We are endlessly being misdirected in search of the crude “hate crime.” After centuries of racial oppression and violence, our society eventually became uncomfortable with the overtness of the racism of the past. Slavery is taken for granted as a horrific thing, something that couldn’t be assumed a few generations ago. For mainstream America, to be accused of being racist is to have been labeled something despicable. Few would willingly accept this charge upon themselves, defending themselves adamantly against such accusations. However, even worse than the racist label for those within the dominant culture, is for a person to be accused of a hate crime. Hate crimes have been created to isolate the most heinous of offenses that have been committed because of prejudice.
Most of us who work in a church can see parallels between bookstores and church. We had small, physical spaces in which we met and built community. We watched as big-box churches moved in, allowing for many more options, but individuals became much more anonymous in the process. Now, we know there are a growing number of people who are leaving church, but the search for God is still happening digitally.
I’m not writing a book on the Gospel According to the Fortune 500 any time soon. Do you know why? Because churches have a much more sustainable business model than businesses do.
If you look around at most denominational meetings, you will see that Baby Boom retirements will have a massive impact on our denominations. Boomers make the majority of those in the pews, in the pulpits, and in power. The first wave of Boomers is in the midst of retiring, so what can we expect? How will this affect us? I can’t say for sure, but let me look into my crystal ball and tell you what I see.
In a recent interview, someone asked me, “What did you write in Tribal Church that you regret? Is there anything that you would change?” The question reminded me of the fact that we’re always predicting and observing things that may not prove to be true a few years later. Here are three myths that I often hear about ministry that I question.
Like most of us, I have creative energy. I forget the box in which I’m supposed to fit. I make missteps. I force change and watch the body reject my suggestions like a bad organ implant.
For about a month, there has been an ongoing discussion about the term “mainline.” I refuse to use it because it doesn't adequately reflect the diversity of our social justice influences.
We know what stories do. The words bind us into a larger narrative. They give us an emotional and historical connection. They allow us to transfer important values. But they also allow us to build an intergenerational self.
I am tired of pretending that we want to hang out at the country club and eat cucumber sandwiches in fancy hats. We are not some sort of upper-crust elite society. Now, it's time to discard that tired label that ties us too closely with a particular race and class. It's time to call forth another name.
Many in Gen X are annoyed that we’ve spent a lifetime living under the looming Boomer shadow, and now we’re getting swallowed up by Millennials.
Closing a church is like eating the last slice of bread—somehow if you eat the last slice, you’re responsible for consuming it all (never mind that someone else ate the last 27 slices). A church can be declining for 40 years, but if a pastor comes in and starts to talk about closing a congregation, then she closed the church. Many people don’t want to be that pastor.
Frozen lasagna is also a pretty good metaphor for how church has been working for many communities.
"I feel like a Hospice nurse," I sighed as I set down my bags. I had so many funerals in my small congregation that I had little time for anything other than caring for the dying.
Leaders in mainline denominational churches crave creativity, vision and success. We like to learn from other disciplines. But is Steve Jobs the best person to teach us?