NORTHSIDE NOTES: April 13, 2016
| Pastoral Reflections
by James Lamkin
"Is 11 Feet Over God's Head?"
This question about the Holy One's height was asked many years ago by Bruce McIver's daughter who was four years old. Bruce was the pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, TX. I used to read his weekly newsletter column,
Grinsights. Plus, as you may know, NDBC shares several connections with Wilshire. John and Margaret Powell were members there, Gregg Bunn was on staff there, plus Kenton and Mary Keller are members right now. Also, Wilshire is going through a similar discernment process regarding marriage equality.
But back to the story. "Is 11 feet over God's head," the daughter asked? Turns out, the day before, Bruce had taken her to a swimming pool. He had told her to stay at one end of the pool.
"Why," she asked?
"Because," said Bruce, "the deep end is 11 feet; and that is over your head."
As Bruce and his wife discussed their daughter's theological question, Bruce deduced, "She must be wondering, 'If God falls in the 11-foot end, will God be able to get out?'"
'Twas a good guess. But the mother said, "No. She's not wondering if God can get out. She wondering if she falls in, can God get her out?"
Out of the mouth of babes...right? From time to time we feel "in over our heads." First day of college. Signing on the mortgage's dotted line. Professing faith in Jesus Christ. A big decision of the church. All "over our head" moments.
But God is tall enough. We will read on Sunday those texts about the Good Shepherd...the one who prepares a table in the presence of our enemies.
Whatever you or we are facing, according to the Good Book, God is tall enough...even if we fall in the deep end.
P.S. Congratulations to Karen Massey! She's been named Church Woman of the Year by Baptist Women in Ministry. Karen has been a seminal part of NDBC's journey. Plus, she's been a prof at McAfee School of Theology, nearly from the beginning; and now she is Associate Dean. Cheers, Karen! And may the Lord bless and keep you.
by Rev. Dr. Michael Gregg
"A Different F-Word"
I'm a perfectionist. I am a type-A, overachieving, people-pleasing, project-driven perfectionist. But my friends, family, and church already know that. When I sit in a counselor's chair, dream vivid nightmares, or sit alone with my thoughts, I am haunted by one big fear: the fear of failure. If I'm guessing correctly, many of us in helping and service professions are preoccupied by perfectionism and the fear of not living up to the expectations we feel from our families, our coworkers, our parishioners, our friends, our clients, and our God. Our busy schedules and over-committing natures often outwit our urges to make a difference in our communities, churches, and created world. Sometimes we feel like failures.
This place of frustration led me to a book with a single word as its title:
. Of course, after seeing the title, I was immediately drawn to the book discovering a subtitle about finding hope and grace in the midst of ministry failure. The author is J.R. Briggs, an ex-megachurch associate pastor and student of the famous pastor and writer, Eugene Peterson. Briggs left a great ministry job to be the associate at a megachurch in Philadelphia. He is a people-pleasing perfectionist who invested his life and his family's lives into his new position at the megachurch. After only one year at the church, the pastor resigned due to conflict with the leadership board. Briggs was fed lies and hurtful words from the leaders in the process of the transition. He wanted to resign and begin a new church in the same town but was told by the leadership that doing so would be a sin. Briggs did resign and was heartbroken that his call to ministry ended up being one of intense hurt and failure. He yearned to understand why God would call people, especially ministers, into churches where conflict would happen. He yearned to understand why God would call ministers to begin new church plants that would ultimately close their doors after a brief existence.
Briggs spent a couple of years doing consulting work and writing when he realized he wasn't alone in his feelings of burnout because of a wrecked ministry calling. He knew many ministers had similar journeys but didn't have a cathartic forum to release their pain and frustrations. With that in mind, Briggs created the Epic Fail Pastors Conference. Ministers from all of the country met in an old pub every year to unload and unleash their trauma and anger. He found that this type of conference became more life giving to ministers than the big box conferences led by pastors of huge churches with easy step-by-step solutions for church growth. Those conferences tended to make the floundering ministers feel like they were failing at their jobs. The Epic Fail Pastor events allowed a place for ministers to admit and accept their failures in a way that helped them heal and find the purpose of God within their callings.
In a world where ministry success is evaluated through buildings, bodies, and budgets, it is easy for clergy and parishioners alike to become weighted by the fear of failure. Briggs asks two important questions: What does it mean for a church to be truly healthy and where can leaders find hope and grace in the midst of ministry failure? According to Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in a recently retracted statement, the healthiest place for children and youth is in a megachurch. Although he readily admits his mistake and apologizes for his statement, Christians are often deceived by the myth of the megachurch. Churches over three hundred fifty in attendance are roughly ten percent of the churches in America. This means a majority of churches are under three hundred and fifty in attendance and might feel like failures if these congregations use megachurches as benchmarks for success. Did God call ninety percent of churches to feel like failures? Or do small churches find health in their own corners of the world by acting for justice, accompanying the sick and hurting, and loving a God who is faithful in all things. Yes, every church, both large and small, should not fear failure but realize the purposes and future of God in their unique communities.
