Saturday, February 29, 2020

LESSONS FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM


I spent the better part of January in the UK, as a part of Epicenter Group's coaching work this year with 26 British pastors. From London to Wales to Scotland and down again to Cornwall and Norfolk on the southwestern and southeastern coasts, Beth Estock and I saw almost every kind of ministry setting. People have asked what we learned. Here are some observations: 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

I SEE A LAND BEYOND BONKERS!


On Jan 3, 2020, a diverse group of United Methodists assembled by Sierra Leone Bishop John Yambasu unveiled their carefully negotiated proposal to the 2020 UMC General Conference to help United Methodism split into two streams.  One prominent left-of-center blogger called the whole thing 'bonkers.'  I disagree with that assessment.

Friday, December 6, 2019

THE URGENCY OF YOUTH MINISTRY IN THE 2020s



In these forty years since I reached adulthood, both the world and the church have changed vastly. Among the changes:
  • The majority of two generations of young people (raised in church) has left organized Christianity, creating an aging church that is decidedly less engaging for teens than the church I knew in the 1970s. It's not only the kids that are missing in most Protestant churches, but their parents. 
  • Youth ministry in American churches has virtually collapsed. I was part of vibrant youth ministry in three different churches during my middle school and high school years, with music groups, Bible studies, recreational programming, camping/retreat experiences and mission trips.  In each of these churches, Sunday nights were hopping with activities for all ages, especially for youth. The recent collapse is in part related to the loss of adults with kids from most churches - but also to the extreme busy-ness which has descended upon the lives of most young people.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

CULTIVATING AN INVITATIONAL CHURCH CULTURE


Across the decades of working with churches, I have concluded that there is a direct correlation between how long a person has been attending church and the likelihood they might invite somebody to church.  Essentially, the longer you hang around at church the less likely you are to invite - and life-time church attendees often treat their church life as if it were involvement in a secret society.  They say they don't want to be pushy with religion, or that they don't know anybody who would be interested, or that religion is personal...

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

AN INVITATION TO JOIN US IN THE DESERT NEXT FALL (March 20, 2020 Update: Event CANCELLED due to Covid-19)


March 20, 2020 Update: Event CANCELLED due to Covid-19

You are invited to spend five days in the desert with scores of other church leaders, lay and clergy, who long to be midwives in the birthing of God's new things.   This is a professional development/renewal event unlike any other.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

HOPE FOR A POLARIZED CULTURE




Back in the first century, the church of Jesus Christ was born out of the Pentecost reality.  It drew together the most diverse and eclectic group of human beings that the Roman Empire (and probably the world) had ever seen. 

Friday, August 2, 2019

WHAT PLAYING 4 SQUARE TAUGHT ME



I looked out the window of my hotel room into the open plaza in front of the Kansas City Convention Center, and I saw four square courts. I had not thought of four square in years. This game dominated recess in my elementary years at Alcott Elementary in Riverside, California.

The first thing I remembered is that I was competitive.  But then I thought about it more, and realized I wasn't very good at it.  Competitive but not very good. Often I would work my way up from square 4 to square 1, even though my coordination was abysmal. Why?