Columns on Church and Theology

True Christian Virtues Rising From the Ashes | Preston Clegg, Lent, Ash Wednesday, Repentance, Humility
True Christian Virtues Rising From the Ashes
By: Preston Clegg
The cross of ashes on peoples' foreheads on Ash Wednesday is a sign of penitence, humility and mourning. They're virtues for which Christians today seem to have little use. Read More ...
Preston Clegg

Christ Came to Save More Than the World's People | Ron Rolheiser, Creation Care, Environment
Christ Came to Save More Than the World's People
By: Ron Rolheiser
The Scriptures affirm that Christ didn't just come to save people; he came to save the world. The physical world has its own rights and is part of God's plan for eventual heavenly life. Read More ...
Ron Rolheiser

Iraq's Religious, Ethnic Minorities Face Genocide | Elijah Brown, Iraq, Religious Minorities, ISIS, Genocide
Iraq's Religious, Ethnic Minorities Face Genocide
By: Elijah Brown
Iraq's religious and ethnic minority communities – Christians, Yazidis, Shabak and Turkmen – are living at the edge of extinction and face virtual non-existence without immediate action. Read More ...
Elijah Brown

Which Is Better: Small Churches or Big Churches? | Thomas Kidd, Small Church, Discipleship
Which Is Better: Small Churches or Big Churches?
By: Thomas Kidd
Is it easier to live out biblical Christianity if you attend a small church or a large one? The truth is neither model is better than the other. Each comes with its own tradeoffs. Here are three. Read More ...
Thomas Kidd

When Ministers Ignore Ethical Boundaries | Ircel Harrison, Ethics, Leadership, Baptists
When Ministers Ignore Ethical Boundaries
By: Ircel Harrison
Certain boundary issues – money, relationships, time management –are often overlooked in ministerial training. Why do good leaders ignore common sense and fail to observe boundaries? Read More ...
Ircel Harrison

Taking Our Role as Co-Creators Seriously | Chuck Summers, Environment, Creation Care
Taking Our Role as Co-Creators Seriously
By: Chuck Summers
Creation is meant to be a reflection of God's glory, not ours. By failing to take seriously our role as co-creators with God, we have marred or dimmed the reflection that is meant to be seen. Read More ...
Chuck Summers

Young Adults Must Step Up into Church Leadership | Joe LaGuardia, Discipleship, Tithing, Commitment
Young Adults Must Step Up into Church Leadership
By: Joe LaGuardia
As younger adults become increasingly independent, they have the potential to take more ownership in local churches. And local churches must be willing to let them lead. Read More ...
Joe LaGuardia

How Lent Calls You to Pay Attention to Life | Britt Hester, Lent, Fasting, Discipleship
How Lent Calls You to Pay Attention to Life
By: Britt Hester
Lent is about more than the practical benefits of giving up vices and taking up virtues. It's a time to pay attention to your life and determine where you are on your journey. Read More ...
Britt Hester

The Two Most Dangerous Words Spoken in Church | Bill Wilson, Language, Leadership
The Two Most Dangerous Words Spoken in Church
By: Bill Wilson
Two words uttered back to back are the most dangerous in church. They indicate that we believe we are exceptions to the rule. But three steps can put us on the right track. Read More ...
Bill Wilson

The Kindest Way for Churches to Destroy People | Barry Howard, Charity, Social Justice, Missions
The Kindest Way for Churches to Destroy People
By: Barry Howard
Does your church need to re-evaluate how to best use its resources for the poor and vulnerable? The author of "Toxic Charity" examines the ineffective approach taken by many churches and nonprofits. Read More ...
Barry Howard

4 Ways for Your Church to Address Diversity | Ircel Harrison, Diversity, Interfaith Engagement, Dialogue
4 Ways for Your Church to Address Diversity
By: Ircel Harrison
With Internet access, 24/7 news cycle and our increasingly mobility, diversity has become part of our everyday lives. Here are four ways for churches to address diversity while pursuing their mission. Read More ...
Ircel Harrison

