Servant Leader – Jim McClarey

Servant Leader

I am so glad I have been able to get to know, work along side, and become friends with this man. I’ve gone on 13 mission trips (and about as many ski trips) with Jim McClarey (in blue). Those who have gone on the mission trips know that being there with Jim is a joy and fulfilling.

This picture was taken on day one of our June 2017 mission trip to Virginia Beach, VA, to do hurricane relief. Here, Jim McClarey (and Patrick Lindsey, also a mission-trip veteran) are clearing brush. The overgrowth had poison ivy in it. (Hurricane Matthew, and associated flood, hit in October 2016. For people who have been stressed and distressed with everything from the water heater to electricity to repairing floors in the house, they might have let their yard get out of control.)

On a mission trip you never know what you are actually going to do.  Jim jumps in no matter how difficult the task is, with a positive attitude. (I think it’s the second year in a row Jim has dealt with poison ivy. Last year, at Little Grassy, he helped clear a path at the church camp.)

Here is a before and an after picture from the Virginia Beach yard they were working on:

Jim McClarey is a servant leader in many, many ways. We, youth and adults, have learned much from him.

He has taught us:

  • How to overcome adversity, with a smile,
  • How to work hard,
  • How the Holy Spirit can flow in us and through us,
  • How to have fun,
  • How to praise God,
  • How to strive for excellence to honor God and inspire others,
  • How to mentor youth,
  • How to lead by example, and
  • How to Knock down the Three-Pointer.

Thank you Jim!

For more information on our 2017 mission trip use the hashtag #VAMissions2k17 or visit Youth Group Facebook Album or Facebook Page.

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At some point, we need to Make America United Again

(written Jan. 21, 2017)

It was a very strange election year, for many reasons. (I didn’t feel that either party, during the election, put up a viable candidate.  OK, that can happen from time to time.)

The thing that concerns me is how divisive many have become.

I don’t believe that tearing down and ‘throwing gasoline on the fire’ are ways to make things better.

I think a strength of our country, since it’s inception, has been our ability to work together, to sit down together, and work things out.

A Story

One of the most important things I learned as being a member of Delta Kappa Pi (DKP) at Doane University was the following process our group used:

  1. We would disagree on a topic,
  2. We would discuss and debate the topic,
  3. We would vote on the topic and come to a group decision,
  4. All, on both sides of the issue, would get behind the decision, and make it work.

This process worked well and kept us united. We learned to:

  • Actually sit down and discuss, not argue.
  • Agree to disagree, as needed.
  • Agree, for the purpose of moving forward.
  • Put our differences behind us.
  • The balance of debate and agreement. Yes, debate. Yes, eventually come to consensus.  This balance may be what it all comes down to.

This year, since the election in November, significantly more (what, 3 orders-of-magnitude) people have taken license to protest and therefore be divisive to our government and our country.

This attitude of my party, my group, individualism above all is damaging. I don’t just point the finger at the demonstrators in the streets, but also to our politicians themselves. We all need to learn the process and lessons I learned while in DKP.

I feel we should back the president, whoever they are. I feel we should use the structures and mechanisms that are in place to have peaceful debate and resolution of difference.

We seem to be on a path of anarchy.

I think we need to always look to build community and teamwork.

(I think we need to work from an attitude of love – but that may be another topic.)

Donal Trump  won the election. His slogan was Make America Great Again. (I’m not here to discuss the pros or cons of that slogan or President Trump)

My hope that, in the next election, we can focus on Make America United Again. After all, we are (supposed to be) the United State of America.  I think being united is a precursor/prerequisite to many things when it comes to moving forward in a positive manner.

Thank you to DKP for teaching me an important lesson I have used for my whole life.

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Ten Practical Ways To Take Your Ministry To The Next Level

This is a very good post by Tim Price.

Ten Practical Ways To Take Your Ministry To The Next Level – Click here

Does look toward taking it to the next level, but also about building foundations, intentionality, and sustainability.

Under Document Your Ministry he has a good list:

Vision; Culture; Process; Main Thing; Fully Involved; What To Delegate

Throughout he emphasizes leadership and community.

Establishments and Institutions

Sermon idea: 

I like institutions (look up definition). They exist to carry out a needed duty.

‘The establishment’ on the other hand seems to mainly be there to maintain itself. 

In Yancey’s ‘The Jesus I Never Knew’ book he says, on page 197, that Jesus posed a genuine threat to the establishment in Jerusalem.

More later (e.g., pg 203). It was very ironically, the supposed church of God that had Jesus killed. As an establishment, they had spiraled far away from God.

The institution that Jesus was proposing was to  love your neighbor sacrificially. This was certainly difficult to comprehend and to grasp by even the disciples. But the institution of loving one’s neighbor sacrificially proposed a threat to the good-ol-boy establishment. Enough of a threat that it got him killed.

Loving one’s neighbor sacrificially is the opposite of an establishment, which is inward looking/self-centered. 

An institution, by definition is outward looking/other-centered.

We, as the church, need to be careful that we don’t turn from an institution to an establishment.

—-

Fun to look at the words

establishmentarian 

disestablishmentarian

antidisestablishmentarian

Suggestions for everytownresearch.org 

The website http://everytownresearch.org advocates for common-sense gun laws to improve gun safety and reduce the number of gun deaths. (I’m pretty sure they are not just raising money, but want to work toward a solution.)

I like the fact that the website has specific research. It is a good site and seems to be going in the right direction.

However, to work toward a solution, I recommend the following:

  • Make a list of specific recommendations. This should be a concise and cogent list with links out to more and more details (as is the power of the Internet). (Having a bunch of famous people say ‘demand a plan’ over and over does get people’s attention, but ultimately there needs to be a (specific/actual) set of steps to improve things.
  • Listing ‘The Gun Lobby’ (and the NRA) as an issue puts the wrong spin on our website (and your approach). Putting ‘The Gun Lobby’ in a list along side suicide, illegal gun trafficking, and domestic violence sends the message the ‘The Gun Lobby’ is inherently bad and needs to be eliminated.  (Even if you do feel they are bad, and prefer they be eliminated it is better to work with them than point fingers and label them as part of the problem.) Remove ‘The Gun Lobby’ from the list of issues and find another way to express the concern.
  • Don’t the us versus them approach, but rather take an approach where you want all (reasonable and sane) people to work together.  If, in fact, you have actual common sense gun laws in mind, then you need to work with the NRA and The Gun Lobby to get them in place. If you don’t think that there’s ‘any way’ that such a thing could be done, then we may be doomed to more and more senseless gun killings.  I believe that the NRA would agree to common sense gun laws.
  • I find it odd that you do to have a phone number on your website. If you really want ‘common sense solutions,’ then you want to open up communication and you, therefore, need to be willing to talk about it.  I find it odd that in your Contact form drop-down list of reasons for contacting us does not include something along the lines of ideas for working toward a solution. I recommend putting a phone number on your site and making it clearer in your contact form that you are looking to work for a solution.

Christ Jesus, taking the very nature of a servant, humbled himself by becoming obedient to death. Therefore…

Imitating Christ’s Humility

from Philippians 2 (NIV)

5 …Christ Jesus…7taking the very nature of a servant,…8humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death…..9Therefore,….10every knee should bow….11Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.…[and].12Therefore,… 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

My Prayer: Lord, in your power, I pray that I will humble myself and be obedient to will and to act in order to fulfill your purposes. Amen