Sharing Fellowship perspectives

Observing Lent

by Blake McKinney

 Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lee’s Summit, Mo.

I must confess that I’m pretty new to the practice of observing the season of Lent. My primary recollection of Lent from my childhood and teenage years is that it was the time of year that I was most thankful not to be Catholic. I would see my Catholic friends giving up chocolate for six weeks and having to eat fish every Friday, and I would feel sorry for them. When anyone asked me what I was giving up for Lent, I would give a snarky reply like “homework” or “Brussels sprouts.” read more…

Hard Conversations at ChurchWorks

By Josh Speight

Hard conversations are difficult, to be sure.  In the context of the congregation, they can be almost debilitating.  However, as ministers, we are called to share in conversations, even when the only thing we agree on is that we disagree. In the church, how do we lead when disagreement arises? How do we work together, despite our disagreements, to do the work of the Gospel of Christ? Where do we give space for God in hard conversations?

2016 will be a challenging year for most of us politically, socially, and theologically.  Ministers will be asked to preach, teach, and lead as our communities continue to understand our world. read more…

Reconciliation by Adjustment

By Nancy Thompson

As a bankruptcy attorney, I’m often struck by the similarities between concepts important to my faith and my legal work. How these concepts work in “real life” even helps explain their meaning to Christians.  For example, understanding exactly how Christ’s birth, life and death redeemed us can be hard to grasp until you see redemption being used in bankruptcy. Debtors can pay a price for property they value so it won’t be lost to them, just as Christ paid a price to keep us from being lost.

Likewise, God’s command to the Israelites that they observe a year of Jubilee so that debts could be forgiven and property rights restored brings to mind the “fresh start” concept that’s key to federal bankruptcy law. In fact, the purpose of bankruptcy — to allow for the forgiveness of debt– is a great illustration of grace.  I frequently tell clients that, as a big proponent of grace, being a bankruptcy lawyer is a great way for me to help debtors obtain the grace I think they should be given.      read more…

Resolutions for Renewal

by Brian Ford

Dr. Brian Ford is pastor of Little Bonne Femme Baptist Church in Columbia, MO

Dr. Brian Ford is pastor of Little Bonne Femme Baptist Church in Columbia, MO

Well, it’s that time of year again folks. Time for some of us to make well intentioned “New Year’s Resolutions” and the like. Perhaps we gained a few pounds or spent too little time with family last year, and want to make a new start and renew our efforts to eat right, exercise more, and prioritize family time. These personal efforts of maximizing what is important in our individual lives are good no doubt, but what about making a new start and renewing our efforts to improve our communities and the lives of our neighbors?

After consuming the 24 hour news media these past twelve months, I’ve sensed a strong narrative of fear and suspicion being proclaimed that warns us to take care of ourselves & those we love most, and keep everyone else at arm’s length, even an ocean’s length away. With all the mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and other horrible events across the nation and world, I can see why this fear narrative is popular & sells TV time, radio time, and print space. I hear the fear echoed in conversations with fellow church members, with subdivision neighbors, and in the grocery store aisles to name a few. “The world is a scary place these days…you can’t trust anybody,” is a phrase I hear often in casual conversation. read more…