Monday, June 23, 2014

Try something new in the church world

Over the years, I have spoken at and worshipped in most of CCSC's 41 coalition churches. Being in all of these churches is easily one of the things I enjoy most about my job.

Naturally, the churches vary by denomination.  But they also vary in theology, worship style, interpretation of the gospel, music, and liturgy (vs. no liturgy).  Some churches prefer praise bands, some prefer an organ, and some prefer a cappella. Some follow the lectionary for scripture readings, and some don't.

When I first began working here, these differences stood out.  Now I barely notice them but instead appreciate them. One Sunday, I was at a church that spoke forcefully on a particular social issue; the following Sunday, I was at a different church that also spoke forcefully on that issue, but from a contrasting viewpoint. I chuckled inside and thought how lucky I am to be able to hear, firsthand, how different communities approach difficult issues.

From my desk, these churches are seeking the same thing: to build community and follow the Gospel as best they can.  In doing this, each church develops its own unique style and way of worshipping and serving together.  So I'm uncomfortable when I hear Christians criticizing other churches (or other Christians) for having a viewpoint or style different from their own. Who of us is right 100% of the time?  Not me.

So my challenge is to suggest that you worship, just once, at another church to try something new.  Select a church that is different from your own, and worship there as an experiment in discovering new ways of experiencing church.  A great starting point is the link below, a listing of CCSC's own member churches:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Technology is great, but...

I was speaking to a group of students about their careers and was asked an almost rhetorical question: "Being tech savvy is the most important skill to have, right?" 

My answer was "no", responding that solid communication skills (writing and interpersonal) were instead at the top of my list.  The room was silent, and I think the students weren't sure how to react.  So I explained that in most fields, you have to be able to get along well with others, speak clearly when expressing your ideas and thoughts, and write well so the reader can act upon your request, idea or proposal.   

Writing is an under-valued skill.  The age of email, texting and social media has killed punctuation and grammar, and it's rare to see a clean, clearly written proposal, article or other piece of writing. 

What does this have to do with CCSC?  We have a couple of positions currently open, so we're receiving many resumes right now.  And most of the resumes have typos, poorly written emails, and if there is a cover letter, it typically has sloppy errors.  We have screened these out: if someone is not detailed enough to send their best to us, their quality of work is probably below what we consider acceptable. 

The people we hire must have the needed skills for that particular job description, but we also look for exceptional communication skills as well as a passion for CCSC's mission and a strong work ethic.

So if there are high school or college students in your life, help them to develop these other skills.  My guess is that most people under the age of 25 have already mastered technology, so this will not set them apart.  But their work ethic and ability to communicate well with others will.