5 Reasons Spirituality is No Longer Important to the American Church

There are isolated and scattered signs of spiritual vitality in the American Protestantism. There are people and pastors who believe that spiritual practice is indispensible to the life of the church. There are a handful of denominational programs and an occasional bishop who emphasizes the spiritual life. And a handful of seminaries have given one kind of attention or another to the spiritual preparation of their students.But there is also evidence that the emphasis on spiritual practice is … [Read more...]

Part-Time Ministry and “The Myth of the Empty Church”

Part-time or bi-vocational ministry is becoming commonplace, and frequently it is the go-to solution used by church leaders to address the needs of an increasing number of congregations.This pattern is only going to intensify as mainline Protestant denominations shrink. For example: 80% of all Episcopal churches are either family size congregations with an average Sunday attendance of 20 to 50 or pastoral size parishes with an average Sunday attendance of 75-140. The Very Reverend Kevin … [Read more...]

The One Thing that Matters in a Changing Church

A dear friend, who recently converted to Catholicism, told this story about a recent experience at church: This past Easter I was given a Rosary from a friend in commemoration of my having completed the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process and entered the Catholic Church. Ours is a fairly large church for a rural area: about 1,200 families from several counties in north Texas and southern Oklahoma. We serve a large area partly because we are a place where Hispanic families can … [Read more...]

Evangelicals, Donald Trump, and 4 Lessons in Politics for the Church

The meeting that a handful of Evangelicals had with Donald Trump this week has something to teach Evangelicals and Christians of every stripe.One:Meetings of this kind run the risk of painting the whole of a segment of the Christian community in terms that appear unified and homogenous. Christians -- even hyphenated Christians (Evangelical-Christians, Progressive-Christians, Roman Catholic-Christians, etc.) -- do not see their faith or political issues in the same way.But when a … [Read more...]

Four Reasons for Abandoning the Term, Post-Christian

The potted definition of Post-Christianity that Wikipedia offers, summarizes as well as any, a term that is frequently used to describe the challenge that the contemporary church faces: “the loss of the primacy of the Christian worldview in political affairs, especially in the Global North where Christianity had previously flourished, in favor of alternative worldviews such as secular nationalism.[2] It includes personal world views, ideologies, religious movements or societies that are no longe … [Read more...]

7 Things that Pentecost has to teach The United Methodist Church — and the rest of us

Here we are, one day after Pentecost and life is back to normal.Hearing the text of the Book of Acts read in multiple languages was exhilarating last week. This week it feels like happy-talk.Watching my United Methodist sisters and brothers navigate yet another General Conference is painful. It is difficult to watch the members of a great church with a rich tradition struggle to remain civil with one another. I am mindful of just how much those dynamics have been a part of my own … [Read more...]

4 Ways Spiritual Direction Could Change the Church

There are times when, as theological educators, we have the rare privilege of not only contributing to a discipline, but we also get a front row seat to historic change.The practice of spiritual direction has entered one of those history-making chapters.Spiritual direction is a structured effort to listen for the voice of God with the assistance of a one-on-one relationship with a spiritual director or companion who provides space for that effort and asks questions that prompt the … [Read more...]


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