Christian discipleship

Make-No-Wave United Methodist Church

I received an interesting email from a pastor today who “followed my advice” and raised questions about expectations and accountability in the church.  He asked the “what is the church?” and “what is the church for?” questions, and zeroed in on what our membership vows really mean.  He was shocked […]

Too Busy

Meeting with a group of clergy last Thursday, the conversation turned to prayer and the idea of teaching people to pray.  There was general consensus that prayer is a good thing, but it became quickly evident that most in the group view prayer as something we “have” to do rather […]

Holy Warps

Okay, I understand disagreements over theology.  I understand disagreements over fundamental beliefs — between different religions.  I think most of the divisions and debates are pointless, but I understand them.  What I don’t understand is the virulent and vehement disagreement over discipleship and church membership.  What are our defining features? […]

Brace for Impact

Why are we here?  I don’t have one answer that applies equally to all congregations, but I believe this question is THE question every congregation should discuss and wrestle with.  Why do we exist?  What difference are we making — in the lives of our members and friends, in our […]

Fruit Smoothie

I have been working on a sermon for this coming weekend and I have been doing a lot of thinking about the fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23.  Spiritual gifts, graces and fruit have been an interest of mine for some time (check out Equipped for Every […]

The Lost Discipline

Okay.  Blog vacation over.  I’m back.  I have been unbelievably busy for the past two weeks, but am now going to get back to my two-to-three blog a week schedule.  I’m sure you are all relieved… I have tried in the past couple weeks to keep my thoughts to myself […]

Witness for the Prosecution

Here’s something I don’t understand.  Why do so many people in the church who teach evangelism despise non-Christians?  No, really.  It would seem to me that as Christians we would absolutely LOVE everyone who isn’t a Christian, but this isn’t the case.  Over and over I meet United Methodist evangelists […]

Broken By You

I remember attending the worship of a young pastor a few year’s ago who was presiding over his first communion.  He served a rural congregation, known far and wide for the ongoing conflicts within the small fellowship.  It was hoped he could bring peace to an embattled situation.  As he […]

United Methodists Wanting to… What?

The United Methodist Church… wants to… what?  This is a question I asked for years when I worked for the General Board of Discipleship and travelled across the country.  I let people fill in the blank, then pressed to be sure I understood what they meant.  I came upon a […]

ReDo, UnDo, DoDo

United Methodist congregations seem to regularly get “stuck” in one (or more) of three places.  Annual Conferences, too, share this affliction.  Instead of channeling energy positively, it dissipates in non-productive — and sometimes damaging ways.  Conversations tend to focus on problems to solve rather than possibilties.  People get bogged down […]