My 2017 Religious Resolutions . . . So Far

Four months ago today I shared my resolutions for the new (church) year: During this church year I resolve to Join (and be actively involved in) a local community of faith Labor to make real on earth God’s realm of justice and peace Write about matters of faith that matter (primarily here on this blog) Teach (and continue learning) about Christianity and the world’s many great religions Discern an answer (or many answers!) to the question “What next?” Progress Report Since Read More …

Christianity is Always Political

If your preferred version of Christianity isn't political, then you have likely misunderstood the religion. Willimon on Politics and Christianity Popular author and long-time United Methodist Bishop William H. Willimon delivered the T. B. Maston Lectures in Christian Ethics last year at Hardin-Simmons University.  One address - "Say Something Polictical: A Christian Vision of Engaging the World" - appeared in print in the Winter 2016-2017 edition of the Window (a publication of the Logsdon 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 …

View from the Pew: 8 Sacred Spaces

Soon after relocating to Texas in September of 2015, I wrote "In Search of a Church," explaining a bit about the process my wife and I were undertaking to find a new community of faith to call our own.  During this process, I have posted a "view from the pew" photo most weeks on Facebook and Twitter. As someone who has spent most of his life working in a church and a good deal of that time in pastoral leadership, my ability to visit other congregations has been limited (and especially limited Read More …

Church Turnaround: An Example

Rick McKinley, Director of Congregational Development for the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, recently shared an example of church turnaround.  While I encourage you to read his entire account, I want to focus on one significant shift: the role of pastor. Based on what they'd learned about themselves and their community, a strategic change in pastoral leadership was made. They were told that the new pastor wasn't going to hold their hand. Pastoral leadership as they knew Read More …

Christian Youth: Learning and Living the Faith

Princeton Theological Seminary was recently awarded a $1.1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund a study that will "provide church leaders with strategies to help children connect with their religion."  This study of confirmation in five denominations - United Methodist, Presbyterian, Evangelical Lutheran, Episcopal and African Methodist Episcopal - will include two elements: : (1) a survey of youth and parents about their beliefs, and  (2) research that will involve visiting churches Read More …

Religion in America: A Map

This map, based on the 2010 census data, shows the largest religious groups in each county of the U.S.                                   So What? While the Catholic Church is the largest religious tradition in more counties than any other group, the Southern Baptists are a close second and are a majority in the vast majority of counties in the Read More …

Chuck Knows Church

Chuck Knows Church is a relatively new educational resource funded by the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church.  Every Thursday, a somewhat goofy yet always personable, pastoral and knowledgeable man named Chuck shares a new 2-4 minute YouTube video on a basic topic related to Christianity.  Past topics include liturgical colors, the offering plate, the Narthex, the baptismal font, and Lent.  The latest video is on the Lord's Prayer: So What? In addition to Read More …

Review of The Post-Black & Post-White Church

Meet the Author Efrem Smith is an evangelical minister who serves as superintendent of the Pacific Southwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, and as an itinerant speaker for Kingdom Builder Ministries.  Previously, he served as founding pastor of Sanctuary Community Church in Minneapolis, MN.   Smith is the author of three books, including Jump: Into a Life of Further and Higher (2010). Book Basics The Post-Black & Post-White Church explores what it means for a church Read More …