All posts from “Church health”

“I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry, and I Love You”

July 30, 2013 9:19 AM

“I’ve cared too much and not enough in the same breath.” - Derek Webb, “I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry, and I Love You.” In high school one of my closest friends went to a Baptist church. It was the...

10 Things Pastors Need to Hear from Their Congregations

June 20, 2013 8:00 AM

This is a re-post from Eric's blog. Yesterday, Rachel Held Evans posted a list of 11 things she, as a layperson, wished that we pastors said more often. I commented that I thought the list was fantastic, and a...

Should Churches Hire Family Members?

March 20, 2012 12:00 AM

The post mortem on the Crystal Cathedral continues. The iconic southern California megachurch pastored by Robert H. Schuller once represented the innovative and market-savvy dexterity of American Christianity. Schuller started his church at a drive-in movie theater, allowing visitors to...

Risky Business (Part 2)

March 14, 2012 12:00 AM

Read part 1. So what is the solution to the captivity of ministry leaders to business models? I've got a theory: to the extent that the church does not know its Bible, really know the Bible, the more it seeks...

Risky Business (Part 1)

March 12, 2012 12:00 AM

I first discovered Jim Gilmore when his book, The Experience Economy, was handed to me by a nationally known church consultant in 2002. If I wanted my church to grow, he explained, I had to employ the marketplace strategies in...

Farewell Rob Bell

December 28, 2011 12:00 AM

This week marks the end of Rob Bell's leadership of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Bell is moving on to new callings in California including creating a television show. A few weeks ago he said his goodbyes...

Inside the Battle at Coral Ridge

November 16, 2011 12:00 AM

Tullian Tchividjian knows all about filling big shoes. Not only is he the grandson of Billy Graham, but in 2009 Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) stepped into another pair of Shaq-sized sneakers. He succeeded the late James Kennedy as pastor of Coral...

Skye Jethani: Recipe for Church-365 (Part 4)

October 17, 2011 12:00 AM

Read parts one, two, and three of "Recipe for Church365". Ingredient Four: Decentralized Service Over the last few years my travels have been taking me more regularly to Portland, Oregon. Portland is weird, and that’s how they like it. But...

Skye Jethani: Recipe for Church-365 (Part 3)

October 4, 2011 12:00 AM

Read parts one and two of "Recipe for Church365". Ingredient Three: Vocational Discipleship Last month I met with David Kinnaman, president of The Barna Group, to discuss our new books. He wanted to talk about how the themes in my...

Skye Jethani: Recipe for Church-365 (Part 2)

September 26, 2011 12:00 AM

Read part 1 of "Recipe for Church365. Ingredient Two: Cultural Flourishing As I discussed in my first book, The Divine Commodity, when church institutionalism grows out of control, we come to believe that programs rather than people are the vessels...

Skye Jethani: Recipe for Church-365 (Part 1)

September 19, 2011 12:00 AM

A few weeks ago I had lunch with Darren Whitehead from Willow Creek. Darren is a great bloke (I can say that because he’s an Aussie), and we talked candidly about our experiences in the church, in leadership, and the...

Mormons, Mormons Everywhere

September 12, 2011 12:00 AM

Newsweek dubbed it “the Mormon Moment” in June. There’s a Broadway musical about Mormon missionaries, two potential Mormon presidential candidates, Warren Jeffs in the media, and TV shows like Big Love and Sister Wives. It seems America is fascinated with--or,...

Ur Video: Chandler vs. Furtick

August 29, 2011 12:00 AM

Everyone in pastoral ministry has a bias. Some of us prefer deep doctrinal teaching. Others value ministry that is practical and immediately applicable. Others are all about reaching those far from God. And while there is nothing wrong with those...

Ur Video: The King Jesus Gospel

August 22, 2011 12:00 AM

It seems everyone has an answer for the exodus of young people from the church. We're too homophobic, too irrelevant, too age-segmented, too boring, or too consumerist. But Scot McKnight's explanation goes far deeper. He thinks we have fundamentally misunderstood...

Blessed Redundancy

June 29, 2011 12:00 AM

I like airplanes, and given the amount I travel that is a good thing. Seeing these incredible machines--aluminum and composite monuments of human ingenuity--makes the atrocities of most American airports almost bearable. (My genetically tanned, ambiguously ethnic appearance must scream...

Ur Video: The Succession Dilemma

June 27, 2011 12:00 AM

Tim Keller and John Piper both lead very large churches. But what happens when they eventually leave their posts? It's a question that is facing many megachurches given that most were started by Baby Boomer leaders who are now entering...

The Church is Dead...

June 20, 2011 12:00 AM

Last week the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, gathered for its annual meeting in Phoenix. The media pounced when stats were released indicating SBC membership had shrunk for the fourth consecutive year. In addition (or should I...

