Author Archive

Special Announcements, Spiritual Formation

Merry Christmas from Veritas

Ryan Braught sent the following as a Christmas card to those following his church plant. I was so impressed by it that I want to share it with the world:

In 9 BC the following inscription was written on a stone in the area of Priene …

The providence, which has ordered the whole of our life, showing concern and zeal, has ordained the most perfect consummation for human life by giving to it Augustus, by filling him with virtue for doing the work of a benefactor among men, and by sending him, as it were, a savior for us and those who come after us, to make war to cease, to create order everywhere. The birthday of the GOD AUGUSUTS – was the beginning of the good news of glad tidings that have come to men through him.

Just a few years later, a group of shepherds received this message on one particular illuminating night …

Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For today in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly, there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “glory to God in the highest and on earth peace with men of good will”.

It’s impossible for me to read these two statements, and walk away without a clear sense that from it’s beginning, the announcement of the good news of the coming of God in Christ, subverted the perceived gods of the world. Caesar was in charge – it was his world – and though the wrong seemed oft so strong – he was the ruler yet. And in Caesar they had hope. Yet, the good news of Jesus proclaimed tidings of joy for all people in a way that Caesar’s never could. Today, we still proclaim Christ’s tiding in this Advent Season … the world thinks of Caesar very little.

But Caesar is not gone.

As I think about Advent I wonder “what is the challenge of Christ’s news today?” There are still plenty of things (and also perhaps people) that promise salvation. We place our hopes at their feet. Some of them speak to us through the walkways of the local Shopping Center … others call out to us from a podium in front of a White House. The work that we do (especially the work of ministry) has a sneaky way of disguising its Caesar-like identity. I know it has captured me more than once.

But, Jesus is still here too – and still challenging and subverting Caesar.

Our Advent faith is an Easter faith. It is grounded in the reality of a moment where the powers of sin, death, and evil all ganged up together and still met their match. Jesus stands over and above all Caesar’s … it is to Him we look … it is in Him we place our hope and trust..

All Hail King Jesus!!!

(Thanks to Chris Backert and the Ecclesia Network for the bulk of the above text)
Jesus is born

(Thanks to Chris Backert and the Ecclesia Network for the bulk of the above text)

Leadership, Ministry Formation

Free Webinar on Leadership — “How We Do It” 9/27

A while back, I wrote about participating in webinars, and how distracting it can be trying to participate from your office vs. being at a conference. Yet, price-wise, there’s a big difference between sitting in your office and traveling to attend an event and pay a registration fee.

Leadership Network is putting on another free webinar next Tuesday, September 27th, at 10 a.m. EASTERN time. This year’s theme for The NINES is “How We Do It”. Each of the speakers has just FIVE minutes to tell us how they do it… with nine main themes: Family, Staff, Time, Vision, Money, Discipleship, Grace, Physical and Emotional Health, and Preaching.

This year’s NINES features 99+ speakers, and will last a little over 9 hours. They are planning a full day of input for you. I’ll probably be in and out with my participation. But, they have a great line-up of speakers!

To get people to sign-up in advance, they are giving away a $1,000 church leaders library to one lucky registrant as an incentive. Seriously. This is one killer book collection. Authors include many NINES speakers like Dave Ferguson, Leonard Sweet, Ed Stetzer, Philip Nation, Reggie McNeal, Mark DeYmaz, Scott Wilson, Carey Nieuwhof, Hugh Halter, Bruce Miller, Eric Swanson, Rick Rusaw, Neil Cole, Matt Carter, Darrin Patrick, Bob Roberts, Pete Briscoe, John Bishop, Dave Gibbons, Dave Browning, Amy Hanson, and Shannon O’Dell. 50+ church leadership books, in fact. It could be a great asset to you, your staff and church team!

Here’s the link you can look at for the library they are giving away:

Here’s the link where you can register for the conference:

If this looks interesting or you participate, please let me know! I plan to participate part of the 9 hours.


Change!?!, Ministry Formation, Missional, Third Places

Thesis on Evangelism

I recently took my last Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) class on thesis writing. The past three years have been challenging, but most stimulating and inspirational! The program has been through Gallup University (Omaha, at Gallup Headquarters) and Bethel University. I’ve shared class with 7 other outstanding individuals, including one from South Africa.

My thesis research topic is, “How Clifton StrengthsFinder can empower Christians who feel inadequate in faith sharing with non-believers?”. Part of my research will be to interview Christians who have been instrumental in bringing others to Christ. I would like to do this from an emergent perspective.

I chose this topic from all my experience as a pastor and Congregational Life Team member. During all these years, it was hard for a congregation to engage in evangelism. Many feel inadequate for personal faith sharing. For some, evangelism is a dirty word. But, God calls us all to share our faith, or give a reason for why we believe. It’s not enough to just do good works of service. But rather than learning a new program or things to memorize, what if Christians could experience empowerment by simply understanding better how God has created them? From the understanding that Clifton StrengthsFinder gives us, what if we could learn to share our faith out of this natural, God-given, and unique gifting?

If any of you are familiar with Clifton StrengthsFinder or interested in this research topic, please get in touch with me. I’d love to engage with you.

Blessings to you,

Annual Conference, Community

2011 Annual Conference Reflections

I did not attend Annual Conference this year in person. However, I was impressed by the video quality of watching the services and business sessions over the internet. It was good to connect with the conference and Brethren in this way. The crew that broadcast the conference did a great job! Thank you!!

I woke-up this morning wondering, “How many people are affected by the decisions made at this meeting?” There’s no way to really measure this. Annual Conference doesn’t have the power in our polity to enforce any decisions made upon the congregations or membership of the church. So, congregations are free to abide or not abide by what’s decided. So, whether the decision has to do with what congregations should be about, what the U.S. government should do, or how we should live in this world and care for the environment, the Brethren have free will as to whether they will abide or not abide with the business decisions.

Another aspect of my question, “How many people are affected by the decisions made at this meeting?”, is this: if the money spent on holding and coming to this annual meeting were given to ministry agencies like Heifer Project, Int., or New Community Project, or split between the two, how many lives would be effected and changed? I don’t know how much is spent for and on Annual Conference. It’s got to be in the hundreds of thousands, if not over a million dollars (totaling-up all the attendee’s expenses). This is a pretty big chunk of money! A great deal could be done to make the world a better place, help the poor, and bring others to Christ by contributing this money to different agencies, like those named above.

I hope this post doesn’t come across as sounding too critical of the church and conference. That’s not my purpose in writing it. Instead, I’ve just been pondering the thought of how the church can best impact lives through the money that is spent to hold and attend Annual Conference.

What are your thoughts on this, or reflections from Annual Conference?

Blessings to you all!

Annual Conference

Emergent Brethren Insight Session – July 5

Announcement Banner -R

Ryan Braught and Matt McKimmy will be hosting and leading an insight session at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference at 9pm on July 5th. During the hour for Emergent Brethren conversations, they have a few topics they plan to touch on. They include:

Introductory presentation about the emergence

Connection between Brethren/Anabaptist and the Emerging/Missional Movement

Emergent/Emerging Worship- planning and practice

A Framework for Missional Churches and Communities


If you are inspired and stimulated by the conversation, they invite you to continue it afterwards at Flanagan’s Irish Pub. Directions to the pub will be shared at the gathering.

I hope you’ll be able to make it! Please take notes for me. 🙂

Jeff Glass

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