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Author Jim Kelsey

Jim Kelsey is executive minister of the American Baptist Churches-New York State.

If you’re a church leader, your first task is to establish trust. If trust exists, a church and their leaders can survive the stress of tough finances, deteriorating buildings and declining membership. […] Read More

When pastors set boundaries in their lives, they can maintain their emotional, physical and spiritual health so when they are “on,” they bring the best they have to the situation. […] Read More

Many of us born in the United States are in a position of privilege. Perhaps it would be healthy for us to look through a locked gate from the wrong side – with neither privilege nor claim. […] Read More

They were seeking a “biblical form of church government.” This congregation seemed to think that they could achieve this by severing all formal ties with other churches and becoming an independent church. As a Baptist, I am a high-trust, low-control person. I trust local congregations to follow the Spirit and would defend them from outside control. […] Read More

We are nicer when we journey together. In writing about civility, Gil Rendle (“Behavioral Covenants in Congregations: A Handbook for Honoring Differences”) cites the work of Yale professor Stephen Carter, who argues that riding in a subway, bus or train full of strangers requires us to understand our obligations to treat one another with due […] Read More

The powerful strategize; the powerless engage in tactics. So writes Emmanuel Katongole in his book, “Mirror in the Church – Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda.” People in power plan the way they want things to be. They do research and analyze from a distance. They employ technology and expertise. They are pragmatic and lay […] Read More

We learned it as children: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I assume it is to be a comfort to children when someone speaks unkind words to them. It occurs to me that it also could be a taunt that dares actual physical violence. In either case, it […] Read More

Malcolm X’s Chicago house had been firebombed that morning. Both Malcolm and Martin Luther King Jr. were in New York for speaking engagements. Malcolm had requested a secret meeting with King. King had agreed. It is a fictional account by Jeff Stetson titled “The Meeting.” In this play, Stetson speculates what these two influential, yet […] Read More

We have all seen it. You probably saw it in the last few weeks. A child is coaxed onto Santa’s lap, and then the child begins screaming and frantically trying to escape. Truth is, some children find a strange loud man in a bright red suit and long white beard frightening. The angels in Luke’s […] Read More

When I was young, I knew things were about to get boring when someone around me began a sentence with “remember when.” Now I have become one of those people of a certain stage of life who begins their sentences with “remember when.” My sons, in the patience that comes with young adulthood, no longer […] Read More