Ur Video: Mark DeYmaz on "First Love"

June 15, 2011 12:00 AM

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Megachurch For Sale

May 27, 2011 12:00 AM

News comes from California today that the Crystal Cathedral is for sale. The megachurch founded and developed by Robert H. Schuller has accumulated so much debt that selling the iconic Southern California facility is the only option. Some point to...

Ur Video: Dallas Willard on Grace

May 13, 2011 12:00 AM

Well, I hadn't planned on posting the second part of Dallas Willard's video from Catalyst. But since you are all getting so animated about part 1, here you go. In this video he discusses spiritual disciplines and the role of...

Ur Video: Dallas Willard on the Gospel

May 11, 2011 12:00 AM

John Ortberg interviews Dallas Willard at Catalyst West about what the church is getting wrong today. In a nutshell, Willard says we're getting the gospel wrong. We'd love to hear your responses to this video....

Out of Context: Brandon O'Brien

December 21, 2010 12:00 AM

"Over time, the experts have done for church what postcards and PBS specials have done for the Grand Canyon: they've made it difficult for us to appreciate our own experience apart from theirs. We have lost the ability to see...

Megachurches Just Fine Amid Recession

November 22, 2010 12:00 AM

In case you needed more evidence that Americans love all things BIG, Leadership Network has released a new report: North American Megachurches Are Holding Steady During the “Great Recession” According to the study, megachurches are continuing to see attendance and...

Multi-Ethnic Church Conference: Recap & Reflections

November 12, 2010 12:00 AM

It is widely known that by 2048, if not sooner, non-Hispanic whites will no longer make up a majority of the U.S. population. Less clear is what these demographic shifts will mean for us who are living through these days...

Ur Video: Children's Ministry TODAY

November 3, 2010 12:00 AM

We cover a lot of topics on Out of Ur, but one area we have neglected is children. Let's be honest, children's ministry isn't the sexiest topic and it doesn't tend to draw the big names to the big conferences....

Catalyst Day Two: Spectacle and Restoration

October 8, 2010 1:35 PM

Day Two of Catalyst began with the statement: “It’s impossible to love people and avoid tension at the same time.” Then, after an amazing spectacle, an audience participation exercise in percussion (think Blue Man Group with 13,000 people beating out...

Dever, Driscoll, & MacDonald Debate Multi-Site

October 1, 2010 12:00 AM

The Gospel Coalition has released this fascinating conversation with Mark Dever, Mark Driscoll, and James MacDonald regarding multi-site church. Both Driscoll and MacDonald are proponents of multi-site churches utilizing video preaching. Dever is not. He sees more value in raising...

Ur Cartoon: Anglican Ignorance

September 24, 2010 12:00 AM

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Ending Age-Segmented Worship

September 20, 2010 2:31 PM

Last month Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale ended its model of offering multiple worship services designed to appeal to different ages, likes, and styles. Tullian Tchividjian, senior pastor and a contributing editor to Leadership Journal, said "The best...

Mono-Ethnic Ministries and Multi-Ethnic Churches (Part 2)

August 30, 2010 12:00 AM

Tom Steers, founder and co-director of Asian American Ministries for The Navigators, recently wrote a guest opinion column for Christianity Today (July 7, 2010). The column is entitled, "Needed: More Monocultural Ministries". Mark DeYmaz, founding pastor of Mosaic Church of...

Mono-Ethnic Ministries and Multi-Ethnic Churches (Part 1)

August 25, 2010 12:00 AM

Tom Steers, founder and co-director of Asian American Ministries for The Navigators, recently wrote a guest opinion column for Christianity Today (July 7, 2010). The column is entitled, "Needed: More Monocultural Ministries". In the opinion piece ("not necessarily representing the...

What Did You Say?

July 9, 2010 12:00 AM

The Portuguese issue of Playboy showing Jesus Christ among topless models. “We did not see or approve the cover and pictorial in the July issue of Playboy Portugal…. It is a shocking breach of our standards.” -Theresa Hennessy, Vice President...

Out of Context: Darrin Patrick

June 16, 2010 12:00 AM

This excerpt is taken from "Control Tweaks" in the Spring issue of Leadership. Read the entire article. "In my research I found that churches often lean in one of two directions. Some believe that people should be "self-feeders." The church's...

The Future of the Global Church

May 27, 2010 12:00 AM

On June 10, Leadership's managing editor Skye Jethani will be moderating a conversation at Saddleback Church on the future of the global church. The gathering is part of the 12 Cities | 12 Conversations tour in advance of the 3rd...

Small Churches are the Next Big Thing

May 26, 2010 12:00 AM

In a conversation last week about the virtues of small churches, a pastor friend of mine, Chuck Warnock, quoted a passage from John Zogby’s 2008 book The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream...

Defending Organic Church (Part 2)

May 17, 2010 12:00 AM

In the spring issue of Leadership journal, Brian Hofmeister wrote an article titled “The Dirt on Organic.” Neil Cole, also a Leadership journal contributor and the author of The Organic Church, was written a response to Hofmeister’s article. Part 1...

