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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States. It's an epidemic affecting women and men in staggering numbers around the world. It's something we simply cannot ignore as followers of Jesus. Violence against the vulnerable must be brought to an end. This week's Link Up is focused on blog posts that raise awareness about domestic violence and/or provide practice solutions to bringing an end to it. I had hoped to find a slew of posts, but oddly enough the Christian blogosphere was mostly silent on this topic lately. Maybe I'm just not reading the right people. I'd love your help in curating these posts. If you've read any other helpful articles or blogs lately on this topic, please share them in the comments.   The Silent Epidemic, by C... Read more
A few years ago I finally visited our neighborhood church. Having driven past it almost daily for over a decade, and then looking for a worship community closer to home, I decided to scout it out and see if it could be a fit for our family. My vivid first impression was of the two pastors, Pastor Stephanie and Pastor Ed, standing up front to greet the congregation and deliver announcements. I was immediately struck by the remarkable chemistry they demonstrated in the way they played off each other, practically alternating sentences. Their way of interacting set a welcoming tone and suggested an environment of close community and leadership through partnership. I had never witnessed this sort of real-time collaboration between pastors and it provided a strong clue that I had discovered o... Read more
Lynn Anderson’s book, They Smell Like Sheep is an excellent resource for pastors and elders. Anderson describes the “essence of spiritual leadership” as “sheep following a shepherd because they know and trust him. This kind of trust and allegiance can be gained only one way—by a shepherd touching his sheep, carrying them, handling them, tending them, feeding them—to the extent that he smells like them” (p. 17). The book as a whole is wonderful, but I want to look closely at his discussion on authority in regard to leaders. Below is an excerpted and adapted summarization of chapter 13 from his book: The King James Bible translates 1Timothy 3:1, “If a man desires the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” Biblically speaking, bi... Read more