I recently saw a tweet about conducting funerals for people you do not know, along with a link to an article offering advice. My interest was piqued, but I refrained from reading the article so that I could share my own suggestions without my ideas being influenced by the writer. In four years of ministry in two different churches, I would estimate that I helped lead 15 to 20 funerals. Of those, I had never met six of the people and had known three only a short while. When faced with leading a funeral service for someone that you have never met or knew briefly, how do you proceed? Click Here To Read More

This is the third and final installment in a special three-part blog series on the project to digitize and present online the final sermons of George W. Truett (1867-1944), noted pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas and namesake of Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Read Part I here and Part II here.

Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen how technology and theology worked hand-in-hand to deliver the sermons of George W. Truett to thousands of Americans in the early 1940s. The process of creating transcription disk-based recordings of his live church sessions, shipping them to a 50,000 watt “border blaster” radio station and playing them over the air a week after their original delivery was a state-of-the-art approach in 1941. Truett and his broadcast partners understood the powerful ability of radio to transmit his message to a vastly larger audience than could be accommodated at First Baptist Church of Dallas’ sanctuary, and it is impossible to gauge the impact those sermons had on the listeners who tuned in on Sunday evenings at 9:30 for three years from 1941-1943.

Today, we’re excited to announce a decidedly 21st century update of this process with the launch of our first-ever specialized Twitter account! [READ ON]


This article is a repost from the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections Blog.

About the Author
 Eric Ames is the Curator of Digital Collections for Baylor University Libraries, adjunct lecturer in Department of Museum Studies, Baylor University. MA in Museum Studies (Baylor University) and BA in Public Relations (Texas Tech University).

Have you ever tried to see the back of your head without using a mirror? Doesn’t make sense to try, does it? Since we can’t see it, we don’t pay much attention to it or even know much about what’s going on back there.

It doesn’t make sense that you can see all there is to see about you or achieve all you can without the influence of others.  Since you can’t give yourself a 360° look, you may gradually stop paying attention to gaps you can’t see.  Without support, you may stop working on those gaps you can see.

Every person who wants to achieve more absolutely must invite trusted individuals to help them see where they cannot, offer counsel as requested when the way is dark, provide accountability where discipline is thin, and support when the times are challenging and courage wanes. These people must be able to provide a non-judgmental, confidential, safe space in which you can open up about your life.


Here’s Tip #7: Proactively invite positive, sharpening influences into your life.


Supports for Success
I prefer to see these people as supports for success versus guards against failure.  I regularly invite people I trust to speak to me about blind-spots, offer counsel, provide accountability, and lend support. Find these people for yourself and engage them. Don’t wait for them to come to you. By then, it’s probably past prime time.

Why Don’t People Reach Out for Growth?
I am always intrigued by how few people reach out to others for support in becoming all they can be. I’ve come up with a few thoughts about the inner dialogue that may hold people back.

• “If I ignore my blind-spots and gaps maybe they will go away.”
• “My strengths are good enough to get me by.”
• “I don’t care enough to continue learning and growing.”
• “I don’t want to work that hard to change things in my life.”
• “I’m too busy to intentionally and proactively pursue growth.”
• “I am embarrassed for anyone to know that I am less than perfect.”
• “I might not measure up. People may think less of me.”
• “Everyone else seems better than me.  They have everything under control.”
• “It’s too painful to think about my ‘shortcomings’”

Do you identify with any of these?

My Passion
I am passionate about my personal growth and about seeing others be more, see more, and achieve more in their life and work. I come alongside successful individuals, just like you, with a process to support them in discovering what experiencing more is for them and in taking action to move toward it.

If you want to be more, see more, and achieve more, you absolutely must invite invite positive, sharpening influences into your life.

Tell us about how you have established these types of influences?

In five words, how has this helped you?


This article is the last part of a series entitled Sure-Fire Tactics for Achieving More.

About the Author
Dr. Michael Godfrey has served as a lecturer in Christian education and leadership at Truett Seminary since 2002. You can keep up with Dr. Godfrey on his blog: True Course Ministry.

This is the second installment in a special three-part blog series on the project to digitize and present online the final sermons of George W. Truett (1867-1944), noted pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas and namesake of Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Read the previous installment here

The human voice is a powerful medium, surpassing the printed word in its ability to bestir, to convince, to cajole and – in the case of a pastor’s words to his congregation – to save. In a preliterate society the power of speech was the sole means of conveying an idea, rousing a people or sending along the latest gossip. And even after humans gained the skills to write down our thoughts via print and share them with others who spoke the same language, we find ourselves captivated, spellbound by someone with an ability to spin ideas from spoken syllables, to offer hope by the combination of his mind, his tongue and his vocal chords.

