November 2,2009
November 1 is a special day in churches, All Saints' Day. While November 1 is the official day, many churches choose to celebrate the day the first Sunday in November.  All Saints' Day is a festival on which the church remembers and honors all the Christian faithful, both known and unknown.  This festival has its origins in the Roman Catholic church of the Middle Ages.  Reflecting on the lives and examples of the saints had been a widespread practice of Christians since the earliest days of the church.  By the early Middle Ages, the liturgical calendar was filled with the commemorations of hundreds of saints and martyrs.  Many of these lesser observances were combined into a joint celebration called All Saints' Day.

All Saints' Day is a very special festival, one that enriches the worship lives of all who observe it.  It is a day on which we are edified by the lives of the saints of ancient times.  We recall the faithful men and women of both Testaments of the Bible and praise God for their examples.  In addition to the saints of Scripture, the church's nearly 2,000-year history is full of the stories of faithful Christians, some well known (like Augustine or Luther), but the vast majority known only to God.  We commemorate these holy ones as well.  However, we also remember the saints of the less distant past.  Many congregations memorialize those parishioners who were called to be with the Lord in recent years, particularly in the last year.  An All Saints' Day worship service can therefore be an especially personal celebration as each one of us recalls the loved ones, friends, and mentors now living in heaven whose faith in Christ inspired us and gave us joy.  Finally, on this day we glorify God not just for the faithfulness of the saints, but most of all for His faithfulness to the saints.  All Saints' Day can be seen as the summation of the great church festivals and seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost because it reminds us that it is only by the perfect life and saving death of Jesus Christ that Christians are made saints in the sight of the God.

And we cannot forget the posting of the 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenburg on October 31, 1517, All Saints Day Eve, that was so much a part of the Reformation.  We celebrate and give thanks for all those who have and are centered in the life, work, and saving death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Have a blessed week in the Lord.

Leadership Capsule
This week I'm sharing the next group of slides (this time in text format) from an old powerpoint presentation on leadership.  It continues the "Leadership Qualities" thoughts:

5. Emotional resonance
  • This is the ability to grasp what motivates others and use it to inspire them into action.
6. Build Teams
  • Leaders create productive teams that draw the best from people. They effectively coach teams in collaboration, consensus building, and conflict resolution.
7. Self-knowledge
  • This valuable trait will protect you from overreaching.
8. Passion
  • If you are passionate about something, that's where you will lead.
9. Conviction
  • All leaders everywhere believe in what they're doing.
10. Dedication
  • Dedication means spending whatever time and energy on a task is required to get the job done, rather than giving it whatever time you have available.
11. Magnanimity
  • A magnanimous person gives credit where it is due. It also means being gracious in defeat and allowing others who are defeated to retain their dignity.
12. Openness
  • Openness means being able to listen to ideas that are outside one's current mental models, being able to suspend judgment until after one has heard someone else's ideas.
These along with the ones from last week give a very good list of important qualities of leaders.

Mission Field
A Missional Resource from Expanding Wave
I came across this little story and thought I would share it with you.  It was written by Rev. Phil Stevenson of the Wesleyan Church...

Last month I was in West Virginia with my partner in ministry, Jim Dunn. We were presenting a seminar entitled "The Intentional Missional Church." The host of this event shared with us that we would be holding the training at Three Mile Wesleyan Church. "This church," he explained, "is located in a holler."
Honestly, I was both intrigued and concerned about this prospect. I had never been in a holler. I wasn't even sure what a holler was. And any connotation I had of a holler was not overly positive. Images of feuds and folk not welcoming of outsiders played themselves out in my vivid imagination. Riding with our host on roads that crawled deeper into the wooded hills did nothing to abate my mental picture. What I discovered, however, was anything but what I had created in my imagination.
A holler is a small valley that has only one way in and one way out. The Three Mile Church was located at the 'head' of the holler. The head is about as far back as you can get in a holler. It is located on a very small piece of property. To call it postage stamp size would be much too generous. It is here Pastor Billy Burdette has been ministering for over 10 years. It is here I discovered a missional church. It is here God taught me lessons of faith, vision and effectiveness.  Here are the discoveries:

  • It's not your location that limits you, it's the limits you put on your location. I could think of all kinds of reasons a church should not be effective in such an obscure location. There is not much drive-by traffic in a holler.
  • Needs are everywhere; if you notice them you can meet them. Three Mile had just completed the construction of a gym/family life center. It has a fully furnished kitchen, with an impressive eating area. Why did they build such a facility at the Head of the Holler? Pastor Billy shared that there was no place for people to gather. No place for folks to have anniversary parties, wedding receptions, family reunions, etc. It was meeting needs. It was a community center.
  • Quality is in the little things. What I saw, they did with quality. They had motion-activated hand towel dispensers. They had flat screens in each Sunday School Room upstairs. The equipment in the Kitchen was excellent.
  • Clarity of mission brings focus to ministry. Pastor Billy knows that young people need to be reached. They have chosen to focus on teens and younger. This is reflected in their new gym/family life center. It is reflected in their programming. They run a midweek kid's ministry that has, at times, connected with over 100 kids. They feed dozens. Their youth program runs over 30 people.
  • A leader who has a heart for God and a passion for people will be effective. Pastor Billy is bi-vocational. This could be an excuse for not doing what is necessary to reach his community. He doesn't allow that. He wants to make his God known. He loves people. This causes him to do whatever it takes to connect the two.
  • Missional matters. Being missional is simply looking outside of ourselves to see the community that surrounds us. Three Mile Church is missional because it is driven by the community needs, not congregational wants.