Defending Organic Church (Part 1)

May 10, 2010 12:00 AM

In the spring issue of Leadership journal, Brian Hofmeister wrote an article titled “The Dirt on Organic.” Hofmeister shared his experience as the pastor of a network of small, minimally structured, churches. While he celebrated the rich community and evangelistic...

Dallas Willard on How We Assess Spiritual Growth

May 3, 2010 12:00 AM

How can churches know if they are being effective at making disciples? Many churches are measuring the wrong things. We measure things like attendance and giving, but we should be looking at more fundamental things like anger, contempt, honesty, and...

Who Are the De-Churched? (Part 2)

April 8, 2010 12:00 AM

I ended Part 1 of this post with a question—what is the church to do about the growing ranks of the de-churched? I believe the answer depends on which de-churched group one is talking about. In Part 1 I identified...

Ur Video: Why Church?

March 26, 2010 12:00 AM

Last week Skye Jethani wrote a post about the "de-churched." It included information about a contest being hosted by 12 Cities | 12 Conversations inviting people to submit videos about why they're committed to Christ but questioning their commitment to...

Who Are the De-Churched? (Part 1)

March 16, 2010 12:00 AM

In days gone by, missional efforts were focused on presenting and demonstrating the love of Christ to non-Christians. But in the 1980s a new term was coined to describe the growing number of North Americans without any significant church background....

Rick Warren on Radical Membership

February 10, 2010 10:48 AM

Does your church emphasize, encourage, and value membership? In many places the notion of church membership has fallen out of favor. Rick Warren thinks that is a “serious mistake.” Speaking this morning at the Radicalis conference at Saddleback Church, Pastor...

Ed Stetzer on Pastors and Change

February 9, 2010 12:00 AM

Ed Stetzer recently presented data to the attendees of the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta. Much of that data was shared in the Winter issue of Leadership journal. In this post, Ed Stetzer explores additional information that was, until now, only...

What's Changing, What's Not

January 27, 2010 12:00 AM

Dave Travis, managing director of Leadership Network, offers his state of the church in America, based on recent research and his own observations looking through the "keyhole" of large churches. Things That Are Changing 1. Multi-site churches. According to the...

Long Live Organic Church!

January 13, 2010 12:00 AM

The organic church has been a frequent topic of discussion on this blog. And Leadership journal has featured articles and interviews from Alan Hirsch, Neil Cole, and Frank Viola. Like us, Mark Galli has an appreciation for the efforts and...

The Hansen Report: Valuing Visitation

January 11, 2010 12:00 AM

In the hierarchy of church problems, most pastors wouldn’t mind figuring out how to handle a congregation that has grown so rapidly that they can no longer get to know everyone personally. The multisite church boom has met this...

Wrong About Church Buildings: 2

December 17, 2009 12:00 AM

A few weeks ago, pastor and author Dan Kimball posted an interesting entry here about church buildings. In the introduction, he notes that eight years ago he would have said, “Who needs a building? The early church didn’t have buildings,...

I Was Wrong About Church Buildings

December 2, 2009 12:00 AM

If you had asked me eight years ago what I thought about church buildings, I would have said, "Who needs a building? The early church didn't have buildings, and we don't need them either!" But I was wrong. My...

One in Christ or Coffee?

November 23, 2009 12:00 AM

It's very difficult for many contemporary Christians to recognize how much we have been shaped by the consumer culture in which we live—it is in the air we breathe and the water (or coffee) we drink. Consider that in many...

The Future of Church Facilities

November 13, 2009 12:00 AM

Until recently, churches responded to growing attendance by building larger facilities. But the faltering economy makes raising large sums for building projects harder to accomplish. And combined with the aversion of younger churchgoers to the bigger-is-better ministry philosophy, these tight-money...

Ur Video: The Prosperity Gospel

November 3, 2009 12:00 AM

Christianity Today International, Out of Ur's publisher, and The Lausanne Movement, a worldwide movement of evangelical Christian leaders, present The Global Conversation: a year-long series of essays, short films, and photo essays about issues facing the church worldwide. These videos...

Are Small Groups Just for White People?

October 30, 2009 12:00 AM

I came across an interesting interview in the recent issue of Leadership Journal. The subjects of the interview were from River City Community Church—a multi-ethnic ministry located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. Leadership talked with Daniel Hill, who...

Create-A-Caption Contest

October 13, 2009 12:00 AM

Do you ever feel like church activities, which are intended to promote God's mission, are actually keeping you from promoting God's mission? We're eager to see your captions for this cartoon by Roger Judd. Winners will be published in the...

Ed Stetzer Releases New Research on Pastors

October 9, 2009 1:50 PM

Ed Stetzer, president of Lifeway Research and adviser to www.BuildingChurchLeaders.com, released new research on pastors, which will be published soon in our sister publication, Leadership: Pastors still believe in the church Almost all pastors--88 percent--strongly agree that "If I had...

