Identity & Purpose

The Mediocre Commission

From the Gospel According to Bob, 28:16-20: Then Jesus sayeth unto them, “Go, invite people to come sitteth for an hour in church once every six weeks or so, telling them that very little will be expected of them, that they will heareth good music and that there will be coffee and snacks.”  […]

United Methodist Preservation Society

The latest wave of announcements about our future are dismaying.  Not because they are negative, but because they are pedestrian.  We are not “rearranging deck-chairs on the Titanic,” as some assert; we are strategically planning and designing a Titanic upon which to rearrange deck-chairs.  The short-sighted, defensive, U.S.-centric, survival-mentality, institutional […]

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?  […]

Garden Club Christianity

Every community has its own unique interests and passions, and when I served in northern New Jersey in the 1980s, that interest was gardening.  In Westwood and the three towns surrounding (Emerson, Hillsdale, and Park Ridge), garden clubs were the rage.  To be a pastor seeking to connect with the […]

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 […]

The Costs of Low Expectations

While cleaning out some files the other day, I came across a folder of interviews I did in 2004 with 22 lifelong United Methodists who, in their 60s, 70s and 80s, made the decision to leave the denomination and join another church.  These people did not make the choice based […]

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 […]

Souled Out

When will we get tired of playing the numbers game?  We have been misled to believe that the answer to all the problems of The United Methodist Church is more people.  We don’t care about who these people are or whether they will benefit from being United Methodists — we […]