Tuesday, June 25, 2019

PRIDE MONTH AND THE UNITED METHODIST BROUHAHA


A Washington Post story, published on DC Pride weekend, told about an evangelical family whose college freshman son came home one weekend, and came out as gay.  The parents went into panic mode and convinced the young man to do sexual orientation reparative therapy for a year.  But beyond that year of panic, these folks proved their mettle. They began to invite his friends to their home, and to hear the stories of others in the LGBTQ+ zoological garden. Eventually, the healing of their family required them to leave their megachurch and join a local United Methodist congregation.  Now they could have found any number of churches in which they might have worked out their faith in light of their changing life experience - but like untold thousands before them, they picked the Methodists.

Monday, June 10, 2019

WHEN MERGERS WORK



Some of the most rewarding work that I have done in the last few years is to coach churches that are going through a process of merger, property divestment and re-launch as a fresh church in their community. Dirk Elliott discovered a decade ago in Ohio that mergers work best when:

Monday, April 29, 2019

HOW MUCH SHOULD IT COST TO PLANT A NEW CHURCH?



Recent data in my denomination (UMC) showed a typical range of between $300,000 and $500,000 in denominational subsidy per new church plant, depending on the region and how deep its pockets. And roughly 2/3 of the projects survived the first five years. However, this measures only the denominational monetary contribution - typically in the first three years. The real cost of a church plant also includes donations by members and participants, sponsoring churches and other friends of the church. And it sometimes includes a donated building!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

TAKING THE JESUS CHALLENGE



Today, on two different coaching calls, the conversation focused on the process of individual spiritual development within a faith community context - both calls with new communities that exist within the framework of larger, long-existing ministries.

Friday, March 1, 2019

WHAT TO SAY ON SUNDAY




The events of the UMC Special General Conference earlier this week have the American press abuzz, alarming our parishioners and our children (most of whom pay little attention to denominational drama most of the time).

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO, MAKE DINNER!



During the month of January, churches throughout the DC area have been organizing to offer free evening meals to federal workers and their families. It is a very small thing in the grand scheme of things. It doesn't pay the mortgage or keep Volkswagen from coming to take away the family car.   But it is something. And it says, "We see your situation." It says, "We want to be community with you in this situation." It says, "You are not alone in this." It says, "We love you."

Thursday, December 27, 2018

A CRITICAL CONVERSATION



Earlier this month I filmed a commercial for a course I am teaching in the Spring semester at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC.  It is truly a new world when academic courses come with video commercials to help students decide what to take in a given semester.