Solomon’s Request

Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”
1 Kings 3:9 (ESV)

Solomon was wise in his request and thus God gave him a discerning mind (wisdom) to lead God’s people. And this request is also my request, not because I am wise in asking for this but rather I am realistic. I look at the congregation God has called me to lead and I am not so vain to think that God called me here because I am so wise. On the contrary, God called me here because God wants to use me to do something great for His church, and thus all glory goes to God. Yet, I am overwhelmed and scared silly at the task at hand. As I pray each week, Oh God, I am not a good speaker or preacher and thus if this task were left up to me I would surely bring it all to ruin, I also plead with God using Solomon’s request:

Oh God, give your servant an understanding mind to lead your church, that I may discern between good and evil, and what your will is; for who is able to lead your great church.

This is my prayer.
This is my request.

And may this be the prayer for all pastors and leaders in the church. May we never be so vain as to think that we are good enough or talented enough to lead in the church. The day that vain ambition takes over in a leader’s heart is the day the church heads down the road to destruction; following a leader that has lost their way. Learn and study Solomon’s request and make it your own.

Grant me a discerning mind, oh God, that I may lead your church rightly;
Grant me wisdom, oh God, that I may seek Your will;

Grant me understanding, oh God, that I may teach others rightly;
for this call is too great for me to do alone.
All glory be unto You, oh God, through Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen

The Pastor -|—


Exciting news!

“Leadership in the small church”

When I heard about the above continuing education opportunity I was intrigued.  I serve two small congregations in SW MN.  So an educational event about leadership in a small congregation sounded good to me.  But then I heard it was at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA.  At that point I lost some enthusiasm.  I mean…that’s a long ways and would be a spendy continuing education trip…something my congregation might not be able to afford (let alone me).  But the title still intrigued me so decided I checked it out…to satisfy my curiosity.  I learned that this opportunity was fully funded by a Lilly Grant (travel, lodging, pulpit supply…everything).  Now my interest was peeked again.  Then I learned that only 25 pastors (and spouses) are selected from across the country.  There was a lengthy application process for me, my spouse and congregation to fill out.  There would be homework before, during and after, but it would be something that would enhance my ministry, offer support for my wife and encourage my congregation.  It seemed like a long shot but we decided to go for it.

And oh by the way…my bishop is the one who put me on to this and encouraged me to go for it.

So I gathered a team from Salem to fill out the church’s part of the application.  I gave Connie her information and I went to work on mine.  We were all very excited but still reserved.  After all…only 25 couples get selected, but what did we have to lose.

I got my stuff turned in by the deadline (Dec. 15, 2009) and we began waiting…and praying.  We would know by sometime in early February.

Well…today is February 1.  The phone rings and on the other end is a woman from Virginia Theological Seminary.  I knew right then and there they probably weren’t calling me to say I did not make it…and I was right.

My wife and I are going to Virginia for the Summer Collegium at Virginia Theological Seminary (check out the link for more information); June 23 – July 1 of this year.  Out of 175 applicants we were one of 25 elected.  PRAISE BE TO GOD!  My wife and I are humbled to be chosen and excited for the opportunity; excited for us and for our congregation.  Now the real work begins.  A packet of information will be coming my way shortly and I am sure you will be hearing much more about this throughout the year.

For right now…Connie and I are super excited and praising God for this opportunity.  I can hardly wait to see what God is going to do with us (and our congregation) through this event.

Praise be to God!

To be continued…



A friend of mine sent me the following text message last night:  “Define Leadership”.

I thought about that for a second and send back the following reply: “In a text message?”

It wasn’t too much later when my friend replied with: “and in as few words as possible.”

I could see a glint in his eye and I knew there was something going on.  Well…I mentioned to my wife what my friend texted me and she said (with a sly look on her face):  “JESUS!”  Not a bad answer so I send that text to my friend.  Of course he accused me of playing the “Jesus card”, but also admitted it was a good answer.

I eventually called him and we chatted about this for a while…not coming up with an answer but decided to get together with some other guys and discuss this.

So I throw this out to you:  Define Leadership

I am curious what you think.  Try to keep your responses relatively short (long “books” are hard to respond too).  In this day and age, strong leadership is important.

Let’s see if we can write a good definition together.


Here I come

I got elected to the SW MN synod council.

This past weekend the SW MN Synod (ELCA) held it’s annual synod assembly.  This year we were at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN.  I was nominated for synod council a couple months ago but didn’t give it a whole lot of thought then.  Now that I got elected to a 3 year term I am beginning to wonder what I got myself into.  Initially it means a few more meetings a year and maybe some more responsibilities at next year’s synod assembly.  There will probably be some additional committee meetings and other work.  Beyond that I am not entirely sure what will happen.

But I am looking forward to this opportunity and honor:
I am looking forward to learning more about the Church.
I am looking forward to playing a more integral part of advancing Christ’s mission with the broader Church.
I am looking forward to growing in greater appreciation of what our synod leadership does (and “no” I am not just saying that because my bishop may be reading this.  Actually he has a RSS feed of my blog…now that is scary).
I am looking forward to getting to know some more of my colleagues.
I am looking forward to getting to know and working with the synod’s new Director of Evangelical Mission.
I am looking forward to growing as a leader.
I am looking forward to something new.

I may be jumping into uncharted territory but whatever happens I don’t go it alone…God goes with me and God will equip me with everything I need to carry out my duties and responsibilities.  As I said during my installation today when asked by the bishop if I will carry out my duties faithfully… “I will and I ask God to HELP and GUIDE me“.  God WILL help and guide me…that I know.

So there you have it…I came…I got elected…and I am installed as a synod council member…

…so watch out SW MN…here I come 🙂