Sermon: Be A Quitter

i-quit

Sermon Text: I Corinthians 1:10-17 (The Message)   Sermon Excerpt Churchy Christians often say, “Wherever two or three are gathered in God’s name, God is present.” While they are likely right, practical Christians recognize that wherever two or three are gathered, many perspectives are present.  And somehow, more often than we care to admit, extended conversations that highlight our differences turn into arguments. Good Christian people have been known to argue about nearly Read More …

Pulpit Plagiarism

noplagiarism

Plagiarism is a word I hear far more often on the university campus than on the church campus.  It is, however, one that deserves attention in both arenas. Sarah Pulliam Bailey recently asked the question, "Is pulpit plagiarism on the rise?" in response to several recent incidents in which well-known pastors were caught plagiarizing content for sermons, radio broadcasts, newspaper articles, and/or books.  Some of the pastors attracting attention of their plagiarism include Mark Driscoll, Read More …

Friday Fun: Church Laws

peanuts

Most people welcome something fun or, better yet, funny as the end of a work week approaches.  Rather than deal with the touchy topic of Friday the 13th, I instead share a few of the strangest church laws found in our land. In Boston, it is against the law to eat peanuts while in church. In Omaha, it's illegal to sneeze or burp during a church service. In Texas, it is illegal to go to church in disguise. In Mississippi, private citizens may arrest anyone who disturbs a church Read More …

Challenging Classism

CindyRigby

Cynthia Rigby, Professor of Theology at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, recently proposed that churches develop "concrete ways of challenging classism and promoting economic justice." She recommends that they accomplish this by honestly reflecting on the ways they themselves are complicit in fostering classism, and repenting of their own classist ways and re-committing themselves to being communities that do not privilege those who are richer over those who are poorer. So Read More …

The End of Interim Ministry?

what-next

Later this month I will conclude a 10 month interim role as the Senior Minister of United Church (Marco Island, FL): a congregation affiliated with the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches and the United Church of Christ.  This year long journey has afforded the congregation an opportunity to process the past, understand the present, and prepare for the future.  I firmly believe it will enable the new settled minister to begin well from day one knowing that folks are ready Read More …

Fandom is Killing the Church

sandlin

Mark Sandlin,  co-founder of The Christian Left and owner of TheGodArticle.com, recently suggested that the fandom of God is slowly killing the church.  More specifically, he argues When we are fans of Jesus rather than followers of Jesus, our focus is inward turned, like in fandoms, concerned with and finding full satisfaction in what we think and feel and believe. We are more interested in who gets to be labeled insiders, who are "real/true" fans of God, than we are with following the Read More …

Monday Morning Sermon Quarterbacking

MMQ

Monday morning quarterbacking happens around the brunch/lunch table on Sunday, at the watercooler on Monday, and in so many other social gatherings throughout the week.  Many sports fans engage in conversation about how they, in hindsight, would have done things differently in the big game (assuming they had been the coach).  Likewise, many worship participants like to critique their minister's sermons in some form of post-worship conversation that often suggests a different preaching path would Read More …

Megachurch Attendees

W Bird

Much is written about megachurches, including here on this blog (US Megachurches, Megachurches Shaping American Protestantism, Mega Megachurches, Megachurch Bubble, Megachurches Offer a  Religious High, Church Size and Growth Potential, and even Mega-Interest in Megachurches).  One man, however, is behind as much or more research on megachurches than any other: Warren Bird. Bird, research director at Leadership Network, is the co-author of a report entitled "Not Who You Think You Are," which Read More …

Tech Required for Church Growth

Bill Tenny-Brittian

Bill Tenny-Brittian, managing partner for 21st Century Strategies and editor in chief of Net Results Magazine, recently stated that churches that ignore technology cannot grow.  More specifically, he wrote Having and using the latest and greatest tech tools won’t grow a church. But not using today’s technology to effectively communicate the gospel will ensure that a church won’t experience significant and sustainable conversion growth . . . So What? Tenny-Brittian's remark is bold.  It may Read More …

How We Read the Bible

Print

According to recent research conducted by the Barna Group commissioned by the American Bible Society, American Bible readers strongly prefer reading the Bible in an old fashioned printed edition of the Bible.  The preferred formats are print - 84%, digital - 10%, audio - 5%, and all others - 1%. So What? A few months ago I blogged about the tremendous rise in e-reading.  While the report does note a shift toward digital reading the shift is far slower when it comes to the Bible Read More …