Mission & Purpose

Running Church

Stephen King wrote a novella entitled, The Running Man, about a brutal futuristic society where game shows and public executions were combined to produce the ultimate reality show.  Prisoners were given the opportunity to try to escape death — on national TV — by facing unexpected and unimaginable challenges.  The […]

Mission: Impossible

Two recent conversations stick with me and stand in stark contrast to my understanding of the church.  Now, my understanding may be completely wrong, so take what I say with a grain of salt.  My personal belief is that the church exists to serve in the world — that we […]

“We” Faith in a “Me” Culture

I am convinced that the most serious challenge to the Christian church in the United States is the individualistic, consumeristic, self-indulgent, and personal entitlement mindset of most Americans.  On a recent church visit, I met a forty-something woman who told me, “I come to church for me.  I ask my […]

Behavior Modification or Transformation?

Some comments at the School of Congregational Development highlight an incredibly important distinction.  “We’ve heard all this before.  The problem is putting it into practice.”  “You don’t have to talk me into thinking this is important, tell me ways to make it happen.”  “Doing this stuff is a lot harder […]

Crossing the Great Divide

I’m attending the School of Congregational Development this week in Evanston, Illinois, and in just the first few hours I am struck by a radical disconnect in our church.  There is such energy and passion here.  There is a deep vision for transformation of individual lives, congregations, communities and the […]

Stewardship TOE

          In the scientific worlds of physics and astronomy an enormous effort is underway to discover a unifying force or principle that underlies all of creation.  Scientists are pursuing nothing short of a theory of everything, or T.O.E.  Since Einstein transformed our understanding of the known world, the universe, and […]

Cranky Christians

From a letter I received in 1998 from a church member in a congregation where I was providing consultation and mediation: Our pastor doesn’t understand us.  We are a good people, and we don’t want to change.  We’ve gotten along fine for years and everyone was happy until he came […]

Minding Our Own Business

A forty-something woman was talking on her cell phone in the coffee shop where I was pretending to read.  The shop was moderately full, with a handful of children and teenagers present.  It became apparent that the woman was fighting with — perhaps being dumped by — a man on […]