December Book Recommedations

During the last month I managed to work through a good deal of what was left on my list of books I hoped to read by the end of the year.  Ratings (on a scale of 1 to 5) follow. (5+) Churchless: Understanding Today's Unchurched and How to Connect with Them by Barna Group with George Barna and David Kinnaman as editors (2014) (5) Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World by Eugene Cho (2014) (5) Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways Read More …

Changes in Worship Services

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared a list of rapid changes in church worship services.  His list includes the disappearance of choirs (down 10% in just 10 years), the emergence of screens as normative in worship, a shift toward more casual dress for worship, and longer sermons. So What? Worship services have changed dramatically in recent years.  Rainer's use of the word rapid to describe several shifts is significant. As religious affiliation Read More …

Sermon Prep

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently facilitated a Twitter poll asking pastors to share how long they spend preparing a sermon.  The results show that most pastors take between 10-18 hours to prepare each message.  More specifically: 70% prep between 10 and 18 hours, 15% prep between 7 and 9 hours, 10% prep for 6 hours or less, and 6% devote 19 hours or more to prepare each message. So What? Sermons vary widely in many respects, Read More …

Churches Should

Church leaders should expect newcomers at all worship services, and plan accordingly.  Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared a list of helpful hints reflecting on his visits to a number of churches over the last seven months.    He recommends congregations: have plentiful signage on the outside and inside, offer user-friendly websites, and help newcomers easily locate parking and restrooms. So What? Rainer's recommendations are ones that Read More …

Unity in Your Church

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared four ways you can advance the cause of unity within your local congregation/church/community of faith: preach on it, talk about Jesus' emphasis on it, model it, and get everyone on the same page -- literally (using a single resource for congregation wide study). So What? While I usually use this blog as a forum to promote Christian unity on a broader scale, it is of great significance that this begin Read More …

Executive Pastor Trends

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently wrote about the role of executive pastor.  The position itself is a relatively new construct, arriving in the latter half of the twentieth century.  Initially attractive primarily to megachurches, the value of this position is now seen by congregations significantly smaller in size.  This observation is one of five trends Rainer highlights: More executive pastors in smaller churches More executive pastors have staff 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 …

Choosing Larger Congregations

More and more Christians are choosing to worship in larger congregations.  Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared seven trends relating to American megachurches.  His list (for another trend originating from the same data Rainer relies upon, consider reading my recent post) begins with a trend that has an impact that reaches far beyond megachurches (typically defined as congregations that average 2,000+ in weekend worship attendance): Further Read More …

Pastors & Forced Termination

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared some observations on church staffing trends in a piece for the Christian Post.  One of the six trends he discussed is the percentage of senior pastors who lose their jobs each year because of forced terminations.  Over the last seven years, approximately 1.5% of senior pastors have been subject to forced termination each year. So What? Basic math indicates that over that 7 year period, 10.5% of senior pastors Read More …

Reflections on 75 Recently Published Books

Over the last year and a half (roughly 75 weeks), I have posted my reflections on 75 recently published books.  I encourage you to browse the list as you think of your reading list for 2011.  Each title is linked to my review. Author Title Year Allison, Jay and Gediman, Dan, eds. This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable American Men and Women 2006 Allison, Jay and Gediman, Dan, eds. This I Believe II: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable American Read More …