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Month: August 2012

Tour guides know the way

Tour guide
A tour guide faces her tour group.

Tour guides have difficult, albeit enviable, jobs. They spend most of the day walking backwards, facing the group they are leading, talking about what they just passed. They have to know the route so well they can complete a tour without bumping into anything. If they lose their focus, or do not know the way themselves, I imagine it could be quite a scene. Leaders in the church do much the same thing. We face our congregation while we try to lead them on their lives’ spiritual journeys.

We pastor-types tend to be technique-junkies. We read books on how to build our congregations, blogs on how to preach, and magazine articles on how to be more effective in our specific ministries. If not too expensive, we will even take a retreat to a remote location to hear from an “expert” about a way to do ministry. We might invest hours looking for the next big program for our congregation, our tour group, often at the expense of our own spiritual journeys.

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John Wesley shared health advice as part of his ministry.

Faith & Leadership recently interviewed John Wesley scholar Randy Maddox about Wesley’s emphasis on physical health throughout his ministry. “Of all Wesley’s books,” Maddox states, “the one that stayed in print the longest and went through the most editions wasn’t his sermons or hymns. It was ‘Primitive Physick,’ a book on medical advice. It was central to his work” (Randy Maddox: John Wesley says, ‘Take care of yourself’). It would be odd in the 21st century for a clergy person to give medical advice, but not so in the 18th century. Maddox does a great job explaining practical reasons why, but also shares how this practice of caring for the body also grew out of Wesley’s theology.

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Gym time

Missy Franklin
Missy Franklin

When the Olympics started, I was on a youth mission trip. I missed the opening ceremonies and most of the first weekend of competition as we were traveling home. I thought I would not be as engaged in the Olympics as others, but I find that I am. Gymnastics, swimming, track & field. I’ve even watched some archery, water polo, soccer, and read about the badminton controversy.

I find the dedication of Olympic athletes inspiring. Then the recognition comes of just how young they are. Gabby Douglas, a 16-year-old American gymnast, won the women’s all-around gold medal. Colorado high school senior, Missy Franklin has won 4 medals – 3 of them gold – and set a new world record in swimming.

While I am a sports fan, I also enjoy the Olympics because the television coverage often shares a glimpse into the lives of the athletes and the people surrounding them. Michael Phelps’ mom is almost as recognizable to me as he is. I like learning how they started in their sport, what else they do, and how much time and effort they put in to becoming Olympic medalists.

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