Articles tagged with: culture

07 November 2012

Leadership for a Church on the Edge: Wisdom from the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Posted in Emerging, Leadership, Church


The church finds itself on the verge of uncharted territory, a geography that is unsettling and unfamiliar.

No one knows how the future is going to unfold. Our answers are partial, at best.

Sometimes it seems like we standing at edge of a cliff, but, for me, it feels more like the opening of a vast new territory that calls us to exploration and adventure - and I am excited for it.

I recently took heart in this from reading Stephen Ambrose's excellent book, Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, which tells the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1803-1806 to find a route to the Pacific coast.

It was an epic journey, one with great lessons for the church as it finds itself thrust into a new age of exploration. 

Here are six pieces of inspiration and wisdom I took from Lewis and Clark for church leadership now:

29 October 2012

The Rise of the "Nones" and My Trip to Asheville

Posted in Emerging, Culture, Church

Asheville Love Local

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently released its study "Nones" on the Rise, which stated that the percentage of religiously unaffiliated Americans has risen to 20% - and tops out at 34% among those under 30.

This increase in the unaffiliated corresponds to a decline in those that identify as white (evangelical and mainline) protestants.

There are plenty of takeaways from the report, but it is clear that there are simply fewer and fewer people with whom the church has a traditional, historic affinity - people who might attend a church out of expectation,  obligation, or habit, be it for familial, ethnic, or cultural reasons.  

It is also clear that the cultural space the mainline churches inhabit is shrinking fast.

The challenge here is not about finding some great new outreach program, but entering into our culture, which is increasingly defined by the unaffiliated - and discovering, as Elizabeth Drescher has argued, the many spiritual connections there.

This place of the church in culture (or lack thereof) came home to me in a dramatic way on a recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina.

17 October 2012

How To Host Your Own Beer and Hymns Night

Posted in How To, Emerging, Spirituality, Church


There is something very cool about singing Beautiful Savior, Amazing Grace, and A Mighty Fortress in a pub.

Sure, its partly the novelty of it, but it also worshipful, spiritual, intimate, fun, great outreach, and an affirmation of God's presence in our daily lives - in all the places we gather, including pubs.

I've helped to host four Beer and Hymns events. They've each been a little different but they have been great experiences. The singing is beautiful, the environment is relaxed, it takes us into the community, and it opens something up for people spiritually.

Beer and Hymns has been popularized in Lutheran circles by Nadia Bolz-Weber and House for All Sinners and Saints. Jodi Bjornstad Houge and Humble Walk Church also regularly host Beer and Hymns. Jodi writes about their experience here. I've included several links at the bottom of this post with examples of how people have done Beer and Hymns and what it means to them. 

Here's my version of how to host your own Beer and Hymns event:

13 February 2012

"Young People Should Be More Committed to the Church"

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Church

church councilYoung adults need to be more committed to church. At least, that's what I hear

What does that mean exactly? And, more importantly, how do we define that commitment?

Here's my hunch. When we say we want greater commitment from people, we mean commitment in the way people have purportedly "always" been committed in church. This tends to look like official positions with long-term time-intensive commitments of time. We reward longevity (not that there's anything wrong with that) but we less frequently celebrate shorter term commitments.

This ethos emerges from our congregational systems, which were created in a time when people had more time, when one-income families were more the norm, and when the landline phone was the latest technology. We no longer live in this world.

22 November 2011

Facebook Is Not The Fax Machine: Technology and the Pastoral Office

Posted in Social Media, Church

telegraphI believe one of the major underlying reasons many congregations and pastors are reluctant to adopt social media for ministry is because historically we have had such low expectations when it comes to ministry leaders and technology.

Think about it.

29 October 2011

Ask Bigger Questions: Steve Jobs and the City Council

Posted in Steve Jobs, Leadership, Church

JobsEveryone has a favorite Steve Jobs moment.

Mine is an rather unlikely one.

It's the 20 minute presentation Jobs made to the Cupertino City Council on June 7, 2011 to introduce Apple's plans for a new corporate headquarters, affectionately known as "the mothership."

This presentation caught my attention because it happened on the heals of Jobs' big introduction of OSX Lion, iOS5 and iCloud at annual Apple World Wide Developers Conference.

I laughed that even Steve Jobs had to deal with the local politics and I wondered how he would perform on someone else's much smaller stage. So, I watched.

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