Reflections on George H.W. Bush

bush_prez_0I am quite an admirer of George H.W. Bush (1924-2018), and think of him fondly on the news of his death. I always liked Bush, but when I was younger I was not overly enthusiastic about his leadership.  As time has progressed, my appreciation and respect for him as a leader continued to increase, until he has developed in my mind – for too many reasons to put in this post – as one of my favorite historical leaders.

He produced cooperation.  He was strong against tyranny.  He was compassionate towards the disadvantaged.  He was very human and very American.

Thirty years ago, Bush stated “We need a kinder and gentler nation.”  We needed that cultural challenge then, and it still calls to those who will listen today.

Thanks, Eugene

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Eugene Peterson died last month (October 22, 2018) after a long life of service to the kingdom of God.  He was an author, scholar, and pastor.   I never met him, but his writings marked my ministry greatly.

51ltEQZuJVL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_His 2011 memoirs titled The Pastor, came into my life at just the right time.  One of my pastors – Ronnie Meek – asked me to read Peterson’s book. It was a time of internal struggle with my call, and disillusionment with the modern definition of a pastor that I was watching destroy several of my colleagues while eating away at me.

In December 2011, Beth and I were exploring Chicago (see picture).  As I followed Beth around Michigan avenue, I carried Peterson’s wisdom with a 1stedition Kindle Reader.  Page after page, chapter after chapter, Peterson’s enjoyable stories and thought-provoking phrases chipped away at my hidden obsession to be to be a super-star religious leader.

In Peterson’s stories, I noticed my story in a new way.  As he wrote, “I was a pastor long before I knew I was a pastor; I just never had a name for it.”  God used this book to bring me back home to God’s call.   Since that time, I have referred back to passages in The Pastormany times to re-center my call to this exhilarating, boring, spectacular, ordinary, complicated, privileged call to pastor God’s people.

the pervasive element in our two-thousand-year pastoral tradition is not someone who “gets things done” but rather the person placed in the community to pay attention and call attention to “what is going on right now” between men and women, with one another and with God—this kingdom of God that is primarily local, relentlessly personal, and prayerful “without ceasing.” – Eugene Peterson

Third Thursday with Dan Scott

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*Attention Nashville area pastors*

For many years I have been part of Third Thursday – a gathering for pastors at Axis Church in Nashville (1423 2nd Ave N). This eclectic group comes together for Friendship, Training, Discussion, Coffee, and Networking. All pastors are welcome!

On Thursday, August 16th we will meet at the Axis Church at 9am, with the discussion starting at 9:30am.

DanScott-tieMy dear friend, Pastor Dan Scott of Christ Church Nashville, will be leading the discussion on “The Pastoral Call for the 21st Century Pastor.”

If you have never sat under Dan’s ministry, make a point to join us. Pastor Dan has influenced my perspective on pastoring and the church’s role in culture profoundly. He is such a gift, and I hope you take advantage of this opportunity.

(PS— If you come, please do not park in the red barn’s parking lot)

Taking my Sabbath

I’m so grateful for a congregation that allows me to have a Sabbath each Friday, so I can reflect, recharge and recreate. Everyone in our church is so respectful of my time. Still, I want to serve people as much as I can. This quote is helpful when reflecting on the rhythm of ministry and rest.

“A public man, though he is necessarily available at many times, must learn to hide. If he is always available, he is not worth enough when he is available.” – Elton Trueblood

Thanks Billy for not disappointing us

Billy-Graham-on-white-house-lawn-1950

I joyfully mourn the loss of Billy Graham upon his death today.  As I grew up in the Christian faith, I often heard, “Who is going to be the next Billy Graham?”   Well, there will not be another Billy Graham. That does not mean Graham is set apart as better than the rest of us.  Like Elijah, Graham “was a human being as we are (James 5:17).”

There will not be another Billy Graham because of the dramatic changes in our American culture (future blog to come).  Graham was known as America’s pastor, but America does not want to be pastored anymore.  I studied Graham’s life pretty extensively, and like me, he was not perfect.  Still, Graham knew how to handle earthly power over multiple decades in a way that honored God and lifted the reputation of Christianity.  (The above picture is of Graham and friends on White House lawn in 1950 – he was close to power at such a young age). We are all so grateful this prominent star maintained his morality.

He was committed to evangelism, and turned down lucrative offers in entertainment to stay focused on the ministry.  I particularly admire Graham’s outspoken opposition to nuclear weapons.  In 1979, he spoke against nuclear proliferation at a time when Christians in America almost blindly supported the build up of these weapons.

In Christianity, we are always looking for the next hero, and we are usually disappointed by them somewhere along the way.  Thanks Billy Graham for not disappointing us.

August – A time for church growth

20161107-singleportrait-dark-60God is doing a tremendous work at CIL right now!  We are witnessing higher participation, a deeper passion for worship, a hunger for Scripture, service to our community, and a culture of love.  Together, we are being Jesus!  We are the body of Christ!

August is traditionally a month of harvest for our church.  Many visitors discover CIL during June and July, and when the rest of the congregation returns from vacation season, we usually have an electric atmosphere.  With this probability in mind, here are a few things I am asking you to do:

Invite.  It’s a great season to bring friends to CIL.

–  Pray.  Let’s ask God for a season of momentum to help our church be everything God intends us to be.

–  Be friendly.  Your hospitality creates the culture of love the church needs.

–  Volunteer.  The nursery, elementary services, cleaning team and welcome team are some areas current and new volunteers can make a kingdom impact!  If you are interested in joining one of those teams, let me know and I will connect you to those leaders.

–  Give.  The summer months has the highest expenses and the lowest contributions.  As we anticipated, we have some catching up to do from this incredible summer of ministry.  We plant in early summer, and harvest in August. Your tithe and generosity will help us remain strong financially.  You can always give financially online through the church’s website.  God uses your giving to build His kingdom.  Here is the online giving link – https://my.simplegive.com/g3/

I am so excited about the future of CIL.  I have been the pastor here for 9.5 years now, and I feel like things are just now starting!  The best is right before us!

I love serving Jesus with you!

Aaron Name

The Global Leadership Summit coming to Hendersonville

TGLS2015Logo02The Global Leadership Summit is one of the highlights of my year. This event is fuel to my leadership passion tank.  The various presenters come from both the church and corporate world, which brings a powerful blending of wisdom. The conference will occur August 6-7, 2015 (Thursday and Friday). Though the event originates from Chicago, it will occur literally around the globe through simulcast technology.

For the first time, TGLS is coming to Hendersonville!  The event will be simulcast at GodWhy Church, which gives more people at CIL a chance to attend.  As a sponsoring church, CIL constituents pay only $99 (instead of $199) when registering by June 21.  There is a special code to to get this discount.  To obtain the CIL code, e-mail me, contact the church office or pick up the code at The Communication Center the next time you attend CIL.

If you have the code, register here.

For me, these are the most important two day of the year for leadership development, so I truly hope you join me for this transformational experience.

Here is the speaker line-up:

2015 Speaker Lineup