Practicing Congregation

Churches change

Posted on Dec 03, 2018

Churches change about every seven years.

That’s what a long-term pastor told me 30 years ago while I was in seminary. Rick was a visiting fellow on campus as part of his third sabbatical. For 21 years he had served his congregation and was using the sabbatical to prepare for another seven years. 

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Lessons learned bring 'remarkable change'

Posted on Oct 23, 2018

I remember elementary recess. Tag was an all-time favorite game...Although recess usually ended too soon, we nevertheless experienced re-energization.

Thirty years later I have learned a valuable lesson from this game: labor, whether in adulthood careers or childhood schoolwork, requires recess moments. God understands this as well, hence, the Sabbath. As a kid gym and recess were my times to “cut loose” and enjoy myself. As an adult, Sunday worship is such a moment. 

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Fall Programming

Posted on Sep 14, 2018

Whether your congregation has a full slate lined up, or you are preparing to open your whole children’s department in a single classroom, fall programming is a vestige of 20th-century American Christianity—and I’m not just talking about the bright colored construction paper stapled to a bulletin board.

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When you are ready to do more than talk, let's talk

Posted on Jun 30, 2018

Near the end of a conversation I was having with an African American pastor, he said, "When you're ready to do more than talk, let's talk." As a white pastor of a predominantly white congregation, I had earned those words.  

In some ways I was more hopeful about the Church becoming a place of racial reconciliation when I graduated from seminary 30 years ago than I am today. Though maybe naiveté was just masquerading as hope.

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