Tuesday, October 25, 2005

We Are Family

Below is my most recent newsletter column for the congregation I serve.

I’m no authority on movies, but a new one worth seeing is “Elizabethtown.” So named for Elizabethtown, KY, this movie is about a man named Drew. Drew spent virtually all his time, energy and efforts the last few years designing a shoe so bad his company will lose nearly a billion dollars. He poured himself into this company only to be rejected once the shoe design flopped. About when Drew was on the edge of doom, he learned his father died, and he suddenly needed to go to Elizabethtown to make arrangements to bring his father’s remains back to Oregon.

Over time, Drew realized why he is so lonely and lost. He realized, for instance, that his drive for materialism and a big name at the company led him nowhere.
Drew also realized that he cut himself off from his family. To his surprise, though, his new extended family and new found friends won’t let him stay lost. They adopt Drew trying to point him in a direction that leads to life. It doesn’t matter that he is from California (he’s actually from Oregon, but the joke is that for them it’s all California). What they know is that here is one who needs help.

The children and youth selected “We are Family” as their theme for Youth Sunday, November 6, because that is the essence of what we are at Clintonville Christian: a family who knows that we all need help and direction.

Our children and youth may show us lessons we have forgotten. I hope you will be here November 6 for Youth Sunday.

See you at the family place -- Nathan

Nathan D Wilson

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ministry Teamwork

Below is my most recent newsletter column for the congregation I serve, the Clintonville Christian Church in Kentucky.

Essential for the Adventure: Teamwork

My good friend and college roommate, Jed, and I recently competed in Asbury College’s annual adventure race. The race is so named because it consists of 3 miles of running, 5 miles of mountain biking, 2 miles of canoeing, two high ropes climbing events, and one low ropes balance and agility event. The race is structured for two person teams and both teammates must complete all the events. Everything is outdoors and it is nonstop – nonstop, that is, until you finish the race or the race finishes you. (Yes, comedians, we finished the race!)

In such a race, it does not take long to realize how important teamwork is. Of course, teamwork is unavoidable for the canoeing and ropes events: it is against the rules (as well as physically impossible) to complete the ropes events without your teammate and you would have a hard time completing the canoeing (in sixteen foot, two person canoes) without a teammate. But even beyond those events, teamwork is vital to doing well in the race.

Why is teamwork so vital, you ask, in what seems like mainly individual events? Well, thanks for asking. You see, when you work as a team you can challenge each other to push harder. When you work as a team you can encourage each other to keep going. When you work as a team you know that there is someone else there to excel or at least endure the race with you.

One key to effective teamwork is knowing each other’s strengths. At some points in the race, I challenged or encouraged Jed; at other points, he challenged or encouraged me. A second key is realizing that every member of the team is important.

It’s the same for us at Clintonville Christian. Teamwork is essential. It provides healthy challenge and healthy encouragement. Clintonville Christian is a great team when we blend our God-given talents, gifts and graces in service and ministry.

See you at the place where all team members are important, and new ones want to be asked to join the team -- Nathan

Nathan D. Wilson

Thursday, October 06, 2005

College students and religion

African-American students are more likely than other students to believe in God or to attend religious services on a regular basis, according to the results of a survey of college freshmen conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute.

According to the study, 95 percent of African-American students believe in God; 84 percent of Latino; 78 percent of white; and, 65 percent of Asian-American students. Attending religious services regularly follows a similar trajectory: 53 percent of African-American, 42 percent of white, 39 percent of Latino, and 35 percent of Asian-American students attend religious services regularly.

Women are more likely than men to be involved in charitable activities of some kind, while men are more likely to be religious skeptics. Women are also more likely than men to pray.

Additional results indicate that while most freshmen believe in God, fewer than half follow religious teachings in their daily lives. Not surprisingly, the study found that most students were interested in grappling with big questions like the meaning of life.

Nathan D Wilson