Perhaps that’s why there is such power in the recorded sermons of George W. Truett. It’s true that you can get the gist of his message by reading a transcript, either from our digital collection or in one of the many publications that cited his words. But nothing can replace the impact, the instinctive reaction that comes with listening to them, as clear as the day they were recorded over 70 years ago. Truett’s voice may occasionally waver, his cadence and phraseology may sound distinctly Southern and turn-of-the-19th-century, but when he infuses even a simple phrase or concept with the force of his well-honed speaking voice, it assumes an authority that can only come from a speaker who is supremely confident in what he has to say. [READ ON]


This article is a repost from the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections Blog. Check back every week for the next article in the series.

About the Author
 Eric Ames is the Curator of Digital Collections for Baylor University Libraries, adjunct lecturer in Department of Museum Studies, Baylor University. MA in Museum Studies (Baylor University) and BA in Public Relations (Texas Tech University).

Your biggest asset and the biggest barrier to achieving more may be one in the same – you. Your own false assumptions and limiting beliefs can sabotage your progress.

You can achieve more by establishing strategies and disciplines needed to employ…


Tip #6 – Get clear of false assumptions and limiting beliefs.


False assumptions are ideas we have formed with inadequate information, we build a weak case for holding them, and we act as if they are true. Beliefs are adopted by us and/or they have been programmed into us early in life. Some of our beliefs are lies that limit us from becoming all we can be. As we repeat them to ourselves and others, they sound like:

I can’t . . .
It’s out of my reach . . .
I never will . . .
It won’t be good enough . . .
I will always . . .
I am not ________ enough . . .
I don’t deserve . . .
It’s too late . . .
I am too young/old to . . .
I need others to approve . . .

False assumptions and limiting beliefs hold us back from reaching our full potential. We tend to hang around with people who share similar assumptions and beliefs to ours which further reinforces these limitations.

Removing these barriers is essential if we are to achieve more.  Some keys to dealing with limiting beliefs and false assumptions are:

• Ask honest questions, even if painful.
– How did I come to this thinking?
– How do I know it is true or accurate?
– What drives me to hold on to this belief/assumption?

• Argue with yourself about your assumptions and limiting beliefs.

• Focus on people like you who are also achievers.  Since they are like you and are achieving, you may think, “If they can, I can, too.”

• Hang around with people who
– Will speak truth to you, ask questions, and challenge your thinking.
– Are positive, hopeful, grateful, encouraging, and big thinkers.
– Will help you dream, affirm you, acknowledge you, and encourage you to achieve more.

• Avoid people who are discouraging, negative, and tend to encourage your false assumptions and limiting beliefs.

• Visualize what things would be like if the positive opposite is true (instead of “I can’t achieve that goal” visualize actually doing it).

• Take courageous action.  If what you visualized would move you forward to achieve more, take action as if that vision is true.  With each little forward step your actions will prove your assumptions were indeed false and your beliefs were unnecessarily limiting your achievement.

What results when you act against your false assumptions and limiting beliefs?

What has worked for you in acting against them?


This article is part of a series entitled Sure-Fire Tactics for Achieving More. Check back every week for the next article in the series.

About the Author
Dr. Michael Godfrey has served as a lecturer in Christian education and leadership at Truett Seminary since 2002. You can keep up with Dr. Godfrey on his blog: True Course Ministry.

This is the first installment in a special three-part blog series on the project to digitize and present online the final sermons of George W. Truett (1867-1944), noted pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas and namesake of Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

One of the most interesting examples of God’s ability to use anyone – or anything – to serve Him is recounted in the twenty-second chapter of the book of Numbers. It is the story of Balaam’s donkey, and if you haven’t read it, do so now, for it demonstrates God’s ability to speak through even the dumbest of beasts when it will be the most effective means of getting the message across.

Balaam’s donkey is a particularly apt comparison to the strange story of how a “border blaster” radio station founded by a convicted medical charlatan would be used to broadcast the final sermons of a powerful Baptist minister to the citizens of three North American countries. [READ ON]


This article is a repost from the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections Blog. Check back every week for the next article in the series.

About the Author
 Eric Ames is the Curator of Digital Collections for Baylor University Libraries, adjunct lecturer in Department of Museum Studies, Baylor University. MA in Museum Studies (Baylor University) and BA in Public Relations (Texas Tech University).



Running headlong into a task or a job situation without considering how it fits you and whether it will value your uniqueness can be disastrous.   When you try to force the proverbial square peg into the round hole you may damage the peg, the hole, or both.

It is important to assess your personal strengths, your interests, your social style, and the intensity of your courage as a foundation for achieving more. Know who you are before deciding what you will work toward.


Here’s Tip #5 – Consider Who before What


Identify your strengths. Then, limit your efforts to those that capitalize on your unique strengths. You will not be strong in every area and I do not recommend working on “weaknesses” unless they are fatal flaws that can cost you your job and relationships. Try to avoid situations that put undue pressure on you to act outside of your strengths. I recommend the Birkman Method for identifying strengths.