If God is calling us as the people of God beyond failure, then Briggs thinks we need to choose a different f-word. For some of us the admission of failure is a home for forgiveness. We need to forgive others and ourselves for the guilt of comparison. For others of us, we need the challenge of faithfulness. Would we have decided not to follow God in planting a church, doing a project, or accepting a job even if we knew that particular endeavor would fail? We might need to be challenged to be faithful to God regardless of the outcome. And finally, many of us might need the hope of freedom. The negative whisperings in our souls are half-right: We are failures. We are broken. We are scroungers at the communion table. But we aren't left there. Christ invites us to healing not only at the table of communion where all sinners sit, but also at the cross where he who didn't sin was hung. Jesus changed the f-word from failure to the
beautiful mess of freedom
Briggs ends his book with a blessing from Larry Hine, Brennan Manning's spiritual director, who delivered this benediction at Manning's ordination service:
May all of your expectations be frustrated,
may all of your plans be thwarted,
may all of your desires be withered into nothingness,
that you may experience the powerlessness
and poverty of a child,
and can sing and dance in the love of
God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
|Called Meeting of Church-in-conference
By Don Janney, Church Moderator
Sunday, April 17, following Worship
As part of our Discernment Process concerning same-sex marriage, the Church Council has adopted a statement that affirms our church as "a diverse congregation that is unified by our shared identity as a people of faith" and "a covenant people who are bound together, not by our agreement on all issues, but by our desire to worship and serve together." The statement also affirms that "we welcome, honor, and respect all members, even though our views may differ" and that "we value an environment for worship and service that is open and welcoming to all people." (Copies of the Council's complete statement were distributed at our discussion session on Sunday, April 3, and are available in the church office and in the Sanctuary Narthex.)
Under our church bylaws, the Church Council has a duty to recommend policies and procedures to the Church-in-conference. Therefore, the Church Council has recommended that our church adopt the following statement of policy to decide whether we will offer the ministry of marriage to same-sex couples within our congregation:
Northside Drive Baptist Church, believing in the love of God for all persons, will provide equal access to all facets of the life and ministry of our church (including membership, baptism, ordination, marriage, teaching, staffing, and leadership) without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.
We will hold a called meeting of the Church-in-conference on
Sunday, April 17, in the Sanctuary immediately following the morning worship service to vote on the Church Council's recommended statement of policy. Voting will be by secret ballot. Because our church bylaws prohibit voting by proxy, church members must be present at the called meeting to vote on this matter.
|20.30's Drinks for Jesus
The 20.30 group of NDBC are invited to a time of casual conversation and dinner at
Max Lager's Brewery
April 17 at 7 PM
. We will share vibrant theological discussion while exploring the pub and restaurant scene. For more information, contact Jeffrey Dunkerley at
Check the 20.30 event calendar on the church website, under
for a full list of dates.
| NDBC Book Club
April 20, from 1-2:30 PM
A book review of
A Spool of Blue Thread
by Anne Tyler will be Wednesday,
, at 1 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Jane Lamkin will be the facilitator and Jane Jerden the hostess. Bring your lunch; dessert and beverages will be furnished.
|Youth Sunday, May 1, 2016
YOUTH SUNDAY LUNCHEON
The youth will lead the worship service on
Sunday, May 1
. We will also celebrate our graduating senior, Terrell Kilgore. You won't want to miss this worship experience! Lunch will be served after the worship service!
On the menu
: traditional Mexican food for $7.00 per person. To make a reservation for the luncheon, use the Welcome cards in the pew rack, call the church office at 404-237-8621, visit our website, or email your reservation to
no later than
Thursday noon, April 28
. This is a time to connect with the Youth and their families and graduating seniors. For more information contact Jeffrey Dunkerley (
ATTENTION COLLEGE & HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES
Do you know a church or family member who will be graduating from High School or College this year? If so, we would like to announce his or her accomplishments in the
issue of the Pinnacle and as an insert in the Order of Worship for Youth Sunday. Please submit a head shot along with the graduation date, school name, type of diploma, and their next step (education or work) by
Friday, April 1
5. You may submit electronically to
to the attention of Renee Gamache; or stop by the church during business hours. (
Submissions after Friday, April 15, will only appear in post-Youth Sunday issues of the Pinnacle.)
