Showing posts from July, 2011

Borders is closing its stores. What does it mean for our culture?

Today it has been announced that Borders is closing all its stores. You can read the story here. Big questions remain to be answered about what this will mean for the book industry. Bigger questions revolve around whether our culture is witnessing a significant change.

We love to read, but are we becoming less interested in books? I hope not, but there are signs that Americans are becoming more interested in reading bite-sized chunks than full-length works. Our busy-ness is eating into our literary appreciation.

Maybe it's just that Amazon is more convenient and cost-effective than Borders (I order from Amazon all the time). That would be better news... I think. But with the growth and dominance of Amazon, many neighborhood bookstores are shutting their doors. Will bookstores become scarce? If so, what will be the effect? What would happen if we lost the ability to go to a bookstore, scan the many sections, and wander over to spend a few minutes browsing through books we might nev…

Mission trips: teams that build things and teams that build relationships

The other day I had lunch with Phil Darke, CEO of Providence World Ministries. Providence operates La Providencia orphanage (plus school and medical clinic) in Honduras. Phil has also spent a lot of time gaining expertise in orphan care.

Because of my work with Child Hope International in Haiti, I wanted to pick Phil's brain a little. I asked him how often he thought an orphanage should host visiting teams. Too much visitation isn't good for the orphans, but it is good to have some. What's the right balance?

Phil answered by talking not about how often teams should visit but how teams should visit. He drew a fundamental line between teams that come to build things and teams that come to build relationships. Teams that build things provide an important service, and there are times when those teams are desperately needed. For instance, in the weeks after the earthquake in Haiti, we desperately needed masons, electricians, and building inspectors to give attention to our buil…

A church fall kickoff -- should we or shouldn't we?

Not long ago I was talking with some Sanctuary leaders about what our church should do to mark the beginning of the fall season. "Are we going to have a fall kickoff?", someone asked. It was a natural question. September is almost here, and the season will change from summer (the season of vacationing and recreation) to fall (digging in with church and school again).

The group of us talked together about what a "fall kickoff" represents: church programs, marketing, and often a big dog-and-pony show. We agreed that isn't what we want. What to do then?

We liked the idea of marking the change of season, but we wanted to be faithful to what Sanctuary is all about. We have jokingly talked about having a "Fall Un-Kickoff" that is not intended to generate excitement for church programs but rather be a celebration of our core commitments as a church:

Loving God: a day of worship on the first weekend of the Un-KickoffLoving one another: a celebration for the Sa…