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

Maturing Your Faith

Is it possible that faith and doubt can exist together? It seems we have faith and then challenges arise and we are filled with doubts. A few years ago on an adventure holiday, I tried zip-lining. I am not very comfortable with heights. I love to fly in airplanes, but to look over the ledge of a high building is another story. God told childless Abram that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars in the night sky. Years passed yet there was no child. At age 99, God visited Abram and told him he would be … Read More

Richard Topping is New Principal of VST

Vancouver School of Theology is pleased to announce that it has appointed The Reverend Dr. Richard Topping as its new Principal. Through a rigorous process that resulted in applications from across North America, Richard Topping was chosen as the leading candidate for the position through unanimous choice of the VST Board of Governors. Dr. Topping will take up his position as VST Principal on July 1, and will be inducted … Read More

Clean Hearts, Loyal Spirits

Renewal, like commitment, is not something that happens once and is done with. Sometimes we forget that. We think that having had the experience once, we are good. We think that we have checked it off the list. One more thing accomplished. One more experience off the bucket list. But renewal isn’t like that. Renewal is like the commitment one makes on their wedding day. A commitment that must be reaffirmed the next day, the day after … Read More

Trusting and Trying – Weighing What Works at Westminster

Westminster is in Barrie, Ont. – a growing city. We’ve had people pass away and move. There is some changeaphobia. We don’t have any money in the bank. And lo and behold, there are a few people who don’t always get along. Sound familiar? Six years ago a question wafted in the air: Will we survive? If you’re reading this it’s because hope is arising. In the past five years we’ve been faithful. The number of worshippers has gone from … Read More

Reflecting God’s Love For the Whole Community

Twenty years ago, the congregation of Valleyview Presbyterian Church constructed a new building at a new location on the outskirts of Calgary, Alberta, surrounded only by fields and aspen groves. Twenty years later, this church now stands in the west suburbs of the city of Calgary. Recognizing that Christ has provided a unique opportunity for us to connect with the community that has grown up around us … Read More

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