The Liturgy Nerd

Author's details

Name: The Liturgy Nerd
Date registered: July 7, 2012
URL: http://www.blogger.com/profile/18062927125161896061

Latest posts

  1. The Liturgy Nerd: The Big Change — March 10, 2013
  2. The Liturgy Nerd: #40days Week 4 — March 9, 2013
  3. The Liturgy Nerd: Give Up Running Away for Lent — March 9, 2013
  4. The Liturgy Nerd: "You Lost Me, LIVE" Reflections — March 8, 2013
  5. The Liturgy Nerd: Give Up the Enemies Within for Lent — March 2, 2013

Most commented posts

  1. The Liturgy Nerd: What makes ‘us’ different? A ChickFilA Response — 4 comments
  2. The Liturgy Nerd: The Insiders — 2 comments
  3. The Liturgy Nerd: A Liturgy for Peace — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Mar 10 2013

The Liturgy Nerd: The Big Change

Original post at http://www.liturgynerd.com/2013/03/the-big-change.html


A few months back I began the candidacy process in the UMC to pursue ordination as an elder.  Since that time that decision as been reaffirmed through conversation, prayer and a multitude of experiences in discernment.

Through it all, I knew I was in this process for the long haul, knowing that the UMC takes a fairly deliberate course in determining who's right and then equipping those folks for ministry.

Here's one thing I know: I'm called to new church start ministries in the UMC.  I'm called to reach out to the millenial generation, a generation that's largely been mishandled by the church - a generation that I'm a member of.

In discerning that call as a family, I've reached out and made it know that that's what I feel called to do with my life in ministry.  And through that reaching out, a new opportunity in ministry has come.

Beginning April 1st, I will begin serving as Associate Pastor of Young Adults and Communications at First United Methodist Church of Arlington, TX.  I'll be working with the pastoral staff and laity to reach out to the local community to pull in the young families and college students that are on the fringes.  I've also been blessed with the responsibility to preach and lead their contemporary worship service, a responsibility that will be phased in over the first few months in Arlington and that will step up after I attend licensing school this summer.

Oh yeah, and I hope to start seminary again this fall as I begin studies towards an MDiv.  It's all happening at once!

It's an awful big change for my family.  As I broke the news to my chancel choir family on Wednesday night it hit me that I've had Wednesday night choir practice for the last 12 years or so, the last 8 years as a director.  It's sinking in that the music ministry portion of my worship ministry is going on the back-burner for a little while as I continue to feel out God's will for my life.

I've had such a blessed time as a worship leader, for the last two years at FUMC Duncanville on the edge of Dallas.  This faith family and I have been threw a whole lot together and we have blessed one another.  It's bittersweet no doubt - there's still work to be done with my faith family in Duncanville.  I thank God for the many lessons I've learned here, lessons I will be carrying on as my family and I move on in God's ministry.

But I'm excited ... I'll finally have the time to get out in the local community and see what I'm made of in that context.  It's a new season for my family, and we're stepping out in faith together for a new adventure with the Lord.  We'll be needing your prayers!


Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2013/03/the-big-change/

Mar 09 2013

The Liturgy Nerd: #40days Week 4

Original post at http://www.liturgynerd.com/2013/03/40days-week-4.html


This Lent I've taken on the United Methodist Rethink Church 40 Day Photo Challenge.  During the season of Lent, as a spiritual discipline, I (and many, many others) are taking photos to represent different words that are common themes in the season of Lent.

Again there are some common themes this week - fatherhood and worship.

I'm including the photos, and the tweet I posted each with.  Feel free to follow me on twitter @jarrodjohnston, and follow the #tag #40days to see what other UMCers are up to as they rethink church and the season of Lent!

