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Author Barry Howard

Barry Howard serves as leadership coach / consultant with the Center for Healthy Churches and is an board member. He lives in Pensacola, Florida.

Robert Lupton has urged churches and other charities to reconsider and revise their mission strategies in order to make them more effective. If a church deems Lupton’s challenge, expounded in his book, “Toxic Charity,” to be valid, what are the steps a congregation can take to instill a sense of empowerment and not a sense […] Read More

I was prompted to rethink my own presuppositions about stewardship after reading Ron Sider’s probing book, “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity,” several years ago. More recently, I have been thinking more deeply about the church’s missional strategy as we have wrestled with Robert Lupton’s “Toxic Charity: How Churches […] Read More

More and more cards and notes appeared in my inbox, in my mailbox and on my desk recently, all thanking me for serving as their minister. I began to wonder if someone had announced my retirement without my knowledge, or if I looked a little discouraged and folks were just trying to lift my spirits. […] Read More

A missional wave has been gaining momentum at First Baptist Pensacola, Florida. It’s not something we strategically planned, but a trend we noticed emerging. Over the past five years, as our folks have deepened their involvement in missions and ministry, a majority of our initiatives are focusing on the needs of children, in our community […] Read More

I have used a lot of different resources for my daily devotional time through the years. Most of the time my devotional life has involved Bible reading plans or devotional books with daily readings that include Scripture, inspirational stories and prayers. During the past year, however, I have intentionally shifted toward a more paperless lifestyle. […] Read More

In the 1970s, when Interstate 20 opened between Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala., many local residents were looking forward to faster travel on the new freeway. For years, my family had traveled to Birmingham from Anniston, Ala., on old Highway 78, a two-lane road that would take us past Lake Logan Martin near Pell City, Ala., […] Read More

Where is God when bad things happen? This question has perplexed and frustrated those afflicted with suffering, grief and pain. Theologians and philosophers have wrestled with scriptural texts and rational thought striving to make sense of the enigma. Pastors and counselors continually search for explanations that provide encouragement and hope for those scarred by raw […] Read More

When it comes to observing Mother’s Day at church, traditions vary around the country. Factors influencing a congregation’s contextual practice include geographic location, denominational heritage, liturgical preference and congregational precedent. In my first pastorate, I inherited that southern tradition I call “the Mother’s Day Flower Awards.” This tradition, which occurred during the morning worship service, […] Read More

For churches in the Deep South, the de facto liturgical calendar revolves around Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Decoration Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July and Veteran’s Day rather than Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost and Ordinary Time. Early in my ministry, I discovered that Mother’s Day might be the most sensitive of all of […] Read More

Several weeks ago, when the Deepwater Horizon explosion triggered an oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, those who live along the coast and around the country began praying for containment and clean-up of the oil. Many, like me, also began getting better educated about the oil industry and the specific ways this industry […] Read More