Diana Bell talks about the future of church

Diana Bell, Pastor of Presbyterian Church USA talks about the future of the church.

These interviews were conducted by ProgressiveChristianity.org at a Westar meeting as part of a series on Christianity, spirituality, religion, church, God, Jesus, sacred community, social justice, youth, and social transformation. More to come soon!

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Rev. Blake Osborn Interview – The Future Church

These interviews were conducted by ProgressiveChristianity.org at a Westar meeting as part of a series on Christianity, spirituality, religion, church, God, Jesus, sacred community, social justice, youth, and social transformation. More to come soon!

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Plan a balanced Communications Strategy

Communications Strategy isn’t the only thing a church does, but it has a way of revealing what a congregation values – and where its future lies.

Churches also engage with new members, train their people in spiritual disciplines, raise up effective leaders, pay special attention to young adults, and do mission. They worship, they extend pastoral care, they educate, and they transform lives.

In other words, a church has a full plate. Communications Strategy tends to shape what gets on that plate.

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Christianity and Fundamentalism in today’s world

Why is Christianity growing in its fundamentalist forms and dying where it tries to engage the thought of the present world?

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Don’t Be a Cool Church Leader, Just Be Real

To church leaders, I say this: Be brave enough to be yourself. Trust in the dignity in which God has created you. Be whatever you are–nerdy, goofy, quirky, young or old, plain or complex. Don’t be trendy. You don’t have to know the latest catch phrases or technology.

Just be you.

That’s all that you can ever give, and honestly, that’s all that anyone ever really wants.

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A Taste of Embrace Festival, 2017

In May 2017, people from all over the world will gather in Portland, Oregon to share knowledge and wisdom, learn from each other, celebrate, be inspired, and find the tools needed to create and enliven local movements within our communities. Together we will explore sacred oneness, Christ consciousness, eco-spirituality, social justice and the way of universal and personal transformation that honors the Divine in all.

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How “conventional wisdom” hurts churches: part 2

People assume the “conventional wisdom” is actually wise. In the church world, as I wrote last week, that means the belief that churches must have facilities, must worship on Sunday morning, and must have ordained clergy.

But as economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, the “conventional wisdom” is likely to be wrong. Acceptable, yes, and comfortable, but running counter to facts, ideas, emerging constituencies and new needs.

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Extraordinary times call for extraordinary churches

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary churches.

In America and in much of Europe, right-wing politicians backed by screaming mobs of white nationalists are taking power. The anger, fear and hatred are so strong that democracy itself might not survive.

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Interfaith Leadership: A Primer

By Eboo Patel

A guide for students, groups, and organizations seeking to foster interfaith dialogue and promote understanding across religious lines.

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Six critical steps for giving and spending

As church leaders conclude annual stewardship campaigns and turn their attention to operating budgets, it’s important to examine how a healthy church handles money.

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Beyond business as usual

Sometimes reality changes. Events cascade into our plans and desires, forcing us to rethink, recalibrate, reconsider. What seemed okay and important yesterday now appears irrelevant or not so urgent.

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Churches have important work to do

Progressive churches have important work to do in the four years ahead.

They don’t need to become aligned with the Democratic Party. But they do need to become political. By that I mean tending to the politics of the day, namely, change, frustration, anger, some truly awful people planning to do bad things to their enemies, and a lot of good people on all sides wondering what direction American democracy is going.

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8 ways to use technology to grow your church

ny church can grow. It won’t happen just by opening the doors on Sunday and welcoming whoever shows up. Growth isn’t that easy or passive. But growth can happen if leaders are willing to work at it, to use best practices and best tools, and to change whatever gets in their way.

That’s a tall order, of course, because most established institutions struggle with change and resist doing more than the known and the minimum.

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Many folks are ready to move on

The signal revelation from a recent consulting engagement in Kansas wasn’t that the congregation was trapped in old ways, or paying a steep price for it in declining membership. The revelation was that hardly anyone had any stake in remaining stuck.

In one way or another, they said, “Let’s move on.” “We need to get outside ourselves.” “We have got to change things.”

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I wish I had known these principles in aging ministry

Now that I am venturing onto the terrain called “aging,” I would like a do-over in how I responded to people over 65 when I was their pastor.

I don’t think I began to comprehend the complexity of aging. I viewed it as a single-track pastoral problem to be solved by regular home visits and the occasional group event, like a bus tour. I tended to treat the elderly as needy, more like patients in a hospital than self-differentiating adults. Some were hospital patients, of course. But I missed seeing the rest of their journeys.

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The tension between “bricks and mortar” and “mission and ministry”

The tension between “bricks and mortar” and “mission and ministry” is never easy to navigate. Facilities seem so real and practical, while mission and ministry tend to be ambiguous and unmeasurable.

The tension gets especially complicated when facilities are enshrined as “historic.” Some constituents derive personal status from things historic, whether or not it is deserved, and the old implies a certain continuity that many desire.

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CalledOUT Response on Judicial Council Rulings

  In a week where United Methodist LGBTQI persons have been tokenized through the announcement of the Council of Bishops’ Special Commission on “A Way Forward,” we are not surprised, but are nonetheless harmed once again by …

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Stewardship is a spiritual discipline, not fund-raising

If you were to plan a Spiritual Development ministry for your church, you might start with prayer: the simple but far-reaching act of talking to God.

Your second element might be meditation: the not-quite-so-simple act of listening to God.

On you would go with study, worship, confession – each harder the one before.

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