The Future Church – Less Formal

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 9.    Less Formal Formal Informal Dress up in Sunday best to attend Come as you are (wear what you normally do) Formal titles used when known, especially for clergy and church leaders (i.e. The Rev. Dr.) Names not titles are normative Extensive worship guides/bulletins Limited or no print materials used in worship Positional leadership Functional leadership Join the club Participate in Read More …

Go Swimming (and Get Wet in the Process)

Tom Bandy, a church development guru and ecumenical pastor tells a story that is relevant to all believers: The retreat was being held in a lodge beside a lake. During the break, we all gathered on the beach to watch the kids play. One child was dressed in swimsuit, bathing hat, plastic flotation "duck", and snorkel. She kept running down to the edge of the water, dipping her feet into the lake, yelping, and running back to her towel. All the observers laughed heartily. Later during dinner at Read More …

The Future Church – Less Real Estate

Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 10.    Less Real Estate Over the past fifty years, churches have sought to acquire more land and build more buildings as a growth strategy.  For the average church, excepting office space and school space, most of the square feet within their campuses are used only a few hours a week.  The cost to maintain these large campuses is significant.  Any honest consideration of human resource (custodial and administrative), Read More …

The Changing Church – Looking into the Future

The rate of change in the America culture is often far more rapid than within the American church.  The church, however, must proactively and strategically consider and act to enable it to live into its purpose now and in the future.  I created a Top 10 List of the changes I believe will be most helpful over the next several years.  I revisit and revise the list often.  The latest revision follows: Looking into the Future: The Top 10 Changes for the American Church 10.    Less Real Read More …

Reaching 20-Somethings

It is widely accepted that different generations hear and respond differently to the same invitation to participate in the Christian faith.  Most church leaders and those involved in making decisions about reaching out to those not yet a part of the faith community are well beyond their twenties.  For those over 30, myself included, Scot McKnight's recent article The Gospel for iGens (Leadership, Summer 2009) is an important read.  If you are not familiar with McKnight, he is a forward thinking Read More …

Ministry and Modern Technology

In the July/August edition of Collide, Stephen Presley writes a thought provoking article: A Biblical Definition of Ministry in a Technological Age.  Presley defines ministry as "a personal commission from God that labors toward the reconciliation of others to Christ through the gospel."  He suggests it includes both personal and interpersonal elements, but that while it involves people its purpose is communicating the gospel.  As technology continues to change and is utilized more by Read More …

Middle School Students and Mission Work

Last week I had the privilege of participating in a Week of Hope alongside a group of eighteen middle school students and two adults from my church. We were a part of a larger team of eighty-seven participants (middle school students, high school students, and adults) from five churches across the country affiliated with three different denominations.  This short-term mission opportunity is open to middle and high school students across the country and is facilitated by Group Workcamps.  So Read More …

What is the Purpose of a Sermon?

Scot McKnight's latest blog entry invites discussion: What is the Purpose of a Sermon?  McKnight, a New Testament scholar as well as a prolific author and blogger, asks the question as he follows those who are live blogging about a preaching conference at Mars Hill with Rob Bell, Pete Rollins, and Shane Hipps. So What? Share your answer to the question: What is the purpose of a sermon?  For me a part of the answer must be in the so what.  If I hear what sounded like a great sermon, but Read More …

To Twist or Not to Twist

In the July/August edition of Youth Worker Journal, Patton Dodd wrote an article about twisting Scripture in Children's Ministry.  He and his wife taught Sunday School for a four and five year old class and were surprised to learn that the lesson on John the Baptist instructed them to "teach the main point that John the Baptist told the crowds, 'Jesus is God's Son,' as John the Baptist did, and telling them that they, like John, are supposed to carry that message into the world."  The surprise Read More …

Obama’s New Church

Have you ever wondered how a President selects which church to attend?  Apparently many more people are concerned with what church Obama chooses than the selection or discernment process leading to that choice.  Back in February, Andrew Santella wrote, "Since before Election Day, Washington pastors have been lining up to invite the first family into their flock, and outlets from PBS to the Wall Street Journal have taken their turn handicapping the many contending congregations. Despite all of Read More …