David Kuo on Big Ideas and What Really Changes the World

October 7, 2009 3:28 PM

When the Republicans went to Washington about a decade ago, their mantra was “we’re going to change Washington, not let Washington change us.” Nice idea, but it didn’t exactly turn out that way. David Kuo, former Special Assistant to...

Spiritual Formation and Counter-Formation

October 7, 2009 2:27 PM

Darren Whitehead, teaching pastor and leader of Next Gen Ministries at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, teamed with his fellow Aussie Jon Tyson, lead pastor of Trinity Grace Church in New York City, to discuss spiritual...

Catalyst Day 1: The Green Room

October 7, 2009 9:50 AM

Catalyst is here. We'll be blogging for the next three days from the event in Atlanta. While the main event starts tomorrow, today the pre-conference "Labs" will feature multiple tracks and a lot of speakers/leaders. We'll be in and...

Ur Video: Q & A with Craig Groeschel

September 24, 2009 12:00 AM

In just a few weeks we'll be down in Atlanta for the Catalyst Conference. And we're excited to announce that Out of Ur will be the official blog for the event. We'll be posting throughout the conference with exclusive...

Church Rater or Church Hater?

September 21, 2009 12:00 AM

I love rotten tomatoes. Not the produce—the website. RottenTomatoes.com is a movie ranking website that aggregates reviews from hundreds of journalists and movie reviewers, and then charts how “fresh” a film is based on the percentage of positive reviews. If...

Recession & Racial Integration

September 11, 2009 12:00 AM

A year or so ago, when gas prices were over $4 per gallon here in Chicagoland, something remarkable happened: people started driving the speed limit. Despite the threat of traffic tickets, commuters regularly speed by 20 miles per hour or...

Ur Video: Drive-In Church

September 1, 2009 12:00 AM

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Join Us at Catalyst in Atlanta

August 27, 2009 12:00 AM

This year's Catalyst Conference (October 7-9) will include a lab track hosted by Skye Jethani, Leadership's managing editor, featuring Nancy Ortberg, Mark Batterson, Reggie McNeal, and Scott Belsky. He will also host the evening “unplugged” lab session with Matt...

Ur Video: Ministry Pornography

August 20, 2009 12:00 AM

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Webcam Worship

July 6, 2009 2:09 PM

The following is an excerpt from a chapter called "Internet Campuses - Virtual or Real Reality?" in the book A Multi-Site Church Road Trip: Exploring the New Normal, by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon, and Warren Bird (Zondervan, 2009). This picks...

Ur Video: Consumerism and Church Buildings

June 25, 2009 12:00 AM

Skye Jethani's new book, The Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity, outlines what happens when the consumer worldview and the Christian worldview collide. In this video, Jethani is interviewed by Marian Liautaud from Your Church magazine about the...

Putting Programs in Their Place

June 19, 2009 10:45 AM

In some circles, the term "church programs" has become an epithet for all that is wrong with the institutional church. For a generation hungry for authenticity and community, "programs" feel staged, impersonal, and cold. For a generation increasingly skeptical of...

Advance 09: The Conclusion

June 9, 2009 8:00 AM

The final day and a half of Advance 09 built upon the themes started on the first day, brought another talk from Mark Driscoll, and marked the arrival of the Baptists - researcher and author Ed Stetzer, local Durham pastor...

Live from Advance 2009

June 5, 2009 10:10 AM

A few months back, I noticed that a big conference featuring John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Ed Stetzer and others, and sponsored by the Acts 29 Network, was coming to a neighboring city. I don't quite consider myself Reformed enough to...

Q&A with Frank Viola

May 13, 2009 12:00 AM

Unlike his previous volumes (Pagan Christianity and Reimagining Church), Frank Viola's new book From Eternity to Here is not about church practices and forms. Instead, it tells the story of God's eternal purposes in redemption from Genesis to Revelation. "I...

Scot McKnight: Spiritual Eroticism

May 4, 2009 12:00 AM

A peculiar development occurred in the medieval age regarding love. Behind closed doors and in the rush of brief encounters, there developed what has been called "courtly love" or "romantic love." Married men found themselves emotionally carried away with either...

Church Lessons from HGTV

April 30, 2009 8:40 AM

I was sick in bed, my poor wife by my side, during a class reunion weekend in South Carolina this past weekend. I usually make sure I get the remote control quickly in hand, so I can steer the programming...

The Wrong Boogeyman (Part 2)

April 7, 2009 12:00 AM

How do we account for the dramatic doubling of the number of secular Americans over the last 18 years? And what are we to do about the exodus of young people from the church? These are important questions, and uncovering...

The Wrong Boogeyman (Part 1)

March 27, 2009 12:00 AM

Two weeks ago the American Religious Identification Survey [ARIS] released its findings and announced that "secular" Americans now account for 15 percent of the population. That is up from 8 percent in 1990 and just 2 percent in 1962. Among...