Lesson from Super Bowl Ads: How to Market Love | David Hull, Marketing, Evangelism, Community Engagement
Lesson from Super Bowl Ads: How to Market Love
By: David Hull
Our churches may be a close-knit family of love, but if we aren't willing to take this love to people on the outside, we will soon be a small family loving each other to death. Read More ...
David Hull

How Does God's Grace Shine Through You? | Molly Marshall, Transfiguration Sunday, Discipleship, Compassion, Justice
How Does God's Grace Shine Through You?
By: Molly T. Marshall
To reach the fullness of the unique human identity purposed for us, we must focus attention on God's self-revealing in Christ and the ways he continues to shine through faithful sisters and brothers. Read More ...
Molly T. Marshall

How Did Christians Become So Casually Violent? | Terry Austin, Civility, Non Violence, Social Media, Forgiveness, ISIS
How Did Christians Become So Casually Violent?
By: Terry Austin
As a nation, we've responded to violence with more violence. People, even followers of Jesus, still loudly proclaim that we need to commit even more violence. Where does it end? Read More ...
Terry Austin

Brian Williams and 8 Lessons in Leadership Credibility | Dennis Bickers, Leadership, Trust, Credibility
Brian Williams and 8 Lessons in Leadership Credibility
By: Dennis Bickers
NBC's Brian Williams' situation offers an important reminder: To be successful in leadership, you must earn the trust of those you serve. Without credibility, you can't earn that trust. Read More ...
Dennis Bickers

Escaping Life's Daily Busyness to Hear an Inner Voice | Keith Herron, Lent, Ash Wednesday, Easter
Escaping Life's Daily Busyness to Hear an Inner Voice
By: Keith Herron
The season of Lent is a call to spend time in quietness and self-denial, as we escape life's daily cacophony of sounds that drown our inner silence and keep us from hearing God's voice. Read More ...
Keith Herron

3 Habits to Help Your Church Develop Disciples | Mark Tidsworth, Discipleship, Leadership, Vocational Ministry
3 Habits to Help Your Church Develop Disciples
By: Mark Tidsworth
Developing each other and ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ is one of the unique roles of God's church. Here are three ways your church can begin to develop disciples. Read More ...
Mark Tidsworth

Churches Must Move Beyond Sunday-Morning Huddle | Dennis Atwood, Super Bowl, Discipleship, Community Engagement, Innovation, Evangelism
Churches Must Move Beyond Sunday-Morning Huddle
By: Dennis Atwood
The game-ending final play in this year's Super Bowl has a lesson for churches: Huddling is important, but execution is even more critical. Churches must move beyond their walls and get out into the world. Read More ...
Dennis Atwood

Some Beliefs That Matter Don't Matter to Everyone | Colin Harris, Community, Discipleship
Some Beliefs That Matter Don't Matter to Everyone
By: Colin Harris
In our current theological climate, many defend the rightness of a particular belief against alternatives. But a faith community loses its ability to nurture when rigid beliefs replace a vital, growing faith. Read More ...
Colin Harris

You Can't Be a Disciple Until You First Become One | Larry Eubanks, Discipleship
You Can't Be a Disciple Until You First Become One
By: Larry Eubanks
Everyone wants to be a disciple, but no one wants to become one. Discipleship is for those who give themselves completely to it, and ask nothing from it except the privilege to be allowed to continue. Read More ...
Larry Eubanks

Why You Need to Free Your Stifled Imagination | Carra Hughes Greer, Imagination
Why You Need to Free Your Stifled Imagination
By: Carra Hughes Greer
Our faith and churches could use a little imagination. Instead of falling back on our programmed answers, we need to be creative in our thinking and in our redemptive response to the world. Read More ...
Carra Hughes Greer

