Brett.Ullman

Category - church

Research: Loneliness in the Church

For my research in Loneliness I am posting 1 area in which we experience loneliness per week and see how people feel in each area.

So far we have talked about:

  1. Loneliness in leadership
  2. Loneliness in mental health
  3. Loneliness in the workplace

This week we are looking at Loneliness in the Church. I have had many people message me already that they feel lonely in the Church world today. I have heard people talk about the disconnect between what the Church messages & songs content, and the disconnect with the modern church set up with stadium seating, 2 minute greeting time within the services, etc.

Love to hear any thoughts, quotes, books etc. You can post in the comments on all social media, this blog or send me an email/PM.

Thanks

Scissors + Glue || Church

Scissors + Glue is a documentary series exploring the narrative of millennial faith. Our second film focuses on Millennials’ experience in the Church, with the goal of creating dialogue about following Jesus.

“What Millennials need is dialogue… “

Love to hear peoples thoughts on this.

Being silenced on sex isn’t the end of Christianity

Really like this. So many things the Church can engage in.

Is the conservative arm of the church so focused on sexuality and marriage that being told to shut up about it is seen as tantamount to a complete public gag order?

In asking this I’m not defending the public vitriol heaped on bakers and brewers. But I don’t think being silenced on sex can be equated with the death of Christianity.

Feel free, outraged ministers and bloggers, to speak up about immigration policy, climate change, and gun control.

Feel free to enter the public square and champion the rights of disadvantaged first nations.

Please, don’t hold back on the corrosive effects of our nations’ addictions to gambling and alcohol and junk food.

Fulfill your mandate, please, to steward creation by opposing rampant strip mining, destructive pipelines, and corporate greed.

Feel free to speak out against bulging military spending, arms races and world leaders’ compulsion for conflict.

Sure, you’ll get plenty of debate, and there will be those who’ll tell you to keep quiet. These aren’t easy matters to address, nor popular campaigns to engage in. But surely, the church should have as much to say about justice, reconciliation, ecology and peacemaking as it does about marriage and sexuality.

Click here for the entire article.

Serving Parents Who Do Not Go To Your Church

This is a really good article for anyone who works with students in the church world. I have often said that a Jr/Sr High Pastors job needs to be educating and empowering parents as well. As a parent myself I had to take a second and try and figure out if I am one of the parenting styles he mentions:

  • Helicopter Parents– they hover too close to the kids at all times.
  • Karaoke Parents– they try too hard to be cool, often parroting back what their kids do, say, and wear.
  • Dry-Cleaner Parents– drop their kids off for others to raise.
  • Volcano Parents– erupt over minor issues. (If you’ve never witnessed this just spend more time at Wal-Mart.  You’re bound to encounter these parents.)
  • Dropout Parents– these parents have just quit on their kids.
  • Bullied Parents– can’t stand up to their kids.
  • Groupie Parents– treat their kids like rock stars.
  • Commando Parents – let rules trump relationships.

There are some good practical ways to engage the parents of the students you work with.

Click here for the entire article.

Alberta Tour!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years. If you live in Alberta I will be out your way for an entire week in Jan. Below are the speaking dates, locations, times and which talks I will be doing. Love to have you out.

Date: Saturday Jan 14th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Falconridge Family Church(155 Falconridge Cres. N.E. Calgary, AB)
Equipping Conference (http://equipping.ca)
Afternoon Session: 3-4pm (Walking Wounded)
Evening Parents night – 7pm (Parents 101)
This evening talk is not part of the Equipping Conference and all Parents are welcome.

Date: Sunday Jan 15th (World Vision Sponsored service)
Location: Falconridge Family Church(155 Falconridge Cres. N.E. Calgary, AB)
Sunday Service – 10am (media.faith.culture talk for parents and students)

Date: Monday Jan 16th
Location – St Joseph School (3804 47 St, Whitecourt, AB)
1:40 pm Walking Wounded talk
Location: Whitecourt Baptist Church (6240 47 ST, Whitecourt, AB)
7pm Walking Wounded talk

Date: Tuesday Jan 17th
Location: Mill Woods Assembly (2225 66 St NW, Edmonton)
6:30 media.faith.culture (students and parents)

Date: Wednesday Jan 18th
Location: Mill Woods Assembly (2225 66 St NW, Edmonton)
Men’s Wing Night
7PM The Man Talk (to register)

Date: Thursday Jan 19th
Location: Bethel Church (5410  53 Ave. Barrhead, AB)
7pm The Man Talk

Date: Friday Jan 20th 
Location: McKenzie Towne Church (7 Mckenzie Towne Gate SE)
7pm The Porn Project (Parents, leaders)

Date: Sat. Jan 21st 
LocationRichmond Hill Baptist Church (7251 Sierra Morena Blvd. SW)
CYW Fuel: Calgary
Walking Wounded & The Porn Project

If you are around please come out to these events. For both the Equipping Conference and the CYW Fuel Conference you will need to get tickets. If you have any questions please just send me an email or a message.

Shut Down the Bus Tours: What Older Church Members Should Really Be Doing

An article that everyone needs to read. Powerful thoughts on getting older in the church. I have been saying for years that you might retire from a job but there is no retirement from Christian Faith. Check out what Carey has to say:

If I have to spend the next 30 years taking bus trips, I want the first bus trip to be straight to heaven. There’s a much better way for 50+ adults to spend their time, influence and energy.

The bottom line is this: A spirit of sacrifice is far more compelling than a spirit of entitlement. What am I entitled to as a person over 50? Nothing. But I’ve been blessed with much. It’s time to deploy what I’ve been given.

Click here for the entire article.

Why Most Churches Greet You Like It’s 1999: Carey Nieuwhof

Such a great blog with such a simple fix. Please take a few minutes to check it out!

