Articles tagged with: congregations

14 July 2012

Churches Can Change...But It Takes Guts

Posted in Leadership, Church

changeThere is a whole lot of pessimism out there about the ability of traditional churches to change - and it is well deserved. It seems that while the world rolls on in the new millennium, churches often find themselves debating about whether to move boldly into the 1980’s.

Churches are notoriously resistant and slow to change. And as change, fueled by technology, becomes more rapid, churches fall further and further behind.

However, I have hope.

In my nine year call at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer we were able to change in some big ways. We brought children in from the margins of the congregation and gave them a central place in worship and community life. We created a growing community of young families that shifted the demographics of the church from older to younger. We oriented ourselves to newcomers and strangers, creating a welcoming and inviting atmosphere so that people commented, “This is the most welcome we have ever felt in a church.” We embraced technology and social media as a means for connecting with one another and sharing the Gospel. We crossed a major threshold in response to the 2009 ELCA statement on human sexuality, and moved toward being a more open and accepting congregation for our GLBT brothers and sisters.

If we could accomplish these things, I believe other churches can too.

Here are the six things I found instrumental in bringing about congregational change:

08 March 2012

Life is a Highway: Making the Case for Digital Ministry in Congregations

Posted in Digital Ministry, Social Media, Church

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In a couple weeks I'll be leading an adult forum at Redeemer on the phenomenon of social media and how we, as a congregation, are using it in our ministry. This may seem obvious to readers of this blog, but its not something we talk about all the time at Redeemer.

As I thought about what social media means specificially to Redeemer's ministry context something occurred to me, which helped me contextualize what we are doing with our website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and so on.

You may find it a helpful way in making the case for digital ministry in your own setting.

24 February 2012

The Church's One Vocation

Posted in Emerging, Church

Matt Wilhelm"Let me just say, I am not an active member of my congregation. If I told you that I aspired to be an active member of my congregation at this point in my life, I would be lying."

This Sunday our church welcomed Matt Wilhelm, Chief Program Officer for Calling All Crows, and, as I like to say, a good Lutheran boy, who spoke to us about the intersection of faith, service, and vocation.

In this midst of our time together, he hit us with this line, which I found refreshing because he expressed what many people in church feel, but often feel uncomfortable saying in polite congregational company.

"Yes, I like being connected to the church, but I don't aspire to be really active, at least not right now." Matt's point, as I understood it, is that he feels called to live out his vocation on the road and in the world and not so much within a congregation, at least not at this moment.

While I found it refreshing, I was also aware that these might be a challenging words for the heavily involved church faithful gathered there to hear Matt.