I Want to Be with People Who . . .

I recently completed a 70 week long search for a community of faith.  During that journey I received more advice from others than anticipated, and spent time in more congregations than I had initially planned.  Throughout these experiences I was reminded of just how different communities of faith can be - even and sometimes especially those geographically near one another and/or  those sharing a denominational affiliation. I was also reminded of the importance of diversity within a Read More …

Valuing Diversity: The 75% Rule

Corey Widmer, associate pastor for outreach at Third Presbyterian Church (Richmond, VA), recently wrote about something known in his congregation as the 75% rule.  He explains: When we gather together to worship on Sundays, everyone should be happy with no more than 75% of what is happening during the worship service.  Why such a strange rule? Because we realize that in our culturally diverse congregation, if you are happy and comfortable with more than 75% of what is going on, it most likely Read More …

Seminaries Lack Faculty Diversity

While the topic of reforming the seminary experience has been popular for many years (for ideas forwarded by many leaders check out the Future of Seminary Education), it is atypical for such conversations to include expectations for faculty diversity. Even though I would have guessed this was an area in which improvement could be made, I was surprised by the latest statistics.  Claudio Carvalhaes recently shared that the Association of Theological Schools reported the following data on Read More …

Mosques in America Growing Rapidly

The number of mosques in America is growing rapidly.  Lauren Markoe's Religion News Service article explores the recent growth through the lens of  "The American Mosque 2011,"  a recently released report that overviews the findings of a survey produced by "a coalition of Islamic civic groups and Muslim and non-Muslim religion scholars."  Notably: Total number of mosques: 2016 Growth in number of mosques since 2000: 74% Most mosques take an approach that is other than literal "see the Read More …

The End of Mary

Philip N. Cohen, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently wrote two posts (A and B) on his blog about the declining popularity of the name Mary.  To put the trend in perspective he offers these remarks: For the first time in the history of the United States of America, the name Mary is not in the top 100 given to newborn girls. Mary was the #1 name every year in the Social Security name database from 1880 — it’s first year — to 1961 (except for Read More …

The Nature of the Church in the 21st Century

Cynthia Holder Rich is currently the Interim Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Muskegon, MI and serves on the Special Committee on the Nature of the Church in the 21st Century of the Presbyterian Church (USA).   In the latter role she posted five questions, which were developed by the committee: What is your vision for the church in the 21st century? What characteristics will draw the great diversity (racial ethnic, age, gender, etc.) of our country into our community of faith in the Read More …

Vision & Strategy Trends

Will Mancini is the founder of Auxano – a church consulting group with a unique approach to developing a church’s vision frame before providing traditional consulting services.   He is the author of Church Unique: How Mission Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture, and Create Movement (read my review here). Mancini's first blog post of 2011 is packed with relevant information about trends in vision and strategy for churches.  He sees eleven trends for 2011 and beyond: Expect Increasing Read More …