Practicing The Empty Nest

Between June 29 and July 22, I have only three days with a kid in the house…otherwise, it’s just my bride and me, and the dog, alone, for the first time in nearly 19 years.

David is off with Jeremiah Project, working through the summer as their intern, finding projects for the kids to work on. Sarah is in Europe right now, with her school trip to Madrid, Barcelona, Provence and Milan…then she too will be on JP duty with her brother for a week.

In the meantime, we get to be just us. We get to go out to dinner together, which we did hours after taking Sarah to the airport. We get to have friends over, and make the foods *we* want to have, like we did tonight. We get to go hang out with good friends elsewhere, without worrying about the kids or having to get anyone anyplace. And we begin to get a sense of what it will be like in a couple of years when we’re doing this full-time, as the yearlings will actually take flight.

We get to sleep in on weekend days or days off, not having to rush anywhere, We get to curl up with the dog and absolutely make her day with all the attention. And if we decide to pop over to a movie, or go out for a drink…there’s nothing stopping us.

I really think I’m going to like the next chapter!


Is Your Church Declining?

I’ve been through enough ups and downs in different congregations to where I’m getting used to it, which is sad in its own way: Christ’s church is intended always to be moving, growing, taking his word into the world. But alas, there are churches that aren’t.

Thom Rainer has some thoughts on what’s behind a declining church, and it has to do with what’s being made front and center in the congregation. (Hint: it isn’t Jesus.) His excellent article, “The Most Common Factor in Declining Churches,” ought to be required reading not only in ones where attendance and spirits are falling, but in growing ones–lest they make the same mistakes someday. Give a read and let me know what you think.