See Jen's Blog

22
Mar

basic training

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

A few years ago I wrote a proposal for an online initiative that would provide customizable resources for churches wanting to develop their pastors, worship leaders, campus ministers, church planters, elders, and key volunteers. I suggested an online portal with everything from 101 to seminary-level books, articles, podcasts, and videos, as well as suggested “tracks” with curated lists of resources for specific groups. I referred to research from the Barna Group and Ed Stetzer as well as insights from the leaders of Orchard Group, Stadia, …

15
Mar

the prodigal’s brother

A minister friend of mine recently invited me to contribute to his church’s Lenten devotional, and I was assigned Luke 15:11-32 — the story of the prodigal son. Here’s what I wrote.


This story is probably Jesus’ most well-known parable.
In fact, it is so central to the Christian faith that it has been celebrated in film, literature, visual art, music, and dance throughout the centuries. Something deep in our souls stirs at the idea God could love us as unconditionally and unreservedly as the father in the story loves his prodigal son.

Yet …

7
Mar

disagreeing with “the Benedict option”

When I spoke at ICOM about biblical interpretation and how that should influence our role in the culture wars (thank you, Jim Tune, for giving me such an easy assignment!), I said this:

“We love the Bible. Do we believe what it says? Because if we do, we don’t need to be afraid. And we don’t need to be jerks with people who don’t believe it. What we need to do is live and love and work and embody the gospel among them for a long time, for a …

21
Feb

a next chapter

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

Several years ago I wrote a series of case studies for Kairos Legacy Partners that described their work with dying and declining churches across the country. Kairos works with these churches to evaluate their impact, their finances, and overall health and determine whether it makes sense for them to stay open as a congregation. If the decision is no, Kairos also works with those churches to help them “recycle” their facilities and financial resources in ways that can fund another ministry.

I’m a fan of Kairos …

14
Feb

14 things about Matt


1. Sometimes, in certain small circles, I get more attention because of my writing or some of the other work I do. Matt is very talented himself, but he never resents being “Jen’s husband.” He encourages me in every opportunity that comes and he makes a point of telling me he’s proud of me.

2. With a BA and two master’s degrees, Matt can hold his own talking to just about anyone. He has well-formed opinions on theology, politics, history, and social issues and can discuss them intelligently. Yet he is at …

7
Feb

my life in texts, part 10

Hi from Atlanta.
Hi from Denver.
Hi from Chicago.
Hi from Atlanta. Again.

Where the %#$@ do you hide the butter?

I can’t do a phone conference in the subway.

Part of my job is coordinating 14 people, none of whom speak English.

Please turn off the hot tub jets.

If you don’t take out the recycling I will punch you in the facehole.

Do u have 19 cents?

I can make you hot chocolate as bribery.

There is not an abundance of competence in this store.

Nina – turn off the hot tub!

It’s like there’s a demon on …

2
Feb

This can be the best time for the church – in spite of Trump

I am more fearful for the American church during Trump’s presidency than I ever was during Obama’s.

The American church panicked as Obama legalized gay marriage, which many evangelicals saw as a direct violation of the Christian scriptures and their own religious beliefs. Many Christians also took issue with Obama’s approach to health care, foreign policy, the environment, and federal spending.

Many Christians railed against these policies, maligned Obama, and feared for the future of the nation. However, many of them also grappled more deeply with their understanding of biblical sexuality, prayed more strongly for our …

31
Jan

strategic solutions for significant stages

Writers of short think pieces like this one love to quote statistics about the hundreds or even thousands of pastors who are leaving the ministry each month. However, as Ed Stetzer pointed out on his blog last October, those provocative numbers have yet to be backed up with any solid data or reliable sources.

In fact, actual recent surveys, like the September 2015 study conducted by LifeWay Research, show that while the demands of pastoring a church can frequently feel “overwhelming” to more than 50 …

24
Jan

ten ways to celebrate next year’s “National Day of Patriotic Devotion”

Declare yourself at war with your local news station.

Talk to a lot of white men. Repeatedly blame one of your professional failures on “the illegals.”

Sit outside in the rain blessings from God.

Have a party for ten people. The next day, tell everyone there were at least fifty folks there.

Add razor wire to the fence around your back yard.

Act like you make 1/1000th of what you actually make. Call people in your actual income bracket “elitist.”

Insult and interrupt everyone you know. Later, criticize them for not liking you.

Celebrate the complete eradication of ISIS from the face of the earth.

Buy American. Realize that leaves very little to …

17
Jan

Proverbs 31, updated

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than mutual funds.

Her husband has full confidence in her
and has no idea how they would manage if she didn’t work.

She brings him good, and brings in the groceries,
all the days of her life.

She selects only the best box mixes
and frosts the cookies for the school bake sale by HAND.

She gets up while it is still night
and puts a chicken into the crockpot
and kibble in the dog bowl.

She considers a URL and buys it;
out of her earnings she starts …