George Whitefield: From Humble Origin to Famed Preacher | Thomas Kidd, George Whitefield, Evangelism
George Whitefield: From Humble Origin to Famed Preacher
By: Thomas Kidd
In 1740, George Washington was 8 years old, John Adams was 4, and Thomas Jefferson wasn't even born. And the most famous man in the American colonies was an evangelist named George Whitefield. Read More ...
Thomas Kidd

How Your Church Can Support Healthy Minds | Matt Sapp, Mental Health, Local Church, Technology
How Your Church Can Support Healthy Minds
By: Matt Sapp
Churches haven't always promoted healthy attitudes about mental health, but churches can and ought to be places that promote mental well-being and emotional balance. Read More ...
Matt Sapp

Why Creation Out of Nothing is Essential Doctrine | Roger Olson, Theology, Creation, Pantheism
Why Creation Out of Nothing is Essential Doctrine
By: Roger Olson
While the doctrine of creation out of nothing is not directly taught in Scripture, it's an essential teaching. Without it, other revealed truths cannot be maintained or defended.
 Read More ...
Roger Olson

Can Christianity Be Reformed? | Martin Accad, Pope Francis, Reform
Can Christianity Be Reformed?
By: Martin Accad
With Islam often viewed in evangelical circles as the cause of all of our problems and recipient of all our fears, is it time for the church to live radically in line with the teaching of Jesus? Read More ...
Martin Accad

Why Some Think Church Buildings Are a Waste of Space | Rhonda Abbott Blevins, Theology of Place, Emergence Christianity
Why Some Think Church Buildings Are a Waste of Space
By: Rhonda Abbott Blevins
Emergence Christianity favors the flexibility of mobility and eschews building and real estate. Traditional churches enjoy the rootedness that comes with bricks and mortar. Who's right and who's wrong? Read More ...
Rhonda Abbott Blevins

6 Realities for Your Small Church's Pastor Search | Dennis Bickers, Small Churches, Pastor Search Committee, Bivocational Ministry
6 Realities for Your Small Church's Pastor Search
By: Dennis Bickers
It's becoming increasingly difficult for smaller churches to find pastors. Here are six realities that your church will have to keep in mind when your search committee begins its work. Don't neglect Number 5. Read More ...
Dennis Bickers

What's the Most Besetting Problem in U.S. Churches? | Thomas Kidd, Community, Local Church, Social Capital
What's the Most Besetting Problem in U.S. Churches?
By: Thomas Kidd
A robust Christian community is an all-encompassing way of life, which runs counter to one of the most besetting problems in all U.S. denominations – the uncommitted, occasional attendee. Read More ...
Thomas Kidd

Consider How Your Words Can Heal or Hurt | James Gordon, Speech, Civility, Lent
Consider How Your Words Can Heal or Hurt
By: James Gordon
As we approach Lent, perhaps we should reflect on the power of words. They affirm or diminish, enlighten or deceive, liberate or oppress, heal or hurt. Do we consider how we use them? Read More ...
James Gordon

Remembering Thomas Merton, Interfaith Dialogue Champion | Leroy Seat, Thomas Merton, Peacemaking
Remembering Thomas Merton, Interfaith Dialogue Champion
By: Leroy Seat
Born 100 years ago in January, Thomas Merton, an outstanding Catholic thinker and prolific author of more than 70 books, became a strong proponent of interfaith dialogue. Read More ...
Leroy Seat

3 Ways to Engage Bivocational Pastors, Churches | Dennis Bickers, Bivocational Ministry, Denominations
3 Ways to Engage Bivocational Pastors, Churches
By: Dennis Bickers
Many bivocational pastors feel neglected by their denominations, even though these churches are an ever-growing part of every denomination. Here are three ways to better engage bivocational churches. Read More ...
Dennis Bickers

What Early Christian Said About Our Conscience | Rod Benson, Conscience, Ethics
What Early Christian Said About Our Conscience
By: Rod Benson
The notion of the conscience didn't figure prominently in the ethical teaching of New Testament writers, but later Christian thinkers developed the biblical concept in fruitful ways. Read More ...
Rod Benson

