a list for friday—overheard at the nacc

“Do you work at this booth or are you just standing here?”

“I’d like someone to do that arrangement of hymns at my funeral.”

“Why is there an exhibitor selling candied pecans?”

“Those Westboro folks really need to get a hobby.”

“I figure if I preach so women and children can understand it, then anyone can understand it.”

“There are 7,000 people at this convention and 5,000 of them are in line at Graeter’s.”

“That’s a LOT of letters in the front of the program book.”

“Wanna go to the workshop on global poverty or should we get a snack?”

“Who were …


how to spice up your church newsletter

Between the new project I’m doing for Standard, my regular Buzz column, managing Christian Church Today, and compiling weekly news about the NACC and its speakers, I read a LOT of church newsletters.

They typically include the same things—a note from the senior pastor promoting the new sermon series, announcements of baby dedication day or a youth group fundraiser, small group sign-up info, a link to the church’s Facebook page, an ad for some program created by Dave Ramsey, a quote from some book written by Max Lucado.

Predictable. A bit …


new to you friday–I have a theme

Well, Dudley went another (excellent) direction for the 2011 NACC, but I still like my theme.

This past year I worked through a few issues in therapy (best money I’ve ever spent), began editing a new magazine for young girls (more on this soon), made some new friends, tried ziplining, quit a few freelance jobs and picked up a few more, traveled to Chicago by myself, and even played on a kickball team (well, I got on base a few times). It’s been a great year, mostly because I tried some kind-of-scary things.

This Halloween weekend, fear not! What brave thing do you need to do …


counting my blessings

The NACC is full of blessings. A squeeze on the arm from a woman who has known my mother since before I was born. The moment when, as I happened to pass the stage area, Ben asked me to talk with a woman who came forward after the service and requested prayer. Dinner with dear friends who live too many states away and the delight of getting to know their young daughters a bit more each year. (“Miss Jen, I like your necklace. Miss Jen, what’s your favorite food? Miss Jen, I like soccer and reading and singing and I can make every letter in cursive and our dog is …


all in the family

During this week of our “family reunion” at the NACC, it seems fitting to revisit the topic of family worship.

In most churches, this term—if it’s used at all—means a service, held once each month or each quarter, designed for entire families to attend together. Kids’ classes are canceled and often the service will include “kid-friendly” elements like a short devotional time (don’t call it a children’s sermon, we’re not Presbyterians), or a terrifically perky adult will lead the whole congregation in singing one of the songs used in children’s church. Hand motions may be involved.

Despite my …


into africa: one question after a week in kenya

My dad just got back from his trip to Nairobi with Christian Missionary Fellowship, and writes one last blog post about his journey and the insights he’s still processing. Click here and here to read more about his trip.

Maybe Dick Alexander will ask Mary Kamau the question I posed to her in Nairobi about a week ago.

They’ll share the platform at this summer’s North American Christian Convention when the evening’s theme will be “Beyond Words: Global Impact.”

Dick preaches at LifeSpring Christian Church in Cincinnati, a congregation sponsoring work in one village in the sprawling Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi.


money, meet mouth

I’m a firm believer that it’s unfair to criticize something if you’re not willing to be part of the solution.

For instance, last Sunday the person clicking through the song lyrics and scriptures during the morning service at my church was either high, unable to read, a high schooler, or all three. Sometimes the words never appeared. Sometimes they appeared late. Sometimes we were treated to the chorus during the verses. Eventually I just sang with my eyes closed, which had the double advantage of keeping me sane AND making me seem super spiritual.

To be fair, this rarely happens, and I found out later it’s because the team recently switched …


does the nacc have a future?

Apparently I offended someone with a recent post because I said the NACC was dying.

Maybe (probably) I offended more than one of you, and that’s okay. It’s never the goal of any post, but why would anyone read a blog they always agree with?

(A brief reminder: the opinions in this blog are solely mine, NOT necessarily those of Christian Standard or Standard Publishing.)

I worked on staff at the NACC for five conventions (1998-2002) with two managing directors and two executive directors. Since then I’ve served as a Continuation Committee and Executive Committee member and planned last year’s “conference within a conference” for women. I also write for …


happy blogiversery

Today marks three years for this blog! (And tomorrow involves a birthday with more threes…….heaven help us.) Here’s a look back…..

Ten of the posts I like best, for one reason or another:

Do we really want a country of McChurches?

The story is bigger than our short-term happiness.

Can Christians drink?

A Holiday Tip.

“Leadership” means dealing with reality—including conflict.

eHarmony: I’m not a fan.

If you must read “The Shack“……

On preaching politics from the pulpit….

Why I’d rather work for men.

An open letter to Tim Keller.

Ten of the posts that received the most feedback, on or off-line:

Apparently …


somewhere, God is smiling…..

….because I’ve been tapped to coordinate the women’s conference at next summer’s NACC. This is due less to my (considerable) administrative skills or (much less considerable) love of women’s ministry, and more to do with my status as the only woman on the 2009 Executive Committee.

Also I made the mistake of asking if anyone was planning it. The NACC started this conference-within-a-convention last year and it was apparently a big success with the ladies who attended, but its 2008 champion didn’t volunteer for another year. Understandable, but that left me and my two X chromosomes to make sure it didn’t die in ’09.

So far, however, things are going well. …