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 …

Review of The Best of Will Willimon

Meet the Author Since 2004, William H. Willimon has served as  a Bishop in the United Methodist Church responsible for overseeing 57,000 members and 792 pastors in North Alabama.  Previously, he served for twenty years as Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University.  Willimon is the author of over sixty books including two best sellers: Sinning Like a Christian: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Thank God It’s Friday: Encountering the Seven Last Words from Read More …

Why Are You Still in Church?

Much is being written about why people are leaving church, especially those in younger generations.  Emily Case, Associate Pastor at Kennesaw United Methodist Church in Kennesaw, GA, recently wrote about why she has chosen to stay: Why do I stay? Because I believe that just like I am broken, the church is broken, that we all are broken. But, I believe that God can often work best through brokeness. Why do I stay? Because I have seen lives changed because someone held their hand while they Read More …

New Church Growth Via Social Media

Out of the Box Worship Center in Hillsville, VA is a non-traditional United Methodist  small town church that is gaining attention for its dramatic social media driven growth. Launched in January 2011 as an extension of First United Methodist Church of Hillsville, VA, the new church start has grown enough to need two services in their 180 seat worship center. So What? Out of the Box's pastor, Ronnie G. Collins, stated, "When the church first started, we placed one full-page ad in the local Read More …

Seminaries Are Failing Us

Sky McCracken is the new Paducah District Superintendent in the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church. In June, he blogged about his frustrations with the current seminary system.  This material was published a month later as a commentary by the United Methodist Reporter.  His most thought provoking remarks follow: The most sobering thing I’ve learned is that there is no correlation between education of clergy and clergy effectiveness. I am convinced more than ever that Read More …

Why Your Ministry Should Have a Blog

Guy Chmieleski has served in campus ministry at four institutions of higher education associated with three different denominations (Baptist,  United Methodist and Church of Christ).  On his blog, he shared his own experiences as a blogger, a bit about a presentation on why blogging is important that he made recently to the United Methodist Campus Ministry Association, and four reasons why he will be integrating a blog into his campus ministry work and thinks other ministries should consider Read More …

The End of the Pastor’s Study

Joe Smith is the pastor of St. John Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Lakewood, WA.  Recently, he blogged about how overrated office space is for pastors.  Then, a few days later, he continued the discussion of the topic with a guest post by Kirk Jeffery, an ordained United Methodist pastor who currently serves as a church growth consultant.  Together these two posts effectively argue that while the pastor's study served a significant purpose in an earlier era it has outlived its usefulness.  Jeffery Read More …

Religious Coalition Gets Involved in Major League Baseball

Writing for USA Today, Cathy Lynn Grossman explains the intersection of a religious coalition and Major League Baseball: A coalition of 25 religious denominations, including Christians and Muslims and Jews, is throwing some heat toward Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and the players, saying the time has come to ban smokeless tobacco in the upcoming contract negotiations. Leaders from the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church (the two largest Protestant Read More …

What Makes A Vital Congregation?

The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell has served as senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, TX since 1982.  During that time the church has grown from around twenty-five active members to over 18,000.  Recently, the Rev. Caldwell was asked, by the United Methodist News Service, "What makes Windsor Village a vital congregation?"  He answered: When I came in 1982, I shared with the administrative council then that we were going to do three things, and we’re still trying to do Read More …

Review of A House for Hope

Meet the Authors Rebecca Ann Parker is an ordained United Methodist minister in dual fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association who currently serves as president of and professor of theology at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA.  She is the co-author with Rita Nakashima Brock of  Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us (2001) and  Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixions and Empire Read More …