Columns on Church and Theology

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

Are You Missing the Other Half of Advent? | Colin Harris, Advent, Discipleship
Are You Missing the Other Half of Advent?
By: Colin Harris
No matter how authentic and spectacular our Advent celebrations are, if we fail to embrace the life to which incarnation invites us, we have participated in only half of the celebration. Read More ...
Colin Harris

As Evangelism Implodes, Churches' Days Numbered | Bill Wilson, Evangelism
As Evangelism Implodes, Churches' Days Numbered
By: Bill Wilson
Nearly all churches' new converts are their own members' children. Because few congregations reach their unchurched communities, their days are numbered. It's simple math. Read More ...
Bill Wilson

Learning From Hymns When You Disagree with Lyrics | Roger Olson, Hymns, Theology, Worship
Learning From Hymns When You Disagree with Lyrics
By: Roger Olson
Worship planners and leaders must think of hymns as theological expressions and choose them with discernment, especially when the lyrics may be obscure to most people. Read More ...
Roger Olson

How Can the Church Bring Together Our Divided World? | Joe LaGuardia, Reconciliation, Peacemaking
How Can the Church Bring Together Our Divided World?
By: Joe LaGuardia
If the midterm elections revealed anything, it's that the U.S. is a divided nation. And that's an opportunity for the church as we transcend politics and seek to bring reconciliation. Read More ...
Joe LaGuardia

Why Churches Remain at Heart of Tackling Poverty | Jon Kuhrt, Poverty, Social Justice, Social Capital
Why Churches Remain at Heart of Tackling Poverty
By: Jon Kuhrt
Christians don't have a monopoly on making a difference to those in need, but even the most hard-bitten critics of Christianity have to admit that the church makes a massive contribution in combating poverty.  Read More ...
Jon Kuhrt

Vocational Ministry Takes Toll on Many Ministers | Travis Collins, Leadership, Stress
Vocational Ministry Takes Toll on Many Ministers
By: Travis Collins
The church needs servant leaders who are living out a biblical model for that ministry. Vocational ministry is hard and many ministers suffer abuse from churches, but they're not all innocent victims. Read More ...
Travis Collins

What Your Church Needs for Healthy Growth | Bill Wilson, Thanksgiving, Thanksliving
What Your Church Needs for Healthy Growth
By: Bill Wilson
If your church wants to experience healthy growth, it won't be through new programs. Healthy churches grow when their members develop personal and powerful relationships. Read More ...
Bill Wilson

Why Christians Should Care for the Weak | Roger Olson, Kingdom of God, Economics, Capitalism, Social Justice
Why Christians Should Care for the Weak
By: Roger Olson
Our society worships the strong, the beautiful, the powerful and the rich and blames the poor, the disadvantaged and those who struggle to survive. Christianity turns that order upside down. Read More ...
Roger Olson

How Ethical Are Your Prayers? Part 2 | Rod Benson, Prayer
How Ethical Are Your Prayers? Part 2
By: Rod Benson
Ethical prayer is not about good technique but integrity and persistence. It is dangerous, exhilarating, countercultural and subversive. It is not preparation for an ethical life but ethics in action. Read More ...
Rod Benson

How Ethical Are Your Prayers? Part 1 | Rod Benson, Prayer
How Ethical Are Your Prayers? Part 1
By: Rod Benson
If we faithfully follow Jesus, our deepest and truest desires will find their expression in godly, countercultural, justice-shaped prayers passionately aligned to God's kingdom and mission. Read More ...
Rod Benson

Personality-Driven Churches Can't Thrive for Long Term | Brock Ratcliff, Mars Hill Church, Mega Churches, Leadership
Personality-Driven Churches Can't Thrive for Long Term
By: Brock Ratcliff
A church should not break apart when a pastor leaves, yet many large churches are built around a single personality. When church members don't have a sense of ownership, they're rendered to consumer status. Read More ...
Brock Ratcliff

How Lebanon's Compassion Makes a Difference | Helle Liht, Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development, Lebanon, Syria, Refugees, Compassion
How Lebanon's Compassion Makes a Difference
By: Helle Liht
Even as they recover from civil war followed by Syrian occupation, Lebanon's citizens are showing compassion as they reach out to their former oppressors who are fleeing war-torn Syria. Read More ...
Helle Liht

