Rita Emmett

I was blown away today by Rita Emmett, author of The Procrastinator's Handbook (an excellent book, by the way). I ordered one of her tapes from her website. It only cost $8.77, but shipping was $24 because I'm in Canada. There were no other options, so I went ahead and ordered it.

Within a few hours, I had a personal voicemail and e-mail from Rita herself. She said that the shipping just didn't seem right to her, and she offered to figure out a way to ship it cheaper and reimburse me. I recognized her voice from her audio book, and I couldn't believe she called herself. I'm what Ken Blanchard would call a Raving Fan. Thanks, Rita.

The Problem with Church Health

"One of the problems Christianity faces today is that too much of the focus has been on the needs of the institution rather than on the task of embodying the spirit of Jesus...Too much of what I read about 'church health' and 'church growth' is concerned with the survival or well-being of institutions, rather than a congregation's faithfulness to the Great Commission, which often means the self-sacrifice of individuals and groups...I really doubt if God cares much whether our meager institutions survive, but I do know that God cares about Christians being light, leaven, and salt to the world." Bill Easum, Unfreezing the Church

Unfreezing Moves

I've read a lot of books on church leadership and mission. Many of them are helpful, but very few are must-reads. Bill Easum's last book, Unfreezing Moves, is an exception. It's the best book on church leadership I've read in ages. Bill calls the church to move beyond church renewal and health (organizational survival), to join Jesus on the mission field

We're not living in the second Reformation. We're living in the first century all over again. God is calling Christianity outside of its institutional prison, out from behind the cloistered walls of the sanctuary, out from the safety of denominational dominance, out from the marriage of Church and State, away from the merger of culture and piety, away from the professionals, into the dangerous, uncontrollable, deadly byways and highways. Jesus is calling us to the back roads of real life, where once again Christians associate with pagans, Christians associate with pagans, Gentiles, and God-fearers. It's time to join Jesus on the mission field. Go get your traveling shoes.

World Youth Day

vigil.jpg I may have been one of the few Protestant pastors to attend World Youth Day last week. I walked about 5 km to the site and was amazed by the volume of people and the amount of time it took to do simple things like go to the washroom (at least an hour).

I'm not Catholic, and I struggle with many areas of Catholic theology, yet I was struck by the spiritual hunger I sensed. Sure, they treated the Pope like a rock star, and yes, some in the crowd were not really paying attention. But many were. Those of us who are evangelical should really try to learn from what took place. As one person wrote last week:

What is it about Pope John Paul II that makes him so appealing to young people? Why do they rush, now in Canada as before in France, by the thousands to this 82-year-old man, whose hand is shaking uncontrollably from Parkinson's disease?

Why are they not put off by the fact that he is often barely audible and keeps dabbing spittle from his mouth? Why do they flock to him rather than some snazzy yuppie cleric with a tailor-made dog collar under his immaculately shaved and perfumed chin?

Because it's springtime for trustworthy old men -- springtime for integrity.