20 January 2017

My APCE Workshop: Speaking Order into Chaos

Next week I'm teaching a workshop at the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators in Denver.
The title is "Speaking Order into Chaos:  How to Cultivate a Research and Writing Team in Your Congregation." Here is a link to the workshop notes.

Here is the workshop description:
The religious landscape looks bleak and chaotic. Yet God is doing a new thing! Discover and tell good news stories about what is working in the church today. Learn where to find such stories. Learn how to speak them into eBooks that you can publish for free. Grow your congregation’s platform. Foster cohesion among your congregational leaders. Become a writer and publisher! This skill may develop into a side business for you over time.
This course covers my 2016 research into writing and self publishing. One outcome of my work on that last year is that our congregation wrote a book in honor of our 60th anniversary called Healing Happens Here: Faith Stories from St. John's Presbyterian Church. You may read it for free here.

Now this week is a chance to get a broader perspective on things.

I'm in Denver presenting a workshop at the annual conference of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE). I started out some 30 years ago as a Director of Christian Education (DCE) and the APCE conference was huge to me then. So this is a homecoming of sorts for me. These are "my people" and "my tribe" and I'm excited to get reconnected to them. My workshop is one of 80 so you get a sense of the size of this conference.

And my course is called "How to Cultivate a Research and Writing Team in Your Congregation." I'm going to tell them how we did that last year at St. John's. We produced a little book called "Healing Happens Here" with some faith stories from some real people like you. 

That book, and our story, is not finished yet because each of us is writing a story with our lives. After our lives on this earth is over we will have plenty of "time" to read that story and get all the different angles on it. We will see in exquisite detail how each of our actions effected the other people involved. Our life stories will be like a research project we will review over and over again in the future life to come. While some of our thoughts and actions will be disappointing to us, we will overall be astonished at how well we did. After all, life as a human being is truly a challenge!

We will feel encouraged by how well we did and most of that encouragement will come from God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the Three in One. I think they will sit there and watch with us the movie of our life over and over again and maybe even eat some heavenly popcorn with divine butter and salt on it. And boy, oh boy, are they and we going to laugh out loud at that movie! There will be also be drama galore. That's my idea of the afterlife. Who knows if it's accurate?

Which means whatever you are going through today that seems like the end of the world, at some point in the future it may look to you like a comedy. Project yourself into that future now and imagine how funny it will seem then. That may help move you to a different position above and beyond the stuck and suffering place you are in right now, if that's where you are. If you're in a good place right now, relax, enjoy, have fun. Cherish each moment of your life for what it is: A gift from God to you and those around you.

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