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 …

Back to TV

TV Time

Over the last few weeks a popular topic of conversation has been the end of summer and the start of a new school year.  In my area, public schools are already in session and universities will soon begin a new academic year.   With this transition many people are trying to establish new routines.  If you are like most people, television will be a part of your routine.  In fact, 74% of American adults turn their television on every day and most devote significant time to watching it according to Read More …

Faith = Longer Life

long life

In the latest edition of the Journal of General Practice, Richard Scott notes the correlation between religious faith and longer life expectancy: "religious faith remains by far the best predictor of a long and healthy life." So What? As someone who resides in a seasonal resort community that welcomes numerous snowbirds each winter, I am well aware of just how much life expectancy (and realized years of life) really matter.  I am also thankful to live in Collier County, which has been Read More …

Dining Solo

food-npd-chart

American habits are changing faster than most people realize. For example: the percentage of American adults who are single has risen from 22% to more than 50%.  Today singletons comprise 28% of all households, and are the most common type of domestic unit.   Most of the roughly 1 in 7 American adults currently living alone have chosen to do so, and view it as a preference (for more on this view my review of Going Solo by Eric Klinenberg - one of my top books of 2012). Given such a shift Read More …