Thinking Out Loud

August 13, 2011

Trend Toward Part-Time Church Staff Raises Other Issues

With declining attendance figures, and a tight economy, many mid-sized and smaller churches are moving toward models involving part-time or bi-vocational staff.  But what does this trend mean in terms of the training that church staff committees look for in a candidate?  Normally, in any profession, one sees a full-time position as the payoff for a four year investment in college or university courses.  While one could argue that theological study is its own reward, certainly in economic terms, it doesn’t make sense to invest those years if the resultant job is only 20-30 hours per week.  And while Christian institutions of higher learning are increasingly offering specialized courses in urban ministry, student ministry, or worship ministry; these positions are most vulnerable to reduced hours or even elimination when money isn’t there.

If post-secondary education for ministry development is peaking, what happens to an entire Christian magazine industry that has budgeted vast amounts of income from advertising to Christian colleges, universities and seminaries?  I know that may seem cynical, but those adverts in those glossy periodicals are indicative of the vast amounts that have been historically spent on recruiting students.   Most Christian colleges have been in a growth mode for several decades as prosperity has allowed more people to pursue education beyond high school.  But if the economy slows and churches are cutting back available job hours, it means these institutions could see themselves facing years of decline.

Do you know anyone in ministry who has recently had their hours cut? Or lost their job completely due to the economy and/or church attendance issues?   Continue the discussion by looking at a Canadian study at


Photos: Cross Island Chapel in Oneida, New York has turned up on this blog before, but the one in Drumheller, Alberta was new to us!



January 10, 2011

Should Parents Interfere With Their Children’s College Education?

While other bloggers kick back on Saturday and Sunday; and blog traffic drops as well; it seems to me this blog does its best work on weekends.

So this week we had the question on Saturday:

  • Should Christian churches rent out space to other faith groups?

And on Sunday:

  • Did you give your kids too much for Christmas?

Both comment sections are open and waiting for your take.

Today, I want to go for the three-peat with questions and ask the one you’ve already read above.   We’re in a jam this weekend because our oldest is having some hiccups in his second year of an Electrical Engineering course.   One course builds upon another, and not every course is offered every semester.

Do the math and you’ll realize that the loss of a single course now has the potential to put him a full year behind.

As parents we want to be involved, but the university has a policy of self-advocacy.  (I.e., students have to fight their own battles.)  But this is a kid for whom confrontation and negotiation doesn’t come naturally.  And a kid who had some supports (documents) in place before leaving for university that we were told would follow him to those institutions, and didn’t.  He needs someone in his corner and needs it soon.

The last thing we want to do is be helicopter parents.  I don’t think we even come close on that one.   He’s real good about independent living, and usually good at self-starting projects.   But I don’t like to be told as a matter of official policy that I can’t advocate for him, especially when we know he wants someone to pull for him.

And then they send letters to parents asking for money…

So, what role should parents play in interacting with colleges and universities?  What do you do when the institution simply ignores your mail or phone calls?  Do you think privacy concerns have gone too far?  Have you had any similar experiences?

April 16, 2010

January 9, 2009

What’s Your PQ – Persistence Quotent?

Filed under: character, Christianity, education, parenting — Tags: , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:03 pm

mark-batterson-profile-110D.C. Pastor of National Community Church (NCC) and author of In A Pit With A Lion on a Snowy Day, and Wild Goose Chase, Mark Batterson (pictured) blogs at Evotional (tag line: Spirit Fuel) and posted the following this morning:

I came across a fascinating study this week. Can’t stop thinking about it. Priscilla Blinco did a study involving Japanese and American first graders. She gave them a very difficult puzzle to solve. The American children lasted, on average, 9.47 minutes. The Japanese children lasted 13.93 minutes or 40% longer.

Any one want to guess who has higher scores on standardized math tests?

Fascinating study with interesting implication. The argument is that we might give IQ more credit than it deserves. Persistence quotient might be a better predictor of success! How long are you willing to try something before giving up? Successful people, in every arena, aren’t just smarter. They try harder and try longer.

By the way, just got an email from an NCCer that has been trying to get a job with U.S. State Department for 12 years! Every application had been denied, that is, until a couple weeks ago. They were interviewing 1200 applicants for 24 positions. This NCCer was the second person selected.

Listen, that is good old-fashioned persistence. Don’t take no for an answer! Try, Try again. It’s not over till the fat lady sings. I don’t care what aphorism you quote. It’s all about persistence. Keep trying! Then try some more!

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