The Future Church – Congregational/Local is Primary

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 4.    Congregational/Local is Primary Gone are the days when loyalty to denomination is common. The mentality of yesteryear was that a loyal parishioner of First United Methodist in one town would join another United Methodist congregation when that person relocated for a new job or retirement.  Today when a faithful participant of one local body of believers moves to a new town, that individual is likely to visit Read More …

Review of This I Believe and This I Believe II

Allison, Jay and Gediman, Dan, eds.  This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable American Men and Women.  Henry Holt and Company, 2006.  ISBN: 978-0-8050-8658-4. Allison, Jay and Gediman, Dan, eds.  This I Believe II: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable American Men and Women.  Henry Holt and Company, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-8050-8768-0. Meet the Editors Jay Allison is the host and curator of This I Believe and the founder of the public radio stations that serve Martha's Read More …

Review of Boundless Faith

Wuthnow, Robert.  Boundless Faith: The Global Outreach of American Churches.  University of California Press, 2009.  ISBN: 978-0-520-25915-7. Meet the Author Robert Wuthnow is the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor of Social Sciences and Director of the Center for the Study of American Religion at Princeton University.  Wuthnow is widely published in the areas of sociology of religion, culture and civil society.  His recent books include Boundless Faith: The Global Influence of American Read More …

The Future Church – Greater Variety of Worship Experiences

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 5.    Greater Variety of Worship Experiences Gone are the days when church growth simply meant adding more worship services.  For years, the model was simple.  Churches held a single Sunday morning worship service.  If attendance grew beyond the comfort level of the leaders, then a second service was added.  The second service was a copy of the first.  The same was true for a move from two services to three or three to Read More …

The Future Church – Inclusive

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 6.    Inclusive Church is often viewed by outsiders as exclusive.  The idea that 11:00 a.m. on Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week has been commonplace for decades.  Bouncer (commercial shown above, permission granted to repost) is one of many effective television commercials created by the United Church of Christ that seek to counter the cultural expectation that few are truly welcome at church with an Read More …

Review of I Once Was Lost

Everts, Don and Schaupp, Doug.  I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path to Jesus.  IVP Books, 2008.  ISBN: 978-0-8308-3608-6. Meet the Authors Don Everts (pictured on the left) served as a campus missionary with InterVaristy Christian Fellowship for fourteen years in Washington and Colorado.  He currently serves as minister of outreach at Bonhomme Presbyterian Church.  Additionally, Everts is the author of eleven books including Jesus with Dirty Feet, The Smell Read More …

The Future Church – More Functional

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 7.    More Functional (Ministry Teams and Task Forces) Any discussion of this change must begin with the recognition of the three primary forms of polity found in Protestant churches: congregational, presbyterian, and episcopal.  In some ways those congregations with a congregational polity will find the changes simpler to make than those with the other forms.  However, it is both necessary and appropriate for all churches Read More …

Prayers of the People – Youth Sunday

The following prayer was written for use on a youth Sunday formed around the parables of the lost sheep, coins and sons (Luke 15) and includes five youth voices.   Let us together turn to the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth in prayer. We pray for your wonderful creation, the earth, and its streams, mountains, creatures, and plants. Remind us anew of your wonderful gift of creation and empower us each to live in ways that honor your intent for us, your human caretakers. Lord in Read More …

American Religious Practice and Belief- Test Your Knowledge

How Accurate Are Your Impressions? Many Christians assume they have a basic understanding of American religious practice and belief.  The following 10 statements, answers, and explanations are based on research by Rodney Stark, which is published in What Americans Really Believe.  For a more comprehensive review of that book and an introduction to Stark, click here. Test your own knowledge by indicating whether you believe each statement to be true or false. The percentage of Americans Read More …

The Future Church – More Relevant and Leading Edge

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 8.    More Relevant and Leading Edge For many years, the American church assumed that it was relevant because it existed in a Christian nation.  A generation or two ago, the church was the center of community life.   During this era, church planting often took the "if we build it, parishioners will come" mentality.  Questions about relevance were rarely raised in any formal setting and even less frequently factors Read More …