Where Will Your Church Be When 2030 Arrives? | Jerrod Hugenot, Church Trends, Social Media, Giving
Where Will Your Church Be When 2030 Arrives?
By: Jerrod Hugenot
How has your church changed during the last 15 years, and where will your church be 15 years from now in 2030? That 15-year span may seem like an eternity, but churches must look forward and prepare to adapt.  Read More ...
Jerrod Hugenot

Denominations Shouldn't Ignore Bivocational Churches | Dennis Bickers, Denominations, Bivocational Ministry
Denominations Shouldn't Ignore Bivocational Churches
By: Dennis Bickers
Denominations are going to have to make some major changes if they want to have a future. The ones paying attention to bivocational churches, which make up at least a third of their members, will succeed. Read More ...
Dennis Bickers

Martin Luther King Jr.: Religious Freedom Champion | Zach Dawes, Martin Luther King Jr., Religious Liberty, Separation of Church and State
Martin Luther King Jr.: Religious Freedom Champion
By: Zach Dawes
Martin Luther King's explicit references to religious liberty are few, but this conviction is found in a general emphasis on individual freedom and an assumed need for church-state separation. Read More ...
Zach Dawes

Why Some Christians See Jesus Like Ricky Bobby Does | Justin Smith, Talladega Nights, Discipleship, Worship
Why Some Christians See Jesus Like Ricky Bobby Does
By: Justin Smith
Like Ricky Bobby in "Talladega Nights," many Christians like "the Christmas Jesus best." We're called, however, to joyfully follow Jesus in every season and through any circumstance. Read More ...
Justin Smith

King Urged Us to Stand Against Tidal Wave of Public Opinion | Joe LaGuardia, Martin Luther King Jr, Public Opinion, Election
King Urged Us to Stand Against Tidal Wave of Public Opinion
By: Joe LaGuardia
As we celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., we should model his ability to stand up against the tidal wave of public opinion in order to uphold his values and convictions. Read More ...
Joe LaGuardia

Is Your Conscience a Reliable Ethical Compass? | Rod Benson, Ethics, Conscience
Is Your Conscience a Reliable Ethical Compass?
By: Rod Benson
People have sought to explain the phenomenon of conscience for thousands of years. Our conscience – an inner moral voice – serves as a guide but is distinct from divine revelation. Read More ...
Rod Benson

3 Ways Pastors Earn the Right to Be Prophetic | Mark Tidsworth, Prophetic Witness, Leadership, Speech
3 Ways Pastors Earn the Right to Be Prophetic
By: Mark Tidsworth
When a pastor tells a church they're falling short of where they should be, is it out of frustration and anger or from a loving desire to speak a prophetic truth? Here are three ways to know. Read More ...
Mark Tidsworth

We Can't Pretend This Violence Isn't Linked to Religion | Jon Kuhrt, Christians, Muslims, Charlie Hebdo, Terrorism
We Can't Pretend This Violence Isn't Linked to Religion
By: Jon Kuhrt
History shows us that religion often leads to violence, no matter how much we might want to deny it. And however twisted and warped, it is theology that has helped form the worldview of these killers.  Read More ...
Jon Kuhrt

2 Problems with Multi-Site Video Venue Churches | David Fitch, Mega Churches, Church Planting
2 Problems with Multi-Site Video Venue Churches
By: David Fitch
The multi-site video venue church model has become in vogue among larger churches in America over the past 15 years. But there are two "sins" that work against this model. Read More ...
David Fitch

Believing in God Entails More Than Lip Service | Drew Smith, Faith, Belief, Christmas, Repentance
Believing in God Entails More Than Lip Service
By: Drew Smith
Jesus calls those who hear his message to a belief that is more than simply mental conformity to God's rule. He called and continues to call folks to the actions of faith. Read More ...
Drew Smith

Divide-and-Conquer Strategy Weakens Christian Unity | Colin Harris, Bible
Divide-and-Conquer Strategy Weakens Christian Unity
By: Colin Harris
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's Al Mohler recently divided Christians into two camps, but this "divide-misrepresent-conquer" technique does little to advance community in the Christian family. Read More ...
Colin Harris

