The United Methodist Church

Flatline or Learning Curve?

In medical jargon, “to flatline” means “to die.”  In educational and developmental circles, a “learning curve” indicates the challenge to recognize, adopt, and master new information.  If something is simple, the learning curve is gently sloped and short, but if there is a lot of new and/or complex information to […]

Do United Methodists Want to BE Disciples?

In 1996, The United Methodist Church clarified and refined its mission to be “making disciples of Jesus Christ.”  Twelve years later, it amended the mission to include “for the transformation of the world.”  In essence and in fact, we have declared that our reason for existing is to form, equip, […]

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 […]

Easter for LEADERS

As Christian leaders, we NEED Easter.  We need it because it reminds us of who we absolutely must be as clergy and laity guides in the Christian faith.  It reminds us that we are entrusted with three (at least…) impossible tasks, made possible by the Lord and Savior we follow.  […]

The New-nited Methodist Church

A few people responded to my “Oh We, Of Little Faith” post — addressing the the doom-and-gloom predictions of the end of the UMC in the next forty years or so — by asking what kind of future I do envision for the good old UMC?  Looking at trends and […]

Stupid Christian Education

I keep getting requests for copies of this article and permission to reprint it so I thought I would just re-post it here.  I originally posted it last November. What do you know about God?  What have you learned about Jesus Christ in the past few weeks?  How readily can […]

An Existential Loop

My long time spiritual guide and mentor, Carl Andry, Jr., used to tell us that the purpose of the church could be discerned through the three-fold approach to a single question: Why are we here?  For Dr. Andry, a congregation could only justify its existence by: Asking the question Answering […]

Building a Better Bible

It’s hard to justify the need for yet another Bible — there are a whole bunch out there from the ridiculous to the sublime — but the new Wesley Study Bible distinguishes itself as a worthwhile addition (edition?).  Not that the Bible needs improvement, but anything that illuminates and explains […]

Point, Counterpoint, GracePoint

I’ve received a number of emails and phone calls asking if I am going to weigh in on the GracePoint UMC/GracePoint Community Church (Wichita, KS) split story.  Well, yes and no.  I don’t know enough about the specific story to comment intelligently, but on the surface and in general this appears to […]