The Callaway Cup
golf tournament is scheduled for
May 1, 2016
! The after-church outing is for all members, regardless of age, gender or talent.
SAVE THE DATE (5/1/16)
. The Highly Coveted
is named in honor of Raymund Callaway, a long-time member of NDBC. We now play in memory of Raymund who died in 2003. (No finer gentleman ever struck a ball.) To sign up call Hal Meeks: c. 404-293-4042; h. 404-352-2438, or email to
| Missions Corner
Founded in 1981 at Trinity Presbyterian,
Lifespan provides a multipurpose interfaith ministry to and with older persons through partnership with churches, synagogues and other organizations and agencies in Atlanta. The mission is to enrich the quality of life of senior adults through education, social activities and services that help maintain quality of life.
Lifespan Spring 2016
Lifespan Academy courses April 14-June 2 include Current Economics, Tai Chi, Digital Photography, Art History and more. Courses are offered at Peachtree Presbyterian Church.
Enjoy playing bridge? Bring three friends or be a fourth.
AARP Smart Driver Course is offered at Trinity Presbyterian Church on May 18.
Medical Escort Transportation is available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Need a ride or want to volunteer to be a driver? Call 404-237-7307.
For more information about activities, services, and fees, visit their web site
or pick up a copy of the newsletter
in the Narthex.
| Church Work Day
Saturday, May 14, from 9 AM-1 PM
Mark your calendar! It is time for the next all-church clean up and work day. We have many different jobs that need some willing hands! Join us from 9 AM-1 PM on Saturday as we spruce up the inside of the church while others accomplish outside landscaping tasks. This is a great way to serve with your friends and family for a few meaningful hours. We will have the needed supplies ready; simply contact the church office to let us know you are participating. Childcare and snacks will be provided.
Summer Sermon Series
Sundays at 11 AM, May 29 - September 4
This Summer's Sermon Series is built upon the odd, angular preachers of the Old Testament: the Hebrew Prophets. They functioned as Israel's immune system. Whenever the Hebrew Faith became too aligned with culture or comfort or power or privilege...God sent a prophet. By today's standards of success, productivity, winning, or profit-making...the prophets failed. They were
. But they are called by God to be faithful...and so are we. How shall we respond?
Summer Lecture Series 2016
Family, Gender, and Sexuality in the Bible
Sundays, June 5-August 28 @ 9:30 AM in the Fellowship Hall
June 5 - Dr. David Bell
Dirt, Darwin, and Creation
June 12 - Dr. David Bell
Lilith and Gender Justice:
The Construction of the Fall and Feminine Gender
June 19 -
Dr. Karen Massey
Was Dan Brown Right?
The Relationship Between
Jesus and Mary Magdalene
June 26 - Dr. Lewis Bozard
To Value or To Vanquish:
Christianity's Mixed Messages About the Body
July 3 - Holiday Weekend
July 10 - Dr. Nancy L. deClaisse-Walford
Feminine Images of God in the Psalter
July 17 - Dr. Nancy L. deClaisse-Walford
A Feminist Reading of Psalms 90-92
July 24 - Rabbi Judith R. Beiner
Dreamgirls of the Bible: Women Who "Worked It"
A Look at Tamar and Ruth
July 31 - Rabbi Judith R. Beiner
Dreamgirls of the Bible: Women Who "Worked It"
A Look at Miriam and Esther
August 7 - Dr. Tina Pippin
Family Values in the Bible
August 14 - Dr. Tina Pippin
August 21 - Dr. Steven M. Sheeley
Watching What We Say and Sing:
Committing to Inclusive Language
August 28 - Dr. Steven M. Sheeley
Are We Really Reading Scripture?
|Youth Island Adventure
Jeffrey Dunkerley, Director of Youth
& Young Adult Ministries
We escaped! The youth took on the challenge of breaking out of a room the last weekend of February. We managed to get off of the island before the volcano erupted. The rest of the night we played games and shared laughs over milkshakes. Thank you to all of the adults that helped make this event possible.
We are officially registered for PASSPORT Camps this summer too. We will be going to Danville, VA, to participate in
PASSPORT Missions on
June 26-July 1
. If you or anyone you know would be interested in chaperoning this trip, please let me know.