How to Turn Around the Incredible Shrinking Church | Frank Broome, Church Trends, Membership
How to Turn Around the Incredible Shrinking Church
By: Frank Broome
To turn around the decline in church membership, we need to start new congregations that worship and minister in new ways or to change our existing ways of worship and ministry. Read More ...
Frank Broome

Pope's Uncomfortable Truth Reminds Us Who We Are | Colin Harris, Pope Francis, Leadership
Pope's Uncomfortable Truth Reminds Us Who We Are
By: Colin Harris
Pope Francis called on church leaders to engage in a radical recommitment to Christian justice and move away from comfort and privilege. His prophetic message should resonate with all faiths. Read More ...
Colin Harris

What the Apostle Paul Says about Economic Justice | Simon Jones, Economics, Poverty, Justice
What the Apostle Paul Says about Economic Justice
By: Simon Jones
The Apostle Paul lived in a world where an elite few owned almost everything and called the shots. But Paul believed the principles of mutuality and equality were God's blueprint for human society everywhere. Read More ...
Simon Jones

An Advent Reflection: Conquering Fear and Hatred | Elmo Familiaran, Advent, Christmas, Peacemaking
An Advent Reflection: Conquering Fear and Hatred
By: Elmo Familiaran
Fear, hatred and violence grip our world. Fear is the mother of hate, and hate has many offspring – slavery, avarice, genocide, bigotry, violence. But fear cannot drown out the words of the Prince of Peace. Read More ...
Elmo Familiaran

Singing About Peace in a Violent, Fearful World | Guy Sayles, Kingdom of God, Christmas
Singing About Peace in a Violent, Fearful World
By: Guy Sayles
It's ironic that, during this season, we sing about peace while storm clouds of violence and fear darken the horizon. These problems may paralyze us, but Jesus isn't powerless to change them. Read More ...
Guy Sayles

When It's Hard to Believe That God is With You | Larry Eubanks, Advent, Immanuel, Christmas, Social Justice
When It's Hard to Believe That God is With You
By: Larry Eubanks
When you live in relative comfort, believing that God is with you is easy. Those who are vulnerable or impoverished find it hard to believe that God is with them – unless we serve as God's hands. Read More ...
Larry Eubanks

It's More Than What We Give; It's Why We Give | Colin Harris, Charitable Giving
It's More Than What We Give; It's Why We Give
By: Colin Harris
Many churches have often encouraged giving as a spiritual investment in oneself rather than a gift to help others. Do we need to do a better job of cultivating a sense of responsibility for the common good? Read More ...
Colin Harris

How Your Church Will Benefit from Networking | Ircel Harrison, Leadership, Networking
How Your Church Will Benefit from Networking
By: Ircel Harrison
Networking – sharing information with others – is essential for leaders of 21st century organizations. Churches will reap the benefits if they find ways to institutionalize networking in their congregations. Read More ...
Ircel Harrison

Advent: Perfect Time for Churches to Pursue Vision | Bill Wilson, Advent, Vision, Leadership
Advent: Perfect Time for Churches to Pursue Vision
By: Bill Wilson
Healthy churches start with a powerful, shared vision that captures God's dream for them and then work tirelessly to embrace it across every aspect of congregational life. Read More ...
Bill Wilson

The Common Good: Allowing All to Flourish and Be Fulfilled | Rod Benson, Common Good, Social Justice, Righteousness
The Common Good: Allowing All to Flourish and Be Fulfilled
By: Rod Benson
The principle of the common good is prominent in Catholic social teaching but not often articulated in Baptist ethical thought and praxis. It seeks to protect a community against the excesses of despotism and individualism. Read More ...
Rod Benson

