July 19, 2013 by Mark Sundby
    Jody R. Johnson, M.Div., LICSW In our hurry-up world, it’s tough to take time out, much less to intentionally do nothing. And for those in ministry, there are added pressures to be productive, ‘on’, and available. When the well runs dry, people may continue to do effective ministry for a time, but eventually problems will surface- perhaps in a sense of ‘dryness’, irritability or depression, physical ailments, or tension at home. Centering prayer can offer those in ministry an oasis of spiritual refreshment that overflows into service.
  • Starting Out in Ministry: Two Essential Areas for Development

    April 8, 2013 by Mark Sundby
    What skills do candidates for ministry already have and what are they lacking? Because these are future congregational leaders, we believe this information is critical for the work of seminaries and denominations in guiding their development. Our research at North Central Ministry Development Center sheds some light on this question.
  • Reflection: Clergy – Good People; Bad Friends!

    June 7, 2012 by Mark Sundby
    Rev. Dr. Beth A. Donaldson United Church of Christ in New Brighton   CLERGY – Good People; Bad Friends!   GOOD PEOPLE ARE GOOD FRIENDS: PREACH IT! In my almost twenty years as a preacher and pastoral care giver as a local church minister I have proclaimed the good and salvific nature of community and right relationships regularly. I have shared story after story of how loving relationships, including friendships, matter in our world – of how we are called, as human beings, to be in communion with one another and how we, at our best, can express our faithfulness to God through our faithfulness to one another. I have never doubted the value of deep and abiding relationships, and have strived to show each member of every church I have served that they are important to God by any variety of expressions of care, compassion, and valuing I was able to share. I believe in the transformative power of friendship and encourage people to work through challenges in friendships and other relationships with hopeful integrity. Friendships, from casual to deep, are at the core of what I believe can and will change the world. It is, in fact, in part because of this belief, that I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A RUDE AWAKENING A few weeks after the end of my most recent sabbatical I had occasion to gather with other clergy from my Conference. I looked around the room as I entered it, and became aware of an overarching sense of ...