Re-forming Ministry in the Longevity Economy

More than one person has noted that the current period of change that we are facing in the church may indicate that we are in the midst of another re-forming or reformation. Although there are all kinds of comparisons and observations about what makes this period different from other periods of history, there is one…

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…

What Church Vitality Is Not

Late spring / early summer is a busy season in the life of the United Church of Christ—many annual meetings are taking place within conferences and associations. I was privileged to attend one such meeting and offer a keynote and workshop for the Minnesota Conference annual gathering in June. The theme of the meeting was…

Clergy Shortage or Pulpit Shortage?

At a meeting of our Conference’s Church and Ministry Council last week, we were looking at the newly released Fall 2016 Statistical Profile of the United Church of Christ. It has some graphs that should look very familiar by now, showing a denomination that continues to grow smaller. One of our younger clergy on the…

Does Your Congregation Have Decision Fatigue?

One of the more noticeable causes of congregational anxiety is less frequent weekly church attendance. Pastors and leaders of small congregations can relate–looking out over half-empty seating on a Sunday which “should” be full. The Barna Group, a nonprofit church research and statistics organization, reports that regular Sunday worship attendance is trending down. Over the ten-year period of…