Review of But I Don’t See You as Asian

Meet the Author Bruce Reyes-Chow is an ordained Presbyterian pastor, and 3rd generation Chinese/Filipino.  He is a consultant who previously served as founding pastor of Mission Bay Community Church. His effective use of social media while serving as moderator of the General Assembly of the 2.3 million member PCUSA helped many mainline leaders appreciate the value of social media for ministry. Reyes-Chow has written two e-books: The Definitive-ish Guide for Using Social Media in the Church  Read More …

Living or Loving?

Bob Bohl is the former moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and pastor of Village Presbyterian Church.  He is currently chairman of the Board of Trustees at Princeton Theological Seminary.  In a sermon entitled "Living In the Direction of God's Dream," he offered these challenging words: I believe there are at least two kinds of churches...one is a living church and the other is a loving church. There is a distinct difference between the two. Living churches are judged by their size, Read More …

Adult Education Opportunities

One of my current roles is organizing adult educational offerings at Naples United Church of Christ (Naples, FL).   Since our congregation grows significantly during season (the time of year when many snowbirds visit), we provide a more robust program during that portion of the year.  A preview of some of the highlights of the season to come (Advent 2012 - Pentecost 2013) follows: General Education internet guru Marcus Zillman memory expert Dr. Bill Beckwith  educator Stephen 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 …

1,000 Open and Affirming Congregations

The United Church of Christ is known for being first: 1785 - first ordained African American pastor 1853 - first woman pastor 1972 - ordination of first openly gay minister Today, the denomination celebrates another first as it welcomes its 1,000th Open and Affirming congregation.  Open and affirming congregations have publicly and specifically declared that those of all “sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions” (or “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” Read More …

Just How Small Are Most Congregations?

Recently the Presbyterian Church (USA) released information about the distribution of its congregations by size.  The chart below provides the data in a manner that clearly displays the prevalence of small congregations. Put differently, 51.9% have 100 or fewer members 83.7% have 300 or fewer members 3.6% have 800 or more members So What? Since completing my education I have served exclusively in mainline congregations with well over 800 members, including a PC (USA) parish. Read More …