Ur Video: Frank Viola on Community

March 25, 2009 12:00 AM

This video comes from Lance Ford, one of our partners over at Shapevine.com. After Frank Viola's opening impression of Dirty Harry, he talks about the nature of Christian community. How important is proximity and frequency to fostering real community? And...

Cartoon: Love, Theologically

March 16, 2009 12:00 AM

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Urban Exile: Whose History?

March 3, 2009 8:43 AM

I've been to a lot of potlucks. Growing up in church and being a pastor has meant many, many casseroles and Jell-O salads. After a recent preaching gig at a suburban church, I was treated to an entirely different...

Ur Wisdom: Megachurch

February 17, 2009 12:00 AM

For those of you concerned that Url Scaramanga is anti-megachurch, stay tuned. You'll find that Url is an equal opportunity offender....

Missional vs. Attractional: Debating the Data

December 16, 2008 12:00 AM

by Url Scaramanga & Andy Rowell The debate continues. For the last two weeks, opinions have been fast and furious on the definition and validity of "missional" churches. It all began with Dan Kimball's post about his missional misgivings. He...

Alan Hirsch Responds to Kimball's "Missional Misgivings"

December 11, 2008 4:26 PM

Dan, As someone who comes out clearly for the missional reframing of church, I do share some concerns about reproduction (fruitfulness). Anyone concerned with Jesus' commission should be. The comments so far are excellent and so I will just add...

Mission and Recession

December 10, 2008 12:00 AM

by Skye Jethani The financial talking heads are attributing the current economic crisis to a number of things: lack of regulatory oversight, bad mortgage lending practices, and globalized market structures. But some of the more plainspoken pundits sum up the...

Megachurch Misinformation

December 4, 2008 12:00 AM

There are no studies that compare "seeker sensitive" megachurches to small "missional" churches, but I think Dan Kimball is right to question the self-described "missional" advocate who declares that "younger people in the city will not be drawn to larger,...

Dan Kimball's Missional Misgivings

December 2, 2008 12:00 AM

I hope I am wrong. For the past few years, I have been observing, listening, and asking questions about the missional movement. I have a suspicion that the missional model has not yet proven itself beyond the level of theory....

Cartoon: Image is Everything

December 1, 2008 12:00 AM

This image reminds me of something James Twitchell writes in Shopping for God: "Megachurches concentrate on what makes the brand powerful: growth. What you sell is the perception that whatever it is that you are selling is in demand."...

Professional Mystery Worshipers

October 15, 2008 11:33 AM

The Friday (Oct 10) edition of the Wall Street Journal contained an article whose title and deck pretty much say it all: "The Mystery Worshipper: To try to keep their flocks, churches are turning to undercover inspectors, who note...

Live from REVEAL: Getting the Weekend Right

October 15, 2008 9:07 AM

by Skye Jethani This morning kicked off with a time of singing led by the worship band from Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas - one of the churches being highlighted at the conference for their strong REVEAL survey results. One...

Live from REVEAL: Bill Hybels on Self-Centered Christians

October 14, 2008 9:27 AM

by Skye Jethani Last week it was Catalyst in Atlanta. This week's it's Willow Creek's REVEAL Conference in South Barrington, Illinois. (At least I'm closer to home.) I'll be here for the next two days with a number of updates...

Cartoon: Love, Theologically Speaking

October 6, 2008 8:24 AM

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The Hansen Report: Where Are You From?

September 4, 2008 12:02 PM

Where are you from? No, where are you from from? If you live in a suburban or urban area, you have probably asked and answered these questions countless times. The follow-up question is meant to uncover something about your conversation...

Multi-site the Low-tech Way

August 5, 2008 12:00 AM

Evergreen, our small church here in Portland, Oregon, has just gone multi-site. But not video venue. We started in a pub in southwest Portland, outgrew that space, and moved to another pub across town. Outgrowing that one, we moved...

Cartoon: Church Growth Addiction

July 28, 2008 12:00 AM

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Out of Context: Dave Gibbons

July 10, 2008 12:00 AM

"I love the church. It's God's vehicle for transformation. But I don't want the church to become so centralized that it can't reproduce, can't adopt multiple forms. And that works better when you're small, when you're on the verge,...

Cartoon: Church-A-Plex

June 30, 2008 12:00 AM

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Church Pirates Beware (Part 2)

June 20, 2008 12:00 AM

UrL: Some people are taking issue with the idea that a pastor's sheep can be stolen because the sheep really belong to Christ. Where do you think the church member's loyalty should reside - with Christ, the church, the pastor,...

Cartoon: Church Pirate

June 15, 2008 12:00 AM

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Ed Young Jr: Church Pirates Beware

June 13, 2008 12:00 AM

When I posted the "church pirate" video on my blog last month, I knew there would be response. I hoped there would be. And based on the amount of response I've received, this topic is one that reaches deep and...

