I'm Shawna and I'm trying to walk in the way of Jesus each day by grace.  I'm a wife, mom, pastor, writer, speaker and coffee addict.  I blog about faith, church, theology, parenthood and the beautiful mess of life enlivened by the Spirit.  I love watching God breathe new life into the holy words of Christian Scripture.  That's why I teach in a Bible study series called Breathe.  My B.A. in Philosophy and Theology is from Point Loma Nazarene University and my Master of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary.

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  • Conversations on social media have become toxic. Today's Christians do not seem to have the same table manners that our Lord modeled. We have despised our own people; why should we be surprised when they feel they have no where to turn but Caesar?  

    Jesus gave his table hosts more than statements. He gave them his presence, his friendship, his concern for their hardship and his mercy for the mistakes. Jesus joined the toxic tables and turned them over to become the platform for his kingdom announcement.
  • Jul29Sat

    I Kissed Mentor Dating Goodbye

    Let hospitality take the anxiety out of mentoring July 29, 2017
    Filed Under:
    Church, Faith, Women in Ministry

     Why is it that finding a mentor feels like dating? Will they meet your expectations? What will the commitment level look like?

    What if instead of thinking of a mentor relationship as an exclusive partnership to secure our desired life/career benefits, we sought to be part of a nurturing community in which we have as much to invest as we have to receive? When mentoring is an act of hospitality within the Christian community it takes the anxious expectations out of the equation and allows mentoring relationships to foster inclusion and discipleship.

  • Jun30Fri

    5 Reflections on General Assembly 2017

    June 30, 2017 Tim Gaines
    Filed Under:
    Church, Theology, Young Adults, Women in Ministry
    Five basic reflections on General Assembly for all my Nazarene friends.
  • Yes and No

    Yes and No

    Making Space for Grace November 25, 2016 Shawna Songer Gaines
    Filed Under:
    Church, Faith, Parenthood, Liturgy, Worship
    As Christians we want to say yes to God's grace. But with every yes there is a no. If we don't choose carefully what that no is, our careless yes will choose it for us.
  • May2Mon

    Surviving Sunday

    May 2, 2016
    Filed Under:
    Church, Faith, Parenthood

    There are so many couples out there partnering in ministry in one way or another – co-pastoring, Sunday School teaching, ministry leading, worship banding, church planting and so on – who are struggling to live in the blessedness of resurrection day when it feels like the demands of church and family life are crucifying you!

    If that’s you, let me just say, you are not alone! And yes, it’s HARD!

  • In the Church of the Nazarene I believe we have reached a point of desperation when it comes to women in ministry. We have affirmed the place of woman in ministry with our words for over a hundred years. Our words affirmed it when my mother had no examples to see it. Our words affirmed it when I was told to work harder. The words of our history, theology and tradition have not changed our hearts!
  • Feb10Wed


    February 10, 2016
    Filed Under:
    Church, Politics, Faith, Parenthood, Social Justice
    In less than a year, my son, my first born, my baby, will be given over to the public school system. He already has a number. It’s a 10-digit code by which he is distinguished from all the other children in the Nashville public school system. This number reveals his age, place of birth, color of skin, home address, which schools he is and is not zoned for, what options are opened to him and what are closed. As the years go on it will probably reveal what scores he has received in which classes, how much time he spent in detention, which months he earned honor roll and so on.

    In order to get this number I sat in a long hallway with dirty pale blue tile lit by flickering fluorescent bulbs and waited for the woman behind the desk to take my papers. Two other mothers waited with me. The first was black and the second was white.
  • Feb4Thu

    A Letter from the Wilderness

    February 4, 2016
    Filed Under:
    Church, Faith, Theology, Preaching

    To my friends in the Wilderness,

    Forgive my plain words. I haven’t the rhetoric of Peter or the charisma of Phillip. The twelve called upon me to wait tables, to feed the poor and hungry, so those gifted with words could do what I cannot.

    Who would have thought that setting tables with bread would lead me here, before an angry mob gathering stones?

  • Dec15Tue

    Witnessing to the Future

    December 15, 2015
    Filed Under:
    Church, Faith, Theology, Young Adults
    If you want a sneak peak at the future of the church, look to Jesus.

    Christ isn’t coming back from the grave of our past. Christ isn’t coming through the clouds of progress. Christ’s future has exploded the grave and eclipsed the clouds and is coming to us even now. Christ is coming the same way we say him go. The way of sacrifice and self-giving love.
  • Nov11Wed

    Table Manners

    November 11, 2015
    Filed Under:
    Church, Faith, Worship

    It’s always a bit of adjustment eating at a new table, where you don’t know the etiquette. Even more so at The Table to which Christians have been invited to share in one meal for thousands of years. You’d think we would have a better grasp on the table manners.

    One of the great joys of this strange season my family is in, worshiping in a different church nearly every Sunday, is that we get to gather around the Lord’s Table with so many different congregations. Each table bears the unique marks of the Word that became flesh. No two invitations to communion have been the same. In one way this is a wonderful testimony to the incarnation of Christ and contextual nature of worship. In another, these differences speak to a discontinuity and confusion in our worship practices, which can make the invitation to this meal less than hospitable.

    But we have been given some wonderful table manners, if you will, that help us come together around the Lord’s Table and be filled with the gift of Christ who is our peace!