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.
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.
I was in Nashville with colleagues, and a few of us had made our way to the Bluebird Cafe, which might be called the mother church for country music songwriters. A quartet of men and women sang and played guitar for about 80 people from 9 p.m. to around 11. The music was beautiful, and I wandered out of the café with the honest testimonies of human nature and destiny stirring within me.
I am thinking of starting
a campaign to bring back Palm Sunday, without the additional observance of
Passion Sunday. Palm Sunday was always one of my favorites growing up as a
preacher's kid, and it was all about the palms--and a lot of them. It was
celebratory, festive, when as child I got a chance for a hands-on worship
experience and a glimpse of what royalty could look like.
What do young people look for in church? In research done in 250 congregations among people ages 15–29, respondents repeatedly said they were looking for congregations that were “welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable, and caring.” The researchers began to call this set of concerns the “warmth cluster.” Worship bands and ministry programs are not a priority, nor is busyness. Even “niceness” doesn’t work with young people. What they apparently seek at church is a sense of family, which calls for intergenerational relationships (Washington Post, September 6).