Politically Partisan Pastors

Over the last week I have seen one red, gray and blue graphic more than any other.  It seeks to tell the complex story of pastoral political affiliation in the United States in a single image. The widely shared graphic comes from Kevin Quealy's June 12 New York Times article "Your Rabbi? Probably a Democrat. Your Baptist Pastor? Probably a Republican. Your Priest? Who Knows."  Quealy's article reports on the most ambitious research of its kind, which was undertaken by Eitan D. Hersh and Read More …

Where’s Greg Worshipping?

Over the last twelve and a half months, I have attended 45 worship services in 34 different congregations. Denominations The chart at right illustrates the number of churches I have visited by denominational affiliation (green), the number of services I have attended in congregations affiliated with each denomination (blue), and the percent of all worship services I have attended by denomination (yellow). 75% of all of my worship experiences have occurred in congregations affiliated Read More …

My 2016 Search for a Church

How does someone with more than fifteen years of parish ministry experience search for a church when presented with the opportunity to connect with a community of faith as an active participant rather than serving as a pastor or staff member? In my case the answer is a work in progress. Last September I relocated to North Texas after living in Southwest Florida for eight years.  Immediately, my wife and I started our search for a church. Despite my travel for work, we have managed to Read More …

Mainline: Lacking Racial Diversity

Race related topics have been featured in the news more in recent months than any time I can recall.  Mainline Protestants generally tend to have healthy perspectives on race.  Such philosophical and even theological understandings do not necessarily translate into action (for example: read my summary and reflection of Bradley Wright's recent research showing that Mainline Protestant congregations had the highest rate of discrimination to prospective visitors) nor do they lead to racially Read More …

Reaching Young Adults

Bruce Reyes-Chow is a consultant who previously served as founding pastor of Mission Bay Community Church, and was the former moderator of the General Assembly of the 2.3 million member PCUSA.  On the conservative Red Letter Christians blog he recently shared three common faulty assumptions church leaders make when seeking to begin or expand young adult ministries: We (older adults) can build ministry from them (younger adults) Young adults are all alike or as a group share a great deal in Read More …

Review of Mainline Christianity

Meet the Author Jason S. Lantzer is an adjunct professor of history at Indiana University, Purdue University and Butler University.  His BA (History & Political Science), MA (History) and Ph.D. (History) were all earned from Indiana University.  Lantzer is the author of two books: Prohibition Is Here to Stay: The Reverend Edward S. Shumaker and the Dry Crusade in America (2009) and Mainline Christianity: The Past and Future of America's Majority Faith (2012). Relevance For the last Read More …

Associate Pastors & Technology

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recently released its first systematic look at associate pastors in an 88 page report "Associate Pastors in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)."  The comprehensive report is based on a 2011 survey of associate pastors and a 2008 & 2009 survey of key leaders. The survey found associate pastors spent an average of 11 hours a week "emailing, text messaging, or using the Internet" in their personal lives.  Professionally, these pastors used differing Read More …

Top Challenges for the Mainline

Carol Howard Merritt, a Presbyterian pastor and the author of Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation (2007 – read my review here) and Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation (2010 – read my review here), chaired a national committee for the Presbyterian Church (USA).  She shares the four significant challenges for the next generation as identified by the committee: Our denomination is over 90% white, while the overall population is increasingly diverse. The median Read More …

We Belong

"We belong" is a two word summary of the sermon I heard the Rev. Dr. Ronald Patterson preach yesterday.  That idea was so powerful that I chose to forgo the normal format for the sermon discussion group I have been facilitating the last several weeks. Patterson mentioned the first question in the Heidelberg Catechism (1563): What is your only comfort in life and in death?  He also shared and built upon the answer.  Our group, at my request, looked at the same issue through child-like eyes Read More …

Christianity is Bigger than That

Bruce Reyes-Chow is a consultant who served as founding pastor of Mission Bay Community Church, until May of this year, and was the former moderator of the General Assembly of the 2.3 million member PCUSA.  On the conservative Red Letter Christians blog he recently shared "An Open Letter to Frustrated Christians in the United States," featuring these words: Like many of you from across the theological and political spectrum, I am disturbed by the religious rhetoric that is defining Christianity Read More …