Congregational Life

Brace for Impact

Why are we here?  I don’t have one answer that applies equally to all congregations, but I believe this question is THE question every congregation should discuss and wrestle with.  Why do we exist?  What difference are we making — in the lives of our members and friends, in our […]

The Division-Driven Church

Generally, a vision is a positive thing — something worth pursuing, something people want.  Promised Land.  Land flowing with milk and honey.  City on a hill.  Shining light.  Good thing.  At its best, the church is all about vision.  Or, it should be.  Too often we are about division instead […]

Mediocrity Not A Goal

I received three different requests for this article in the past two weeks, so I am reprinting it here (from February 2009) No Christian leader that I know ever sets out to do an “average” job for God. Oh, sure there are a few jaded pastors who are just counting […]

Devaluation

We’ll take anybody.  We don’t even require membership classes anymore.  Nobody has the time, and most of the people who join our church are coming from other churches, anyway.  We ask at the end of every service if there is anyone who wishes to join, they come forward, and we […]

Children of God

I’ve gotten in trouble lately for an idea that I thought was fairly safe, but turns out (as many ideas do) is theologically open to debate.   I suggested that human beings, created in the image of God, might be children of God.  I do have to acknowledge that this is […]

Compassionot

Who should have a place at the banquet table laid out for us by God?  This is a question that keeps coming up in my life at the moment as I listen to conversations about immigration, homosexuality, capital punishment, and abortion.  In each case, one significant issue emerges: who is […]

Broken By You

I remember attending the worship of a young pastor a few year’s ago who was presiding over his first communion.  He served a rural congregation, known far and wide for the ongoing conflicts within the small fellowship.  It was hoped he could bring peace to an embattled situation.  As he […]

Measuremental Disorders

Blog-buddy John Meunier asked me a question on his blog on a topic that I was in the middle of writing about on my blog.  So here is his question as well as my answer.  His question, “I wonder if anyone who has studied church vitality and maybe even written […]

United Methodists Wanting to… What?

The United Methodist Church… wants to… what?  This is a question I asked for years when I worked for the General Board of Discipleship and travelled across the country.  I let people fill in the blank, then pressed to be sure I understood what they meant.  I came upon a […]

Be A Tree

There is this great old Peanuts cartoon.  Lucy is explaining to little brother Linus how the world works.  She takes him to a tree in the yard and shows him the falling leaves.  She explains that this is a normal occurence, one of those wondrous cycles of nature.  She says […]