Congregational Life

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 […]

Why People Think We’re Crazy

There are times when Christians drive me absolutely nuts.  One way this happens is when I hear well-meaning and sincere Christians confuse faith and superstition, relying on prayer as a magical talisman or incantation.  I listened to a United Methodist colleague share recently that he no longer prays because it […]

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 […]

Say It — A Rant

I am not known for keeping my mouth shut.  I often say things in public settings that get me in trouble (see Minding Our Own Business).  But, you know what?  I don’t think letting people know we are Christian should be such a big, hairy deal.  I said something in […]

United Methodist Liburies

Loving books, God and the church impels me to look at local church libraries whenever I visit a new place.  Were we to view church libraries as a “witness” to a church’s learning and beliefs, we would generally be misled.  Church libraries are odd little repositories for an eclectic and […]

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 […]

Church Is Easy, People Are Hard

“My people won’t let me take a day off,” confessed a colleague. “What do you mean “won’t let you?” I asked. “I mean that they call me and they hunt me down.  They will not leave me alone.” “Well, what are you doing about it?  How are you defining and […]

Instruments in Need of Tuning

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not […]

Fresh Eyes

I got a nice email from a pastor in Australia that set me to thinking.  He writes: I found your blog by accident and started reading it regularly, but for a time I thought you were having me on.  I thought it was a joke site, because of the outrageous […]

Church Without Churches

A thought exercise: what would happen to The United Methodist Church in these United States if when we woke up tomorrow morning, all our buildings and property were gone?  How many of our congregations would carry on with hardly a disruption?  How many “members” would we lose to churches with […]