Nonprofits, Like Ethics Daily.com, Rely on Your Support | Zach Dawes, Giving, Music, Newspapers, Baptist Center for Ethics
Nonprofits, Like Ethics Daily.com, Rely on Your Support
By: Zach Dawes
Using resources without supporting the organizations providing them is a growing challenge in many industries. And it has long been a challenge for local churches and faith-based nonprofits. Read More ...
Zach Dawes

Why Some Christians Desire a Convenient Faith | Seth Vopat, Discipleship
Why Some Christians Desire a Convenient Faith
By: Seth Vopat
We define truth as an effort to make the world in Christ's image, but that concept is not found in the gospels. We want a convenient faith, which fits nicely into our overbooked schedules, not a faith that requires intention. Read More ...
Seth Vopat

Jonah's Problem: A God Who Won't Do As He's Told | James Gordon, Jonah, Compassion, Forgiveness
Jonah's Problem: A God Who Won't Do As He's Told
By: James Gordon
Jonah hated Nineveh; he wanted its violent inhabitants to get what they deserved. When Jonah fled rather than warn the city about its destruction, it was because he knew God wasn't in the hate business. Read More ...
James Gordon

How Many Smaller Churches Can Keep Their Doors Open | Dennis Bickers, Small Churches, Bivocational Ministry
How Many Smaller Churches Can Keep Their Doors Open
By: Dennis Bickers
Many smaller churches face a troubling future. Unless these congregations are willing to make significant changes, their death is almost inevitable. Read More ...
Dennis Bickers

5 Dangerous Paths for Ministers Under Pressure | Bill Wilson, Self Care, Leadership, Stress
5 Dangerous Paths for Ministers Under Pressure
By: Bill Wilson
While everyone wrestles with some degree of career frustration, clergy are increasingly identified as especially prone to struggle. When the pressure is too great, these five paths lead to devastation. Read More ...
Bill Wilson

Conversion: Aligning Our Lives with God's Kingdom | Rod Benson, Conversion, Discipleship
Conversion: Aligning Our Lives with God's Kingdom
By: Rod Benson
Conversion, which lies at the heart of evangelical faith and experience, is not primarily about escape from judgment in the afterlife, but about aligning our lives with the principles and priorities of God's kingdom. Read More ...
Rod Benson

What Does It Mean If You Follow "The Way of Jesus"? | David Fitch, Way of Jesus, Discipleship
What Does It Mean If You Follow "The Way of Jesus"?
By: David Fitch
The term "the way of Jesus" has become increasingly popular. While it's meant to emphasize practical everyday Christian life, different groups have co-opted it to mean different things. Read More ...
David Fitch

3 Reasons You Can Be Thankful During Bad Times | Alistair Brown, Thanksgiving, Thankfulness
3 Reasons You Can Be Thankful During Bad Times
By: Alistair Brown
We all face circumstances for which it's difficult to express thanks. When those bad times hit, these three thoughts will keep you focused on what doesn't change: God's constant love. Read More ...
Alistair Brown

How Ready Are You to Receive God's Inclusive Love? | Molly Marshall, Advent, Gospel of Matthew
How Ready Are You to Receive God's Inclusive Love?
By: Molly T. Marshall
God's love is broad and inclusive, yet human readiness to receive it matters. Although some live life without a sense of limits, serious disciples live out the gospel for the long haul. Read More ...
Molly T. Marshall

Why Do We Always Feel Like We Never Have Enough? | Nathan Napier, Stewardship
Why Do We Always Feel Like We Never Have Enough?
By: Nathan Napier
We all behave as if we don't have enough. However, if we live our lives under the conviction that the common good trumps individual benefit, we would discover that there's plenty to go around. Read More ...
Nathan Napier

Puzzling Advice Offered by the Apostle Paul | Colin Harris, Apostle Paul, Citizenship
Puzzling Advice Offered by the Apostle Paul
By: Colin Harris
The Apostle Paul's advice to early Christians was sometimes puzzling. Rather than apply his advice to contemporary issues, we should see his words have more to do with embracing an ethic of love. Read More ...
Colin Harris