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 …

Religious Discrimination for Job Applicants

Who Gets Called Back

Sociologists Bradley R. E. Wright (author of Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites . . . and Other Lies You’ve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media - my review and Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World - my review) and Michael Wallace published an article in the June 2014 edition of Christianity Today that overviews their recent research on religious discrimination in the job application process in the United States. The project Read More …

Spiritual Prodigies

Vince Amlin

Vince Amlin, associate minister at the United Church of Gainesville (Gainesville, FL), recently suggested that we need more spiritual prodigies. More specifically, he wrote The Church could use a generation of spiritual prodigies. The UCC needs them. The world needs them – kids hungry for a second helping of soul. So What? I agree wholeheartedly with Amlin that the church is ready to benefit from a new generation of spiritual prodigies.  I wonder, however, what it is that your local Read More …

Learning from Trader Joe’s

Becca Messman

Becca Messman, associate pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church (Herndon, VA), recently wrote about how the church could learn from her favorite grocery store: Trader Joe's.  Her piece, published in the Presbyterian Outlook, considers how Presbyterians would do well to study this "quirky, small-by-design chain of grocery stores that is clearly not trying to be any of its competitors."  Her suggestions, of course, transcend her denominational affiliation. Messman recommends that churches learn Read More …