The next time you find yourself bemoaning your location; the next time you discover yourself thinking there are no more people to reach; the next time you believe missional is too postmodern for you; the next time you believe you are too small to do things with quality; I want you to take a moment and consider the church at the head of the holler.

Week's Calendar

Monday, Nov. 02:  7:30 pm, Leadership Presentation at St. John, Cypress.
Tuesday, Nov. 03:  10:30 am through 3:00 pm Visitation/Meetings with Financially Assisted Ministries.
Wednesday, Nov. 04:  10:00 am through 3:00 pm Visitation of Financial Assisted Ministries.
Thursday, Nov. 05:  11:00 am New Plant Consultation.
Friday, Nov. 06:  Office.
Saturday, Nov. 07:  Preparation/Writing/Reading/Planning
Sunday, Nov. 08:  Travel to Amarillo for the Mission Team Meeting and Retreat.
Koinonia Leadership

Where would you place your congregation on this spectrum?
Fast Growth   Growing    Plateaued    Declining    Fast Decline
A brutal reality today is that more and more congregations are sliding to the Decline side of the spectrum. But--even for those on the Growth side--the economic upheavals of the past year have shown that strength and success can be fleeting.

It's getting more and more difficult for pastors and other church leaders to find clear answers to key leadership questions.
  • How can our congregation not just survive--but truly thrive--in these uncertain, tumultuous times?
  • How can our congregation most effectively carry out God's mission in a world that's increasingly apathetic about the church?
Such times drive us to God in prayer. They also compel us to go back to basics--to effective leadership. That's where the Koinonia Leadership System for Building Thriving Congregations can help.

Congregations in the Texas District have a special opportunity to benefit from this new ministry system from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The Koinonia Leadership System provides team-based training and support that will help congregations thrive. Koinonia Leadership makes it possible for a congregation--whatever its size, location, or situation--to become much more focused and effective in carrying out Christ's mission. To learn more about the Koinonia Leadership system and the special introductory workshop being offered, click here.

Introductory Workshop
Date: November 14, 2009
Time: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Location:  St. Timothy Lutheran Church, 14225 Hargrave, Houston
Attendees:  Pastor, staff, and lay leaders (bring all you can)
Register for Workshop:  Click here
                    (each person attending needs to register)

The November 14 date is drawing near...please register SOON! 
In This Issue
Leadership Capsule
Mission Field
Week's Calendar
Koinonia Leadership
Facebook & Twitter
Advent-Christmas Preaching Workshop

What Are the Most Urgent Questions Tomorrow's Church Must Face?
Leadership Network posed these questions.  While I'm not sure I would phrase them all the way they did, the questions are certainly "food for thought."  What do you think should be questions we might ask about the LCMS for tomorrow?  Share them...if I get enough, I'll post them next week.  Read the article by clicking here.

Majority of Americans Marry Just Once
Most Americans marry just once, according to new Census data. The survey of 3 million households shows 76% of those who have ever been married have married only once. The Census also reported that the average U.S. marriage lasts 18.2 years.  Click here for a related link.

Bible Museum
How We Got the Bible by Dr. Paul Maier has become the most popular Bible study from the Men's NetWork to date. Many churches are not only using this study for their men's ministry, but are using it for congregational studies as well.  For information on this Bible study and much more, click here and follow the links to see a little of the DVD.

Stuff They Didn't' Teach Me in Sunday School
Episode 009: Jacob's Ladder
Fleeing for his life, Jacob hits rock bottom. God's reclamation project starts with a dream.  To see this great video and other videos in the series, click here.

How your men can catalyze the next revolution by Kenny Luck
Men in our churches today are looking for someone to break their malaise and show them the higher purposes God has for them. They need a strong leader to stand up and tell them it's time to turn from culture's ways and commit to God's ways. In this issue, Kenny Luck casts a bold vision for a modern revolution among God's men.  Very interesting here to consider the "revolution."

Building Church Leaders - Hospitality in the Church
This download, Hospitality in the Church, is designed to broaden your view of this essential Christian practice and give you practical ideas for becoming a more hospitable church. In this resource you'll find articles on follow up with visitors, coordinating a meal-team ministry, showing hospitality to men and women, and hosting newcomers and small groups. Find it here!
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Pastors - Special Workshop

Advent-Christmas Preaching Workshop
Click here to learn more.
Dr. Lou Jander
MMF Area D
Texas District LCMS
Volume 11: Number 24
Texas District LCMS