Day 18 (leave) - #40days hard to #leave for work when all this fun is happening


Day 19 (thirst) - #40days my #thirst was quenched here this morning #rethinkchurch


Day 20 (bless) - #40days You #bless me with music, Lord. #rethinkchurch


Day 21 (night) - #40days a good #night present from Wes... Chips! #rethinkchurch #generosity


Day 22 (shadow) - #40days she sits in the #shadow of the table lot waiting for crumbs. #rethinkchurch #parables


Day 23 (no) - #40days He understands the word #no already, just doesn't care. #rethinkchurch


Day 24 (find) - #40days we #find time for date nights, but not often enough. #rethinkchurch


Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2013/03/40days-week-4/

Mar 09 2013

The Liturgy Nerd: Give Up Running Away for Lent

Original post at http://www.liturgynerd.com/2013/03/give-up-running-away-for-lent.html


This season of Lent, my congregation is taking on the study Give Up Something Bad for Lent by James W. Moore.  The focus of this Lenten study is very practical.  Rather than giving up stuff that you like (chocolate, cokes and the like), why not give up something that's actually causing a problem for you?  Why not give up something that's actually coming between you and the relationship God really wants to have with you?

This week our in our scripture lesson we take a look at the feeding of the 5,000.  At the beginning of this story, Jesus is attempting to retreat to rest and pray.  But the people in need follow him and what could have been a problem turned into an opportunity to minister to hungry people.  Christ could have kept going, but instead he stayed and showed us that in not running away from a problem a real opportunity for good presented itself.

In that spirit, let us pray these words from Reverend Moore:
Dear God, thank you for giving us the wisdom and courage to face our problems and not run away from them. Help us to deal with problems productively and to help others do the same.  Remind us that you are always just a prayer away and eager to advise us on how to solve our problems.  Amen.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2013/03/give-up-running-away-for-lent/

Mar 08 2013

The Liturgy Nerd: "You Lost Me, LIVE" Reflections

Original post at http://www.liturgynerd.com/2013/03/you-lost-me-live-reflections.html


Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to go to a free one-day conference facilitated by the Barna Group, and David Kinnaman, author of unChristian and now You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving the Church and Rethinking Faith.  It was a day-long conversation that really gets to the heart of where my ministry call is going - how do we reach the un-churched/de-churched millenial generation that I'm a member of?

Honestly, it was a day full of more questions than answers, but that's OK - the conference was indeed free, and I ended up buying the books.  The predicament regarding the church and the younger generations isn't new ... But I'm interested in the words and strategies.  For all of my real life experience, I've never truly fallen away from the church in my lifetime, so I do feel that God is calling me into difficult waters when it comes to relating to those of my generation who have fallen away from the church, or even those who have never had a real chance to experience what Christ can do for you in your life.  Mostly the workshop was about asking questions, and I feel good about that.

There was a point, however, when the conference brought the real in.

A Christ-promoter by the name of Jim Henderson put an ad on Craig's List calling for young adults (19-29) to join him in a chat on religion - why they do or don't go to church and where they stand on various faith issues.  Knowing that just offering an invitation wouldn't work, he offered to pay each attendee $50 to come help him with is research.

Two of the young adults who went to that meeting came forward to share their testimonies on why they no longer attend the Christian church.  Mr. Henderson led them through their stories with tremendous grace and without judgement.

The first to share, Lauren (24) served as an organist at an African American church until a few months ago.  She had faithfully served her church community for several years as their part time accompanist, and for reasons unknown to her she went unpaid for several months.  She pursued conversations with her pastor, who avoided her and she continued to work without pay.  After several months of frustration and faithful service, she took to a little ranting on Twitter.  Her pastor got wind of her behavior, and rather than bring her in and fire her, when the church bus drove by her house to pick her up on Sunday morning she was simply told that she wasn't being picked up that day.  Just like that, she was excommunicated.

I didn't even realize that could happen any more.  Without a formal word, a creative and faithful (though clearly not without flaw) young adult was excommunicated from the faith community she called home.  And why?  She embarrassed her pastor.  When Mr. Henderson asked her where she stood in her faith at the moment, she said she still considered herself Christian, but she was done with the church for the time being.  In her opinion, she was tired of church leaders that were more into their own names than the one name that truly matters.  There were many murmurs of dissent with she she shared those remarks.  I heard an older gentleman mutter rather loudly, "Well, that's just an opinion!"

It's an opinion that really matters - because it's COMMON.