Cartoon: Community Church

June 2, 2008 12:00 AM

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Out of Context: Alan Hirsch

May 22, 2008 12:00 AM

"This divorce of APE (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist) from ST (Shepherd, Teacher) has been disastrous for the local church and has damaged the cause of Christ and his mission. In my opinion, this contraction of fivefold to twofold ministry is...

Audio Ur: From Top-Down to Team Leadership

May 21, 2008 12:00 AM

The theme for current issue of Leadership is "Teams," and that is the subject of our first Out of Ur podcast. Teams have always been a critical part of ministry going back to the 12 unlikely men Jesus assembled...

Church Celebrity Deathmatch

May 16, 2008 12:00 AM

I haven't seen MTV in years, with no regrets, but I recall a show on the network that impacted me like a train wreck. It was awful, gruesome, and terrible - but I couldn't look away. "Celebrity Deathmatch" featured clay-animated...

Live from Shift: Willow Implements REVEAL

April 11, 2008 12:48 PM

Here we go again. Willow Creek's REVEAL study has been a very hot issue on this blog. Rather than recapping all the history, I encourage you to review a few previous posts. Willow Creek Repents?: Why the most influential...

Live from Shift: Ministry 2.0 in World 2.0

April 10, 2008 3:44 PM

Darren Whitehead leads the student ministry of Willow Creek. He compared the church in our changing culture to his own experience as an immigrant (he's from Australia). Most immigrants suffer from "cultural freeze," he says. This is the tendency...

Choosing Multi-Ethnic Over Mega

April 4, 2008 12:00 AM

I recently returned to my native Arkansas - a world much less ablaze with all the conversations about emergent, missional, monastic, anti-institutional, and ancient-future Christianity. As much as I appreciate those dialogues, a heavy dose of them can obscure the...

Rejoicing in Rebuke

March 25, 2008 12:00 AM

For the past couple of weeks, Ur-banites have been wrestling with questions about church membership. Below, Ken Sande, president of Peacemaker Ministries, takes one of the big questions head on: how does a church discipline its members? On January 18,...

They Love the Church but Not the Institution (Part 2)

March 12, 2008 12:00 AM

In the first part of this post, I discussed my suspicion that we have confused the church (the community of God's people) with the church institution (the 501c3 tax-exempt organization). This leads to a myopic understanding of Christian mission and...

They Love the Church but Not the Institution

March 10, 2008 12:00 AM

Dan Kimball, a regular contributor to Leadership and Out of Ur, has written a book titled, They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from emerging generations. The book chronicles the attitudes of younger seekers - they feel a strong...

A Big Can of Worms

February 27, 2008 8:43 AM

David Swanson agreed to leave frozen Chicagoland to labor in sunny San Diego at this year's National Pastors Convention. He'll be sending us updates throughout the week of the goings on there. This is his first post. I arrived...

McChurch: I'm Lovin' It

February 1, 2008 12:00 AM

"Church plants," "sister churches," and "satellite congregations" may be a thing of the past. In 2008, the language of missiology is changing, so look for "church franchises" in your town. Eddie Johnson, the lead pastor of Cumberland Church, espouses the...

REVEAL Revisited

January 14, 2008 12:00 AM

The research conducted by Willow Creek and published last year in the book REVEAL: Where are you? has generated a great deal of conversation on this blog. Some have heralded the findings as conclusive evidence that Willow's popular philosophy...

An Alternative to “Excellence”

January 2, 2008 12:00 AM

Last year I met with a team of leaders from my church. Our task: to rethink and rearticulate the guiding values of our congregation. The work was relatively easy. Upon investigation we determined that most of our core values hadn't...

Out of Context: Bryan Wilkerson

November 29, 2007 12:00 AM

"These days, people can get good teaching, wonderful music, and excellent writing, whether through iPods, TV, or online. They learn to shop around and pick and choose. Then they expect the same high quality in their local church. A generation...

Don't Change Your Church!

September 14, 2007 12:00 AM

In part one of our interview with Dan Kimball he talked about the intersection of the emerging church with missional theology. Simply changing the church's worship style isn't enough, he says. Becoming truly missional requires "an ecclesiological change." In part...

Out of Context: Dot.TV Pastor

August 30, 2007 12:00 AM

"Next to a church's preaching pastor, the most important staff member in the shaping of the message is the media pastor...The second hire in most congregations should be the media pastor." -Eric Reed, managing editor of Leadership, reports this statement...

Lessons from St. Arbucks

August 16, 2007 12:00 AM

Once an article is published in Leadership one never knows the ripple effect it will have. Greg Asimakoupoulos, pastor of Mercer Island Covenant Church, wrote for Leadership about the community-forming power of Starbucks in his neighborhood. He confesses, "We like...

A Former Pastor Goes Church Shopping

July 26, 2007 12:00 AM

How does a former pastor choose a church? That is the question Andy Rowell and his wife are facing after their relocation to a new community. The process has opened their eyes to the differences and blessings of denominational and...

