Identity & Purpose

Church Or Society

I am currently attending my first board meeting with the General Board of Church and Society.  Up front, let me say that I think this is one of the most important, most valuable of our general church agencies.  I understand that this view is not shared by all.  In fact, […]

T-Shirt Evangelism

Back in 2006, I spoke to the Western New York Annual Conference about living the “Gifts, Graces, and Fruit of the Spirit.” (Based on my sensational book, Beyond Money — no longer in print, so contact Discipleship Resources at the General Board of Discipleship and raise a stink…)  For the Fruit of […]

Jurisfictional Conference

Okay, this is just weird.  Holding a Jurisdictional Conference (JC) with no bishop to elect and only 25 nominations to general church boards and agencies is bizarre.  The rhythm, drama, and impact of JC is greatly diminished — and there’s virtually nothing to do (unless you serve on Nominations or […]

Cheapening the Church

Culture works on church like a cancer.  Popularity is the new standard of excellence.  Having a slogan or a sound bite or a brand is so much more important than being relevant or having integrity.  Our get-’em-in-the-doors-by-any-means mentality has done more to kill the church than almost anything else, but it […]

God Bless You, George G. Hunter, III!

Our United Methodist Publishing House released five titles in their new Adaptive Leadership Series, and I have had the pleasure of reading each one.  I will be weighing in on each in time, but far and away my favorite is George Hunter’s, “The Recovery of a Contagious Methodist Movement.”  What […]

The Power of Story

There is such a fine line between fact and fiction/memory and myth/truth and tall tale, yet fiction/myth/tall tale are no less “real” or “meaningful” or “valid” than fact/memory/truth.  In reality, they are all aspects of the same thing.  When I was younger, I had a friend, Dave, whose mother, Judy, […]

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 […]

Synecdoche

It’s taken us a long time to get where we are. It will take us a while to get somewhere better. A focus on quality will take us somewhere different from a focus on quantity. There are dozens of congregations in United Methodism who know this (though dozens out of […]

Diss-cipleship

from the Gospel According to Bob, Chapter 6, verses 31-45… Then Jesus said, ‘Think well and hard before you respond to the call to be my disciples, for many are called but few are truly prepared.’ Robert the follower, also called Bob, piped up, saying, ‘What’s that ‘disciple’ thing?  Is that […]