The United Methodist Church

Charm School

All this next week (August 23-28) I will be attending the New District Superintendent & Director of Connectional Ministries Orientation hosted by the General Boards of Higher Education & Ministry and Discipleship & our Council of Bishops in Lake Junaluska.  This annual shindig is lovingly known as “charm school.”  It is […]

Creating a Type III Church

In college, I learned an incredibly important lesson about problem solving and planning.  It involved errors, and four main types of errors we make but are often unaware of.  A Type I error involves applying a good solution to the right problem, not getting the expected result, and abandoning the […]

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 […]

United! In What Ways?

There is a great deal of discussion these days about what makes United Methodists “Methodist.”  What I find more challenging is what makes us “United” Methodists.  The fractures to our connection are deeply painful to me.  There is no real freedom to disagree in love.  People talk about one another […]

ReThink Redux

Having now had some involvement with three Annual Conferences and watching the ReThink Church campaign rolled out, I have had ample opportunity to talk to hundreds of United Methodists about it.  Let me say clearly up-front: United Methodists love this campaign.  Each video receives a strong ovation.  The resources literally […]

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 […]

Fiduciary Faith(lessness)

In times of economic stress, it is fascinating to see how the church responds.  ‘In God We Trust’ is apparently only true to the extent that we have the currency on which it is printed.  Cut losses, panic, make shortsighted decisions for the short-term — it makes one wonder, where […]

An Offer of Grace

What follows is an email, in its entirety, that I received today.  The author has approved my sharing its content, but asks that I protect both her identity and that of her congregation.  I think it is both a message of hope and realism — fair, reasonable, balanced, and deeply […]

Evangelisn’t – Part Two

My commentary on the research on evangelism and faith sharing in The United Methodist Church generated some interesting response — some defensive, some reflective, but no one really surprised by the conjecture that we’re not doing very much in the way of inviting people into relationship with Jesus Christ.  I […]