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Is Your Advent Prayer Missing the Point?

The Advent the liturgy instructs us to pray—solemnly, hopefully, deeply—is "Come, Lord Jesus, come.”  This hopeful prayer set against the backdrop of darkening days—both seasonally and politically —implies waiting with expectation.  Yet I can’t help but wonder if this...

Should Gender Matter in Christianity?

Gender and Christianity has been in the news the last couple of weeks.  Specifically the role of women in church leadership.  After telling wildly popular evangelical bible teacher Beth Moore to “go home,” influential fundamentalist preacher John MacArthur clarified...

How to Create a Culture Shift

At Shepherd of the Hills Church, it’s been a long time since the cries of children interrupted worship. That’s okay with this aging congregation. Although they miss younger people, they appreciate less commotion. If only they could get some responsible families,...

What’s the Difference between Discipleship and Apostleship?

What’s the difference between a “disciple” and an “apostle?” The word disciple comes from the Latin discipulus, meaning scholar. A disciple is a student of Jesus’ whose primary focus is on mastering his teachings so that he or she can live out Jesus’ way. An apostle,...

When Discipleship Isn’t Enough

Discipleship pathway systems are all the rage in the United Methodist Church these days. And with good reason. These systems are supposed to produce disciples, i.e. growth, and thus enable churches to fulfill the Great Commission, as well as the mission of the...

Women, Leadership and the B-Word

When a male leader is direct, confident, or decisive, he’s often known by a C-word:  Confident.  Competent.  Charismatic.  He’s prized as a strong leader, a natural leader.  A woman, however, is often stuck with a less desirable word. With less desirable...

It’s More Blessed to Receive than to Give

Last year, I had the opportunity to hear Ed Wingfield, one-time Executive Director of the former Denver Urban League speak on leadership. “Using our current models of leadership, if we’re not careful, a few heroes will rise economically in our community. But no one...

Debate as Sacrament

At one church I visited recently, a long-time member confided that the church was going to have to split because the two pastors had differing views on human sexuality and the Bible.   Why can’t our differences live side by side?  They do in the Bible.  ...

Beyond Thoughts and Prayers

A flurry of well wishes were unleashed across the United States in the wake of the Dayton and El Paso shootings ten days ago. These well-meaning expressions of sympathy were tweeted, emailed, texted, written, preached, and whispered:  You are in our thoughts and...

3 Deadly Sins of Leadership

In many churches, this is the time of year when pastors are settling into their new appointments, and congregations are learning to work with their new pastors. In other churches, people are starting to come back to worship.  Across the board, committees are beginning...

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