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Local Church

Some say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” But I would beg to differ when it comes to Internet searches of the word “community.” I was shown stock photos, clip art and logos. According to Google, community is staged, simple or a symbol used to identify an organization. I’ve given the entire collection nine […] Read More

The local church saved my family. My mother-in-law died 25 years ago, and one of my wife’s brothers, also a pastor, preached the eulogy. His title for his message was “How the Church Saved My Family.” In it he described his mother’s home life as a child. He held nothing back as he explained that […] Read More

Another avalanche of media coverage emerged recently about a row between the Church of England and the United Kingdom government. This time it relates to the refugee crisis. The bishops have accused the government of dragging its feet and not responding adequately to their offers to help mobilize the churches. Stephen Cotterill, bishop of Chelmsford, […] Read More

I had the opportunity to attend the Economics of Ministry Summit at Central Baptist Theological Seminary (CBTS) in Shawnee, Kansas, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the students are above average” (to paraphrase Garrison Keillor). The topic addressed was far from humorous, however. The key question voiced […] Read More

I was chatting recently with a Christian magazine editor and the subject of the “nones” came up. The question on everyone’s mind, of course, is how to attract “nones” back to church, or at least how to keep millennials (many of whom are perceived as abandoning church altogether) in the churches. One strategy that’s floating […] Read More

We’re facing a mental health crisis in this country. It’s a problem that’s been growing for a long time. Since the 1950s, publicly funded psychiatric care has dwindled, and the availability of hospital beds for psychiatric treatment has nearly disappeared. A USA Today article outlines the deficiencies in our current mental health system. Even beyond […] Read More

Robert Nisbet’s classic work, “The Quest for Community,” which I read recently, is a challenging and far-sighted book that attributes much of modernity’s unease to the collapse of the mediating institutions – village, church and family – that traditionally stood between the individual and the state. It is a work that has inspired generations of reflection […] Read More

It happens nearly every day for me—the inevitable conversation about the demise of organized religious activities, specifically local church attendance and giving. The vultures are gathering to feast on the carcass of the local church. Clergy and lay leaders are wringing their hands. Is there any hope? The sobering statistics and gloomy projections make most […] Read More

A recent report noted that even though overall charitable giving in the U.S. is increasing, giving to churches is dropping. Trends among Baptist groups echo the findings. Researched and written by the philanthropy school at Indiana University, the Giving USA 2014 report looks at philanthropy trends in 2013 and compares it to annual data collected […] Read More

Even though we are in the midst of a Christian publishing boom, writers often overlook their most obvious audience: their own congregations. I hate to break this news to all of us aspiring writers, but most of us are not going to write the next “Purpose-Driven Life,” “Love Wins” or any other best-seller. But why […] Read More