Learning What It's Like to be the Other Person | Taylor Sandlin, Christmas, Reconciliation
Learning What It's Like to be the Other Person
By: Taylor Sandlin
Most of us live out of our own perspective with little attempt to understand another's point of view. When told we don't understand other viewpoints, we become defensive. What if we tried grace instead? Read More ...
Taylor Sandlin

Why Churches are Best Social Melting Pots in Britain | Jon Kuhrt, Diversity, Reconciliation, Social Capital, Worship
Why Churches are Best Social Melting Pots in Britain
By: Jon Kuhrt
Despite its failings and struggles, the church has within its DNA a commitment to be diverse and inclusive. It's a commitment that is anchored in a belief in everyone's value before God. Read More ...
Jon Kuhrt

Let's Challenge Fear That Fuels Prejudice, Inhumanity | Matt Sapp, Reconciliation, Christmas, Advent, Incarnation
Let's Challenge Fear That Fuels Prejudice, Inhumanity
By: Matt Sapp
When people are afraid, they quickly fall into an "us" versus "them" mentality. This Christmas, let's no longer remain silent and have the courage to speak out against prejudice. Read More ...
Matt Sapp

4 Types of Leadership Needed in Missional Churches | Ircel Harrison, Leadership
4 Types of Leadership Needed in Missional Churches
By: Ircel Harrison
God gives different abilities and gifts to each of us. Churches must rely on a diversity of leadership if they want to become truly missional. Here are four types of leadership they'll need. Read More ...
Ircel Harrison

Each Christmas, We Celebrate Jesus the Refugee | Elijah Brown, Refugees, Christmas, Africa
Each Christmas, We Celebrate Jesus the Refugee
By: Elijah Brown
We often gloss over the part of the Christmas story when Joseph and Mary fled with Jesus to Egypt, becoming a refugee family. Whether we admit it or not, we celebrate Jesus the refugee every Christmas. Read More ...
Elijah Brown

If Magic Wands Were Real: 12 Wishes for Churches | Bill Wilson, Vision
If Magic Wands Were Real: 12 Wishes for Churches
By: Bill Wilson
I've fantasized about waving a magic wand over a church member, minister or congregation and making some desperately needed changes. If I had such a wand, here are 12 things I'd do. Read More ...
Bill Wilson

Why Christians Cannot Ignore Climate Change | John Weaver, Climate Change, Discipleship, Social Justice
Why Christians Cannot Ignore Climate Change
By: John Weaver
As climate change continues, it is the poorest in our world who will suffer the most. If we are to call ourselves a gospel people, we cannot ignore the condition and well being of creation. Read More ...
John Weaver

The Eucharist: A Call to Justice and the Poor | Ron Rolheiser, Lord's Supper, Social Justice
The Eucharist: A Call to Justice and the Poor
By: Ron Rolheiser
Some think that the practice of justice, especially social justice, is an optional part of being a Christian, mandated by political correctness rather than by the gospels. The Lord's Supper reminds us that is wrong. Read More ...
Ron Rolheiser

How Advent Prepares Us for the Day Ahead | Joe LaGuardia, Advent, Lectionary, Waiting, Day of the Lord
How Advent Prepares Us for the Day Ahead
By: Joe LaGuardia
Advent encourages anticipation and hope, reminding us that God expects to find us meeting the needs of victims of violence with a resolve that rests on the fact that God's future will call all creation to account. Read More ...
Joe LaGuardia

How Christians Should Engage Their Culture | Ircel Harrison, Apostle Paul, Leadership, Evangelism
How Christians Should Engage Their Culture
By: Ircel Harrison
When Christians respond to culture, they can curse the darkness or light a candle. Too often, they're trained to attack. Instead, we should engage the culture. The Apostle Paul shows us how. Read More ...
Ircel Harrison

Christians Must Speak Truth to Counter Propaganda | James Gordon, Speech
Christians Must Speak Truth to Counter Propaganda
By: James Gordon
Some words have been hijacked to justify policies and attitudes that work against the common good. Christians must counter that propaganda with integrity. To ignore it erodes our witness. Read More ...
James Gordon