Month: June 2009

ReThink Redux

Having now had some involvement with three Annual Conferences and watching the ReThink Church campaign rolled out, I have had ample opportunity to talk to hundreds of United Methodists about it.  Let me say clearly up-front: United Methodists love this campaign.  Each video receives a strong ovation.  The resources literally […]

Dan Dick Is A Jerk

A pastor came up to me with a devilish grin on his face.  “Have you seen this?” he asked, shoving a copy of an email under my nose.  It seems I irritated a prominent, high profile pastor of one of our premiere large membership congregations with my thoughts on the […]

Spiritual Dispurnment

For the past fifteen years I have had opportunities to meet with a wide variety of congregational, conference, and agency leadership teams to look at their processes and practices.  Generally, I am there by invitation to offer insights and suggestions for improvement.  One of my most frequent suggestions often meets […]

United Methodist Emergent-cy

“Are you emerging?” the young pastor asked as he shook my hand.  He has been reading my blog, and simply had to know.  At first I looked down to see if I had come untucked, then I realized what he was asking (a variation on “are you emergent?”).  I never […]

What is Prayer For?

I sat in worship, praying the congregational prayer as written in the bulletin: gracious God, protect those who serve you as agents of light, and strike down all those who serve as agents of darkness…” I stumbled over the words as if I struck my shin on a misplaced table.  […]

Driven to Abstraction

Recently, a young pastor shared this story with me.  He and his congregation studied Vital Signs together over a year ago, and they have been working to balance their inward focus (ministries for the membership) with an outward focus (ministries to the community).  He thought the church was doing a really […]

The Law of Unintended Consequences

A story: Once upon a time, there was a small village of about 100 people.  For as long as anyone could remember, the population had remained essentially the same.  Each year, on average, seven babies were born, but due to poor conditions five of them died in infancy or early […]

Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up

In case I haven’t been clear, I absolutely love Disney/Pixar’s new hit family pic, Up.  I’m not going to spoil the film if you haven’t seen it — and if you haven’t seen it, go, now, I’ll wait…………………….. Okay, great wasn’t it?  As a simple story, it’s nice.  As an […]

Moist & Methodist: Baptism in the UMC

Of the researchstudies on spiritual practices in The United Methodist Church that were suspended when my job got eliminated at the General Board of Discipleship the one I was most disappointed by was our look at baptism.  Following twelve years after the adoption of “By Water and the Spirit” by our General […]

Designer Wineskins

Two recent experiences stay in my mind that cause me to question some of the current values driving many of our churches.  Three values specifically call for some reflection: do we prefer substance or do we prefer style? are we more concerned about our identity or our image? is being […]