Mowing the Lawn

Mowing the Lawn

I mowed my lawn this week. It was 92 degrees, humid, and sweaty. I have two lawn mowers – a push mower and a self-propelled, neither the kind you ride on. As a person who needs more exercise, I refuse to purchase a riding lawn mower. The grass forces me to work. And at the end of the weekly ritual there is something mysteriously sacred about the mown lawn. For all the work I do, this single ritual most acquaints me with God. I’m not sure why.

My lawn mowing career began as a child at my grandparent’s home. They had beautiful Saint Augustine grass. It even sounds holy. And they owned an ancient lawn mower that had no motor. A twirling set of cutting blades spun round and round, equivalent to the speed with which it was being pushed. The faster you pushed it, the better it cut. Mowing their yard was a group exercise. With 27 cousins hanging around, we each pushed until we couldn’t breathe and then the next cousin took over. I cut my mowing teeth on that old mower.

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If I Pastor Again …

If I Pastor Again …

After 33 years as a pastor of a local church, I went over to the dark side of college administration and became a university president. After 10 years on the dark side, I look back at my old work and wonder what I would do differently.

I think I know. Rather than trying to wrestle 10 volunteer hours from laity who had worked 50 hours that week, I’d invest in the quality of their 50 hours in the workplace. Rather than convincing them to energize the programs I was most invested in, I would energize the work God had given them to do in the world. Rather than measuring success as seating capacity on Sunday, I’d measure it as sending capacity on Monday.

Yes, I’d still ask them to invest in youth and children, serve in the nursery, feed the hungry, visit the sick, and do all the things a mature body of Jesus does. But I’d view the mission of the local church as the way we served the community through our work.

The gathered church occupies 5-10 hours a week at most. The scattered church lives shoulder-to-shoulder in the world 50-80 hours a week. As a gathered church, we are mostly among the found.

As a scattered church, we are mostly among the lost. conviction drove me to write The Way We Work: How Faith Makes a Difference on the Job.  If I pastor again, these are the kinds of things I will say to people.


You can purchase a copy, find out more, or read a few sample pages of my new book, The Way We Work, here.