A Sexual Revolution for Young Evangelicals? No. - The common perception about the Millenials’ view of same sex issues is that evangelicals in this age group are parting ways with traditional biblical understanding. This article reviews research to the contrary.
Why Wesleyans Need to Rediscover Church Planting - Ed Stetzer heads up research for Lifeway, best known as the bookstore for the Southern Baptists. Ed is highly respected ecumenically as well and is the author of several widely read books on church growth and revitalization. As a good researcher, he is keenly aware of the historic role the Methodists played in our country, as well as the Wesleys. He lifts up the key strengths of historic Methodism and how the principles that propelled early growth can help us today.
Welcoming Visitors without Scaring them Away - The author takes a look at the variety of ways churches welcome visitors to their worship services, or not. He combines his personal experience with some reflection on what it means to welcome the stranger in our midst. While all visitors are different, sensitivity is important and many churches fail on this count. He offers some helpful insights.
Learning from Growing Churches in England - Lovett Weems summarizes a study done in England on the 18% of churches which grew over a recent ten year period. While there is “no single recipe” for growth, they concluded there are some ingredients closely associated with growing churches. Those studying the Church of England found a strong correlation between growth and qualities of leaders when these qualities are combined with an intention to grow. Leadership qualities that stood out included the abilities to motivate, envision, and innovate. Such qualities, according to the study, lead to growth when found in a leader who makes a priority of numerical growth.
Denominational Affiliation in Church Names - The National Association of Evangelicals recently featured an article on the pros and cons of including denominational names in church signs. This was based on some research by Grey Matter Research and found mixed results. The research included distinctions between the impressions denominational folks have of church signs, as well as the impressions of the unchurched. Also, different age groups were identified. While the article is certainly helpful, a shortcoming is that it did not address nuances of context. For example, a conservative United Methodist Church in a Liberal part of the country may not wish to identify with the image of the majority of UMCs in the region.
Starting the Year Poised for Growth - Wesley Seminary’s leadership newsletter, “Leading Ideas,” once again has a practical article for pastors and church leaders at this time of year. Rather than churches starting a new year in the familiar rut, this article describes how to add focus and purpose, with a likely outcome of more effective ministry. The recommendations are very practical and reflect basic business principles. Nevertheless, churches can benefit.
Newcomers: Changes Congregations Are Facing Today - Folks in church ministry today find that in most parts of the country, what worked for decades to bring new people into the congregation just does not work as well anymore. Dr. Lovett Weems does a fine analysis on many of the factors which contribute to this changed environment in the December 11, 2013 edition of “Leading Ideas.
Recommended Resources for Wesleyan Theology - I was recently asked to write a piece for Seedbed on key texts for understanding Wesleyan theology.
A Higher Standard for Membership - In the spring of 1979, my husband Michael and I landed in a small church beside a county road in Ginghamsburg, Ohio. Coming from a “country club” church on the east side of Cincinnati, we experienced culture shock but were confident that God could use us to help change the world, one life at a time. From experience, we knew that transformation happens in community.
Host Bridge Events to Reach New People - One of the disciplines of a disciple of Jesus Christ is to establish relationships with people we do not know — the unconnected — therefore becoming missionaries. This can be done through relationship-building events designed to draw people from your community into relationships with people from your church. We call these events bridge events.