Imagine an Institution

A short illustration, posted on April 20 by Jerry Bowyer on the forbes.com blog, was printed in the May 31, 2011 edition of the Christian Century: Imagine an institution that requires its leaders to attend not only college, but graduate school.  Imagine that the graduate school in question is constitutionally forbidden from receiving any form of government aid, that it typically requires three years of full-time schooling for the diploma, that the nature of the schooling bears almost no Read More …

Youth Minister/Director as Advocate

Lars Rood is the Lead Youth Minister at the 4700 member Highland Park Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) and the author of the forthcoming book Youth Ministry on a Shoestring: How to do More with Less (2011).  Recently, he blogged about youth ministry job descriptions.  In contrast to the common expectations of job descriptions that emphasize either a youth director/minister's relational skills or programming and administrative skills, Rood proposes a third way: . . . I want to throw out a new idea Read More …

One Big Step for the PCUSA – Many Opinions

After many years of debate and movement toward change, this denomination has now reached the point at which it is certain that effective July 10, 2011, "a person in a same gender relationship can be considered for ordination as deacon, elder, or Minister of the Word and Sacrament."  This news comes after many years of discussion and attempted change. So What? I grew up in a Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregation.  It was at First Presbyterian Church in Arlington, TX that I was confirmed, sensed Read More …

Effective Worship Services?

John Ortberg is the Senior Pastor of the 4,000 member Menlo Park Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) and the author of multiple books on spiritual formation.  In the Spring 2011 edition of Leadership Journal, he wrote an article entitled "What Does God Think of Entertainment," in which he set forth his view on what a successful worship service looks like: The primary criteria for the effectiveness of a church service is not "holding people's attention."  It's not compliments after the service or growth Read More …

Presbyterians Provide Free Qur’ans

Over the last few months, the media has placed one "Christian pastor" in the spotlight over and over again as he planned to burn the Qur'an and more recently to hold an armed protest outside of a mosque. In stark contrast to his actions are those of many Christians who are motivated by love rather than hate.  Kristen Moulton's recent article in the The Salt Lake Tribune recognizes this by placing the actions of Terry Jones alongside those of the 458 member Wasatch Presbyterian Church (PCUSA). Read More …

Theology on Tap / Theology Pub Discussion Starters

Adam Walker Cleaveland is Minister for Youth and Young Adults at Asbury United Methodist Church in Livermore, CA.  At 31, he is among the younger voices of note in the emerging church movement and a co-founder of Presbymergent.  Adam is a candidate in the Presbyterian Church (USA) ordination process as well as a prolific and thoughtful blogger, writing primarily on his sites: PomoMusings and DazedDad.  To connect with him, view his flickr stream, follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook, or 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 …

Review of The Pastor by Eugene Peterson

Meet the Author Eugene Peterson (b.1932) is the author of the best-selling The Message, which is his translation of the Bible into contemporary American language.  He is an ordained Presbyterian (PCUSA) pastor who served as the founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland for twenty-nine years before retiring in 1991.  Peterson has since assumed the title of Pastor Emeritus in that congregation.  Following his retirement from parish ministry, he spent a year at Read More …

Radical Inclusivity

Christian leaders make news headlines on a daily basis, but are rarely portrayed as open minded or inclusive.   Jonathan Devin's "Radical Preachers Buck Mainstream Christianity" tells the story of a growing  interdenominational group of pastors known as Outlaw Preachers who are bound together by their shared belief in radical inclusivity.   Founded in 2008, the group has grown to 300 members and recently held their first conference, which was attended by persons representing "eight states from Read More …

Social Media for Lent: Fast or Engage?

Bruce Reyes-Chow is a forty-one year old Presbyterian (PCUSA) pastor who serves as founding pastor of Mission Bay Community Church, which  primarily attracts young adults in their twenties and thirties.  He served as  the Moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the 2.3 million member PCUSA.  Serving as the youngest person ever elected to that office, Reyes-Chow became a  pioneer in the use of social media in the mainline Protestant world.  To connect with him, read his blog, follow him on Read More …