Shepherding with Paddle Strokes and Pigskin

Wally Bullington walks around in some of my favorite shepherding memories. Wally was a football coach, now retired, but still known by most people as “coach.” Wally loves God. And he shoots straight, but always with love and with warmth and follow-through. One scene I recall was during a church-wide father/child canoe trip…

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Author: Lynn Anderson Publish Date: July 21, 2016

Fluffy Hair Prayer

This morning a friend and I went to visit someone from our church family who suffered a stroke that affected the left side of her body. As we walked into her room, she was fixing her hair. We began to chat while the hair fluffing continued for several minutes. We talked about her…

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Author: Amanda Box Publish Date: July 4, 2016

But, Isn’t That…Selfish? The Paradoxical Nature of Love

This is part 1 of an ongoing series. Find the rest of the series here. — Last month I shared an article referencing a sheet of paper I have hanging up in my office with the title, “7 Responses for Healthy Systems”. This list comes from Peter Steinke’s excellent little book How Your Church…

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Author: Ben Fike Publish Date: July 1, 2016

The Story Begins Here: Mi Casa Es Su Casa

Shepherding is largely “a family affair.” And—the elder’s spouse is a key factor. As a shepherding couple, Clois and Betty Fowler represented the best in graciousness and hospitality, especially in the young and formative stages of my wife’s and my ministry. They were like second grandparents to our grandchildren—and to many others. We…

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Author: Lynn Anderson Publish Date: June 23, 2016

Hiring a Minister: Five Suggestions for Churches

Interviewing for a ministry position is like interviewing for any other job – and yet it is completely different. I know that is a contradiction, but this is the paradox I have experienced having been on both sides of the hiring process for ministers and churches. We naturally compare a ministry hire to…

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Author: Chris Benjamin Publish Date: June 21, 2016

Preparing for Rain While the Skies are Blue

We were often surprised by rain when we moved to Houston. In other parts of Texas, we could see, hear, and feel the rainstorm coming, long before it arrived. But not in Houston. Houston is hot and muggy, then hot and rainy, and then hot and muggier. Rarely do we get warning. Our…

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Author: Shannon Rains Publish Date: June 2, 2016

What the Church Can Learn from the Anonymous

God is full of surprises, which is a good thing, I suppose, because this means that my limits are not his limits. God is not domesticated—he will do as he wishes with no need for me to sign off on his agenda. And I am discovering that from time to time God wishes…

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Author: Greg Fleming Publish Date: May 31, 2016

Book Review: “Zeal without Burnout” by Christopher Ash

Over the last several years, I have heard many people talking about the topic of ministerial burnout. Whether or not you are convinced this is a real phenomenon, it’s hard to deny the facts: many people leave the Christian ministry every month. For one reason or another, they are exhausted and simply cannot carry on.…

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Author: Matthew Dowling Publish Date: May 23, 2016

Balancing Solitude and Community in the Life of a Leader

“Let them who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community… But the reverse is also true: Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.  (Deitrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together) — In recent years I have become increasingly appreciative of the need…

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Author: Barry Packer Publish Date: May 20, 2016

We Are Not Issues, We Are People

I remember the first time I was referred to as an “issue.” Growing up in a Church of Christ as a strong-willed, outspoken, female leader had its ups and downs. But rather than shut me down, my family tried to foster spiritual formation in my gifts, and my church family loved me despite…

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Author: Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby Publish Date: May 18, 2016


The CHARIS website hosts conversations of and about Churches of Christ. In partnership with the ACU Library and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), the website is supported and led by the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality (CHARIS) at ACU. The Center’s mission is to renew Christian spirituality through engagement of Christian heritage, at Abilene Christian University and beyond. The views expressed on the CHARIS website are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Abilene Christian University or CHARIS at ACU. Questions or comments about the CHARIS website can be directed to charis @

2017-18 CHARIS Editorial Board:
Dr. Carisse Berryhill
Dr. Jason Fikes
Karissa Herchenroeder
Mac Ice
Chai Green
Tammy Marcelain
Molly Scherer
Dr. John Weaver

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