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Larry McSwain

January is a typical month for giving attention to one’s body after the gluttony of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The airwaves are full of advertisements for the latest nutrition, exercise or medicinal program for losing weight, regaining physical strength or feeling well. Metrics of bodily health abound with physical examinations involving blood tests, stress tests and […] Read More

It was a simple question from a colleague. “Larry, do you have enough bandwidth to help me with a church staff analysis?” Initially, I had no idea what he was asking. “Bandwidth?” I replied, as I attempted to catch up with the 20-year cycle of change in language. A central technology of the information revolution […] Read More

Larry McSwain is retired from McAfee School of Theology, where he was professor of ministry leadership and associate dean for the doctor of ministry program. He was also honored with the Watkins Christian Foundation Endowed Chair in Ministry. He works with the Center for Healthy Churches as a congregational/ministry consultant. Larry’s articles that have appeared […] Read More

Most American congregations face a painful reality. David T. Olson has established clearly that no more than 17 percent of the population attends any church. The only congregations growing are those smaller than 49 or more than 2,000 in attendance, or those begun since 1990. That means the majority of congregations are stuck or declining. […] Read More

Pastoral leaders are congregational theologians. The issue is not whether one is a theologian, but what kind of theologian. Thousands of local churches have lost their moorings in terms of their basic purpose for existence. Churches do not exist for the building of great institutions, but for embodying in all they do the will of […] Read More

Most of the pastors with whom I have conversations live with the tensions of effective financial leadership. According to the most recent studies, only about one-third of American congregations are growing in their budget income. This concern can be all consuming or at least the source of significant anxiety. Effective financial leadership is important for […] Read More

There is a mantra I hear often from my generation of church leaders. It gets voiced loudly by pastor search committees, nominating committees and church organizations committed to a mission of embodying “God’s new order of the Spirit” (Mark 1:11). Who will provide the inspiration needed and the hard work necessary to accomplish what we […] Read More

ATLANTA–A Baptist professor urged theology schools supported by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to move quickly to build “a 21st century ethic that is shaped by free and faithful Baptists,” saying Baptists are in danger of losing a rich tradition of social consciousness that produced Nobel Peace Prize winners Martin Luther King and Jimmy Carter. Larry […] Read More

We are blessed with a rich heritage, a heritage that some need to reclaim, a heritage about which a new generation needs to know. A good slice of our heritage comes from Henlee Barnette, whom we honor as part of BCE’s luncheon next month at the annual meeting of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. –The 15th […] Read More

Henlee Barnette was one of the most influential of Southern Baptist’s Christian ethicists of the 20th century in his work as college and seminary professor, author of substantive works in the field, activist in a variety of ethical causes and human being whose very life became a testimony of his faith. In this autobiography completed […] Read More