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Thom Rainer

I am seeing more congregations move to the singular worship style approach.

Source: Six Reasons Some Churches Are Moving Back to One Worship Style

Thom Rainer is another writer I enjoy. Theologically a little different as a Southern Baptist but he is a keen observer of church culture and trends. This move back to one style of worship article is also pointing back to the Millennial shift to more traditional worship, what Len Sweet and others call “ancient future” worship. For my tribe, Lutherans, it can bode well if we can do our style of liturgical worship in ways that are both well and welcoming. The search is on for something more than praise and worship or congregations that are trying to do more styles than they have gifted people and leaders. A good read.

iphone millenial

Source: On Being an iPhone Pastor for a Typewriter Church | The Millennial Pastor

This is yet another great blog post from The Millennial Pastor that gives a great insight into the great generational divide in the Church. While he looks at it from the Millennial/Boomer divide, its also true for many of us GenXers. We are a bridge generation between the two, equally dissatisfied with Boomer culture and sense of church, but we were raised in the references. Standing between the two, we may have the chance to transition the church so there is a future for and with Millennials.

Either way, a good read and makes the point that while most congregations ask the question how do we get the young people back, it really needs to begin with why they left. And that includes those who weren’t raised in the church but showed up once and never came back. Essentially, we need to look at ourselves and how we live and express the Gospel and Great Commission first.

Here’s a good quote: But we aren’t talking about why people are leaving church.

And we certainly aren’t talking about how to translate ourselves into a church for 2015 and beyond. Instead, we are talking about restructuring, and right-sizing… the corporate language of the 80s and 90s.

I suspect that this is where a lot of conversations in local churches, in districts and national offices are going. Churches are trying to catch up to the 80s… while my millennial contemporaries are leaving churches because the cultural commute to even access church is just too far a journey.

We need to learn to give away the church to the next generation(s) before we die. If we don’t, the church will die with us.

scream

Source: Ten Highly Effective Strategies for Crushing your Pastor’s Morale | When I Survey . . .

So why does satire work? Because it is always based in a kernal of truth we don’t want to face. Pastors, enjoy this one.

samaritan

Source: Five Kids Is A Lot Of Kids » 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin

Me too. Its a horrible saying, its not in the Bible, and it allows for all kinds of self-righteous smugness that is contrary to how Jesus lived. My little rant being said, this is a very well thoughtout, Biblical response for all Christians in dialog and debate among ourselves and with our culture.

Check it out.

marriage debate

Source: Being A Pastor in a 5-4 World by Rev. Travis Garner | Greater Things Are Yet To Be Done

With the SCOTUS decision on marriage equality now a done deal, I have many friends celebrating the affirmation of legal marriage, including their own. Its a great day for them and I’m happy for them. In my denomination/tribe, we have been permitted to do same sex blessings since 2009 but those didn’t have any legal standing. Now it can be fully called marriage in our congregations that choose to do so, as the choice to do so remain a local congregation and pastoral choice.

At the same time, I have friends who are troubled by the decision. Some because it changes the tradition of church and culture for 2,000+ years and that radical of a shift is hard to understand and embrace. Others are troubled less by the legalization of same sex marriage but the judicial arguments supporting it, fearing it will dramatically change the role of the church in US culture. It could impact how much longer churches can maintain a not for profit status if they prohibit same sex marriage yet still act as agents of the state to perform legal marriages; the possible loss of the clergy housing allowance; and what is seen as a marginalization of Christianity in particular from the public square. Their concerns are not driven by bigotry or hatred but understandings of Christianity that are shared around the world and for centuries.

This article is helpful for me in that it addresses my role as pastor in this moment, which is bigger than just the marriage decision but also the ongoing discussions of race, religious freedom, national politics, and more. Our society seems more fragmented now than in decades and its being lived on in local congregations as well. As a pastor, I’m not first called to be a prophet or activist, I’m a shepherd and leader of a local gathering of Christians who are equally divided and flawed as I am. I’m not here to convince them to think like me. I’m here to point us all to living like Jesus, particularly in our differences. As Pastor Garner says in this brief blog, we live in a 5-4 world, not a 9-0. All are invited, disagreements and all, and together find a unity in Jesus that will still bind us together. Good insight.

Source: The church is not dying. It’s failing. There’s a difference. | Portfolio of Maggie Nancarrow

The conversation of the decline and future of the North American Church continues

c

Source: Christian: Are You Ready For Exile Stage Two? | Stephen McAlpine

One of the most challenging articles on the future of the church that I have read in a long time.

Dear Church, I happen to be one of those millennials you keep reading about. I don’t think you really know me. Let me tell you a few things.

Source: Dear Church: An open letter from one of those millennials you can’t figure out • Ponder Anew

One to ponder.

Many churches are just a few years away from dying and closing. Revitalization is an urgent need.

Source: Eight Common Characteristics of Successful Church Revitalizations

hipster jesus

Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool.’ – The Washington Post.

Rachel Held Evans nails it again. Authenticity trumps cool for millennials.

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