Lecturing

An Epiphany for Lecture-Loving Pastors

The evidence mounts. The lecture style of teaching produces inferior results. A study reported in Scientific American exposes, again, how academia’s hardened use of the lecture method is stifling learning and growth. The journal’s writer put in bluntly: “If you’re going to college and you’re going to a whole bunch of lecture classes that require […]

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How to Be a Change Agent–Without Killing Yourself or the Church

James knows his ministry needs to make some changes. Without these changes, the ministry may falter and fall. But James also fears if he makes the changes, some people may be upset. So James chooses to do what most do in this situation. Nothing. At my organization, Group, we talk with hundreds of pastors and […]

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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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