Category Archives: Ministry

“Those Were the Days” – What Does the Future Hold for Churches of Christ?

Nostalgia is the first step in church life toward congregational death.

“Nostalgia is an exile mentality. Fulfillment is contingent on the ‘once upon a time’ remembrances of yesterday. ‘I remember when’ stories become commonplace in organizations during nostalgic days. The golden days are remembered fondly. From an organizational perspective, nostalgia signals the beginning of a trend toward a lack of trust, unstable relationships, and an erosion of commitment to present programs and ministries.” – Robert Dale, To Dream Again, 105, 107

Many of our churches were born in the 50s and 60s, raised in the 60s and 70s and came to maturity in the 70s and 80s. They have gone through a midlife crises and are now in their waning years. Churches tend to follow the human life cycle in their years and stages. They go from energy, growth and excitement to tired, lethargic and impotent and eventually to death all in about the same number of years of a human life.

Are we convinced our best days are behind us or ahead of us? I think many of us are afraid to answer that question because we believe it is the first but we wish it could be the second. Why is that? Could it be that we idolized the era of our youth, just as aging people in decline often do? Could it be that our nostalgia for our glory days is an obstacle to our future? I think so. What do you think?

The past was rigid. We know that there are things we could do today, even should do today that we don’t because we believe it would dishonor those great people who went before us. But consider it like this for a moment. If those people were born when you were born and experienced what you experienced rather than being born 40-50 years prior (when they were actually born) they might well see things just as you do. We can reconnect with their pioneering spirit without having to also reconnect with every specific thing they believed, especially those aspects of their beliefs that were just as much a product of their day and culture as some of the things we deal with today are.

The future is too important to be held hostage by the past. If you feel nostalgia setting in let it be a red flag that decline is either already going on or is imminent.

Do What You Can…Some is Better Than None

So many things go undone because we don’t do what we can. When we think we can’t or just don’t want to take the whole thing on by ourselves we freeze up and don’t do the little bit we actually can do. A bunch of little “tries” add up to a much greater sum thanContinue Reading

Crossing i’s and dotting t’s

Meticulous but misdirected. This happens far too often in leadership. We get myopically focused on the wrong things and what appears to be a concern for doing it right misses the point entirely. If you are determined to dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s you better make sure you aren’t getting itContinue Reading

Identify The Hats Only You Can Wear

There are too many distractions in life. It is so easy to shift our time and energy to things that we don’t need to be engaged in. Often the things that get neglected are the things that only we can do. One of the things I ask myself from time to time when considering tacklingContinue Reading

Has Studying Replaced Doing? Our Evangelism Problem

I have a shelf full of books on evangelism but that doesn’t make me evangelistic. We have a problem if we have read more books on evangelism than the number of people we have studied with. I am convinced that you don’t have to be an expert or know the latest (fill in the blank)Continue Reading

Your Heart is Only Functioning at 50% – Bad news or Good news?

That is bad news in a doctor’s appointment but for many churches, if half the members were involved in ministry it would be a miracle. The church is a body and bodies are made to work. They are made to move and function in an integrated and self-dependent way. Bodies are autonomous to others bodesContinue Reading

Wineskins Church of Christ Ministers’ Health Survey Results

Here are all four posts summarizing the findings from the Church of Christ Ministers’ Health Survey. These results look at physical, mental, ministerial, relational and spiritual health of our ministers. Please pass this along to ministers and elders you know. The results had some bright spots but also some places we need to shore up.Continue Reading

Confusing our Comfort and Our Calling

Throughout scripture the Holy Spirit was at work gifting and empowering people to do the tasks God put before them. Even in the midst of Holy Spirit empowerment and direct divine intervention and calling, there were still people uneasy with their assigned tasks. Gideon was hesitant even though he was directly commissioned by an angelContinue Reading

The Moment the Trunk Splits

I have slowly been cutting up a fallen tree in the woods behind our house. The city will take debris up to six feet long so I have been cutting it up into 5-6 foot sections and slowly removing it from the woods. I don’t have a chainsaw. I just have my old trusty axeContinue Reading

Intentional

I remember opening up my very first iphone new in the box. It was a 4. Everything was crisp and clean. It was very simple. It almost felt like I was opening up a tiny work of art. Everything had its place. It was just so. I had opened up phones and computer boxes before.Continue Reading

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