Church Leadership

Do Something

Is part of our problem that we make things too hard?  Maybe the key to congregational health, strength, and vitality is well within our grasp, but we keep looking for some grand answer because the truth seems much to simple and easy.  Over the weekend I went through some files […]

Time Warped

I read an article this last week that says our Council of Bishops approved a plan to make The United Methodist Church ten-year’s younger in a decade.  I thought, “That can’t be right.”  Just doing the math, we would need 70% of our existing over-50 membership to die or go […]

Running Church

Stephen King wrote a novella entitled, The Running Man, about a brutal futuristic society where game shows and public executions were combined to produce the ultimate reality show.  Prisoners were given the opportunity to try to escape death — on national TV — by facing unexpected and unimaginable challenges.  The […]

Mission: Impossible

Two recent conversations stick with me and stand in stark contrast to my understanding of the church.  Now, my understanding may be completely wrong, so take what I say with a grain of salt.  My personal belief is that the church exists to serve in the world — that we […]

Puritanical Victorianimosity

It always amazes me when fairly modern interpretations of scripture are represented as “traditional” or “ancient.”  Most moralizing uses of scripture are as recent as the Victorian era (1837~1901), and many date back to the Puritan era (1550s~1660s) but almost none have anything to do with their original meaning.  Most of our Hebrew […]

Punishing Success

A series of recent events have conspired to make me get back in touch with some of the churches I interviewed and studied during my Vital Signs research.  Out of fifteen vital congregations, the good news is that eleven of them are still going as strong as ever.  The bad […]

Catalytic Conversion

I met a man years ago who possessed the true spiritual gift of evangelism.  He shared faith in such an authentic and unguarded way that even atheists listened to him with respect.  More than any words he said, any actions he took, he simply exuded an assurance and a non-anxious […]

Captives to Comfort

I spoke with a pastor recently who told me his congregation sold a gift of land, not because they needed the money, but because they were afraid they might have to move.  The parcel of land was larger, centrally located to new developments in the fastest growing area in the […]

Near Miss Worship

No one sets out to offer vacuous, insipid, superficial, or self-absorbed worship.  Pastors and lay leaders both dedicate themselves to creating meaningful, spiritual and authentic worship experiences.  Yet, at a gathering of 21-29 year olds who have “given up on church” that took place in 2007 , these were the top […]