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Not church

  It seems the final piece of an ever-evolving puzzle has found its way into place. Starting Sunday, August 16, 2015, I will be adding a Sunday service to the offerings of Authentic Freedom Academy. This addition …

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7 Ways to Build Community

If not Sunday worship, then what?

As Sunday morning loses its hold on churchgoers and potential churchgoers, what comes next? How do faith communities nurture relationships? How do people draw closer to God? How can we engage the world outside our doors if opening the doors on Sunday isn’t enough?

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Other ministries, Other Places, Other Expressions

How can I consider myself a member of this congregation if I don’t participate in the main thing they do?

It’s a good question, and many Christians are asking it. As Diana Butler Bass points out in an insightful interview with Deseret News, more and more believers are pursuing their relationships with God “away from church.”

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PROTECTING THE WHOLE OF CREATION: A Service that the Bishop of Rome is Called to Carry Out

How has the Church understood the concern about ecology and the topic of the environment in these last 50 years? What is the message of the Magisterium about an issue that has become more and more pressing and which, thanks to the Encyclical of Pope Francis, is now becoming an important chapter in the social teaching of the Church?

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Adam Smith’s “Hidden Hand” Veneration of Another False God ?

In Pope Francis’ recent environmental encyclical and in his many pronouncements since them, most notably his address to the US Congress and at the United Nations, he was in effect telling the world that the time has come for all of us to take a long hard look at a false god that has, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution been and continues to be venerated by so many.
 

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An Open Letter To the Moderator of the United Church of Canada: The Rt. Rev. Jordan Cantwell

I write with some alarm at what is happening in the United Church of Canada, a church that I have long admired. … I have written articles in praise of the United Church of Canada. It was the one Christian body in the world that seemed free of the need to be tied to the past, but was rather courageously open to the future.

Now to my dismay, a segment of the United Church of Canada has decided that it is no longer secure enough or open enough to contain one of its most creative, future-oriented pastors. I refer to the Rev. Gretta Vosper of the West Hill United Church in Toronto.

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Communication, Communication

Want some advice on how to grow your church? Hire a communications director. Yes, you heard that right. A communications director. Not an additional pastor, not an education director or another musician. But a professional communicator to …

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It’s Finally Official – Pope Francis Demotes Highest-Ranking US Cardinal Over LGBT Issues

It’s been in the news. Now it has been confirmed. As of this past weekend, Raymond Leo Burke, America’s highest-ranking cardinal at the Vatican, was officially removed from the Vatican’s Supreme Court, and demoted to chaplain of the Knights of Malta, where he will reign with much less responsibility.

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Call to Innovation

“Innovation in ministry” is a recurring theme, one that I first began hearing forty years ago when I entered seminary. Even then, just 10 years into the precipitous and ongoing decline in mainline churches, it was clear …

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My Disappointment With the Pontiff’s Visit

The Pope Effect brought throngs of Catholics and admirers out to see him wave to them from his Pope-mobile and to hear him celebrate Mass. And his effect not only brought Republican John Boehner of Ohio to tears, but it also brought Boehner to the realization he should step down as House Speaker. However, for many religious conservatives the Pontiff’s remarks and actions during his visit were viewed as heretical, desecrating century-old church doctrine, and diminishing his authority as the head of the church.

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Tensions Needn’t Derail Us

… as many church leaders know too well, innovation can become threatening. Powerful constituencies push back, and things that manifestly need to be rethought take on a non-negotiable, do-not-mess aura.

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Listen Up, Listen Often, Get Confused

I want to make a basic point about Spiritual Development. But first I need to file two disclaimers: Spiritual Development isn’t an exact science and there is no one single path …

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In Support of The Reverend Gretta Vosper

Gretta represents a small but growing number of clergy who are best described as courageous. The have spoken the truth when others too often fumble for words or refuse to look any deeper than their online sermons.

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Make Time for Marketing

If church leaders want people to “buy” their “goods and services’ — come to worship, take a class, engage with the community, grow in faith, serve God — they can’t just open the door on Sunday or send out a weekly newsletter stuffed with announcements. They need to do solid marketing. They need to do the basics as outlined above: catch people’s attention, explain offerings, present opportunities to engage, lead people to various forms of participation, form relationships, provide customer service.

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Six Keys to Learning from Experience

You’ve heard it many times: “Experience is the best teacher.” And its corollary, “Failure is a better teacher than success.” Makes sense, but what does it actually mean for church leaders? Here are six keys to learning from experience.

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Remember the S Curve

The S curve — shows what happens as a new idea takes hold, or a compelling vision, or fresh leadership, or a new mission thrust. If the idea or vision has legs, it will start slowly, then gather momentum as people buy into it and become excited by it. This new vision captures many imaginations. It puts into action the deepest values of the organization — in this case, a congregation.

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Setting Up A Membership Tracking System

People connect with you on a spectrum, ranging from minimal awareness to deep engagement. Connecting with a church is a complicated process that requires multiple pathways, rather than a simple but misleading distinction between member and non-member (or “unchurched”).

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7 Steps to Prepare for Hate Attacks

It is time for congregations to develop protocols for responding to hate initiatives on their doorsteps. As the intolerant lose any self-discipline in lashing out at others, we can expect a fresh round of cross-burnings, gay-bashing graffiti, and online vitriol.

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