Most Important Values to Teach Children

Value

The Pew Research’s new American Trends Panel survey asked respondents to pick the three most important values to pass on to children (from a list of twelve).  Overall, respondents selected being responsible - 55% hard work - 42%, and religious faith - 30%. So What? When an additional filter is applied, the results look quite different.  When you compare the most conservative respondents with the most liberal two rather different sets of responses emerge: Consistently Read More …

Stop Redecorating & Start Making Real Changes

ehrich

Tom Ehrich, a writer and Episcopal priest, recently slammed the work of an Episcopal task force. For him, the task force's focus on what can be done at the level of the denomination "seems a bit like redecorating and recalibrating the home office of a company in which the home office plays a minor role." The time for that type of change ended decades ago.  The mainline denominations (a group that includes Episcopalians) are a shell of what they once were, and are now "down more than 42 Read More …

Parable of the Good Hamas Member (Good Samaritan)

amy-jill-levine

Amy-Jill Levine's latest book is among her finest.  Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi explores nine of Jesus' best known parables.  Levine not only effectively places each in its context, but also helps establish parameters for the range of possible meaning today.  In keeping with her contention that Jesus' parables are more provocative than they are often presented today in lectures or sermons, her contemporary re-telling of the Parable of the Good Read More …

Ministry: More or Better?

Seth Godin is the author of seventeen books that have been bestsellers around the world and changed the way people think about marketing, change, and work.  In this five minute video, he suggests that our cultural preference for more being better is unwise and often simply not true. So What? In most congregations, plans are now well underway for constructing ministry and mission for 2015.  What should be done (including and often especially how much more than the prior year) is often a Read More …

How Worship is Evolving

chaves

Data from the third wave of the National Congregations Study just became available last week.  While the first academic paper using the data won't be published till December, a number of blog posts have appeared in recent days focusing on specific shifts that have occurred between wave one (1996) and wave three (2012). Highlights of the latest wave include: Decline in the number of average regular participants from 80 in 1996 to 70 in 2012, Increased acceptance of gays and lesbians into Read More …

Large Church Salaries

Growing

Perhaps you had to read the title of this post more than once.  Typically, salaries paid to church workers (both lay and ordained staff) are not large.  In this post, I consider the latest information on how large churches compensate those they employ based on the Leadership Network / Vanderbloemen 2014 Large Church Salary Report, which was written by Warren Bird. Large churches continue to be far more likely to be growing than smaller churches.  This data finds that roughly 3 in 4 large Read More …

Segregation – Friendship Style

Friends

Since Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 comment, "it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o'clock on Sunday morning," we have made relatively little progress.  According to the latest statistics,  "between 5% to 7.5% of churches in the U.S. are considered to be racially diverse, a designation meaning that at least 20% of a church's members don't belong to the predominant racial group there." These statistics make sense when you consider white American's social Read More …

Connecting Beyond the Local Church

Crabtree

Davida Foy Crabtree completes her service as the Interim Conference Minister for the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ later this month.  As one who has benefited from her leadership, I share her parting prayer (the prayer originally circulated in the e-Celebrate newsletter dated September 3, 2014): Behold, God, your Conference, the United Church of Christ in Florida! Filled with life and hope, struggling at times to see the future, but faithful and strong, these Your people are Read More …

Favoring Youth Over the Elderly?

TonyCampolo

American Christianity has long been a graying religion.  American Mainline Protestantism serves as an example of a group with a median age that significantly exceeds the median age in America.  Given this data, one might assume that local congregations tend to employ more specialized ministers and program staff focused on mature/senior adults than on teens/youth.  In reality, however, far more people serve in youth ministry roles. Tony Campolo, professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern Read More …

September Book Recommendations

Next Post

Here are my book recommendations for the month when many families start a new school year, and most churches begin a new program year: (5) postChristian: What's Left? Can We Fix It? Do We Care? by Christian Piatt (2014) (5) Next: Pastoral Succession That Works by Warren Bird and William Vanderbloemen (2014) (4.5) Rough Country: How Texas Became America's Most Powerful Bible-Belt State by Robert Wuhtnow (2014) (4) Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels Read More …