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 …

Recent Reading – June

June books

This is the final installment of my monthly posts sharing my ratings of some of the books I have recently read.  I plan to resume my normal routine of providing reviews next month. (5) Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most by Marcus Borg (2014) (4) The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: the 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief by George Marsden (2014) (3.5) Pastoral Work: Engagements with the Work of Eugene Peterson edited by Jason Byassee (2014) (3) Living with a Wild Read More …

Sermon: An Open Invitation

Communion

Sermon Text: I Corinthians 11:17-34a (The Message) Sermon Excerpt What is it about kitchens that turn them into places for memorable conversations? Before I share what is perhaps my most memorable kitchen encounter, let me give you a little context.  I had traveled with a rather large church group to another state to do mission work.  We were quite a diverse bunch. The teenagers and college students represented many different Christian traditions, and also included a good number who had Read More …

Boomers = End of Senior Adult Ministry

Rainer

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared five implications for local churches as boomers retire.  Since the youngest boomers have already started retiring, it is important that all congregations pay attention to how the coming wave of retirees will change the church.  While I agree with his list, I am especially interested in the final item since it is not talked about as often as the others. Retiring Boomers will kill traditional church senior adult Read More …

Hidden Church Asssets

m-marcuson

Margaret Marcuson speaks and writes on leadership and works with church leaders nationally as a consultant and coach.  Earlier this month, she blogged about three categories of assets found in all churches that are often undervalued or overlooked: human capital, intellectual capital, and financial capital. So What? Often congregations focus on financial capital, and assume they know all there is to know about their resources in this arena.  Marcuson encourages congregations to look Read More …

Ways to Engage Volunteers

bowdle

I have been in more than a few meetings this year when someone at the table said "people don't volunteer like they used to" or "we just don't have enough volunteers."  Churches should be about helping every member (as well as every active participant!) be engaged in ministry.  Creating a congregational culture that promotes volunteerism doesn't happen by chance. Phil Bowdle, creative arts director at West Ridge Church (Atlanta, GA), recently shared four ways his congregation improved their Read More …

Reasons Not To Sing

Thom

Thom Schultz, co-author of Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore and the director of the film When God Left the Building, recently shared his list of four reasons why fewer and fewer people are singing during worship services: worship is crafted as a spectator event, quality is emphasized, professional music is incredibly loud, and musical selections are unfamiliar, hard to sing, or just cheesy. So What? Schultz concludes his article with a confession: he has stopped singing Read More …

Who REALLY Attends Church?

Attendance

Over the last 10 days I have seen at least a few dozen different articles or blog posts talking about the gap between who says they attend church and who actually attends.  The sudden focus on the topic is a result of a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, which was release on May 17.  More specifically, the latest inquiry finds that people are more honest about the topic when asked in an anonymous online survey than when asked by phone.  Interestingly, three groups were more likely Read More …

Commencement Wisdom

dalai_lama

Graduation season has arrived.  Whether you are attending a commencement ceremony this year or not, you can benefit from a the wisdom of over 300 of the most notable commencement speeches ever given in the United States (1774-2013).  This incredible resource was compiled by NPR. The Dalai Lama's remarks at Tulane last year made the list as did 26 other 2013 speeches.  In his speech, the Dalai Lama said I heard you mention your own state and your own nation – that’s wonderful and as it should Read More …