Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: North Carolina

A Day in Duck, North Carolina

The other day we drove down to Duck, North Carolina along the Outer Banks to visit with some friends who were vacationing there. We were reminded of how close we are to the Outer Banks and that we should take more advantage of it being so close. We had a fun day.

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Scandal 2.15: Boom Goes the Dynamite

scandal-season-2-the-jasmine-brandOlivia is late meeting Jake Ballard. She tells him she’s never late for a meeting. He corrects her that this is a date. And their relationship misunderstanding begins. Jake isn’t fond of the restaurant Olivia chose, so he grabs the two wine glasses and the bottle of wine off the table. They end up at the Jefferson Memorial instead.

Olivia comes out and asks him who is Albatross. Jake is taken aback a little bit. But, promises her one minute to talk business before getting back to the date. Jake tells her that there is a mole within the government. No one has seen the mole or knows him by name, they just refer to him as Albatross. Olivia’s ringing phone disturbs the meeting/date.

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My Call to Ministry Part 1

When I was in high school, through the combined experiences of youth group, being on the Ashland District Youth Council, and participating in a summer work-camp called Richmond Metro Workcamp, I began to experience a call to ministry. I don’t remember sharing it with others. But it did reach a point where they shared it with me. It all became very real when the pastor of the small United Methodist Church where I grew up asked if I had ever thought about going into the ministry. As I finished high school, I was much more comfortable with the idea that God was calling me to ministry.

But, doubt would creep in. I would go to community college and get an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Development. I envisioned myself getting a teaching degree and teaching in a school. After getting that degree, I got a full-time job at a United Methodist church working with their weekday children’s ministry. During that time, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and in about eight months would claim the promise of the resurrection. Those eight months would send me into a whirlwind of thinking and rethinking my vocational call. The reality of death and loss hit much harder than Bambi losing his mother ever did.

This whirlwind sent me through many days and hours pondering in an empty church or walking alone on a nature trail. I was asking myself questions like, “What do I want to do with the rest of my life? What is my purpose?”

Me on my wedding day with the window dedicated to my dad.

Me on my wedding day with the window dedicated to my dad.

My father claimed the promise of the resurrection on Easter Sunday, April 2001. Before he passed, two things happened. I applied to Randolph-Macon College, the college I had wanted to attend since I was six, and I applied for a new job as the Youth Director at another United Methodist church. A week before my father passed, I was hired as the Youth Director. When I told Dad, he replied, “That’s good, Son. That’s what you’ve always wanted to do.” (Two months later, I was accepted at Randolph-Macon.)

In June of my first summer as a Youth Director, I took a small group of youth to Durham, North Carolina for a youth work-camp. The work crew that I was assigned to worked on the home of an elderly African-American woman who had adopted two teenage girls and was battling cancer. I had resolved, subconsciously, not to get attached. I did not want to experience the grief and pain that I had just experienced through the loss of my father.

During lunch on that first day, the youth on the crew had invited the home owner to eat with us and join us for our devotion time. The youth had decided that we would eat lunch in her bedroom because she was unable to move freely on her own. I was the last one to enter the room, and when I did, the home owner announced, “There’s the minister!” I was quick to correct her that I was a not a minister, and she was quick to correct me that I was. “When you walked passed me this morning,” she said, “I felt the Holy Spirit move through you.” Not sure how to respond, I politely said, “Thank you,” and sat with the youth for lunch and our devotion.

Rescue Me: New Reality TV Show Rescues Churches

There are a large number of reality TV shows in which businesses of every kind are rescued from their own demise. Everything from beauty shops to bars to restaurants. And the clergy in me cannot help but think, what about churches.

2074839_resque-squad2_u4otpkuoohegc34cxym6cgqbe3ncurxrbvj6lwuht2ya6mzmafma_380x285Well, the National Geographic Channel has the answer. Church Rescue premeires Monday, November 11 at 10pmET. The reality TV show features the trio of men who make up the church consultant group Church Hoppers (@churchhoppers). There is Rev. Kevin “Rev Kev” Annas who is the business analyst; Rev. Anthony “Gladamere” Lockhart who is the marketing specialist; and Rev. Jerry “Doc” Bentley who is the spiritual counselor. Together they will tackle the challenges of running a faith community in various locations. From a Full Gospel church to a biker church to a synagogue.

From the press release:

The Church Hoppers have just seven days to assist the struggling faith-based institutions, and must identify strengths and weaknesses quickly so they can work hand-in-hand with the church leaders to improve their prospects for survival. Every job they take starts with a reconnaissance mission. They visit the churches and blend in as best they can at first, to get the real experience from the churchgoer’s unique perspective. In North Carolina, they visit a motorcycle biker church decked out in biker gear and sport cowboy hats when meeting with the congregation at a cowboy church. They travel to California, meeting with a pastor in Compton whose church is struggling after the economic collapse, and venture to a synagogue in Venice Beach to help a rabbi attract much-needed younger people to his congregation.

The premiere episode is “Country Salvation.” The Hoppers visit a Bapticostal church in rural North Carolina. After worshiping for four hours on a hot day in a sanctuary with no AC, they meet Pastor Larry Roseboro. Through missing teeth, Roseboro expresses his dream of a larger sanctuary. When asked by the three North Carolinan pastors why he has not been making improvements on the current building, Pastor Roseboro exclaims, “If I have to spend money on this old building, you might as well forget it!”

The Church Hoppers are faced with a bit of a challenge. They are able to get the Pastor to a place where he accepts that the way to reach his dream, is to grow the congregation. And one of the ways to grow the congregation, is to take care of the building they have. So, while the construction crew works on the exterior of the building and the interior of the sanctuary, the three men ride around in their Land Rover with Pastor Roseboro teaching him to preach and lead worship within a structured time frame, as well as reconciling with a former church member, who has the skills to be a key leader in the church.

The format of the show is typical of other “rescue” reality shows, which is surprisingly becoming a new genre of reality television. The only difference is that immersed in the commentary is scripture verses that speak to a particular situation at the time. As the episode ends, it gives an update on some of the key situations, similar to the end of the A&E show, Intervention.

Exploring faith communities is not new for National Geographic. They have researched and presented on various topics. As the first season of Church Rescue gets underway, we are sure to see a wide range of cultures. And this is what National Geographic is good at. So it will be interesting to see how viewers respond to this first season.

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