The word "ministry" evokes a wide range of emotions, opinions, and ideas, especially from those in the Church. What makes a ministry successful, fruitful, and sustainable? What exactly should ministry look like? In the end, who is ministering to whom? Today's post is the first ever guest post on this blog and is written by our friend and former Pastor, Charlie Collier. This is a man who handed out his personal cell number to homeless drifters and church members alike, a man who valued the teaching of women enough to share his pulpit with them, and a man who loved this city and its people in a uniquely tangible way. Their family has been a blessing to all of us during their time here, and they will all be dearly missed! Here's what he learned about ministry as he pastored our church in the city of Cleveland for over a decade…Read More
We were running late....again.
The school has a new attendance policy this year, and we’re already on the naughty list for being late one too many times. Okay, probably twenty too many times, but who’s counting. Well, the school is, obviously, but that’s not the point.
The point is, we were already behind schedule trying to get out the door this morning when a kid somehow flung a cup of soda (leftover on the table from the night before [insert snarky eye-roll emoji here]) all over the kitchen. Like, ALL OVER. Said child took time we didn’t have to “clean it up,” but after he left I stepped in a big puddle of sticky soda on the floor and looked up to find it also amply splattered on the blinds. And puddled in the crevices of the computer monitor. And peppering a once-clean, folded pile of shirts….Read More
Ahhh, Fake Spring. It comes every year.
And every year, even if you’ve lived in Cleveland your entire life, it’s easy to fall for its schemes. Again. Because Fake Spring can sense your longing for sunshine that actually feels warm on your skin, not the “fauxshine” that winter brings with only the illusion of heat, and it exploits that desire. You want to believe that spring is finally here after what seems like an endless and bitterly cold winter. The winter of a week and a half's worth of snow days in a row.
So Fake Spring comes strolling in like a Trojan Horse in all its glory and splendor and gets your hopes up. Because it’s so beautiful and light, and your cold, tired soul is in need of some hope, a breath of new life. It spikes the temperature so high and so fast that lakes rise and rivers overflow and sewers can’t keep up with all the water. It creates a weather paradox in which snowball fights can occur with the few remaining snow piles, although the thermostat reads close to 70 degrees. Flinging some white while wearing capris.Read More
The last post ended with a question: What if it wasn’t just the children on the other side of the world who were starving? What if it was MY children?
That changes everything, doesn’t it?
I love my children and every one of them holds a piece of my heart (and also, sadly, a chunk of my brain). I would do whatever it takes, moving heaven and earth in the process, to get them food to fill their hungry bellies.
Do you see the difference….and the problem?
Of course, it’s impossible to claim all the starving children in the world as your own, nor should you have to by yourself. There are no easy solutions to a problem of this magnitude, but I do know that you’d look at the problem of hunger differently if you were exposed to it regularly, if it wasn’t just an abstract concept of “children are hungry” but a tangible problem that affects living, breathing souls you can reach out and touch....Read More
When we moved our very middle class life into a home in the city years ago, everything else stayed the same. Though our physical location had changed, the investments of our heart did not. It’s easy to drive past buildings in the neighborhood and people in a hurry to get somewhere and never walk those same sidewalks yourself. It’s easy to reside somewhere and yet live your life everywhere but the square mile around your home.
We lived that way for almost the first decade of our lives in the city: we outsourced everything.
Our delicate little snowflakes went to the best Christian preschool we could afford. With our first couple kids, our cushy budget allowed us to shop the clothing racks at the mall outside the city, and we made our weekly trek to the suburbs for bible studies or moms groups. We did attend church right down the street, but that was about it. We saw the dentist, got our hair cut, went to school, bought groceries, took swimming lessons, played at parks, and even socialized well outside the neighborhood where we dwelled....Read More