Archives For Church Leadership

The Hoosier State is at the center of a national controversy because of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Gov. Mike Pence signed into law this week.

In part, the law provides that the government may not substantially burden a person’s right to practice their religion unless it is essential for a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive way of doing so.

cutting the wedding cake, focus on hands

It’s billed as a protection of religious freedom, and as a Hoosier and a pastor, I’m all for that.

But this law isn’t so much about religious freedom as about something that has become a symbol for the latest battle in our culture war—wedding cake.

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Heaven tourism books were pulled from LifeWay Christian Resources this week. The Christian retail giant will no longer carry titles like 90 Minutes in Heaven, Heaven Is for Real, and The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven.

The D.l.moody Memorial Church In Chicago

The latter book caused a stir when its subject and coauthor, Alex Malarkey, admitted that he lied about having a vision of heaven as a 6-year-old.

So that’s that. Another Evangelical blockbuster bites the dust.

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A clock is something you can take apart, analyze, clean, improve, and put back together. If it works properly, it will produce the same result every time.

A cloud exists all around you, perceptible but intangible, ethereal yet powerful. It produces a different effect on nearly every person nearly every time they encounter it.

Clockwork Background

For decades we’ve treated the church as if it were a clock when it’s really a cloud. The result is a mechanized religion that defines spirituality in terms of voting records and a church that is more commodity than community, a product to be consumed.

How did this happen?

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Readership of this blog grew dramatically in 2014. Overall traffic rose by more than 250 percent, and the number of unique readers climbed by more than 80 percent. Hopefully, that’s an indication that the posts are helpful and meaningful to a growing number of folk.

Top 10 Letterpress

Through the year I learned a couple of lessons about blogging. But my greatest insights are about the state of the church.

Here are my top 10 posts for 2014 and what I’ve learned from your responses.

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Generation labeling makes the church narrow its vision for spiritual transformation. But people aren’t just one thing. They can change.

I resisted seeing the movie Divergent at its release earlier this year because it looked to be a knock-off of The Hunger Games. Amazon Prime made it too easy to change my mind though, and I’m glad I did.

Young Woman In The Field

This story gets at an important truth we, especially Christians, need right now.

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Pastors spend a lot of time solving problems, and that means asking questions. Unfortunately, most of those questions are unimportant, even trivial. I know this because I’ve wasted plenty of my own time wondering about these same things.

Handsome businessman daydreaming of his business future
In fairness, many of these questions are forced upon pastors by their job description as the leader of an organization and have little to do with their real work as shepherds of God’s flock.

But a pastor has to earn a living somehow, so most spend the majority of their time pondering things like these—

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Immigration reform is a hot topic this summer as the U.S. Congress appears poised to take action that could affect some 11 million undocumented residents. My denomination is on record in support of common-sense reform for biblical reasons. Our general superintendent, Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, even met with the President to discuss the matter.

Immigration

Even so, immigration is a sticky subject for many Christians. We are law-and-order people for sure, so going soft on violators is hard to swallow. At the same time, we’re deeply compassionate and believe in being hospitable to strangers and those in need.

What to do?

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