Congregations

Fundamentals

One key fundamental is ‘soul.’ Soul was there at the beginning of my journey with Jesus. Even now, forty years later, I know that the reason I became a Christian is because something deep, true, and beautiful, resonated with my soul. But, soul is difficult to define. I am attending the funeral today for an 84 year old man. The priest is sure to speak about John’s soul. I will nod as I am reminded how the soul provides a much needed continuity to life. Over his lifetime John’s body and mind underwent many changes.

Call Me Radical, but...

For the last two weeks I have been writing on the impact that the repeal of DOMA will have on denominations that fail to recognize gay marriage, such as the United Methodist (see What Voice Will I Listen To? and DOMA and the UMC).

What Church Shoppers Want

One of my favorite questions to ask lay people attending my workshops is, “What made you choose this church?” If the person has made a church change in the last few years, I will ask followup questions. I want to get into the mind of church shoppers. I also want the other people at the workshop to hear the factors that real people are weighing as they choose a place to worship. We live in a religious free market. People are no longer required to remain in their parent’s parish and most Christians have one or more occasions to truly church shop.

 

After winnowing out the family and friends factors in church choice, I’ve come down to three questions that I think church shoppers are serious about:

Consider the Lilies

Jesus said, “Consider the lilies...” (Matthew 6:28) Why?  Please note that these flowers have three strikes against them:

When is a sequel, not a sequel?

In my former book...

What if Luke had really wanted to only write one long book, instead of the Part 1&2 of Luke-Acts? There were serious publishing restrictions on written works in the first century. A single book the length of Luke-Acts would be too long for standard scrolls and  create problems for copyists. If it were really intended to be one book, then is it possible that it really has one plot, one theme, and a single central element. I want to propose that the focus is Church, with a capital ‘C.’ 

 

Easter 6
Ascension
Sunday, May 12, 2013

How are churches made?

“Come over to Macedonia and help us...” +

Before thinking too hard about Acts 16, it might be good to look up your current congregation’s history and reflect on it. Every church has its own founding story, but most are similar to the story of Paul and the people of Macedonia. PS: Since this was the first congregation birthed in Europe, most American congregations should see themselves as distant descendants of the Macedonians.

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