Razzmatazz or Ragamuffins?

July 23, 2007 12:00 AM

It's been done before. A non-Christian is paid to attend church and provide their honest feedback about the experience. The latest rendition of this experiment is occurring north of the border in Canada. Christian talk show host Drew Marshall has...

The Disappearing Middle

July 13, 2007 12:00 AM

Leaders should be concerned about the disappearing middle, according to Chad Hall. That bulge in the middle of a bell-shaped curve that represents the great mass of consumers and citizens and churchgoers and volunteers is getting squeezed. The result is...

The Measure of a Ministry

July 6, 2007 12:00 AM

This week Americans are celebrating their independence by watching parades, enjoying backyard barbeques, and by not going to church. If your congregation is anything like mine you know that during the summer worship attendance slips noticeably, and the week of...

Is Your Gospel Robust?

June 12, 2007 12:00 AM

A few weeks ago Scot McKnight shared how the gospel we preach is having an adverse impact on the church. Last week at the Spiritual Formation Forum he spoke in greater detail about this problem. He called the standard evangelical...

Out of Context: Mike Breen

June 1, 2007 12:00 AM

"In most evangelical environments, including mine, we have been overwhelmed with models and programs that are designed for local churches to grow bigger. Unfortunately, most really don't work...Many have also come to define Christianity by a set of beliefs. Churches...

Out of Context: Mark Batterson

March 16, 2007 12:00 AM

"Maybe the central task of a worship leader is to keep worship from becoming routine? Maybe the central task of a teaching pastor is to keep the Bible from becoming routine? Maybe the central task of a lead pastor is...

Where Have All the Prophets Gone?

March 13, 2007 12:00 AM

While studying for my ordination a few years ago I was required to read Oswald Sanders' classic book, Spiritual Leadership. I've forgotten most of his practical advice about leading a church, but one short section has stayed with me. Sanders...

Out of Context: Sarah Cunningham

March 1, 2007 12:00 AM

"Few people see Christianity as a shift of allegiance that prompts us to make personal changes in beliefs, habits, and lifestyles. We must continually examine our churches to make sure our message is one that requires transformation." -Sarah Cunningham is...

Sayonara, Senior Pastor (Part 2)

February 23, 2007 12:00 AM

David Fitch's church, Life on the Vine, is a missional community that has abandoned the leadership model that most churches employ. Life on the Vine has no senior pastor, and they don't want one. In the first part of his...

Out of Context: Chad Hall

February 21, 2007 12:00 AM

"When a church focuses on trying to grow, the larger mission suffers and the church can actually become less attractional." -Chad Hall is a ministry coach living in Hickory, North Carolina, and the co-author of Coaching for Christian Leaders (Chalice...

Sayonara, Senior Pastor

February 19, 2007 12:00 AM

Pastor/Professor David Fitch is back to describe the leadership structure of his church, Life on the Vine, in Long Grove, Illinois. Like an increasing number of churches seeking to be "missional," Life on the Vine has rejected the notion of...

What's In a (Church) Name?

December 7, 2006 12:00 AM

Gordon MacDonald told us a while back that the church he serves was considering changing its name. It has finally happened. His account of a 180-year-old congregation's year-long wrestling with its identity is amusing and instructive. Read on. About a...

Burned by Branding

November 20, 2006 12:00 AM

Believe it or not, not everyone loves Starbucks. The Wall Street Journal's Janet Adamy has written about the growing resistance the Seattle-based coffee cartel is facing in many communities. The issue - Starbucks ignores local culture in favor of maintaining...

Evangelical Immigration

October 16, 2006 12:00 AM

Regular Out of Ur contributor David Fitch is back to share his thoughts on church shopping, staying put, and ecumenism. And what's with all the evangelicals going high-church anyway? I'd like to say some things about the evangelicals going high...

Out of Context: Donald Miller

September 28, 2006 12:00 AM

"The church has bought into this idea that if we make Jesus look cool, we win. But we're really trying to make ourselves look cool, not Jesus. We certainly need to repent of that." -Donald Miller, author of Blue Like...

Purpose-Driven Conflict: churches split over the popular ministry model

September 14, 2006 12:00 AM

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article discussing conflicts caused by pastors seeking to implement the popular Purpose-Driven Church model in their congregations. Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament at North Park University in Chicago, and one of our...

Church GPS: Where are we and where should we go?

August 28, 2006 12:00 AM

David Fitch was recently invited by Trinity Evangelical Divinity School to speak on a panel during their new student orientation. Each of the five panel members was to present a response to the question: "Where is the church now and...

Family Faith Feud: Why are young adults not finding their places in their parents’ church?

August 16, 2006 12:00 AM

Many churches struggle to reach the ever-elusive young adult demographic. Are 20-somethings simply disinterested in church? Not according to Brian McLaren. He believes we are failing to listen to the questions young adults are asking. This post is a preview...

