When “It Still Works” Isn’t Good Enough

For the better part of a year, my wife and I have been renovating the house we call our home.  While we have updated many houses over the years, this time our efforts are more comprehensive.  We are committed to refashioning it to our tastes and to remaking it for 2016.  As the first phase was nearing completion, it became clear a second phase was needed to handle items that still worked fine but were no longer good enough. When 1989 was placed side-by-side with 2016, it was hard to ignore Read More …

So Many Life Changes

Whether or not you have ever heard of the Social Readjustment Rating Scale also known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, you are likely familiar with the idea that people who experience many significant life changes in a relatively short period of time are at an increased risk for illness.  This scale is a well known and frequently utilized way to self-assess the amount of change a person has experienced.  Each life change has a numeric score associated with it, and the total of all scores Read More …

Embracing New Perspectives

My wife and I have been homeowners as long as we have been a couple with a small gap between the sale of one home and purchase of another years ago.  Normal for us has been owning one home, except for temporarily owning two while in the process of relocating.  When the housing bubble burst and our primary residence was so far underwater we could no longer see the surface, we chose to buy then to buy again in hopes that when the market started to rise again we could sell all three properties for Read More …

Stop Redecorating & Start Making Real Changes

Tom Ehrich, a writer and Episcopal priest, recently slammed the work of an Episcopal task force. For him, the task force's focus on what can be done at the level of the denomination "seems a bit like redecorating and recalibrating the home office of a company in which the home office plays a minor role." The time for that type of change ended decades ago.  The mainline denominations (a group that includes Episcopalians) are a shell of what they once were, and are now "down more than 42 Read More …

Changes in Worship Services

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared a list of rapid changes in church worship services.  His list includes the disappearance of choirs (down 10% in just 10 years), the emergence of screens as normative in worship, a shift toward more casual dress for worship, and longer sermons. So What? Worship services have changed dramatically in recent years.  Rainer's use of the word rapid to describe several shifts is significant. As religious affiliation Read More …

One Man’s Greener Grass

Jason Savage's recent explanation of his decision to leave parish based ministry is an excellent example of the-grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence thinking. Savage is concerned by a decades long trend in the church toward what he calls "professionalism," a broad term that seems to include everything from leveraging the best marketing and management practices from the wider non-profit and for-profit world to accepting the evolving demands of leadership and roles of Read More …

Doing Things a New Way

Brian Dodd works for the Rocket Company, an organization committed to helping churches increase weekly giving and pastors preach better sermons.  Recently, he listed 15 reasons why people don't need to do things the way they have always been done (based on a video featuring Kevin Kelley of the Pulaski Academy).  Included on the list are I've done my research, I am continually learning, the current situation calls for something different, I think differently than others, and I asked Read More …

Things We Don’t Do Anymore Due to Technology

Technology is transforming our lives.  The following infographic offers a list of 50 things we don't do anymore because of technological advancements. Courtesy of: Mozy   So What? Take a few minutes to review the list. How many of these 50 activities have you stopped doing at some point in the last ten years of your life? Are there any outdated activities your church continues to do that should be updated or replaced by something else because technology has created a new Read More …

Common Pastoral Mistakes

Eric Geiger, Vice President at LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared three common mistakes pastors make: not offering clarity, underestimating the power of culture, and switching strategies too frequently. So What? This short list can serve as a helpful tool for those interested in sincere introspection. If you serve in pastoral ministry, which of these three areas is most challenging for you?  How might you focus on strengthening your competency in that area before the Read More …

Sermon: Life-Giving Wind

Sermon Text Acts 2:1-22 Sermon Excerpt Journey with me into the story. . .  Step back and ask yourself, “If I had all the power in the world and wanted to enable a huge crowd of people from different parts of the world to speak to one another, wouldn't I just give them a common language?”  And, if I foreknew that the occasion was to go down in history as the birth of a religion, wouldn't I choose a brand new language with a catchy name that would make the jobs of marketing and public Read More …