Category Archives: Articles

Head-Banging Worship

A few days before Sunday, November 8, 2015, my daughter's minister "warned" her the plans for worship would be somewhat different. He shared this in order to prepare her for an extended time with the children in their Sunday morning program. This Sunday in my daughter's church may have been the "edgiest" effort I've experienced in innovative congregational worship. … Read More

Hope for the New Year

As we are entering another new year, I am reminded of the apostle Paul's words, particularly in light of the Christmas story: the weakness of God is stronger than our strength and the foolishness of God is wiser than our wisdom. I can only imagine how weak and foolish God's response to this world appeared to so many: a baby lying in a manger. The troubles of that world were many and profound. Moreover, God's people were being oppressed by Rome … Read More

Prayer is a Challenge

The Renewal Fellowship Board two-day meeting in October was held in my home in Simcoe. As I was organizing the continental breakfast on the morning of the second day, the alarm on The Rev. Nan St. Louis' watch went off. I asked, "What's that all about?" Nan said, "It's 7:14 and that's my reminder to pray for The Presbyterian Church." I was amazed and somewhat embarrassed because … Read More

Am I Thankful?

The more I pray for, study, and seek renewal for the church, the more I realize that personal renewal is a necessary part of what happens corporately. I am not completely sure if it is a precedent condition, a coincident condition, or a result of the other. I am pretty sure there is reason to ask a “Chicken and Egg; which came first?” type of question about many of the past times of renewal. In thinking about Thanksgiving holiday observances, I was drawn along a path that is relevant to personal renewal. It started with wondering why we needed a holiday to remind us… Read More

Intentional Community

As I write this, the March issue of the Record has been available for only a couple of weeks. In that time I have had more feedback about my article, Minding the Minister, than I have received for all the things I have ever written for public consumption combined. I hit on something significant: many ministers in our denomination are burning out. This is a problem worthy of our attention. What is needed is focus and strategy. After consultation with our national board over the past year … Read More

Best Practices

Over the past six years, as the congregational development consultant for my synod, I have been in literally hundreds of churches. Many – maybe even most – of these congregations are in gradual decline and are searching for solutions to reverse direction and increase vitality and growth. Sadly, almost all are going about it in exactly the wrong way. While there is no simple answer to how to turn churches around, there are some markers that point us in the right direction; there are practices that can lead … Read More

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