The second interview was with Abby, a former Christian.  She grew up in an extremely conservative household, but twin brother baptist grandfathers, if you can imagine that.  She spent some time in the military oversees and had a strong heart for Christ - her intent was even to jump into Military Chaplaincy.  But she quickly became disillusioned with a faith that didn't seem active enough and Christians that seemed to only talk a lot of talk.  She fell away from the church.  She ended up waitressing at a hookah bar of all things, and ended up being ministered to by an Islamic Lebanese family that could see she was searching for something.  She ended up turning to Islam - and get this - because of the rigorous requirements on those who join the faith.  In this Islamic community it's constant worship, constant prayer, constant charity, constant community, and constant family.  She's a history nut with an affinity for languages so she's been able to study the Qu'ran in it's root language and she's been renewed by her faith in Allah.

Now you can sit here and say, "Well, now she's going to hell for joining Islam.  Bummer."  That's an issue that we don't really have time to explore here ... But what the Christian community needs to accept here is that's our fault in both cases of these brave women. We failed these young adults by not embracing their creativity and desire for a faith in action.

And they're just two examples in a sea of thousands upon thousands of young adults that are on the bubble of leaving the church or have left already.

But, there is hope.  In a couple of days I'll share a few of the strategies shared with us to renew our commitment to young adults and young families in the church. But in the meantime, what do you think of the two testimonies shared here?  What is your church doing to meet the ever changing needs of the young adults in your midst?

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2013/03/you-lost-me-live-reflections/

Mar 02 2013

The Liturgy Nerd: Give Up the Enemies Within for Lent

Original post at http://www.liturgynerd.com/2013/03/give-up-enemies-within-for-lent.html


This season of Lent, my congregation is taking on the study Give Up Something Bad for Lent by James W. Moore.  The focus of this Lenten study is very practical.  Rather than giving up stuff that you like (chocolate, cokes and the like), why not give up something that's actually causing a problem for you?  Why not give up something that's actually coming between you and the relationship God really wants to have with you?

Our passage for Sunday worship this week comes from Luke, chapter 11, verses 37 through 52.  In this passage, Jesus confronts Pharisees who only seem concerned with outward appearances - not on the inward change that comes with being a follower of Yahweh.  In that spirit, with a longing for a complete life turn-around, let us pray these words by Rev. Moore:
Dear God, thank you for opening our eyes to the enemies around us, especially the enemies within.  Help us to look inside ourselves and replace our enemies with love, hope, and faith.  Show us the way to make this Lent a beginning of positive change in our lives and the lives of others.  Amen.


Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2013/03/give-up-the-enemies-within-for-lent/

Mar 01 2013

The Liturgy Nerd: #40days Week 3

Original post at http://www.liturgynerd.com/2013/03/40days-week-3.html



This Lent I've taken on the United Methodist Rethink Church 40 Day Photo Challenge.  During the season of Lent, as a spiritual discipline, I (and many, many others) are taking photos to represent different words that are common themes in the season of Lent.

This week has been more difficult than the last two .. Perhaps this is just do to "earthly" concerns encroaching on a holy time.  But this is why we call them spiritual disciplines.  During the season of Lent, we are called to give sacrificially of our time and spend it drawing closer to the Lord.  I am more than grateful for the opportunity given by Rethink Church to let different words spin around in my head during the day, helping me to understand how I see the world and what's important to me.  Certain themes are have become more forward in the pictures I've been taking, and they aren't surprising: parenthood and my faith.

I'm including the photos, and the tweet I posted each with.  Feel free to follow me on twitter @jarrodjohnston, and follow the #tag #40days to see what other UMCers are up to as they rethink church and the season of Lent!

Day 11 (live) - #40days Day 11 - well, if these 2 can #live in peace... #rethinkchurch


Day 12 (vision) - Catching up... #40days Day 12 - My personal #vision has always started here w this hymn. #rethinkchurch #lent


Day 13 (cover) - Catching up #40days day 13 - Here's my #cover. #rethinkchurch


Day 14 (lift) - #40days Day 14 - here's my daily #lift. You're welcome, @umrethinkchurch #lent #rethinkchurch


Day 15 (hear) - #40days Day 15 - I love what I get to #hear every week in this room. #rethinkchurch


Day 16 (earthly) - #40days Day 16 - #earthly #parenthood #rethinkchurch


Day 17 (prophet) - #40days Day 17 - Micah 6:8 #prophet #dogood #donoharm #rethinkchurch


Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2013/03/40days-week-3/

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