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Pieces of Me

Disclaimer: There are many other faith traditions not mentioned here. These are just the ones I’ve experienced in my life so far.

The United Methodist Church has taught me to be open and accepting. The sense of community on a global, national and local level is engaging. Every church is connected to the others through hundreds of networks, agencies, Facebook pages, websites and prayer. That enables a level of social justice and action that is unparalleled.

The Baptist church has taught me how important it is to define what I believe. I love asking questions, doubting God at times and comfortable that I’ll never have all the answers. But it’s also important to verbalize and communicate the things I do believe. I’ve learned the value of spending quiet time with God each day.

Non-denominational churches have taught me its okay to break the rules sometimes. It’s humbling to depend on God for everything, especially as a new faith community is planted. Their creative innovation and dynamic preaching always impacts me.

The Orthodox Church has taught me dedication and consistency.

The Pentecostal church has taught me to look beyond their sometimes unusual behavior to see people truly touched by the presence of the Holy Spirit. When I anticipate and expect the Holy Spirit to show up, I’m taken to an entirely new level of communion with God.

The United Church of Christ has taught me the deep human value of full acceptance and unconditional love.

The Emergent movement has taught me that we need to intentionally rethink everything we do.

The Seeker movement has taught me how important it is for life-long church members to understand where a person new to faith is coming from.

Judaism has taught me the worth of telling your story and knowing your heritage.

These experiences have and will to continue to add a much deeper, fuller expression to my faith. And instead of competition and comparison, I want to believe we need every single expression of faith. We need all kinds of churches to connect with all kinds of people.

Same goes for music & worship styles.

What faith traditions have shaped you?


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Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

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There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

Why I stay in the United Methodist Church

We can't ignore the numbers. The United Methodist Church is in decline. Many ask, "Why do you stay? Denominations are useless these days."

But I face that reality with overwhelming hope and excitement. I see the Holy Spirit weaving its way through our current & new leadership in ways I've only dreamed of. A couple years ago, I thought about leaving. But I decided to ask some hard questions about why we're in decline. And that journey to the heart of the United Methodist movement has lit a fire in me to see it renewed.

Why I Stay...

1. Our faith is active. We get our hands and hearts dirty in service & relationships.
2. Every United Methodist church is connected through a network of gatherings, prayer, service, money, agencies and leadership. I would never want to serve in building God's kingdom by myself.
3. I see God changing hearts and lives every. single. day.
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