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My Blog

Who Are You Listening To?

The average member of a mainline congregation spends far more time getting info from pundits than from the Holy Spirit. If we are going to renew the church, we need to spend more time listening to God.

God Always Goes First

In the struggle to figure out how to help congregations thrive, we often move too quickly to "What are we going to do?" But Christians believe that God always goes first, so learning to ask what God is up to is the first step in a different kind of church.

People Are Talking About Jesus Christ (Superstar) and Some Christians Are Mad

The musical, "Jesus Christ, Superstar" was shown live on TV Sunday evening. Well done, the reviews and response were overwhelmingly positive and people woke up Monday morning talking about it. You'd think the church would be excited that so many people are suddenly talking about Jesus. But many Christians are once again whining about the details and simply pouring negative feedback into the conversation. The church can (and must) do better! Another opportunity blown?

Connecting Theology and Passion

Having the best theology is not enough to energize a congregation. And having the worst theology doesn't guarantee a congregation's failure. The difference seems to be whether the people are passionate about the power of their faith to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others. So how do mainline Christians, whose teaching is solid and centered on grace, restore a passion for the gospel that inspire movement again?

A Path for Discipleship - What's Yours

For people who are outside the church, having a clear path to moving from outside to inside the church can be both helpful and important. Having simple but helpful steps can provide the clarity needed to encourage someone to begin the journey toward meaningful membership in a faith community.

Pastors Need to Press

If there is one common denominator that congregations that renew all share, the pastors there are all pressing for renewal and part of making change happen. This is more than just hard work - it requires a willingness to do the hard work of transforming.

3 Things Judicatories Can Do Best - Renewing the Church

The front line of ministry in the church is the congregation. There is little doubt about that. But national church bodies and regional judicatories also play key roles. But if congregations are going to renew, then the closest outside point of contact in the church system is the judicatory in which they participate. These judicatories MUST focus almost all their energy on renewing congregations and developing leaders.

You Will Only Meet Those (Future) People if You Are Willing to Go Out to Meet Them

The days of attraction are over. PR is a minimal tool. We must go introduce ourselves to the neighbors if we want to meet them. They are unlikely to ever come in and introduce themselves to us!

Your Congregation's Future Depends on People You Haven't Met

Every congregation sustains itself in the short term by the involvement of the people who are there now. But in a changing world, the old ways of simply counting on the future of the congregation to happen are gone. In this missional era, the future relies on people you haven't even met yet.

Four Truths - Part Two: You can only do evangelism with people who aren’t Christian

Many congregational leaders don't want outsiders in their church buildings for activities. They want to keep it for members. But you can only do evangelism with people who aren't Christians.

The Future Depends on Your Willingness to be Neighbor

Congregations routinely want new people to come, join in and be a part of the life of the church. But most are just waiting around hoping that the neighbors will take the initiative. But Jesus is clear - being neighbor is on us first!

Four Truths Every Church Must Face

As I worked with a congregation and sensed their resistance to change, I helped them see four things they needed to own if they were to have any chance at transformation. These four things are true for most of us, too!

Where are your best leaders and what are you doing with them?

Good leaders not only lead but also scout for people with potential with whom they will invest some extra time and energy.

Christian Vocation - Does Church Count?

Often, when Protestants talk about vocation, they talk about various arenas in which we live out our baptismal calling. These usually include our work (occupation), family, community and the church. We have responsibilities in each of these places. But what if church isn't one arena in which we live but our identity as Christ's people that permeates all of life. Seeing the church that way redefines what we do when we are together for the sake of what we do when we are apart.