spiritual diner

‘I’m Not Being Fed at This Church’

“I don’t feel we’re being fed at this church,” Bill admitted. He’s thinking about switching to another church–where he can be “fed.” What does Bill mean? It seems that Bill, and many others who express similar feelings, go to weekend services expecting to receive encouragement, solace or inspiration. Their expectations are often unmet. These expectations now form […]

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Nice receptionist

The Ministry Breakthrough of the Year

I was explaining “radical hospitality” at a church workshop. I almost choked when I said my usual line: “Radical hospitality goes beyond a smiling greeter at the door.” I was aware that this church hadn’t yet covered even the basics of hospitality. The office staff had developed a reputation of junkyard dogs–repelling visitors, members and […]

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Girl looking for mentor

Turning Pew Sitters Into Heroes

It’s pervasive. Most of the people in the pew have internalized the notion that ministry is the responsibility of the professionals on stage. The job of the pew sitter is . . . to sit. And watch others do the work. That mindset is killing the church. The current system perpetuates the idea that the Christian […]

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preaching monolog

Kicking the Sermon Habit

It may be well-intended. It may be well-researched. It may be well-executed. But, the sermon, as we know it, fails to deliver. The weekly lecture isn’t just failing those who sit silently in the pews. The form itself is repelling much of today’s population, particularly men and younger generations. One of the most often mentioned reasons […]

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wedding ceremony

Shacking Up: A Church’s Surprising Response

As the church, what works better: to curse the darkness or light a candle? Many seem convinced that God is calling them to curse. First and foremost. This seems especially true in matters of sexuality. For example, consider the issue of couples living together outside of marriage. For some church leaders, this is the ultimate test […]

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Sunday worship

Church’s Obsession with Sunday Morning

A friend of mine visited a large, famous church on a typical Sunday. The worship band performed with precision. The lighting and fog effects were state of the art. The pastor presented a polished sermon amidst specially built staging. Later in the week the pastor shared this church’s ministry secrets in a seminar. He described […]

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Ministry storm

Riding Out 3 Big Ministry Storms

These are turbulent times. And the church is swirling in the maelstrom. I was reminded of this turbulence as I reviewed Holy Soup’s top blog posts over the past year. Three topics catapulted to the top, fueled by viral sharing across the country and around the world. Here they are, with a few thoughts about what […]

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Hate the sinner

A Theology of Hate

We love to hate. In fact, we’re known for it. We’ve garnered a reputation for who–or what–we hate. Research shows that today’s church is known more for what it hates–what it stands against–than for what it loves or affirms. The population perceives a church filled with disdain. For example, the top characteristic that the unchurched population attaches to […]

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Bible monger

When “My Bible Says” Doesn’t Work

While speaking before a group I mentioned that the debate around homosexuality will present some complicated issues for the church. A man in the back of the room disagreed. “There’s nothing complicated about it,” he said. “My Bible says homosexuality is a sin. Period. End of story.” But for the people around him, it was […]

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image

Church: Does Size Matter?

Kelli, an unmarried middle-aged woman, says she chose her large suburban church so she could hide in the crowd. “I could come into this big auditorium and never see the same people every week,” she says. She’s in good company. Many megachurches like hers are growing–while the majority of the churches around them are not. “We’ve been seeing the […]

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