Church Leadership

Losers Focus on… Losing

Negative energy is seductive and strangely appealing.  In The United Methodist Church we have established a history of focusing on our decline and failures.  For the short-sighted and faithless, how many members we have lost is more important than how many members we have.  For the fatalist and facile, what […]

False Profits

from the Gospel According to Bob, Chapter 11, verses 15-31; Original Old Prophetic Scripture In English (Oopsie) Version — (this is satire and parody; I am fully aware that these things AREN’T really in the Bible… but thanks to those who have expressed concern!) And Jesus said, ‘Beware of false prophets […]

Simple Isn’t Easy

I received a number of responses and comments on my Simplicity Itself post.  I think three in particular deserve specific response: Dan.  I hear you, and agree with many of your points, but I am curious to how you propose to live this out either in your ministry in the […]

Simplicity Itself

Following the endless conversations about “what comes next?” in The United Methodist Church, it becomes more and more apparent that most of the suggestions, reports and recommendations made thus far are all designed for just one purpose: to avoid the hard work that actually must happen.  In my humble opinion […]

Reform or Refunction?

Well, what do you know, I basically agree with the General Secretaries of our General Boards and Agencies (with a few exceptions): we should be very clear about the missional outcomes we are trying to produce before we determine the best structure to adopt.  Amazing.  There are some in the […]

Settling

I was speaking with one of our retired bishops recently, who framed the current recommendations this way, “Well, it’s better than no plan at all.”  There are so many things wrong with this statement, and each one is more depressing than the last.  If the plans are poor plans, then, […]

The Nice Curse

Well, it is official.  The United Methodist Church is “popular.”  At least this is what a recent survey from the Baptist LifeWay Research indicates.  Americans across the United States — well, 3-out-of-5 of them — claim a “very” or “somewhat” favorable view of the UMC.  (Does anyone else see “somewhat” as […]

Thanks Giving

There is often a chasm between what we say is important and the actions we take which reveal what is truly important (like saying “we want to make disciples,” then counting “worship attenders.”) to us.  Something is always driving us, but identifying exactly what it is isn’t always easy.  You […]

Di*cip*eshi*

What in God’s name do we think we are doing?  If I hear one more prominent church leader define discipleship as going to church I will scream.  We aren’t going to count the number of people who attend church anymore.  Some genius decided we will count “disciples” in worship.  What?  […]

Christi-inanity

Four recent conversations point out a serious (and growing) problem in many of our congregations: we don’t know what to do with smart people who ask tough questions.  I have had (intentional) encounters with people in the state of Wisconsin who have visited United Methodist congregations and found them lacking.  […]