Five Practical Gift Ideas for Your Pastor or Seminary Student

It’s the holiday shopping season and if you have a clergy person – or pastor or seminary student or church ministry professional – in your life who is on your shopping list, chances are you have their vocation in mind as a potential angle on the perfect gift. There’s a lot of “Christian Stuff” out … Read more Five Practical Gift Ideas for Your Pastor or Seminary Student

How I almost made our church be one of the churches slamming the door on Jen Hatmaker (and why slamming doors reminded me to keep ours open).

Friends, we’re minutes away from Jen Hatmaker and Nichole Nordeman’s sold-out evening show, Moxie Matters, at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church where I serve as Associate Pastor. The matinee was a blast and I’m excited for tonight. What a pleasure it was to meet Jen, Nichole, and their team. The 600-person matinee audience shared laughter, tears, stories, and songs. The evening audience will do the same, and with just as much moxie! I’m always amazed at the vulnerability, hope, and community that is shared in that magnificent sanctuary.
I also want to share this article I wrote for our church’s newsletter this month. It shares a little about how I almost said “No” what’s clearly an amazing event. I’m going to offer you my vulnerability and tell you this story. May my teachable moment be a teachable moment for how we all stop divisiveness, practice inclusion, and build God’s kingdom of love. Thanks for stopping by, Dear Reader. If you’re new, thanks for subscribing and sharing.
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Originally published the in Inspire magazine for Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church:
Moxie Matters Tour
I’m proud of this church for walking with people on their faith journeys. Each of us has our own unique spiritual path to find and to follow. No one’s journey is without obstacles, nor is anyone’s better than another’s, and dare I say I don’t think we’ll ever be “done” seeking God. Here’s a vulnerable moment I recently had on my
journey as one of your pastors.
On February 20, Hennepin will host the “Moxie Matters” tour featuring bestselling Christian author Jen Hatmaker and singer/songwriter Nichole Nordeman. It’s going
to be a big one, friends—the evening show in the Sanctuary sold out in less than two days, and the matinee is on its way to a sell-out, too. I’m proud we’re hosting this tour. However, that’s not where I started. When Jen’s tour team reached out to Hennepin to ask if we would serve as a tour stop venue, I admit I was hesitant. True, I knew Jen’s message more by reputation than by my own reading, but

Read moreHow I almost made our church be one of the churches slamming the door on Jen Hatmaker (and why slamming doors reminded me to keep ours open).

I suppose it's possible.

2016.07.07 I Suppose It's Possible
Update: It’s looking less and less possible. “Police officer charged in fatal shooting of Philando Castile; County attorney: Yanez was not justified in his use of deadly force.”
After my spouse and I heard Philando Castile was killed last night, we were sad. After we watched the aftermath video, we were outraged. After I watched highlights of Philando’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, talk about what happened, I wept.
Then I read the comments.
I know you’re not supposed to do that, but I did that.
I’d like to address one particular kind of comment I’ve read. I’ve seen people write something to the effect that the video and Diamond are only giving us “one side of the story,” and that “we don’t know the whole story” and that we should “reserve judgment” until we get the “all the facts.” To me, these writers are trying to imply maybe killing Philando was justified, that he was a danger to Officer Jeronimo Yanez, that he was going for his weapon, and Officer Yanez did what had to be done. They are saying that all of that is quite possibly the other side of the whole story’s facts, and until we know for sure on that, we shouldn’t have any judgment about the situation.
I can see that.
Because, I mean…
I suppose it’s possible Philando thought the best thing he could do is create a world in which a four-year-old girl watches him shoot a cop.

Read moreI suppose it's possible.

Who Is My Edina Neighbor?

2014.08.14 Who Is My Edina Neighbor

“Who is my neighbor?”

It’s an eternal question and we don’t always like the answer because it can be challenging. Our neighbor could include the stranger, the broken, the enemy. But maybe that relationship is precisely the one that could surprise us the most.

Last night I spent nearly five hours at the City Hall in Edina, MN to listen to public discussion before the City Planning Commission on an affordable housing project proposed by Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. They’re hoping to build a 39-unit building across the street from Southdale and need approval to build in a part of the city that would need special permission because of its zoning regulations. This building and the professional services inside will help young adults, ages 18-22, who have experienced homelessness be able to transition to living on their own, paying rent, getting a job, going to school, and so on. I fully support this.

There has been tremendous support and recently there’s been some dissent, as well. There was a lot of powerful testimony from many perspectives last night, appealing to so many ways of thinking about this issue. From safety and security concerns for current residents and businesses to safety and security for homeless young people who need a second or third chance. From the potential for local business growth to the nervousness of business damage. From location to money to parking to community. No one spoke superfluously; all spoke from the heart. And whether I agreed with them or not, and whether I thought everyone spoke with healthy wording or not, I appreciated that all who did speak did so with passion. It shows a tremendous investment in the community and for my money, only good things can come from that.

What follows is what I said at the forum. I honestly can’t recall speaking at a public forum like this before so it was new to me and an interesting experience. I came because friends from Richfield United Methodist Church encouraged me to attend and I’m glad they did. I spoke because I heard people talk about this community or that community but not everyone together as the community. So here’s what I said (going off my notes and memory):

My name is Nate Melcher and I’m the Associate Pastor at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in downtown Minneapolis. My family and I live at XXX X XXXX XXXXXX in Minneapolis, just a few blocks north of The Hub at West 66th. My previous vocation was running a residence life program at a community college and I’ve seen first-hand what happens when a community of young people come together to live and have assistance from intentional, in-house professional services.

I’m highly-interested in young people finding meaning in their lives. In the research that’s out there in the

Read moreWho Is My Edina Neighbor?

Christianity is "The chance to give a shit." A theological reaction to Guardians of the Galaxy

I have never (to my recollection) used swear words on this blog, and if you don’t want to read “shit” a few times, you can skip this one but I hope you’ll bear with me. If you don’t want to read one or two (relatively) minor spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy that already partially … Read more Christianity is "The chance to give a shit." A theological reaction to Guardians of the Galaxy

LYFE Camp 2014 Day 1 | The Campers Are Here!

What can I say but our first day went off without a hitch!
Counselors worked hard all morning preparing for campers’ arrival. We did some teambuilding exercises, boundary and safety training, and got all the worship, cabin, and group gathering places ready to go. Turned out a few buses and a handful of families arrived early this year so our counselors kept working on our projects while campers unloaded items from the bus but timing-wise there wasn’t too much hassle. Just make sure y’all are on time for pick up on Saturday!
Campers looked to some big posters in the registration office hallway to see which cabin they’re in for the week. Then, counselors helped them get their gear stowed away and took them to different pockets of people to get introductions underway. Remember: we’re merging two weeks plus 1/3 of the camp is brand-new this year. From my perspective, it appears people are really taking to saying “hello” and asking for each other’s names. In short, they’re practicing Christian hospitality and this is exactly the sort of practice that will come in quite handy tomorrow night…
Sunday night dinner is one of the my favorite moments of LYFE Camp. The counselors

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Pay Attention to the Public Ten.

Last week I made my first blog post in a long while (yeah, yeah, I know) about why I am ignoring the allegedly “more than eight” pastors and theologians who call for an “amicable separation” within the United Methodist Church over differences of understanding human sexuality. This week is a new story, a new companion … Read more Pay Attention to the Public Ten.