Critical reviews (by Lutheran pastors and church musicians) of books and other resources for Christian worship, preaching, and church music from a perspective rooted in Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions and good common sense. LHP Quarterly Book Review asks, "Is it worth the money to buy, the time to read, the shelf space to store, and the effort to teach?"
Last week, Adam Palmer sent me a series of tweets he had received from our mutual friend, Mark Riddle. Here are just a few.
*Did Jesus always pray before his staff meetings?
*I'm guessing Jesus' administrative assistant was tough to get past. I'll bet she protected him well.
*And then Jesus said, "Go into the world and cast my vision."
*Then Jesus sat down with his exec team & said "What are your measurable goals for this year?"
*Then Phillip said to the Ethiopian, "When you get back, find some big dog power brokers in your church & get them on board with your vision."
*And then Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, because if you get the kids, their parents will follow."
*Then Jesus said, "Do not worry about tomorrow, but stockpile canned goods because the world will end soon."
*When they gathered in the upper room for supper Jesus said, "This is my brand, created for you. Share it where ever you may go."
Mark Riddle is a consultant to many pastors and churches in the country, primarily in the area of youth ministry. He has heard it all, and then some. Mark thought he would have a little fun and imagine what a business meeting with Jesus and his disciples would be like. Welcome Mark, and enjoy. JD
"Come, follow me," Jesus said and his disciples did.
Some time later, eating around the campfire debating with the disciples how many lumens the moon produced, Jesus had an epiphany. This would be a remarkable way to get his message out to the world.
"You will be my executive disciple team," he said.
"Peter, I'm making you my executive pastor, and on this staff structure I will build my church. Peter, keep the vision and cast it often. Make sure the other disciple leaders align and build their ministries around it." Then, in the sand, Jesus wrote his mission, vision, and values statements. Judas took lots of notes.
Jesus looked at Matthew. "I'm making you the business administrator of my ministry. We'll be launching a building program soon for satellite campuses all around the world to maximize our impact."
"Judas, please file our 501(c)3 paperwork. We need to be compliant so that disciples who give to our ministry receive their tax deductions. We all know this is key to sacrificial giving."
"Phillip, please start a missions department. Once people begin attending our regular gatherings they can go and serve." Then he added to everyone, "Service is important, people. Make sure you give back."
"Nathaniel, I've saved the most important job for you. You'll be the youth pastor. There isn't anything more important to my ministry than youth ministry (remember what I've said about millstones?). When we gather, take the kids away from the adults so they can be noisy. We all know that they have unique needs and the ministry must be age appropriate.
"Remember this," Jesus affirmed, "the Gospel has levels of age appropriateness."
"Nathaniel, I want you to look to the current trends in youth ministry in the temple and the marketplace and adapt them. Weigh the pros and cons of attractional versus missional ministry. Look at the statistics, surveys, experts, and best practices of others to shape our youth ministry. Coordinate with Phillip on youth missions trips. Stay compliant with Matthew's policy for keeping food and drinks out of the upper room."
Jesus continued, "When it comes to the ministry's donkey, you'll find it………….. Nathaniel? Was your hat on backward when we started this conversation?"
"The name's Nate, yo!"
"I need an assistant."
"I just gave you the job. How do you need an assistant?"
"Look, you want me to hang out with the kids, that's my job. Every youth ministry expert tells me it's my job. I'm a relational guy. It's my gift! I can barely return a phone call, let alone organize a ministry. I need an assistant."
"You have a $300 smart-phone"
"It's all about relationships, Jesus!"
"Were you just saying my name, or swearing?"
Jesus turned to his executive leadership team.
"Remember, team. You are leaders. Cast vision. Go into all the world and bring them back here to our services so I can save them. Amen?"
Jesus could tell they were getting excited about the vision, so he continued. "We're here to make disciples."
Peter held up his sword and yelled, "Yes we are!"
Jesus frowned and said, "That's the wrong great commission, Pete. We'll not compel them to belief with swords for at least a few hundred years."
Dejected, Peter put his sword away, hung his head and kicked a little dirt with his sandal.
Jesus continued with his energized speech. "We'll need a worship leader. Who's up for that?"
"I am," said a voice.
"Who are you?" asked Jesus.
"I'm Bartholomew. I'm one of your disciples," said Bartholomew.
Jesus looked puzzled.
"You told me to follow you?"
Jesus, saving face said, "Sorry, I meet a lot of people, it's hard to remember everyone's name. You know how it is. Right?"
"Sure, I guess," whispered Bartholomew.
Jesus turned to the other executive team members. "Who's responsible for assimilation? I need a way to keep track of all these new faces!"
Bartholomew chimes in, "I play the electric lyre and I'm pretty good."
"Ok," Jesus concedes. "Meet with Matthew for all the appropriate personality testing to see if you are a good fit to be on the executive disciple team, then we'll have a try out to see if you can play well enough to lead."
Bartholomew looked confused.
Jesus continued, "You don't talk a lot while you lead worship do you? I have a pet peeve regarding worship leaders who chit-chat when they have a mic."
"We should coordinate our calendars," Matthew suggested, changing the subject. "We don't want all the stuff we are planning to overlap."
Jesus sat back and watched with pride as Matthew led the staff meeting with efficiency, never varying from the agenda.
Jesus ended this first staff meeting with a prayer. "Father, help us change the world. There are people out there who are hurting, wounded and in need of you. Guide our ministry so we can impact the world with your good news. I pray that people come to our service this week. That you'd be preparing their hearts, even now, to come to our new building. I pray that they would become tithing disciples who give to us so we can fulfill the ministry you have given to us. May you expand our territory so we can impact this evil culture for you."