How to Avoid the Felix Unger Trap at Church

I came of age in the 70s and was raised on the TV sitcoms of the era: All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Happy Days, and The Odd Couple. In fact, one episode from the many hours of TV that I watched comes from a classic Odd Couple show. Messy, fun-loving,...

DIY Membership Vows

Vows are pretty old school. Take marriage vows for instance. “Til death do us part” notwithstanding, these vows have a pretty short shelf life in 40-50% of first marriages and 60% of second marriages. That’s how many end in divorce each year. Church vows have an even...

Paving the Way for Female Clergy – A Testimony

As I stood in front of the congregation, ready to preach my first sermon, there was no doubt in my mind that this had been God’s idea, not mine.  Four years earlier I had been a member of the he Orthodox Jewish community when Jesus appeared to me in a...

You Know You're Ready for Young People If…

The number one thing I hear church leaders around the country say is: We’d like to have more young people in worship. That’s a terrific aspiration. But don’t say it if you don’t mean it. Digitals (born around 1999 and onward) and Millennials (born around 1982-1998)...

10 Commandments for a Martian Church

The recently released movie The Martian starring Matt Damon tells the not-so-far-out tale of botanist Mark Watney left for dead on the planet Mars.  His fellow crew members have reluctantly left him behind to undertake the 4 year return voyage to...

Why Churches are Poor

At a recent clergy retreat I attended, we prayed a prayer that went something like this:  “O Lord, keep us far from the riches of the world.”  Each of us was sincere in our prayers. Later it occurred to me that God is indeed answering that prayer!  Many churches find...