Hits Just Keep On Coming!

Forgive this personal digression, but I just noticed that United Methodeviations passed the 500,000 page views milestone recently.  On the one hand, this boggles my mind.  I realize that many hits come from “regulars” who check in frequently, so I have no delusions of reaching half a million people.  I […]

The Conflict Conflict

My thesis: the greatest danger to today’s Christian church in the United States doesn’t come from outside.  It isn’t atheists.  It isn’t gays or lesbians.  It isn’t the liberal media.  It isn’t terrorists of other faiths.  No, the greatest threat to our church today is us — the silly little […]

Mission Motivation, Mission Manipulation

I witnessed one of the best missions presentations today at the Wisconsin School of Christian Mission.  Anita Ayers Henderlight, Executive Director of the Africa Education & Leadership Initiative presented an uplifting, positive, informative, hopeful and highly motivational program on the Sudan.  Uplifting?  Positive?  Hopeful?  SUDAN?  What gives?  The United Methodist Church […]

The Passing of Power

George Steinbrenner died at 80.  This news brought to mind a flurry of memories and images.  When I was younger, I absolutely LOVED baseball.  I followed the Big Red Machine in the 1970s and memorized volumes of stats and stories.  There was something pure and fun and inspiring and simply […]

The Division-Driven Church

Generally, a vision is a positive thing — something worth pursuing, something people want.  Promised Land.  Land flowing with milk and honey.  City on a hill.  Shining light.  Good thing.  At its best, the church is all about vision.  Or, it should be.  Too often we are about division instead […]

The Enemy Within

On a not-too-infrequent basis, Christian commentators will rant and rail against secular and non-Christian forces conspiring to destroy our faith.  Any given day, the Muslims or the scientists or the atheists or the Jews or the secular humanists or the liberals or the homosexuals or Planned Parenthood or the… you […]

Mediocrity Not A Goal

I received three different requests for this article in the past two weeks, so I am reprinting it here (from February 2009) No Christian leader that I know ever sets out to do an “average” job for God. Oh, sure there are a few jaded pastors who are just counting […]

Balance

Want to know a secret?  The key to congregational vitality isn’t growth, it’s balance.  This shouldn’t be a secret — and it isn’t for about 10% of our United Methodist congregations — but sadly it is for the vast majority.  Ever since the late 20th century when we lost our […]

Devaluation

We’ll take anybody.  We don’t even require membership classes anymore.  Nobody has the time, and most of the people who join our church are coming from other churches, anyway.  We ask at the end of every service if there is anyone who wishes to join, they come forward, and we […]

Make Us One, Lord

I used a hymn at this year’s annual conference that I wrote the words to about 20 years ago when I was charged with merging two congregations that didn’t really want to merge.  There was loads of competition and strife, so I wrote this song as a call for unity. […]