Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, by Christian Smith and Melina Lundquist Denton. Nearly every new youth ministry effort is attempting to respond to the sociological research presented in this volume.
For several years I was an associate pastor on the staff of a large congregation. I often found myself preaching on the Sunday following Easter, a Sunday that's sometimes called "low Sunday." In the rhythm of life among God's people, low Sunday is the calm after the storm.
I like the energy and talent in our praise group, but invariably I'm the one who asks if the bass player could turn
down his amp. I've also been known to ask if we could sing more songs that let
Jesus down off of the cross.
Fruitful leadership in an established
church requires learning the congregation's story. God's vision
will emerge partly out of that history, and leaders must be able to connect
the new vision to past visions.
In Voorhees, Pennsylvania, Hope United Methodist Church is offering drive-through prayer one evening a week. Using the drive-through lanes in a former bank building—which houses recovery and support groups during the week—people may either talk directly with a trained volunteer about their prayer concern or drop off a prayer using the bank’s old deposit tubes. The prayer exchange takes only a minute or two, and the identity of those requesting prayer is kept confidential (Philadelphia Inquirer, May 28).