Increasing Churches' Effectiveness


Increasing Churches' Effectiveness

Mar 2014 Connections. Two Sara Miles books describe her conversion, the food pantries she started, her public observances of Ash Wednesday, and her food-related view of communion. Read and download 3-2014 Connections >

Feb 2014 Connections. Reflections on whether church rules express God’s will, and on readers’ responses to the January 2014 Connections. Read/download 2-2014 Connections >

Jan 2014 Connections. Two disagreements within the UMC are in the secular news: can clergy perform same-sex marriages, and is online Communion permissible? To settle these, does the UMC need more rules or fewer? Both reflect major differences in beliefs… Continue reading →

Dec 2013 Connections. Readers are heartbroken, saddened, and ashamed by my church’s actions, but thankful for my honesty, hope, courage, inspiration, and guiltless discussion. Read/download 12-2013 Connections >

Nov 2013 Connections. 21 years of writing Connections has shown me I’m not alone in my experiences and views, but my congregation now feels more like a wilderness than ever. Read/download 11-2013 Connections

Oct 2013 Connections. Many claims made by churches don’t match what is now known from other sources. Progressive views are too often kept secret, making churches unlikely to survive. Read/download 10-2013 Connections >

Sept 2013 Connections. Today’s focus on metrics can keep churches from focusing on purpose as much as they need to. And continuing to use ancient Christian words and metaphors can be harmful, especially to women. Read/download 9-2013 Connections >

Apr 2013 Downloads. What should churches’ and seminaries’ basic purpose be? What distinguishes church from other community-service groups? Read/download 4-2013 Connections >

Sept 2011 Connections. Many Christians retreat into gated communities, and many churches exclude people, while claiming to follow Jesus, who ate with tax collectors and sinners. Read/download 9-2011 Connections >

Nov 2007 Connections. A vision that became reality. “If you have built castles in the air,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in Walden, “your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under… Continue reading →

May 2007 Connections. We’ve all had our pulse and blood pressure checked as signs of our personal physical health, but what vital signs should we be checking to measure the health of our churches? A fascinating new book… Continue reading →

Jan 2005 Connections. In this time when disagreement is so sharp within American churches, members need to focus on questions that will promote fruitful dialogue rather than widen existing divisions. Reading Evangelical and Methodist: A Popular History(Abingdon Press,… Continue reading →

Nov 2002 Connections. In her book Finding Our Voices: Women, Wisdom, and Faith (Crossroad, 1997), Patricia O’Connell Killen tells about a group of women who had met to consider how their church heritage related to their lives. Killen asked… Continue reading →

July 2001 Connections. In his book Waking to God’s Dream: Spiritual Leadership and Church Renewal (Abingdon, 1999), United Methodist pastor Dick Wills tells about getting a valuable new insight after years in the ordained ministry. “Most of my ministry,”… Continue reading →

Apr 2001 Connections. “While there was considerable continuity in American Christianity between 1800 and 1960, the past four decades of Christianity in America have been marked by an unprecedented degree of discontinuity.” So says church analyst Lyle Schaller in his… Continue reading →

Sept 1998 Connections. I’m still thinking about the kind of decision-making processes that John Wesley called “conference” and other Christians throughout our history have called “discernment.” Read/download 9-1998 Connections >