Dust to Dust

About six weeks into a new year is long enough for life to become routine.  It is also time to pause and to really hear the words of Genesis 3:19b "you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (NRSV) or "you started out as dirt, you'll end up dirt" (The Message). So What? Whether or not you attended an Ash Wednesday service or received ashes, allow the words of Scripture to call you to recognition of the frailty of human life, especially your own.  As you recognize your sinfulness, begin Read More …

The Future Church – Top 10 Changes

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church Over the last few months I have posted about each of the Top 10 Changes I view as important for the American Church over the next several years.  It is my hope that this list will challenge individual disciples, leadership teams, and congregations to think proactively, prayerfully, and strategically about not only what it means to be the church today, but also what changes are needed to be effective in the future.  Click on Read More …

The Future Church – Discipleship

The future church is focused on discipleship, not membership.  Shown below is a helpful set of comparisons between these two models developed by Michael Foss in Power Surge: Six Marks of Discipleship for a Changing Church. MEMBERSHIP MODEL DISCIPLESHIP MODEL Pay dues Follow the way of Jesus Take care of members Equip disciples for ministry For members only For all God’s people Pastor does the praying Disciples are fervent prayers Bring a guest on Read More …

The Future Church – Experiential

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 2.    Experiential (Doing/Practicing the Faith) The future church knows Christian education is important as an empowering tool, not an end unto itself.    Gone are the esoteric classes on matters of intellectual curiosity with little or no connection to living as a disciple of Christ.  Christian education, faith formation, discipleship or whatever term you may prefer is a lifelong process that can be encouraged through a Read More …

Still Hungry? Sermon Video

Still Hungry? 2nd Sunday of Christmas Colossians 1:17-19 / John 6:24-35, 41-42 Watch the sermon below or read the manuscript. Still Hungry? from First Presbyterian Church on Vimeo. Did you know that all of my recent sermons are available here at sowhatfaith on the sermon page? Read More …

The Future Church – Relational

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 3. Relational For many years the trend has been that larger churches are continuing to grow larger while smaller churches continue to decline in membership.  In some megachurch settings it is very easy for someone to attend worship and remain anonymous and have little or no interaction with other people. Another trend that has now spanned a few decades is that of emphasizing programs.  Many congregations place an emphasis Read More …

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 …

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 …

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 …