Why I Still Believe in the UMC

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Main, Memphis Conference, Methodism | 2 comments

While unpopular in some circles, there are still a great many reasons why I still believe in the UMC. Sure, there are some antiquated ideas in every organization, especially one that goes back a few years like ours does. Old habits die hard, even in the young leaders who are stepping into the gaps left by absentee Baby Boomers who don’t want to become the very embodiment of the authority they rejected in the  60’s and 70’s....

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The Difference Between “Now” and “Then”

Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 in Leading the Church, Leading the Local Congregation, Main, Memphis Conference, Methodism | 3 comments

Some things never change. There are still hot dogs at baseball games. There are still fish in Kentucky Lake. And there are still Methodists meeting on a yearly basis to talk business and make decisions. In the past two weeks, I’ve been to two Annual Conferences. And, at those sessions, I spoke with pastors and leaders of the Church at length. Something was different. In years past, Conference was a coming together of factions. Sounds...

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A Different Future from a Difficult Past

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Leading the Church, Leading the Local Congregation, Main, Memphis Conference, Methodism, Sermons | 2 comments

Let’s cover some known facts. I’m a United Methodist pastor. The United Methodist Church is a Christian denomination. Christians follow the teachings of Christ. Christ was big on forgiveness. Based on this, we should be able to draw some conclusions about a system of United Methodist pastors and United Methodist churches — and the way they interact. Let me offer you a few more known facts. Most clergy I know have encountered...

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Take Disciples … Yes, You

Posted by on Mar 2, 2013 in General Rant, Leading the Church, Leading the Local Congregation, Main, Memphis Conference, Methodism | 1 comment

Today is Saturday. That means that I’ve heard that “the Church is in decline” approximately a hundred times since Sunday, give or take a few. It means that I’ve heard that the answer is “to make disciples for the transformation of the world,” approximately seventy-five times. You may have noticed that I hear about the problem more often than I hear about any proposed solutions. But there is a great deal of...

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So What DO You Mean By “Grow?”

Posted by on Feb 14, 2013 in Blogroll, General Rant, Leading the Church, Leading the Local Congregation, Main, Memphis Conference, Methodism, Pop Culture, Sermons, Society at Large | 3 comments

Once, as a child, I played sick to avoid a particular confrontation that I knew was going to take place at school. My plan was foolproof: Moan a little bit, wait for the thermometer to show up, and then fake a fever using my desklamp to inflate the reading. I may or may not have recently watched “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” In either case, I would have been more successful in my devious effort if I had followed his advice and...

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I’m Done “Growing the Church”

Posted by on Feb 7, 2013 in Announcements, General Rant, Leading the Church, Leading the Local Congregation, Main, Memphis Conference, Methodism, Sermons, Society at Large | 53 comments

Yes, you read that right. I’m done. No more outreach strategies to fill the pews. No more ideas to draw young people. No more switching out the hard stuff for lighter fare in hopes that we will appeal to a larger audience. No more “growing the church.” It seems that every time I sit down to think of ways to lead people to Jesus, I find a new way to “align a program” or “bring focus to an issue” —...

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