Church Leadership

Take Time To Be Holy

Are we really all too busy to spend time with God?  I was in a situation recently where one group was bashing another group and I innocently asked if they had ever gotten together to pray.  You might have thought I suggested they mate with animals.  The idea that we […]

Choose Your C

I have been reading both Bruggemann and Block (The Word That Redescribes the World  and Community/Abundant Community) and have been challenged in my thinking to a great degree about how we live together in healthy Christian community.  Both books press a very simple, yet signficant distinction between two Cs: consumer […]

More-a-torium

Often we believe that if we do more of what does not work, it will finally work.  This is the dilemma of the consumer economy.  It leads us to the place where, when we reach a limit and still are unsatisfied, we think, if we only had more, we would […]

Running Out of Options

What is the greatest threat to our United Methodist Church?  Is it decline?  Is it tolerance of sin?  Is it judgmentalism?  Is it hypocrisy?  How about controversy and conflict?  Nope.  There is one, simple threat to our continued existence and that is US.  Our church has been subverted by a […]

When the Means Mystify the Ends

Tools are only as helpful as the knowledge available to employ them.  Give a child a bandsaw and he is as likely to do great damage as any good.  If we don’t understand something, it is very unlikely we will use it well.  Case in point, our cultural lack of […]

Finding What We Look For

Scott Kline, a professional driver, managed to wreck a million-dollar prototype hybrid car when it was first being tested.  When asked to explain what happened, Kline reported, I got so engrossed looking at all the dials and gauges and screens on the dashboard that I forgot to look where I […]

Failure In An Instant

At what point do we finally wake-up to the fact that there is no such thing as a lasting, transformative “quick-fix?”  We have suffered through over 50 years of “church-in-box” programs that have produced poor results at best.  Disciple Bible Study came closest to delivering transformation, but ultimately “popular” did […]

A Heart Strangely Harmed

Way back in the last century — 1988 to be exact — I prepared a sermon for the 250th anniversary of John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience.  When I arrived on Sunday morning and looked at the bulletin, I realized that my title had a typo — instead of “Heart Strangely Warmed” the […]

Plugged In

Two of my colleagues have recently returned from renewal retreats, and it reminds me again how very critical spiritual self-care is for leaders, both clergy and lay.  I conducted a variety of studies on clergy wellness, morale, self-care, renewal and spiritual practice when I worked for the General Board of […]

Limited Appeal

I got an email this week from a lifelong Methodist who writes: You do realize, don’t you, that you have a very limited appeal?  The majority of United Methodists are extremely happy with the way things are. Really?  We are happy with losing credibility?  We are happy that more people […]