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Church Membership

Folks have different reasons for wanting to join a church: give them the love they deserve, be a place of support, find new friends, offer programs for their children. But one woman’s reason for joining nearly burned my gravy. […] Read More

Fewer people in the U.S. have a religious affiliation or are members of a faith community, a Gallup poll found. Over the last 20 years, involvement in a church, mosque or synagogue has declined 20%. […] Read More

The word “member” was, in its original biblical usage, a very healthy, organic term. It’s found 45 times in the New Testament, with only nine instances in the gospels. Paul uses “member” in his use of the body metaphor in 1 Corinthians 12, describing the church as one body with many members. This was a […] Read More

I was nearly done, making me almost a “done” (previously very active church leaders who quit church in frustration). Between 2005 and 2006, our family experienced the perfect storm of trying circumstances. Chronic illness, extended family changes, my workplace shifting for the worse, the new church we were in struggling to make it. Plus, I […] Read More

Cost of Discipleship

A sermon by Michael Cheuk, Pastor, University Baptist Church, Charlottesville, Va. September 8, 2013. Luke 14:25-33 Most of us have heard of Dale Carnegie’s famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, written in 1936.  In that book, Carnegie offered pointers on how to handle people, how to make people like you, how to […] Read More

Demography, “the science of vital and social statistics,” can help trend-spotters discern and explain many trends in American religion. A rule of concerned participants in religious groups where trends are more often “downward-” than “upward-“pointing is: knowledge of demographic trends can help explain, but it cannot excuse, those who are coping or trying to cope […] Read More

Are you tired of the doomsday rhetoric about the church in America? Have you noticed that the bandwagon of those predicting the imminent demise of congregational life is filled to capacity? Are you ready to tune out another diatribe proclaiming that the church’s ship is sinking and we are all doomed? You have to admit, […] Read More

It seems to me that in order to join a church in today’s religiously charged culture, you have to do more than declare “Jesus is Lord!” You also have to have an opinion on a litany of questions: MSNBC or Fox News? Republican or Democrat? Liberal or conservative? NPR or Rush Limbaugh? Evangelical or mainstream? […] Read More

A sermon delivered by Michael Cheuk, Pastor, University Baptist Church, Charlottesville, Va., on January 13, 2013. Luke 3:15-17, 21-22; Act 8:14-17 What a joy and privilege for us today to witness the baptism of Li Ming!  I’m struck by the timing since it was only a week before Christmas that I had the opportunity to […] Read More

(RNS) American congregations have grown less healthy in the last decade, with fewer people in the pews and aging memberships, according to a new Hartford Seminary study. But there are also “pockets of vitality,” including an increase in minority congregations and a surge in election-related activities at evangelical congregations. The findings coming from the new […] Read More