Spiritual Trends

The Next Niche Market

In the competitive church market, where ministry heavyweights duke it out for supremacy with ever greater programmatic offerings, ever larger campuses, ever bigger high definition broadcast screens and quality technical equipment and expertise (I saw where a church in Georgia recently hired a production manager for $225,000 per year…), mid- […]

Attendance Down, Participation Up

For the entire 20th century, worship was the centerpiece of congregational life in the United States.  As the first decade of the 21st century nears its end, this is no longer true.  Experiential learning is the “new” worship in many mainline churches, with service to others hot on its heels. […]

The Urgency Element

Two major research projects have essentially defined my ministry for the past ten years: congregational vitality and seeker spirituality.  A recent job change offered me (forced) a unique opportunity to pore through a veritable mountain of surveys, interviews, and site visit notes to determine what to keep and what to […]

Wipe That Smile Off Your Faith

Humor is a powerful tool for communication and relationship building.  A good sense of humor is an essential element of mental, and even physical, health.  Most people like to laugh, they like being around others who laugh, and they are drawn to those who make them laugh.  Laughter is good […]

The Big Five

For years, United Methodists have pledged to uphold the church by their “prayers, presence, gifts, and service.”  Just this year a fifth promise was added — “witness.”  It is a little problematic that we’ve added a fifth when we haven’t done a very good job with the first four — […]