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Ministry has its seasons. There are moments of unexpected joy. But there are also times of great difficulty, with burdens too heavy for anyone to bear alone. More often than not, ministry features both at once. Elements exists as a resource for ministry leaders who are serving both in and out of season. It doesn't seek to say everything, just something. In doing so, our hope is that it meets you in your joys and your struggles, your triumphs and your failures.  Subscribe below to receive this monthly email resource.

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Elements December 2014


It may seem odd to have the last of a series on chronic pain coincide with the beginning of Advent. But in an important sense, Advent and chronic pain have to do with the same thing: bodies. And not just bodies of any sort, but scarred, stretched, scorched, splotched bodies.

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Elements November 2014


As with all of our concrete experiences, chronic pain is a profoundly theological reality. It thrusts us into an encounter with an ordering force at work in the world – a deeply mysterious presence that is beyond our ability to control, manipulate, or coerce. My own story as a person suffering with chronic pain involves decidedly physical, embodied, and even sensual dimensions.

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Elements October 2014


This issue of Elements marks the first of a year-long series on “tough conversations.” The range of issues will be broad, but whether we are dealing with doubt, racial tension, economic disparity, or the meaning of suffering, we are operating with the assumption that the people of God are meant to engage our incredibly complex world.

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Elements June 2014


Have you ever done rock climbing? Did you enjoy it? I climb mountains, but I do not enjoy rock climbing!

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Elements May 2014


Whether you are in the first, second, or third “third” of your life, the words of Jesus remain relevant: “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such, is the kingdom of heaven.” This admonishment to his disciples must also include his children who are in their later years of life.

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Elements April 2014


'Retirement' is a word without substance. What does it mean? How do you think about the rest of your life? Recently I read an article profiling Millennials. One of the characteristics listed was 'entrepreneurment'.

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Elements February 2014


It's a good thing we as Christians are in the world but not of it. We can stand firm knowing that our ideas are right, our disagreements nonexistent, and our spiritual heritage is unchanging and somehow new every morning.

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Staying Fresh


Those who serve the church in its many forms must never stop learning. The responsibilities to care for people, to preach the Word, to nurture communities, to extend out in mission demand that we stay fresh.

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Hap-Happiest Season?


In terms of American sentimentality, yes, this is probably true. But there are some groups of people who might choose different adjectives to describe this season. I’m thinking particularly of retail workers and pastors.

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Leading Churches at the Convergence of Worship, Preaching, and Justice


Tim Dearborn, Director of the Ogilvie Institute of Preaching discusses the impact of Micah Groups & the Ogilvie Institute. How often have we heard in calls to worship "Just leave the worries of the world at the door"? Somehow we act like the needs of the world and the Presence of God don't mix. How few prayers of intercession have we heard on the issues that plague our world: immigation, domestic and urban violence, the funding of education, the cost of health care, or changes in the climate?

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