Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!

Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!
For those of you who would like to support the vision & ministry of Woodland Hills Community Church (the faith community I serve that continues to encourage me to minister outside the box), please click on the link just above.

Wrapping Things Up & Stepping on the Plane

What an amazing journey the last 48 hours have been. We had our final Worship Team meeting on Thursday to deal with planning issues for this fall's new service. The energy and productivity of the meeting was through the roof! The group made several important decisions. The most important of which was arriving at both a name and mission statement for the worship gathering: God's time. We also talked about the importance of using the term "worship facilitators" as opposed to "worship leaders" to emphasize the approach team members should take in helping birth the worship experience. We even divvied up facilitator responsibilities for the worship gatherings between September 2 and November 4. I feel like the team is really getting the concept of the worship gatherings. I've been busy setting up visits with worship facilitators in Spokane, WA (where I'll begin my sabbatical). I've already got three visits lined up. Last night was very special in that the church had its "Sabbatical Send Off/40th Birthday Party" for me at the SAME Cafe downtown. What a great time it was! For those of you not familiar with the SAME Cafe, you can learn more about it by visiting their website ( The short description of the cafe is that it exists to ensure all individuals have access to a good, healthy meal. There are no menus or prices for the meals. Instead, individuals are asked to either donate whatever they feel is fair to cover the expenses of their meal, or donate an hour's worth of labor to cover the costs. What an amazing gift to the community. During my party, I smiled whenever people talked about my sabbatical experience as if it were a vacation. While there will be opportunities for travel and fun during my sabbatical, a HUGE chunk of the experienced will be focused "work" - I prefer the term "exploration" - on the issue of worship (i.e. reading, appointments, site vists, etc.). It will be so great to have the opportunity to focus my time and energy in primarily one area rather than be spread out in 100 directions simultaneously (the reality of most parish ministers on a day to day basis). This evening I step on the plane for Spokane. As I prepare to depart, I must say I'm thrilled you have joined me on my sabbatical journey!!! Til next time...

The Journey Begins

I'm heading into my last 7 hours before the official start of my sabbatical. Already in the past week, I've had an important learning about the use of the phrase Emergent Worship. Emergent Worship is a dangerous phrase to use in that many people react to it as if they would to any other label. They expect Emergent Worship it to neatly fit into a box or category (i.e. Emergent Worship is specifically this or Emergent Worship is specifically that). It's tough to get them to see Emergent Worship is more of a process (or way of worshipping) than it is a product (a particular worship experience). I'm starting to wondering if a phrase like Organic Worship might be more effective in communicating the fluid nature of the emergent experience. We live in a society, however, that is all about labels and boxes. As a result, I'll have to be very careful and aware of efforts to limit the experience (including my own). My most profound moment of insight occured last week when a team member raised the issue, "Are we ready to start a new worship gathering in the fall?" My natural response was to become defensive. A few days later, however, I realized that if we (the planning team) feel completely prepared it means that we will have created an experience that reflects OUR hopes and OUR desires rather than God's. So maybe it's a good thing to not feel entirely prepared. It means there's still room for the movement of the Spirit. Let's hope that's always the case! Til next time...