Reflections on Average Worship Attendance

Most American churches have relatively small memberships.  Since the accuracy of membership roles varies widely, average weekly worship attendance is often used to compare congregational size. Median American congregation has 75 attend weekly worship (National Congregations Survey) Average American congregation has 186 attend weekly worship (US Congregational Survey) Half (50%) of all church attendance is accounted for by the largest 10% of congregations - those with 350+ average weekly Read More …

Sermon: The Gift of Children

Sermon Text: Mark 10:13-16 Sermon Excerpt In many churches the simplest way to identify which rooms are intended for children and which are reserved for adults is to observe the size of the furniture.  Since so many of you are parents and grandparents, I hope you know that children are not miniature adults. Some of the adults here have talked to me about our recent use of many different versions of the Lord’s Prayer.  The most common comment is that this variety has led you to really Read More …

Americans Pray For

Results of a new LifeWay survey suggest that Americans tend to focus their prayers on themselves and close family and friends rather than the well being of the world or people or causes that are beyond their immediate influence.  More specifically, when given the opportunity to select as many things from a list as they wished, participants indicated they prayed most for family or friends - 82%, own problems and difficulties - 74%, good things that have recently occurred - 54%, and own Read More …

An Amazing Welcome

Quinn Caldwell is the pastor of Plymouth Congregation Church (Syracuse, NY) and a member of the United Church of Christ Stillspeaking Writers’ Group.  A few years ago when he was serving at Old South Church (Boston, MA),  he wrote about the welcome that church provides to all: In the name of Jesus Christ, and through his spirit, we bid you welcome to Old South Church in Boston, an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ. You are welcome here if you are married, or if Read More …

Pastoral Regrets

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently asked more than twenty pastors who had been in ministry for at least 25 years a single question: “What regrets do you have about the years you have served as a pastor?” The top seven answers follow: Lack of practical training for local church ministry Overly concerned about critics Failure to exercise faith Not enough time with family Failure to understand basic business and finance issues Failure to share Read More …

Teens Benefit from Time with Parents

A new long term study published in the August issue of Child Development reveals that teens benefit from spending time with parents.  While the study included only a small group of two parent families in Pennsylvania with limited diversity, the findings are worth noting.  More specifically: The study authors were surprised to discover that when fathers spent more time alone with their teenagers, the kids reported they felt better about themselves. "Mothers weren't unimportant, but they are kind Read More …

A New Chick-Fil-A Conversation

Monday, July 16 will be remembered as an important day in the life of the business known for its chicken sandwiches and creative marketing.  That was the day when Dan Cathy, President of Chick-Fil-A, was quoted in a Baptist Press article about several topics, including his understanding of the company's "Christian" view of marriage and family: We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we Read More …

The Influence of Technology

"The Family and Technology Report" is one of the Barna Group's latest publications.  The report is based on research conducted in partnership with Orange, which is part of the reThink Group. "The innovative study included nationwide interviews among parents and 11- to 17-year-olds from the same households, allowing comparisons between the parents and the tweens and teenagers who reside in the same home." Recently, Church Juice's Jerod Clark discussed the study's five findings and provided a Read More …

What the Church Is and What it Should Be

Jason Fairbanks, pastor of First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) in Lake Worth, Florida, recently wrote a series of posts on his blog about what the church is and what it should be.  In making his case for what the church should be he offered the wisdom given him by his father: A church is a hospital for those that find themselves hurting and on our doorstep. It is these that we have the opportunity to receive and to love. A church is a greenhouse for those interested in Read More …