The Blog of Gordon Pruitt the Pastor of St. Matthew's United Methodist Church in Richmond Virginia

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Last week to help War Orphans

We are very close to getting a $10,000 matching grant from my good friend Kevin Bacon for war orphans in Sierra Leone. Look what $10,000 can do.

$10,000 could support for a year 25 new foster care children (kids who don't have a home); or it could feed 60+ resident children for 1/4 of the year; or provide 75% of the annual education costs for the resident children; or cover 100% of the Child Support Program children (100 kids) in 2007! Please don't ever underestimate the impact you each have with your prayers, your time, your resources and your support of the CRC. If the CRC charity badge is successful in remaining in the top six charity badges by the end of the contest, it will certainly generate even more publicity.

Thank you so much if you have already donated.

The CRC charity badge is currently in fifth place and over $9,000 has been raised for the children at the Child Rescue Centre! Woo hoo! The contest ends March 31st. Even though we are in fifth place as far as the number of different donations, there has been lots of activity around us, and one charity badge that was not even on the radar since the beginning of the contest, rocketed into 7th place yesterday out of no where.

If you want to check out the progress this last week of the competition, go to and click on "Top Ten Badges" and look for the picture of Sallay ( beautiful little girl with orange print cloth on her head). Click on that picture and it will tell you what to do. The minimum donation is $10. If you haven't had a chance to donate, now is your chance. Many of you may have meant to donate, but forgot about it, or deleted the information before you had the time to make a donation.

Thanks for your help.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Holes in My Pants

Two weeks ago after church i was playing with my girls and i ripped my wrinkle free dockers right up the crotch. I was bummed as this was my favorite pair of pants, i mean how can you not love pants you don't have to iron. Today after church when we got back to the house my wife noticed i was was wearing those pants! My wife had washed my holy pants and hung them back in the closet. To make matters worse, today was "bring a friend" Sunday and we had over 300 people in church, and i was preaching with a big hole in my crotch. Unbelievable!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Jordan's 4th Birthday!

It is hard to beleive but on Sunday Jordan celebrated her 4th birthday! We had a little party for her, it was a great day. Here are a few pictures.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

1st Round NCAA Picks, My Wife is like butter...

..she is on a roll! My wife got 28 out of 32 games in the first round. That is one of the best rounds i have ever heard of. The good news is i did pretty good as well, 26 out of 32.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Missional Leader, chapter 1

My friend Dwight said to read the Mission Leader first and then read the Missional Church. So i will do as i am told. (see previouse post about the Missional Church).
Chapter 1 of the Missional Church, "Six Critical Issues for Missional Leadership"
"This book was written out of the conviction that we need a new approach to leadership for missional communities," and the authors have identified six key issues.

issue 1- Missional leadership is the key, but how do you do it? There has been a lot of buzz about the idea of the missional church and people have come to love missional theology but not much has been written about how to lead in this way.

issue 2- Most Models Repackage Old Paradigms. -Many books about Church leadership and Church are just repackaging the old paradigms from outside the story of God's people. We borrow from business models, medical models, teaching models, psychology models, but not from the narratives found in scripture.
"when the church borrows and applies such models to the community of God's people it misses an opportunity to shape leadership around the biblical sense, in which leadership is about cultivation an environment that innovates and releases the missional imagination present among a community of God's people."

Many churches that i am aware of have used the business model and i believe have been very successful and have impacted me and motivated me in positive ways. Are these not missional?

issue 3- Discontinuous Change Is the New Norm- Continuous change is expected and can be prepared for, like you know your child is going to grow up and there is going to be continuous change in how you relate with them. Discontinuous change is disruptive and unanticipated and challenges our assumptions. I totally agree with this. I know a pastor who in many ways had great success at a previous church, he came to his new church and figured he could do the same things and have the same results. Well its not happening and he is trying to repackage (issue 2) things other have done and are doing, but the truth is he is not prepared because he is experiencing discontinuous change. What do we do when this happens?

issue 4-Congregations Still Matter - This convicted me and this is the quote that was like a dagger to my heart,

"Through the Incarnation, we discover that God's future is at work not where we tend to look but among the people we write off as dead or powerless to make things different."
I am sad to say i write off a lot of people and say "they are not going to change." But they are the people of God and they matter to God and can be used by God.
issue 5-Leaders Need New Capacities and Frameworks- the role of the pastoral leader needs to change. Because in a situation of rapid discontinuous change, leaders must understand and develop skills and competencies to lead congregations and denominational systems in a context that is missional rather than pastoral. Say amen if you can.

issue 6- A Congregation Is a Unique Organization- "A congregation is not a business enterprise and cannot be treated as one." Guilty. There is a sentence about how a congregation should not be strategic planning around some big plan, (part of my study break was to begin this process, i guess i better skip to that chapter now) but we are called to be formed into a unique social community whose life together is the sign, witness, and foretaste of what God is doing in and for all creation.
Good chapter, a lot of information and i am sure the next chapters will unpack this.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Bacon from Bacon for war orphans in Sierra Leone

