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 …

Review of SimChurch

Estes, Douglas.  SimChurch: Being the Church in the Virtual World.  Zondervan, 2009.  ISBN: 978031028741 Meet the Author Douglas Estes is the lead pastor of Berryessa Valley Church, adjunct professor of New Testament at Western Seminary, and is actively engaged in both discussion about and experience of the church in the virtual world.   He received his PhD in Theology from the University of Nottingham, UK. He is the author of The Temporal Mechanics of the Fourth Gospel: A Theory of Read More …

Review of Fasting

McKnight, Scot.  Fasting.  Thomas Nelson, 2009.  ISBN: 978-0-8499-0108-9. Meet the Author Scot McKnight is an Anabaptist theologian and a professor of religious studies at Northpark University.  The author of over 20 books, including The Jesus Creed, he specializes in Jesus studies and the New Testament.  As an authority in Jesus studies, McKnight has been frequently consulted by Fox News, WGN, US News & World Report, Newsweek, TIME, as well as newspapers throughout the United States.  Read More …

Prayer of Adoration for September 27, 2009

Eternal paradox of possibility, God of justice and mercy, We come to worship you.   Invisible yet Incarnate, Three yet One, We come to seek your face.   God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God of time and eternity, We come to praise your name.   With honesty and humility, With reverence and repentance, We come to pray to you - Offering our prayers of confession . . . (transition to congregational prayers of confession) Read More …

Review of Promise and Peril

Brubaker, David.  Promise and Peril: Understanding and Managing Change and Conflict in Congregations.  The Alban Institute, 2009. ISBN: 978-1-56699-382-1. Meet the Author Since 2004, David Brubaker has served as Associate Professor of Organizational Studies at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.  Brubaker is a member of the Alban Institute and has 20 years of experience in workplace mediation, training and organizational and congregational consulting.  Read More …