Church membership

Lowest Common Denomination

With the exception of a couple brief positive blips, membership and worship attendance have been in steady decline in The United Methodist Church since the Methodist/Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) merger in 1968.  This isn’t news.  It has been virtually impossible to read anything written about our denomination over the past 40 […]

Faith By Numbers

When I was a kid, I used to love paint-by-number sets.  Paint-by-number was the perfect solution for someone like me with absolutely no artistic ability whatsoever.  There was a picture presented in ink outline and in each section of the outline was a number that corresponded to a color paint.  […]

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. […]

Confirmation Consternation

Worship Connection posted an interesting article by Shane Raynor this week, Reinventing Confirmation.  As I read it, I experienced a strange ambivalence — agreeing with many of the observations Shane makes while feeling like something was missing.  Some of the insightful points in the article challenge the “one size fits […]

Oh We, Of Little Faith

I received three emails today that I call “Chicken Little” messages.  You know, the panicky ‘sky-is-falling’ folks who take every apocalyptic message as gospel fact.  Somewhere, someone is marching out the old, tired chestnut that the United Methodist Church is dying and won’t be around in thirty or forty years.  […]