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When Tragedy Hits the News: 7 Ideas for Congregational Leaders

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Boston-Marathon-Bombing(For more, see my book, Leading Congregations through Crisis (Chalice Press, 2012)

A gunman slaughters innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Bombs rip through the crowd at the Boston Marathon. A chemical plant explosion destroys homes and lives in West, Texas.

Every day seems to bring news of a devastating disruption in some community’s life. Sometimes that community is ours; but, even when we find ourselves geographically removed, we experience the effects of these tragedies. We feel our connection. We wonder what to do.

When news of disaster breaks in on us, here are 7 things congregational leaders can do: Click to continue »

How Prepared Is Your Congregation for Emergencies and Disasters?

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

By Greg Hunt, Ph.D.

Author of Leading Congregations through Crisis

St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2012

September 2012 marks the ninth annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Citizen Corps. This emphasis is designed to encourage Americans to make sure they’re prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. It raises the question: How prepared is your congregation for a disaster or emergency?

Here’s a brief assessment to determine your congregation’s level of preparedness: Click to continue »

What Congregations Can Learn from a Movie Theater Tragedy

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Excitement and anticipation turned to terror and chaos in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012 when a deranged gunman entered a packed, darkened movie theater and opened fire on those in attendance. 12 were killed, 58 were wounded, and countless others were left traumatized by the time police arrived and arrested the gunman.

What are the implications for congregations of this latest outbreak of violence?

First, it invites sober realism. No matter how many crises make headline news, there’s a temptation to think, It could never happen to us. If your church has never Click to continue »

A Values-Driven Life

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

[This is one of a series of entries from my unpublished book, Desperate Devotion, which details my experience with the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew during a crisis of faith and calling.]

Jesus challenges us to align our lives, in purity of heart, with his. He makes it clear that our hearts will drive our habits and thereby shape our destinies. He encourages those of us who choose this way by telling us that we will see God.

That’s quite an inducement, and given my longing for just this kind of experience, it’s not surprising that Matthew 5:8 grabbed my attention. It left the following question lodged in my brain: How was I doing? Click to continue »

Vocation and the Silence of God

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

[This is one of a series of entries from my unpublished book, Desperate Devotion, which details my experience with the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew during a crisis of faith and calling.]

The silence of God is doubly disturbing when one is straining to hear God’s direction vocationally. My crisis of faith related directly to calling.

Click to continue »

Bargaining with God

Monday, September 27th, 2010

[This is one of a series of entries from my unpublished book, Desperate Devotion, which details my experience with the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew during a crisis of faith and calling.]

I’ve had a lifetime of opportunity to get beyond primitive notions of faith. So I have found it humbling to recognize the continuing strength of these primitive impulses in me. I can “know” better all I want at an intellectual level, but that doesn’t mean I have truly internalized all I know.

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Into the Light of the Dark Black Night

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

[This is one of a series of entries from my unpublished book, Desperate Devotion, which details my experience with the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew during a crisis of faith and calling.]

I was listening to Beatles music recently, and the song “Blackbird” came on. Hearing the words in the context of my life circumstances, I realized for the first time how deeply they resonated with the longing of the human heart when lost in the darkness of what the 16th century mystic, St. John of the Cross termed, “the dark night of the soul”: Click to continue »

God in the Echoes

Monday, June 21st, 2010

[This is the first in a series of entries from my unpublished book, Desperate Devotion, which  details my experience with the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew during a crisis of faith and calling.]

“Lord, if you won’t speak to me, if you won’t come to me directly and reveal yourself, then I will listen—I will watch and wait for you—in the echoes of your words gone by. I will listen for you in the words of Jesus.”

Thus began my journey through the “red letters” of Matthew’s Gospel.

Click to continue »