing.  Is this a message?  Is it just the product of doing too much church in too short a time period?

So here’s my question to the professionals out there.  Would you be willing to tell me (here in the comments, in e-mail, or even on your blog) what your Call was like?  When did you know that you were being called to the ministry?

Gentle Evangelism

April 19, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Church New Member Process, Religion 

I’ve said for a while that the best way to evangelize is to do it gently.  If an opportunity to evangelize comes up, you simply express your faith and beliefs in a way that is not coercive, not overwhelming, and open and honest.  Beyond that the most important thing is to be a good example ethically, in personal relations, and spiritually.

Robert Austell has said it very concisely in his post “Invitational Evangelism”.

I can’t improve on what he wrote.  Read it.

Busy Week

April 18, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life, Religion, Sports 

Here’s my crazy schedule for the rest of the week.

Wednesday – 6:30 – 8:30pm – Youth Sunday rehearsal
Thursday – 6pm – 10pm – Trenton Titans playoff game
Friday – 6:30pm – 10:30pm – Trenton Titans playoff game (if they win Thursday)
Saturday – 10:30am – 1pm – Youth Sunday rehearsal

Then Sunday:
8:45am – leave for church
9am – 9:30am – set up for Earth Day adult forum
9:30am – be adult shepherd for ushers for Youth Sunday
10am – Youth Sunday service
11am-ish – as soon as the service is over, run directly to the lounge
11:15am – be the speaker for the 1st 15 minutes of the Earth Day adult forum
Noon – Adult Forum ends, go home
1:30pm – leave for opera (Boheme OperaRigoletto)
1:45pm – pre-curtain talk (always worth the time)
3pm – 6pm – opera
6:30pm – come home, collapse

Unfortunately, I have to miss the post-Youth Sunday service lunch with all participants in order to do the Earth Day presentation.

Welcome, Rev. Mary Alice Lyman

April 16, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Religion 

Mary Alice Lyman

The Rev. Mary Alice Lyman was Called by the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville (NJ) yesterday to fill the Associate Pastor position.  The congregational vote (by secret ballot) was unanimous!

Of course, the Presbyterian system has lots of hurdles and there is one remaining.  She will appear before presbytery in June.

Welcome aboard!  I look forward to seeing you again once you completely arrive in July!

TO Committee!

April 11, 2007 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Church New Member Process, Religion 

(well, at least To Task Force)

I met with our pastor last night about the “other idea” that he had.

It seems that he’s been reading a lot of the stuff on my blog (Hi, Jeff!) – particularly the stuff that I’m writing about new members and visitors.

He’s looking to put together a task force to study how the church is perceived by visitors, seekers, and the surrounding community.

He’s asked me to chair the task force.  There will be a small number of chosen members (as opposed to “whoever wants to show up”) and the team will work for about 18 months.  I asked for a co-chair who has been around a while and knows the church and lots of members because I’m fairly new and haven’t gotten to know all that many people.

Beyond that, the charter and membership are still up in the air.  We’ll probably get the team together in May to organize, and then take the summer for each member to do some homework (probably some books to read) and get started in earnest in the fall.

I will likely have to limit my blogging on this Task Force to what we are willing to say publicly.  I will probably do some blogging about the committee process in general, particularly successes.

One thing that I can promise – I want your help.  I will be asking questions over time about how each of you handle different issues or answer different questions in your community.  I’ve found that I have a fairly diverse audience of church-related people (and others!) and I’d like to leverage that to help.  In return, I promise that by the end of our process I will blog some useful information gained by experience – just as I have with the Reconnecting with Faith retreats.

Blood Pressure

April 6, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Life 

Well, the doctor upped my blood pressure meds today.

My weight is about where it was last year, and I’m exercising about as often.  I’m a little older.  My stress level has increased dramatically – from the stress of joining a church and getting involved in committees (particularly the latter) to the stress of layoffs and reorganizations at work.

I think I exceeded my capacity for dealing with change this week.

Happy Easter!

Prayer Request Update 3

April 5, 2007 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Religion 

Here’s another update:

Just wanted to ask for continued prayers for JP and his family. He’s still in ICU (2 weeks now) and he has a chest tube in because of some fluid they’re having a hard time draining. Despite my earlier post, apparently they still aren’t sure what’s going on. They’ve ruled out pneumonia and pancreatitis and still looking for exactly what the deal is.

Apparently his wife is having a rough time, understandably. Don’t forget that in addition to JP’s health issues, they also have four kids at home, including a newborn, so keep those prayers coming!

Layoffs Update

April 4, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Work 

I’m still here.

I have 12 names of people who were laid off, but one or two are uncertain.  Supposedly there are either 15 or 30 in my building (5 or 10%) and others in other buildings.

They also announced a realignment.  I’m reporting to a new boss (who is actually the person that I reported to before my current boss).  The slide didn’t list titles – I have to check to see if I’m being changed.

Not a good day.  One person that I lost is my “church buddy” at work.

Updated Environmental Stewardship paper

April 4, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Environment, Religion 

I’ve made a few tweaks to the Environmental Stewardship paper posted previously, at the request of the church’s Green Team.  The new file is attached at the link below.

Download Environmental_Stewardship.pdf (163.7K)

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