Choir

Saying ‘Good Riddance’ to Church Dropouts

News of the decline among America’s churches is producing a strange new effect. Elitism. While church involvement continues to slide, some people are attempting to spin the decline into an odd source of pride and superiority. It’s beyond putting “lipstick on a pig.” It’s trying to turn the pig into a prima donna. “IT’S NOT US” […]

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Focus

Why Are We Here?

What business are you in? It seems like an obvious question. But many businesses, organizations–and churches–have faltered and failed because their people were not clear about their true mission. This cloudiness of mission contributed to the eventual fall of the Eastman Kodak Company. As digital photography began to rise, Kodak’s leaders started and stopped and […]

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Complex machine

The Ministry Machine

In the midst of another hyper-busy day, the rueful Christian leader paused, looked across his desk, and said, “I no longer feel I’m running this organization. It’s running me.” For many, ministry has become a machine. A big, complex machine that requires constant feeding and maintenance. What began as a tool and a structure to […]

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A, B, and C Team

Turning Pew Sitters Into the Ministry A Team

“I’m not interested in being on somebody’s B team,” my friend said. He was talking about churches that distinguish ministry work and responsibility based on whether a person receives a salary from the church. Those on the A team (pastors and ministry staff) call all the shots, closely control all the work of the church, […]

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Web surfer

21 Unsolved Mysteries of the Church

The people of the World Wide Web have penetrating questions for the people lurking behind those stained glass windows. I know. I see their questions every day. As an official blogger on the church beat I see web analytics that reveal what things people type into Google and other search engines. They wonder about all sorts […]

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Wild Goose

New Life for the Church That Died

Over the past 100 years this little church in rural Virginia has diminished and closed its doors several times. But now the church is hopping. And the banjos are only part of the story. For years pastor Edwin Lacy admired the vacant old building from afar. And then he had the opportunity to imagine a wild new […]

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iStock_000008645256Small

Confessions of a Worship Wars Mercenary

It’s been brutal on the blog-o-battlefield. Since last week’s Holy Soup article “Why They Don’t Sing on Sunday Anymore,” I’ve been dodging incoming fire from hundreds of commenters and hundreds of thousands of site visitors and social media shares. I’ve seen that people have very strong feelings about this subject. Music is a highly subjective thing. Everybody […]

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church singer

Why They Don’t Sing on Sunday Anymore

Looking around the church last Sunday I noticed that the majority weren’t singing. And most of those who were singing barely moved their lips. The only voices I actually heard were those on stage with microphones. That’s been the case for years now–in churches large and small. What used to be congregational singing has become […]

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See no evil

3 Reactions to Church Decline

The American church is in trouble. (But don’t tell anybody.) That’s one way to “manage” the compounding news that the church as we know it is shrinking and losing its impact. Since releasing our book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore I’ve noticed three general reactions to the current state of the church. […]

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Lecture hall

Sitting Through God School

In the beginning, when the Church-as-We-Know-It was invented, somebody asked, “How should we design this thing?” I imagine someone looked around and said, “Our job is to propagate the faith. We should do that like you propagate other subjects–like literature, or mathematics, or history.” Most likely, the committee chair said, “Good idea.” So they set up the […]

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