3 Reasons I Am Not Worried About Millennials

The North American church is worried about its young people. As congregations age and membership declines, many churches are anxiously trying to reach those classified as un-churched, de-churched, or nones (‘no religious affiliation’). It seems every couple days, my social media outlets become filled with ‘5 more reasons millennials are leaving the church’ or ‘6…

Leaders must be lovers

Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that ‘We all possess knowledge.’ But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God. (1 Cor 8:1-3) In a recent consistory meeting (the governing body…

The Cost of Resolutions

Each new year opens with a certain freshness. So many possibilities, so many hopes, so many dreams. The old has passed away and – behold! – the new has come. The changing of years causes many of us to reflect on the past and make renewed commitments for the coming year. These resolutions include a…

No Headphones in Heaven

The invention of headphones has fundamentally changed our relationship to music. For the first time in history, listening to music is not a public activity, but a private one. Dozens of people can sit in the same room and each experience music according to their personal preferences. Metal, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Country all happening simultaneously…

Forgive and Forget

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” (Mt. 18:21-22) Forgive and Forget Forgiveness can be difficult in the best of circumstances. Even…

7 Practices for the First Year of Ministry

We did it. One year down, fifty-four to go (Lord willing). Our first pastor-versary – celebrating one year in pastoral ministry – has come and gone. We celebrated by posting on Facebook, attending a block party, and playing fairly poorly at softball. In the aftermath of the blur of our first year, I have tried…

How Can I Forgive Them?

Forgiveness is hard. It doesn’t seem fair. It goes against what the world wants us to do. But forgiveness is what God calls us to. Jesus once told this parable: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong…

Why So Much Anger?: #YesAllWomen and Psalm 137

In response to the recent shootings in Santa Barbara, the hashtag #YesAllWomen has swarmed social media sites. Millions of tweets have begun or ended with #YesAllWomen – signaling their intended support of the movement. Originally, I noticed a few friends of ours using the hashtag on twitter to share stories and statements supporting women and…

We Are All Hobbits

Summer time is reading time in the Shaffer household. For most of the last decade, the majority of my reading has taken place in school, between September and May. Now that I have graduated and moved into a full-time pastoral call, my schedule has shifted. I now read most between May and September. When the…

Deny Yourself and Compromise

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Mt 16:24) Growing up in the church, Jesus’ call to deny yourself was a deeply personal challenge. I was being called to put aside my own interests, my own ego, and my own desires in favor of…