One Sentence That Pastors and Church Staff Hate to Hear

It isn’t “I love you, but…”; it is more dreaded than that

As a leader in a local church and in other places, I got to the point where I did not entertain such veiled criticisms. I tried to be polite and say, “I am sorry, but I cannot listen to you further because you will not give me the specific sources of the concerns. If you... Continue Reading

The Painful Lessons of Mars Hill

What can we learn from the collapse of Mark Driscoll's church?

“It’s difficult to see much more than the still-soggy ruins and drowned hopes of the once booming megachurch. “How did this happen so fast?” asks Rene Schlaepfer, pastor of Twin Lakes Church, a megachurch in Aptos, California. Watching disgrace devour other celebrity pulpits is always grim, he says, but this story hits home even harder.”... Continue Reading

Kansas Church That Left Presbyterian Church USA Takes Property Fight to Court

A congregation in Kansas that recently voted to leave Presbyterian Church (USA) for a more theologically conservative group is in a legal battle over its church property

“In early October, Church of Stanley’s congregation voted to affiliate with the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, a conservative denomination founded in response to the increasingly pro-LGBT policies of the PCUSA. Taken among voting members present, 79 percent of Church of Stanley’s congregation voted in favor of ending affiliation with PC(USA) and joining ECO, while... Continue Reading

Tis the Season for Holiday Music, or: Why I Hate Christmas

I don’t really hate Christmas. But I do hate what our culture has done with the church’s season of joy.

But the sacred music of the season can be a nearly sacramental presence in our life, if we’re careful not to abuse it. And music has the unique power to add richness and depth and dimension and life to the Christmas cycle. But if we’re clumsy, if we don’t choose carefully, if we turn the... Continue Reading

Ten Troubling Statements Church Leaders and Members Make

Here are proclamations that virtually assure your church’s decline and probable demise

We have never done it that way before. Yes, it’s cliché. But it’s still a very pervasive attitude among change-resistant people in the church… We have enough people in our church. This is a tragic statement by leaders of inwardly focused churches. And it is an excuse not to do evangelism and ministry.   If you want... Continue Reading

Not Just Gay Issues: Why Hundreds Of Congregations Made Final Break With Mainline Denominations

Changing stances on gay ordinations and same-sex marriages were a key factor in churches withdrawing from their denominations, but this was only part of a much larger divide.

It was not as if these congregations chose the most theologically conservative new homes. The great majority of congregations leaving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) chose to join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church or the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. Few chose to join the larger Presbyterian Church in America, which does not permit women clergy.  ... Continue Reading

Did the Earliest Christians Really Think Jesus Was God?

One example is the second-century Epistle to Diognetus, a popular early Christian work that affirmed a very high Christology.

In the very next passage, the epistles goes on to say: So, then, did he [God], as one might suppose, send him [his Son] to rule in tyranny, fear, and terror? Not at all.  But with gentleness and meekness, as a king sending his own son, he sent him as a king; he sent him... Continue Reading

New Rules for Health Insurance for Churches in 2015

The Presbyterian Church in America’s Retirement and Benefits, Inc. (RBI) has prepared a short summary outlining the new rules under the Affordable Care Act

In brief, it is no longer possible for churches to provide tax-sheltered reimbursements to their pastors or other employees for individually purchased health insurance coverage. The churches may assist employees by increasing taxable compensation that can be used for anything (though they cannot increase with provision that the increase must be used for health insurance),... Continue Reading

Welby Warns of Coming Split

The Anglican Communion is on the verge of institutional collapse, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said

“While not commenting on the actions taken by the Episcopal Church of the USA, Archbishop Welby said his visit to America was “a real gift in terms of communication. At least there was understanding why we disagreed with each other when we disagreed, rather than simply disagreeing and not understanding each other.” But he added:... Continue Reading

US Presbyterian Church Under Heat For Meeting Hezbollah

Whistleblower action filed with IRS showing how church group breached its tax-exempt status

“Documentary and video evidence was sent to the IRS showing PCUSA delegates meeting with members of Hezbollah – which is designated by the US as a terrorist organization – as well as publishing anti-Semitic materials and passing around political advocacy materials in violation of its status.”   In response to the Presbyterian Church USA’s (PCUSA) decision... Continue Reading

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