Monday, February 13, 2012

Emails and Phone Calls

Every two weeks I receive an email from Tom Julien. He asks me when we can get together. We are working through the concepts integral to Equipping Churches. These are churches where pastoral staff does not simply do the work of ministry, but empowers others in doing. (Give a man a fish...)

I am not the only one who receives emails from Tom; he reads and sends hundreds a day. Many are prayer updates for missionaries or news feeds from churches. He probably does not get mass marketed by Oriental Trading the way I do.

Our modern era has numerous forms of communication. Letters and phone calls are among the sputtering class. Phone calls seem awkward, invasive, and outdated; letter writing is cumbersome, and stamps are expensive.

Unfortunately, the simplicity and efficiency of digital exchange have a dark side. They get buried beneath spam, calendar reminders, and Constant Contact newsletters. By the end of the day, an important correspondence is endangered. By the end of the week, it is extinct.

Tom does not like conversations to sputter and die. If you do not hit Reply, he makes a phone call. He invades. And in an effort to gain momentum for the Equipping Church network, his line is always tied up.

(Part 2: Travels with Tom)

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Clone of Tom Julien

I am becoming a clone of Tom Julien. I read his books. I parrot his words. I improved my French accent. If this transformation does not stop soon, I might buy a castle and start driving a Buick. Fortunately, he is a good man to imitate.

Over the past year Tom and I have accumulated many hours and hundreds of miles together to discuss church leadership. We have attended funerals together in South Bend (IN) and shared meals at Hong Kong buffets in Van Wert (OH). We have parsed Ephesians 4:11-16 and re-written twenty drafts on what it means to be an Equipping Church. We have consumed several French Presses of coffee and prayed earnestly.

We're making progress, but our hope is for movement. Progress was a myth. Movement is a work of God.

(Part 1: Travels with Tom)