Mission of the Church

Crossing the Great Divide

I’m attending the School of Congregational Development this week in Evanston, Illinois, and in just the first few hours I am struck by a radical disconnect in our church.  There is such energy and passion here.  There is a deep vision for transformation of individual lives, congregations, communities and the […]

United! In What Ways?

There is a great deal of discussion these days about what makes United Methodists “Methodist.”  What I find more challenging is what makes us “United” Methodists.  The fractures to our connection are deeply painful to me.  There is no real freedom to disagree in love.  People talk about one another […]

Stewardship TOE

          In the scientific worlds of physics and astronomy an enormous effort is underway to discover a unifying force or principle that underlies all of creation.  Scientists are pursuing nothing short of a theory of everything, or T.O.E.  Since Einstein transformed our understanding of the known world, the universe, and […]

What’s In A Shem?

The reaction to the death of Michael Jackson has been fascinating to observe.  The real flesh-and-blood person who was Michael Jackson is almost irrelevant.  The myth, the image, the character (or caricature), and the concept of MICHAEL JACKSON eclipses any kind of appreciation for the man.  Listening to all the […]

What Kind of Church…?

Today has been a day for introspection — thinking about the future by reflecting on the past.  Thinking particularly about the three churches of my childhood and what they taught me about what it means — and doesn’t mean — to be church.  And, at least in my case, three […]

Cranky Christians

From a letter I received in 1998 from a church member in a congregation where I was providing consultation and mediation: Our pastor doesn’t understand us.  We are a good people, and we don’t want to change.  We’ve gotten along fine for years and everyone was happy until he came […]

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

This is the reprint of an article that appeared in The Wittenberg Door (September/October 2007), Alive Now! and on the General Board of Discipleship website, and a sequel to yesterday’s, The Church in the Plastic Bubble.  Since I wrote the original article, I discovered that this is not an aberration, […]

The Church in the Plastic Bubble

A week ago I posted a blog entitled, Driven to Abstraction, where I shared a story of a young pastor disillusioned with his congregation after they refused to accept the presence of homeless people in their midst.  Today I received an email that I know was meant to be helpful, […]

Driven to Abstraction

Recently, a young pastor shared this story with me.  He and his congregation studied Vital Signs together over a year ago, and they have been working to balance their inward focus (ministries for the membership) with an outward focus (ministries to the community).  He thought the church was doing a really […]