So much going on in life. My calendar is constantly packed, the church calendar is even busier, and there is even more that I could be doing if I just wasn’t so tired and worn out. But is busyness really the goal? I sure hope not. I think the goal is committed discipleship, yet at times that seems so easily lost. All of our activity pushes us onward with direction-less frenzy until finally individuals and families are driven away from the church searching for sabbath. Oh the irony. [Read more →]
September 1, 2010 No Comments
The Church in my generation is having an identity crisis. We aren’t sure who we are yet, and our wavering identity is causing us to lose people on the fringe and frustrate our elders. Unfortunately, clarity may not come for months, years, or even another generation! This lack of clarity is daunting, and for many, may be overwhelming enough to throw in the towel, but I am begging you don’t stop now! Lack of clarity can be biblical and even holy. It gives us opportunity to rely on God, to forge our relationships, and experience the labor pains necessary for new life. Just ask the Israelites in the dessert, Joseph and Mary on the road to Bethlehem, the disciples before Pentecost, or the early church in ancient Rome. [Read more →]
June 25, 2010 No Comments
From graduation day until I start my job I have roughly 45 days to get my head on straight. I am spending this time doing two things: dreaming big and preparing to protect myself from dream crushers. My recent blog posts show I am obsessed with being creative right now. And figuring out how to get that creativity into the church. One of the biggest reasons for this fascination is my main man Seth Godin and his stellar book Linchpin.
The world is experiencing a revolution. Not the “government overthrow” kind, the “oh my god electricity is useful” kind. Our schooling, culture, and desire for self preservation have convinced us to seek jobs that are secure and easy to do. But those jobs are gone and we are left with a new world where showing up is not enough. This new world demands creativity, risk taking, and innovation. Take a look at the last three words of the last sentence….can these things happen in church????? [Read more →]
May 20, 2010 3 Comments
As you can see we have a new look at barlowthompson.net. Same content with sweet new pictures. There are 6 total that come up at random. This is our post-seminary style. Ashley and I are now finished with seminary! (come celebrate May 14th if you’re in the area) As we wrap up the last celebrations and the last of our responsibilities in Illinois we are looking forward to taking on a new life in ministry outside of school. Here are some of my thoughts about this new world…. [Read more →]
May 11, 2010 1 Comment
I have been thinking a lot lately about how to create something awesome. My new job at the fabulous Woodlawn UMC in Derby, KS has pushed me to think outside the box and “rethink church”. But leadership for creating something awesome requires incredible balance of a myriad of factors. Just after the Winter Olympics one professor likened it to speed skating. She watched the short track race and noticed that being fastest and strongest did not mean you would win the race. What really mattered was negotiating the crowded track so that you were well positioned at the moment of greatest opportunity. Often this positioning seems mysterious and out of our control, but I believe that a well thought out strategy could help us get there…. [Read more →]
May 4, 2010 1 Comment
As I inch closer to graduation from seminary (98 days left) I realize that I have only learned one thing: “Honestly, we just don’t know.” This is my answer to almost everything. Is there a God? We just don’t know. Is that God good? We just don’t know? Is there a heaven and a hell? We just don’t know? Does the meager number of people who read this blog make it worth my time? We just don’t know? (actually, we do know that last one, and the answer is: BARELY!) And the surprising thing is I absolutely LOVE that this is the answer. Because with this answer ANYthing is possible.
February 4, 2010 2 Comments
Just thinking up ideas can’t hurt anyone, even if they are bad ideas. Here is marketing guru Seth Godin’s thoughts posted on his really awesome blog.
A few people are afraid of good ideas, ideas that make a difference or contribute in some way. Good ideas bring change, that’s frightening.
But many people are petrified of bad ideas. Ideas that make us look stupid or waste time or money or create some sort of backlash.
The problem is that you can’t have good ideas unless you’re willing to generate a lot of bad ones…… [Read more →]
December 22, 2009 3 Comments
Change is hard… in fact, even though I am not supposed to use this word at youth group, change SUCKS.
In June next year, I am transitioning into a new role, new state and new life. When Adam and I graduate, we will move to Kansas and begin full-time ministry in the United Methodist Church. While I am excited to fully live into my calling to education, hospitality and social justice, I am extremely sad to be leaving the congregation and communities that I have been serving for what will be four years when I end my time in Illinois… [Read more →]
November 12, 2009 8 Comments