Welcome to a new year and new decade!

*Tap*tap*tap* (((((echo))))) Wow. It is quiet here. Everyone must be asleep from a night of celebration, ringing in the new year. For my part, I went to bed early, although I did wake up five minutes before midnight only to fall right back asleep. I know. I am a party animal. Rawr. :)

2011 is here. For the record, I am pronouncing it twenty-eleven, not two thousand eleven. The latter is far too cumbersome, don’t you think? Consider what will happen, say, one hundred fifty years from now. Do we expect people to be saying, “Two thousand one hundred and eleven?” I don’t think so. They will say, “Twenty-one sixty-one.” Simple as that.

So, this is my contribution on this first day of the new year and new decade. Let’s all agree to say the year in a way that meets with our long held linguistic tradition. Let’s say, “Twenty eleven!” Just like that. Go ahead. You can do it. C’mon. I promise, no one will laugh at you or call you before the thought police in D.C. Say it. There, now. Didn’t that just roll off the tongue? Twenty eleven. So much easier than two thousand eleven. And think of all the carbon that will be not be expelled into the ozone because you were diligent to conserve, yes? For every word you are able to omit from your conversation, a corresponding amount of carbon is thereby not released into the atmosphere, thereby lowering the sea levels and–what? Why are you looking at me that way? Oh, nevermind. Say it however you want, you carbon exhaler, you.

In the meantime, have a wonderful new year full of joy and happiness. And thank you for enduring this moment of satirical respite. If you were offended by my climate change humor in anyway, I am sure you will find the little x on the top right hand corner of your screen which will help you scurry along elsewhere. Just don’t breathe too hard while exiting. Don’t want another iceberg to calve as a result in Antarctica. :D

remembering 2009

DMin graduation from Western Seminary, 2009

2009 was an eventful year for me. Many changes occurred in my life. Here is a list of several of them in rough, but not exact chronological order.

Soon after the start of the year I stepped down from being a network admin after nine years of participation in IRC ministry. There are many great memories, but it was time to move on.

Just weeks prior to graduation I had a major health scare. I had driven to the Seattle area to attend an annual ministry conference. Upon arriving at my hotel late that night I tripped and fell, landing full-force with my shoulder planted into a steel handicap support bar. The irony of being injured by something meant to help the handicapped was not lost on me even as I lay partly conscious and bleeding in the darkness of the gravel wash next to the sidewalk. To make a long story much shorter, I thought I was mainly badly bruised but I realized I had serious pain in the tip of my elbow. The urgent care physician ex-rayed it and determined my elbow was broken. Not a good thing for someone like me who is a manual laborer. However, after a week of anxious waiting, the specialist determined that, yes, I had broken something, but it was a bone spur which broke from the tip of my elbow. The elbow itself is fine. Soon after I was cleared to return to work. I still have occasional pain, but at least I can do my job without restrictions.

My doctoral dissertation research and writing was in full swing at the start of the year and concluded in April of 2009. I graduated from Western Seminary with full comedic relief and a commitment never to pursue another degree. Oh, and I earned a Doctor of Ministry. But please, do still call me Glen. I never did care for white lab coats….

In August I observed the second year anniversary of my Dad’s passing. I will never forget and never stop appreciating you, Dad.

In the fall I worked closely with my Pastor to initiate the first step in a family ministry emphasis at my church, using insights from people like Karl Bastian and his VIP concept and my pastor who recognized that my approach is actually quite similar to coaching.

The fall also marked the cessation of mid-week campus ministries at my church. This changed dramatically how and when I connect with the local apartment children and parents, and unleashed dreams about what missional outreach might look like in the coming months of spring and summer. On a positive note, the added time has been readily allocated to time spent connecting with parents, both in my church and in the community.

As 2009 came to a close it was and is apparent that the economic recession has had a dramatic impact in the lives of people at my church. While I have great faith that God will enable us to do what he deems the greatest priority, I am also cognizant of my responsibility to continue to tighten my belt, both in the CM budget, which was already minimal, and my own personal budget.

Throughout 2009 there continued to occur some key transitions in my attitudes and thinking. In my next post I will highlight a few which are salient to children’s ministry.

It is likely I have forgotten something. If I remember more, I will add them later!

Top Ten Most Viewed Posts of the Year

The following posts rank as my top most viewed posts of the year on this blog. There is one exception, and that is Excel Templates which ranked the highest by a very large margin, even though it is little more than a link to another website. Apparently I discovered a hot topic and users from around the web continually find it through various searches.

The remaining posts are more in keeping with the general nature of this blog. Enjoy them again as I count down the top ten in reverse order!

10. Bible story telling technique I am especially proud of this one since it is only one week old! It represents an innovation in Bible storytelling that could revolutionize your ability to capture and keep the attention of high energy elementary age children, especially those with little other motivation to listen and learn.

  9. why won’t we let boys be boys? I continue to wrestle with this issue. It seems that society would rather medicate or institutionalize boys who are high energy and even wild, rather than parent and mentor them. Strong words, I know. But justified, in my view.

