I am lucky enough to serve a church, in Chicago, where people are excited about coming to worship. I teach new member classes, in which many people cite worship as the thing that has really drawn them to want to get better connected with the church.
I entered parish ministry with a fair amount of idealism, particularly liturgical idealism. Inconveniently, the liturgical proclivities I picked up in seminary were not especially popular with my first congregation.
This became clear as a sleigh bell during our first Advent season together.
As associate pastor for evangelism, I work to welcome new people into a large urban congregation. As I delve into the complexities of outreach in this postmodern age, I find that some of the most interesting conversations happen when I’m speaking to people who work in marketing.
It is often observed by my friends, and even by my wife, that I might be a little too “angry” for someone who supposedly is called to a ministry of presenting the gospel to others. They don’t go so far as to call me a hypocrite, but I do think they’re pointing out that I’m not always that nice, that I don’t necessarily embody forgiveness (or even the golden rule), that “Christian” implies a graciousness I simply lack.
"I eventually realized that leaders are not made by books or workshops," says Lisa Yebuah of Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. "Leaders are people who marry their knowledge to action."
"I've been given an opportunity to color outside the lines," says Nanette Sawyer of Grace Commons and St James Presbyterian Church in Chicago, "the permission and charge to be creative and experimental."
"Progressive Christians do a good job with issues like LGBT rights," says Dennis Sanders of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis. "But we're less good at helping people become disciples of Jesus."
"Religious commitments are no longer taken for
granted as part of North American people's lives," says Scott Kershner of Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center in Washington State. "So space opens up to
ask very basic and interesting questions."
Nov 30, 2011
| An interview with Carol Howard Merritt
"What would happen," asks Carol Howard Merritt of Western Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., "if we coupled baby boomers' prophetic focus with the pragmatism of my generation? What if the church unleashed us to plant churches?"
Jul 28, 2011
| An interview with Katherine Willis Pershey
"People need to hear the good news," says Katherine Willis Pershey of First Congregational Church in Western Springs, Illinois. "If the church doesn't take on this
mission, I'm afraid—well, that's where that sentence can end. I'm afraid."
"We have rejected much of our immediate [evangelical] past," says Josh Carney of his church, University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. Looking to older traditions, "we found that some of our objections had already been
The sale of Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral to the Catholic diocese in Orange County is a harbinger of evangelicalism’s future in the United States,, according to Jim Hinch, religion correspondent for the Orange County Register. Many younger evangelicals dislike evangelicals’ association with the culture wars and with large megachurches. The future of the evangelical church may look more like the decade-old Epic Church in northern Orange County, which is populated by Koreans and Hispanics. Its 200 members meet in a rented office building and spend time tutoring low-income students in the neighborhood. “We didn’t feel like our goal was to get people to come to our church,” the founding pastor said. “We wanted to be present in the neighborhood, where we’re guests” (American Scholar, Winter).