Here’s an example: If organization is not your strength, don’t engage in work that requires it. Bring someone alongside you who is a strong organizer to do that part while you exercise your strengths which lie in other areas. In some jobs, lack of organization is a “fatal flaw,” so if that is the case for your pursuit either don’t go there, get some help, or get organized.

Get clear about your interests. Identify what fires you up most and do that as much as you can. Get a job that requires it. If you love interacting with people, avoid a job that requires you to work alone in your office. If you love creating, avoid a job that requires a lot of structure from you and gives you little freedom. Someone has said that life is too short not to do what you love.

Get clear about how you prefer to interact. If you prefer that people be direct and straightforward with you, get in an environment where this is a regular occurrence. If you prefer a slower, thoughtful pace then find a job environment that embraces it. If you need a democratic, collaborative environment don’t go to work in a hierarchical organization with a directive and commanding leader.

Take courageous action in light of your personal strengths, your interests, and your style. Not everyone will appreciate you or your actions. Some may even oppose you and your actions. But, if it fits and you believe it to be the right thing, move in that direction. Waiting for everyone to get happy is an endless wait.

What has helped you most to know the “who” that is you?


This article is part of a series entitled Sure-Fire Tactics for Achieving More. Check back every week for the next article in the series.

About the Author
Dr. Michael Godfrey has served as a lecturer in Christian education and leadership at Truett Seminary since 2002. You can keep up with Dr. Godfrey on his blog: True Course Ministry.

 

This summer, I have had the opportunity to participate in CBF’s CCI program with Calvary Baptist Church of Waco, Texas. While this is my home church, serving as a staff intern has been a completely new experience for me. Prior to this internship, I have never worked alongside church staff before having always worked with para-church ministries.

With an emphasis of working with the collegiate and missions ministries at Calvary, I have had the opportunity to help participate in the Calvary Community Garden/Baylor University Line Camp partnership. This partnership exists to help give incoming Baylor freshmen an opportunity to spend a morning serving in the community. Calvary welcomed two Baylor Line Camp groups this summer, one in June and another in July.

2013-07-19_10-29-33_102These groups of about 30 incoming freshmen came to Calvary’s Community Garden, which sits across the street from the church in an open lot, to first learn about why we have a community garden. Our pastor, Jim Coston, took the opportunity to educate Line Campers of the need for access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the 76707 zip code.

Coston shared with Line Campers that within walking distance of the church, one could easily get a soda, bag of chips and cookies, but would have to travel between one and three miles to find a supermarket that had fresh fruits and vegetables available for purchase.

2013-07-19_10-41-46_748Access to fresh fruits and vegetables help consumers make healthier food choices; this key of proximity has been significant in recent research which has revealed that obesity and poverty/hunger issues go hand in hand. When consumers do not have access to fresh food options the alternatives often lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and so on.

Earlier in the summer I had the opportunity to watch the documentary film, A Place at the Table, which was hosted locally by the Texas Hunger Initiative. This film opened my eyes to the real needs of our hungry neighbors. While many, me included, do not realize the hunger issues that surround us, they are indeed present and disturbing.

Allison Aubrey of NPR summarizes the film this way: “… A Place at the Table, peels back the curtain on the problem of food insecurity, weaving together the stories of low-income Americans who struggle to put healthy food on the table…”

2013-07-19_10-41-26_471Later in the blog Aubrey quotes Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post, who said, “’The problem, as Table shows, isn’t that the next meal never comes,’ O’Sullivan writes. ‘It’s that when it arrives, too often it is filled with empty calories.’” Being informed by this powerful film along with participating in Calvary’s Community Garden has helped me to actively help address food insecurity issues in my community.

After the groups of Line Campers were able to hear a bit about why Calvary started and maintains a community garden, it was time to get to work. Line Campers had the opportunity to participate in the full cycle of gardening: weeding, harvesting, turning over soil/compost, watering and seeding.

For one group assigned to harvesting carrots, when asked if they had ever harvested vegetables before, only one of the five students harvesting said yes. Upon further questioning, the students shared that the experience of gardening was “fun” and helped them feel more “connected.”

In the midst of our busy lives we can feel less and less connected to the things we eat and how they got to our table. By serving alongside these students in Calvary’s Community Garden, I am grateful for the opportunity to plant seeds of hope—literally and figuratively—which in turn helps to provide fruits and vegetables for those in the 76707 zip code.


This article was originally posted on the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship blog.

About the Author:
Megan Pike is a fourth-year Truett Seminary M.Div. student in the Missions and World Christianity concentration from Mountain Home, Arkansas.