When you welcome people to your church, do you still behave like it’s 1999?

See…you and I have moved from a world in which we had the ability to encourage people once or twice a week, to a world in which we can connect daily.

This isn’t just a promotional thing (don’t miss our big cheesy dinner Tuesday night!), it’s a discipleship thing.

Seriously, you can gain permission to speak into people’s spiritual journey regularly.

Publish helpful, useful content, and people will sign up to follow you. Don’t, and of course, they’ll unfollow you. The online world gives you instant feedback on whether you’re helping people or not. Just check your stats.

Click Here to read the entire blog.

The Unexpected Gift of Burnout

Some great thoughts here. I am seeing burnout everywhere I travel.

I prefer saying in burnout—present tense. It is a season in the valley of shadows, but the journey is far from ending. There is no defeat here, only a period of spiritual exile, where the exhaustion runs more deeply than simply being tired. Hope lies on the horizon.

Burnout is an overwhelming and all-encompassing exhaustion due to prolonged stress. It is pervasive, affecting the physical, mental, emotional and social aspects of a person. In its wake lies depression, low energy, lack of immune system defenses, emotional numbness, and a sense of spiritual discouragement or defeat. The deep cynicism, the lack of desire to be around anyone, the brooding frustration and anger—this wasn’t what I signed up for when I got into youth ministry.

Click here for the entire article.

 

When disaster relief brings anything but relief

I remember talking to a Director of a Charity that works with the homeless in Toronto a few years ago. He told me how frustrating it is when local churches, schools and other groups just hop on a bus, head downtown and start handing out sleeping bags, food and toiletries (toothbrushes, deodorant etc) to people on the streets of Toronto. He told me that there are some days when people come into their shelter to get meals or to sleep in the evening and everyone seems to be carrying 2-3 sleeping bags, multiple bagged lunches and a backpack of toothbrushes etc. He said he wished local churches would actually call up local shelters and ask them what they really needed. I have never forgot that statement. His point was these organizations are already on the ground in these areas and they know better what things the people they are serving year round actually need.

Thinking of the Fort McMurray fire last week I was talking to a pastor and he said his church was doing a clothing drive for the people of Fort McMurray. I asked if that is what relief organizations, or the Mayor of Fort Mac or even the people who are displaced are asking for? He paused and said “I have no idea.”

I think that there needs to be some intentionality behind the desire to help. I am not saying we don’t help. Just saying we need to think a little before we assume what other people might need.

This article is a decent conversation on this topic. Love to hear your thoughts.

Click here for the entire article.

Open letter to Praise and Worship musicians

Open letter to Praise and Worship musicians.

A Challenge on language.

Side Note: There are so many articles (worship wars etc) that I see on a weekly basis. I am hoping that this is a simple issue of language. This letter is not open season on worship leaders. I hope it is a simple challenge with a simple solution.

My Background: I have been a speaker for the past 18 years (10 years full-time) I have travelled across Canada and the US to over 2000 churches, camps and conferences. I have had a chance to see hundreds of musical worship artists and bands over these years.

The Deconstruction:

In almost all of the services I attend the musical worship time starts the same.

“Please stand and worship.”
“Let us all stand and worship.”
“Are you ready to worship God today?”

I was in a church the other week and the congregation was asked to stand. 5 rows in front of me was a 70+ older gentleman. After being asked to stand I watched him shuffle forward and sit on the end of his seat. He then took a few really deep breaths and he then began to slowly stand. I could see the strain it took him just to get his body to stand. Once standing he leaned over a little and held onto the chair in front of him with both hands.

Watching this man made me think about my own journey. In this moment I wondered if the language we use needs to change.  Personally with my own struggles with an anxiety disorder standing in one place is one of the worst things for me. When I am asked to stand I know I have 2 choices:

  • I stand and then I hold onto the chair in front of me while my anxiety rises and I begin to feel dizzy. My goal becomes to survive standing and the idea of participating in the musical worship is far from me.
  • I stay seated. I often do this but I then feel bad. The instruction was to stand and I am not doing that, not out of rebellion but out of necessity. The people around me often give me weird looks not knowing my journey.

I think there are numerous people in our Christian church world who might struggle standing:

  • Elderly
  • People with injuries
  • People with physical illness and chronic pain
  • Parents of small children not sleeping through the night.
  • People exhausted from struggles sleeping
  • People struggling with Anxiety Disorders. Statistics say this would be 40% or more of your congregation of all age levels.
  • probably others I am missing from this list as well

Is the assumption people can only worship God standing?

“A Leader is someone who looks at the world and says it does not have to be this way … and does something about it.” Muskoka Woods Leadership Studio

So I simple say maybe it does not have to be this way….

The Reconstruction:

If we are going to deconstruct a structure we must look at what we might construct to offer an alternative to that structure.

I would love to hear language more inclusive for all people. Something like:

Welcome, I want you all to feel free to worship God however you want to worship God during the songs we play. Feel free to

  • Stand
  • Sit
  • Kneel
  • Come to the front or stay in your seats
  • Raise your hands or keep them on your lap
  • Close your eyes or keep them open
  • Sing or just think and pray through the lyrics
  • Read the lyrics and know what you are singing. Some of today of praise and worship songs have powerful lyrics of allegiance and alliance to the kingdom of God.

This is your time to worship God however you might worship God.  It’s not a choral sing. A musical worship leader is to create an environment where we can corporately / individually worship God. If the language of “everyone stand” hinders someone then it can easily be corrected by adding a few sentences.

I think that sometimes we forget to lead in this aspect and we are just singing songs and asking people to join us.  I would challenge all of you to free people and empower people in musical worship.

Thoughts on this?