Actor and good friend Kevin Bacon recently created a new organization called He refers to it as "a social networking site with a social conscience." The idea is that we're all connected in some way, that what happens to one of us affects all of us in one way or another. is holding an exciting contest right now… The six Charity Badges that get the most number of donations by March 31st will receive a matching grant from Kevin Bacon for up to $10,000! The Child Rescue Centre has registered with and now has its own Charity Badge under the Helping Children Worldwide name

I've been blessed to be a part of Helping Children Worldwide since it was started five years ago and have been to Sierra Leone and strongly believe in the work that is being done there and need to continue it. Check out the web site below. Thanks.

§ Go to the Top Ten website:

§ Click on the Helping Children Worldwide Charity Badge for the Child Rescue Centre.

§ Click on “Donate”, and donate as you wish.

§ The minimum donation is $10, and the entire process takes less than 5 minutes.

§ Increase your power to make a difference for the CRC - Each household can donate once for each person.

§ Remember all donations must be received by March 31st, so act now!

§ God is doing amazing things in Sierra Leone! Thank you for supporting such an important, life-changing cause!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Donuts with Dads Day!

Today was donuts with Dads day at Jordan's preschool. You gotta love it. I got to eat donuts (2 of them Jordan does not like them much), drink orange juice, color a dinosaur, play with blocks, get a wonderful work of art and a coffee mug. If only they had nap time. It was a great morning!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Will the real Gospel please stand up

David Fitch gives a summery of a recent Dallas Willard presentation on his blog. As some of you know Dallas Willard for good or bad has been one of the biggest influences on my life. This is the gist of one of his presentations, from David's blog.

"Dallas asserted that there are "3 Gospels Heard at the Present"

1.) YOUR SINS WILL BE FORGIVEN and you will be in heaven in the afterlife if you believed that Jesus suffered for your sins
2.) JESUS DIED TO LIBERATE THE OPPRESSED and you can stand with him in that battle.
3.) DO WHAT YOUR CHURCH SAYS and it will see to it you are received by God.

Dallas said compare these 3 gospels with the following:
4.) Put your confidence and trust in Jesus and live with him as his disciple now in the present Kingdom of God (Matt 6.33; Rom 8.1-14; Col 1.13; 3. 1-4; John 3.1-8).
Dallas said 'Salvation is participating now in the life which Jesus is now living on earth - Of course that involves forgiveness and heaven afterward and much more.'"

As usual, Dallas is so right. In the Virginia United Methodist Church, of which I am a part of this is how you could separate the pastors and the churches from each other. The conservatives are all about the first gospel, the liberals are all about the 2nd gospel but in my perhaps arrogant perspective there are not many churches that live out the 4th gospel Willard describes which i believe to be the correct gospel.
One of the many growing areas i have experienced in the last 10 years has been my view on the atonement and salvation. About the atonement i would have said the one and only meaning to the atonement was substitutionary, that Jesus death on the cross. That would have put me in the 1) gospel camp. Over the years as i have studied the Bible and read many books, including Willard I have came to the conclusion that there is more to the atonement than the forgiveness of sins. " With the forgiveness of sins you have to trust in something Jesus DID, not in JESUS. Please here this, I get on my knees every morning and thank God for the forgiveness of sins, believe me I need it, but Jesus came for more than to forgive our sins.

If you were to ask what the Methodist church is known for, what the strength of the church is, you would hear that we are good at liberating the oppressed and social action/social justice. It would be hard to find any other Christian organization in these areas than the Methodist church that does this better and we should be proud of that. This is where we thrive at that is awesome because God has called us to do so, but again there is more to the gospel. Here you have to trust something Jesus said, but not in Jesus himself.

The good news is with the help of the Holy Spirit as people begin to put their trust and confidence in Jesus and become his disciples, the forgiveness of sins and the liberating of the oppressed will naturally happen.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Missional Church

The 2 years i was a Lewis Fellow i met some awesome people. Among the coolest and perhaps the most intelligent person in the world today, (I'm not kissing up to this dude,) Dwight Zscheile (I googled Dwight's name after i wrote this and found an article that he wrote about the Missional church) introduced me the the Missional church. I still don't fully understand the Missional Church but one definition of it is,

"A missional church is a community of God's people who live into the imagination that they are, by their very nature, God's missionary people living as a demonstration of what God plans to do in and for all of creation in Jesus Christ."
Instead of having a program for missions or evangelism the very nature of the church is mission and evangelism, there is no seperating. Anyway, Dwight recommend 2 books, the seminal book on this topic, Missional Church and The Missional Leader. I got these books in July but have not read them yet. Today is the day of salvation and i am going to start. As i go through these book i will try and provide a summery on what I've read.
Also check out this website.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Bono is the MAN!

Bono from the NAACP awards