Ministry of Best Fit

The 21st Century has brought the United Church of Christ challenges, discussion and discernment regarding authorized ministry.  Since about 2013, The Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) team of the United Church of Christ has been working on revising the Manual on Ministry and has designated a denomination wide group, the Habakkuk Group, to clarify…

Big Data vs. Double Listening?

The internet revolution impacts about everything we do as church. Daily I find in my inbox emails which boast that they can help me fund raise better, communicate better, and retain members better; all by utilizing technology and big data. Big data is the shorthand term for the trends, patterns, and preferences revealed by our…

Healing and Mental Health

Healing was clearly a major part of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Early in his preaching and teaching, we read of him healing “every disease and sickness among the people” (Matthew 4:23). Jesus healed the blind and mute. Jesus healed the socially marginalized of his day; a woman with an issue of blood, a…

Reaching People in a Time of Change

Hello! I’d like to do a little experiment right now to make a point. I want you to walk away from your desktop, laptop, or whatever device you are reading this on and go find the nearest 45 rpm vinyl record in your office, home or apartment. Go ahead. I’ll be here when you get…

Diversity and Dialogue: The Challenge

Pre-season football 2016 started with a controversy. Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, sat during the National Anthem in August. At first, his silent protest went unnoticed. Eventually, however, news outlets picked up the story and Kaepernick was interviewed about his reasons for this action. His explanation was one of civil rights and…

Candy and Collapse: A New Way of Looking at Failure

The story is a familiar one. A mainline congregation fell on rough times. The neighborhood that nurtured this downtown congregation in the 1950’s had changed. The congregation was once the center of social life for the neighborhood and its residents. But families moved out to the suburbs. Houses in the shadow of the church were…

“The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be”

“The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be.” So said legendary baseball catcher Yogi Berra in the 1970’s. Anyone who has ministered in mainline churches in the United States in the last 30 or so years can sympathize. Denominational churches’ futures seem bleak. The United Church of Christ was born in mid-20th Century ecumenical excitement–In 1957, birth…