 

 

What’s it like when you are making an important decision? Do you usually take time to weigh both sides of the issue, thinking about details, nuances, and the implications of all of it for the future? Or, do see a couple of very clear options, make a choice, and you’re done? Or, is it both? Or, is it something between the two?  Some of both are usually in the mix. No one uses purely one style or the other.

Whatever your style, it’s not only important to make decision sin a timely way but also to be sure that the action is well considered.

Though variations of both styles are good, there is a “dark side” to each. In the extremes or when people are under pressure, those who tend to make quick decisions may be at risk for being impulsive. Those who are more thoughtful and reflective may be at risk for making a decision too slowly or needlessly postponing it.


Here’s tip #4: When making decisions, balance thought and action.


When making decisions, especially a big ones:

• Consult someone whose approach to decision-making is different from yours. If you tend toward a slower, more reflective, and thoughtful approach, consult someone who can work with you to reduce the issues to its lowest terms, thus make a timely decision. If you tend to make decisions quickly, consult someone who can work with you to think through some of the nuances, details, other alternatives, and the implications of each of these, thus helping you to take well-considered action.

Write it down.  If you tend to see a decision as complex, record your thoughts about it as they come to you. Chances are good that you will return to your list of issues after a while and determine that some items don’t matter as much as you thought. Don’t erase or delete. Strike through. This will help you to reduce the decision to its lowest terms on your own.

• See “those people” as allies and assets. It’s easy to get frustrated with people who make decisions differently than we do. They move faster than we want or slower than we want. See this difference as an asset which helps the team to make a decision in a timely way but also to be sure that the action is well considered.  Add your strength to theirs and all will come out better for it.

What is your approach to big decisions?

How is it working for you?


This article is part of a series entitled Sure-Fire Tactics for Achieving More. Check back every week for the next article in the series.

About the Author
Dr. Michael Godfrey has served as a lecturer in Christian education and leadership at Truett Seminary since 2002. You can keep up with Dr. Godfrey on his blog: True Course Ministry.

Two words combined to be a buzz phrase have appeared at different times and in different ways in Baptist life lately, especially at CBF General Assembly last month: Spiritual. Formation.

The new Dawnings CBF initiative that offers a missional visioning process for new and old congregations has 3 components — vision, formation, and engagement. In Dawnings, formation is considered the sustaining force of visioning. Spiritual formation is the sustaining force of more than visioning, but also a sustainer of corporate and personal faith and discernment in every way.

As Johnny Sears and Sharon Conley of The Upper Room discussed in their breakout session, Spiritual Formation: The Soul of Faith and Mission, Glenn Hinson expanded on Friedrich von Hügel’s 3-legged stool of spiritual formation to describe spiritual formation as a 4-legged stool. This metaphor includes the legs of institutional, intellectual, experiential, and social for stable spiritual formation. At gatherings like Assembly, we increase the social and institutional legs as we network, socialize, and revisit institutional policies and procedures. Many Baptists traditionally excel at the intellectual and experiential legs from week to week and day to day through Bible study and worship. In order for spiritual formation to be stable, all 4 legs must be present in a Christian’s life. Different seasons and occasions will have more of 1 leg than another, but all 4 legs must be present in a healthy spiritual life as individual and Fellowship life are reviewed holistically. In order for individual faith and corporate faith to be stable, all 4 legs must be sturdy enough to support the weight of change and challenge.

Spiritual formation is critical for clergy and laity alike. No one gets a free pass or particular priority — all people need spiritual formation. As Sears and Conley discussed in their session, spiritual formation is like a trellis supporting growth of vines and the plant together.

Spiritual formation is a way to move forward. A goal of Assembly is looking toward the future. Sears said, “This [spiritual formation] matters for the future”. There is no future without spiritual formation because it is through spiritual formation, discipleship, intentionally connecting with God through prayer practices and other spiritual disciplines, that there can be clarity about who we are and who we are not individually and corporately.

Devita Parnell, CBF Missional Resources Specialist, said that “spiritual formation is really infusing what we do at CBF”. Spiritual formation necessitates looking beyond familiar Baptist authors and ideas, and considering the wisdom of forefathers and foremothers of our shared Christian spiritual heritage. CBF has partnered with Upper Room, a Methodist ministry, for nearly 10 years. Some of the greatest Christian spiritual thinkers and authors happen to be of Christian traditions other than Baptist, and are worthy of time and ink to be studied.

May discussions about spiritual formation be more than tossing around a newly found buzz phrase, but instead be truly a movement toward making disciples of all nations- widening and deepening Christian faith rooted in spiritual practices from tradition and Scripture for all people.


This article originally appeared on the Associated Baptist Press blog earlier this month.

About the Author:
Erica Lea is a 4th-year M.Div student at Truett Seminary where she serves in the Office of Spiritual Formation. She also blogs at olgaproverbs31.wordpress.com.






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