Mission & Purpose

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 […]

The Law of Unintended Consequences

A story: Once upon a time, there was a small village of about 100 people.  For as long as anyone could remember, the population had remained essentially the same.  Each year, on average, seven babies were born, but due to poor conditions five of them died in infancy or early […]

Choosing the MiDL Way

Recent articles from Barna, Alban and Gallup highlight a growing trend in young America — a deep desire to be engaged in activities that make a positive contribution to others and that yield immediate results.  We are witnessing a shift from passivity to engagement — not a new phenomenon, but […]

Christian Fruit Loops

People who know me know that I am very big on fruit: the outward and visible manifestations of the faith we profess.  James says it all when he reminds us that faith without works is dead.  Furthermore, it is not enough just to produce fruit because until it feeds somebody […]

Root Rot in the Theological Tree

Friedrich Schleiermacher offered an interesting, and at the time controversial, challenge to teachers and preachers of the Christian faith in 1811 when he proclaimed that “Christianity needs to be researched and taught.”  His Brief Outline of Theology as a Field of Study, pointed out that much of what Christians believed […]

Survival – Revival – Thrival

Yes, I know “thrival” isn’t a word, but it should be.  We spend so much time in the church talking about ‘survivial’ and ‘revival’ that we forget to talk about what it would look like if we truly thrived.  Last year, “…for the transformation of the world” got officially added […]

Living the Questions

Answers are over-rated.  Good questions beat right answers every time.  The reason?  Rarely in real life is there ever a single “right” answer.  There are good answers.  There are workable answers.  There are reasonable answers.  And in most cases there are multiple answers.  Answers are easy, but asking the right […]