  8. American Children’s Ministers’ Association I wrote a response regarding the announcement of the ACMA. I have not heard much about it since that time. As I said then, I hold all those involved in high regard and I pray their association is a blessing to those whom they influence.

  7. an open letter to disenchanted evangelicals I received some unsolicited feedback regarding this post. I will be revisiting the theme soon in 2010, specifically in terms of the postmodern/modern conversation.

  6. DVD Review- Systems: Liberating Your Organization This is a great resource, although I did share some concerns in my review. I highly recommend it to the discerning leader.

  5. HomePDX: A Church for the Homeless in Portland One example of postmodern and emergent ecclesial expression in Portland, Oregon.

  4. Biblical Basis for Parental Responsibility This is an excerpt from my doctoral dissertation from the Spring of 2009. You don’t have to call me doctor. In fact, I insist that you don’t. But I do hope you read and benefit from this particular post, of which I am especially proud.

  3. Five Things That CM Volunteers Need I discovered that people who read blogs tend to prefer lists. So here is one which gained popularity alongside its cousin below in very short order. Worth reading as a starting point for examining the needs of your volunteers.

  2. Five Things CM Leaders Need This is the cousin of the post above. And a mighty fine cousin, too! Worth reading as a starting point for evaluating what CM leaders need.

  1. DiscipleTown: A Brand New Kids Church Curriculum This is an announcement of Discipleland’s brand new Kids Church curriculum. Authored by the illustrious non-postmodern Kidologist himself (Karl Bastian), this material is surely worth considering for your church’s kids church.

And, that’s it! Those are the most viewed posts this year at glenwoods.wordpress.com. I hope you enjoy!

marking the start of 2010

At this writing I am under two hours from the official start of the new year and 2010. It is the final year of the beginning decade of this century. It is ordinary; it is special. These remaining moments will pass with very little fanfare from me, other than to type this post and prepare for slumber. I tend to be avantgarde, that way….:)

It is at times like this that I reflect deeply on what is about to pass, and what is yet to come. I do not know what the future holds for me. It is obscured from my view, an opaque mist of faint images and dreams. Yet, burning through that mist is an unwavering passion to follow Jesus Christ faithfully to the end of my days. So, my devotion is deeply set, although the details have yet to be worked out.

I am sure that changes both within and outside of my control will reveal themselves in the coming year and beyond. Such is the way of life. To remain stagnant is to die from lack of movement or life-giving nutrition. To grow, and live, and move, and learn, and adapt is the essence of mature life-long learning.

With these things in mind I anticipate new relationships and new opportunities, primarily within the rubric of the ordinary routines of daily life. Yet, surely there will be those unique encounters with people from abroad as well. I also expect to continue excavating new territory in the praxis of missional discipleship and its interface with biblical spirituality. Ecclesial concerns will intermingle with those of the marketplace and web. To be sure, children’s and family ministry issues will continue to inform my priorities. In all of this I hope for increased clarity concerning my focus for writing, speaking, pastoring, witnessing, and living.

That is to say, I simply want to follow Jesus faithfully, diligently deploying what gifts he has entrusted to me to be a blessing to others.

Looking forward to 2010

2010 is about to begin. I love new beginnings. A new home. Starting school (Don’t worry, I am reflecting on the past, not anticipating the future!). Beginning a new goal. More than that, I love new beginnings which require me to follow them through to completion. I am one of those who has shied away from New Years resolutions for the past several years. They tend to get forgotten in the daily crush of expectations; they usually are not given the priority one might expect. Typically my new goals which I actually follow-through on have been measured beginning with the start of each new school year, rather than each new calendar year. Such is one of the consequences of being a long-time children’s pastor in a local church. So, while I rarely engage in resolutions at the beginning of each January, I am very goal oriented. I think that is a good thing.

Having said all of that, I am wondering: Do you have any fresh, new goals for the New Year? Are they personal or professional? What are they?

I am trying to decide whether to commence any new personal goals starting in January. I have a couple of suspects in mind. But I am wary of the sentimental excitement that can drive me to set goals during the holidays, only conveniently and quietly to set them aside as the pressures of the new year develop.

That’s the strange thing about personal goals. I have to want them badly enough.  The burden is on me to carry them out  to completion. In one sense, that is liberating. In another sense, it is daunting. It requires self-motivation to see the dream initialize and take shape.

Maybe I should attempt them without first announcing them. Carry out their requirements without all the angst of public pronouncement and public struggle to fulfill them later on. In another words, simply live life incorporating them as my daily routine. And sometime down the road, the results will speak for themselves.

Lots of people can talk a big game at the outset of a goal. Far fewer can prove it due to a lack of discipline, support, desire, or other obstacles. So, maybe that’s my New Years resolution.

I will live life daily and let the results speak for themselves, holding my personal goals down deeply and seeing what God might do with them as I continue to follow him.