April 17, 2016
The next Church Council
meeting will be Monday,
April 18, at 7 PM,
in the Art & Soul
| GAS TURNED OFF FOR THE SUMMER
Off - April 30, 2016
Back On - TBD
As a cost savings to the church, the gas is turned off in the Spring and turned back on in the Fall. This is part of the summer savings program with Infinite Energy. We will have an electric water heater for use during those months.
| SUMMER WORSHIP
IN THE CHAPEL
May 29, 2016 thru
September 4, 2016
| SANCTUARY RENOVATIONS
Soon there will be some renovations and repairs to the Narthex ceiling and flooring, and also to the flooring in the Nave and Chancel. Though it is uncertain as to the length of time the project will take, there is the probability that worship will be in the Chapel on some upcoming Sundays. W
e will let you know more as the project trajectory gets clearer; and we will notify the whole congregation.
The TLP is a Diaconate ministry. Each week's list contains the rotating names of three or four NDBC senior adults.
Wilton & Martha Looney
If you would like your name placed on our rotating TLP list, please give the church office a call.
Chance Cooper - 1
LeAnna Anantaraman - 3
Anne Hunt - 4
Linda Long - 4
Allen Abbott - 5
Dot Clark - 5
Greg Colson - 6
Jackie Hardin - 6
Kay Braswell - 6
Allison Blaisdell - 6
Letty Konenkamp - 8
Jennifer Sardone - 10
Mary Schwartz - 12
Brian Knight - 12
Zach Stines - 13
Robbye Taylor - 13
Suzanne Stearns - 13
Tim Whiffen - 14
Marjorie Rives - 14
Ken Brant - 16
Liam Collins - 16
Daniel Moore - 16
Dick Houston - 17
Hardy Pickering - 17
Ryan McClure - 17
Wilton Looney - 18
Jada Getsay - 20
Heather Bongers - 20
Theresa Goriczynski - 20
Dave Wooten - 21
Patti Clark - 21
Simon Goodhead - 21
Noah Davis - 23
Gerry Humphries - 30
| TIRED PARENTS CLASS BREAKFAST
May 8 @ 9:30 AM, Fellowship Hall
With all the crazy things going on in our lives each month, we wanted to create a time and space where you can fellowship and socialize with other tired parents. We will meet in the Fellowship Hall and share breakfast together once a month during Church School. If you are still looking for a church school class, please join us!
| WEDNESDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY
We meet weekly at
10:30 AM, in the church's
Conference Room. We study the texts selected
in the Revised Common Lectionary for the next Sunday. Large print editions are available each week and for the upcoming Sunday. Discussion is deep and wide and lively. All are invited.
| PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY
Led by Susan Harlan
Every 1st & 3rd Thursday
@ 7 PM in the Parlor.
(June 2-Sept 1 the Prayer Shawl Ministry will meet in members homes.)
For more information call Susan Harlan at 770-377-3869.
(Retired Older Men
Every 3rd Tuesday of the month from 12 PM-1 PM
(bring your lunch money)!
1715 Howell Mill Rd
| CHILDREN'S CHOIRS REHEARSALS
The Cherub Choir
Children ages 2 through Kindergarten
from 10:25-10:50 AM
in the Room 103
The Celestial Choir
Children in grades 1-5
Ms. Mary Lou
from 10:25-10:50 AM
in Room 116
| AT THE TABLE
In the Balcony of the Narthex after Worship
Don't want to get up before 9 AM? Join this class of young singles and couples in their 20s and 30s at the big table in the balcony of the Narthex after the worship service in an informal setting for snacks and coffee. We will gather around the table every Sunday to briefly examine the lectionary texts, deconstruct the sermon of the day, and fellowship together. We will then go to lunch together after class.
THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS BOOK
A copy of the book is in the Narthex for previewing and the cost is only $30. To get your copy, call us at 404-237-8621 or email the church.
THE PAPERLESS PINNACLE
The Pinnacle is emailed as a link to the congregation and is available on the church website at www.northsidedrive.org.
If you would prefer not to receive the Pinnacle by U.S. mail, please call404-237-8621 or email us
Did you miss an issue
of our Northside Notes?
to read more.
SUNDAY, April 17
9:30 AM - Church School
10:25 AM - Children's Choirs Rehearsals
11:00 AM - Morning Worship
12:00 PM - Called Church-in-conference
12:30 PM - Young Adults: At the Table
12:30 PM - Children's Family Lunch
7:00 PM - 20.30: Max Lager's Brewery
MONDAY, April 18
7:00 PM - Church Council
TUESDAY, April 19
10:00 AM - Staff Meeting
12:00 PM - ROMEOS
WEDNESDAY, April 20
10:30 AM - Pastor's Bible Study
2:00 PM - Book Club
7:00 PM - Prayer Shawl Ministry
7:15 PM - Sanctuary Choir Rehearsal
THURS-SUN, April 21-24
Women's Spring Retreat
SATURDAY, April 23
4:30 PM - Northside Kids' Family Lunch