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New Year’s Questions & Answers with Pastor Dan

By Dan Baumgartner on
Dan Baumgartner
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Jan 18 in Dan's Musings
Q:  How many years have you been at Hollywood Presbyterian?
A:  I just passed 8 years at the beginning of November.
 
Q: You know the Hollywood congregation very well by now. What is something                you really love about this church?
A: The mix of people is astounding. I haven’t really been in a similar place with the diversity of age, style, ethnicity, economics, background. Absolutely amazing!             
Q: What was one good thing that happened at Hollywood Pres in 2018?
A: There were many...but one was that it felt like we settled into the new worship schedule with a combined sanctuary service. We’ve done it for 1 ½ years now, and it is no longer new–it’s just who we are and what we do. After several years of prayer, testing, trying, tweaking...it feels like we have quit thinking so much about change, and just settled into worship.
 
Q: If you had superpowers, what is one thing you would stop at Hollywood Pres?
A: Rumors. The spreading of rumors. If I had superpowers, I would insist that no one talk about things or people in the Hollywood Pres community without actually going to those involved or in leadership and finding out the facts.Rumor spreading is rarely based on the truth, and it is always destructive rather than constructive.
 
Q: What was one good thing in 2018 for you personally?
A: In mid-December, as a birthday celebration, our three kids flew me down to North Carolina. We met there and had a couple days together in Chapel Hill, and took in a  UNC vs Gonzaga big-time college basketball game (our sons went to those schools, so there was a little in-the-family competition, for sure.). Such fun!
 
Q: What was one hard thing about 2018 for you personally? 
A: My friend and mentor Eugene Peterson passed away at the end of October. That was a big loss, and I still find myself feeling it. Hollywood folks may remember that he preached at our church for my installation service in November 2010.
 
Q: Is January typically a boring month for a pastor?
A: Just the opposite, actually. This month includes closing the 2018 financial year, a new budget for 2019, the annual meeting of the congregation, an annual report and new calendars for worship services and staff meetings. In addition, my board leadership role with The Fellowship Community includes planning a national gathering for February. So the plate is very full.
 
Q: What is one thing you look forward to in 2019?
A: It feels like we are more ready than previous years to engage questions about future ministry and direction. The last years have focused a great deal on rebuilding staff, worship, facilities, program...and there is much still to do. But it feels like we have more freedom to think and pray about what we want to work on and invest in for 2019 and beyond.
 
Q: Any last thing you want to say?
A: Hmm. I’ll go with this–it was the slogan printed above the platform in Henrietta Mears’ college class in The Cellar:“To know Christ, and make him known.” 
Let’s do that.
 
 
See you soon,
         Pastor Dan

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