Fallow Fields: 20 ways to waste time while not planting churches

August 10, 2006 12:00 AM

Sorry for the long delay between posts. Url has been away in the only patch of North America without internet access. I recently listened to a speaker praise the state of the church in America. He lauded the efforts of...

Married to the Ministry: has the pastor’s wife’s role changed for better or worse?

August 4, 2006 12:00 AM

When my wife and I interviewed at my present church she asked what expectations the congregation had of staff spouses. She was told, "We just expect spouses to be church members like everyone else - serving, attending worship, and living...

Axis Denied (part 2): What should we learn from the demise of Willow’s Next-Gen ministry?

July 18, 2006 12:00 AM

In part one Dan Kimball, pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California, discussed the inherent difficulties of the church-within-a-church model that has been popular with churches wanting to reach the next generation. In many cases the divergent values...

Axis Denied: What should we learn from the demise of Willow’s Next-Gen ministry?

July 13, 2006 12:00 AM

Ten years ago the leaders of Willow Creek Community Church realized that 18-30 year olds, popularly known as Gen X, were largely missing from their church. In response, the "seeker-driven" church launched Axis to help "the Next Gen connect with...

Radioactive Church Attendance: predicting your congregation’s half-life

June 23, 2006 12:00 AM

Some churches are more unstable than others. This may not be the result of impulsive leadership or poor planning, but rather the life stage of the congregation. Dave Terpstra pastors The Next Level Church in Denver, a community comprised primarily...

Is Church Growth the Highway to Hell?

June 9, 2006 12:00 AM

The summer issue of Leadership, arriving in mailboxes in July, focuses on the impact of consumerism on ministry. Some people have equated the church growth movement with the rise of "consumer Christianity." Others believe the church growth philosophy has brought...

Beyond Bodies, Bucks, and Bricks: Jim Collins on how churches should measure success

June 1, 2006 12:00 AM

Dallas Willard has said that most churches are not intending to produce disciples, but increase their ABC's - attendance, buildings, and cash. Dave Terpstra, pastor of The Next Level Church in Denver and regular contribut-Ur, believes many church leaders focus...

Spencer Burke on the Church that Consumerism Built--and Why I Fled

May 3, 2006 11:38 AM

The upcoming issue of Leadership deals with "Consumerism and the Church It Creates." We asked Spencer Burke to write about his journey from being a megachurch pastor to spiritual guide of an online community (TheOOZE.com). Below is a brief excerpt....

Cutting the Cord: Are Megachurches Birthing the House Church Movement?

March 10, 2006 12:00 AM

In recent months the conversation on Out of Ur has explored why increasing numbers of Christians are opting to pursue Christ apart from a local church. The discussion began with Kevin Miller's review of George Barna's new book, Revolution. And,...

Searching for the Perfect Parachurch

February 21, 2006 12:00 AM

Many of the most prominent and influential ministries in the world are not churches. But, the spread of parachurch ministries in recent decades has caused some to wonder: do parachurches help or hurt local congregations? Dave Terpstra, pastor of The...

Exit Stage Left 2: How the Spiritually Mature Reengage

February 8, 2006 12:00 AM

In his earlier post, Dave Terpstra described why the spiritually mature find most churches ill-equipped to assist them in their growth. This, he says, is why the more mature often leave the church or disengage from active service. After reading...

Exit Stage Left: Why the Spiritually Mature are Leaving the Church

February 1, 2006 12:00 AM

Last month we looked at George Barna's new book, Revolution, which reveals that a growing number of people are seeking spiritual growth outside the institutional church. In this post Dave Terpstra, pastor at The Next Level Church in Denver and...

George Barna's New Book 2: Defining the Debate

January 16, 2006 12:00 AM

In my earlier post, I explained the thesis of George Barna's latest book, Revolution. I think it important, however, to offer 2 corrections to my review: The review's subtitle, "George Barna wants commitment to the local congregation to sink lower...

George Barna's New Book: Revolutionary or Revolting?

January 11, 2006 12:00 AM

The blogosphere has offered plenty o' chatter on George Barna's latest book, Revolution. For favorable comment, read my occasional-email-pal Andrew Jones (full disclosure: the Tall Skinny Kiwi once named me "Best Emerging Critic Ever"). For unfavorable comment, read Sam Storms...

Sense & Sensitivity: Why It’s Time to Abandon the Seeker-Sensitive Model

January 6, 2006 12:00 AM

To its credit the seeker movement has made church leaders everywhere more sensitive to the presence of non-Christians in our congregations. But, as the epoch of the seeker-church continues to wane, what enduring lessons will we carry with us into...

The Jaded Driven Church: Re-Introducing People to God & His Church

December 5, 2005 12:00 AM

Some churches are seeker-driven. A growing number are purpose-driven. But one church in Denver, Colorado has positioned itself as jaded-driven. Dave Terpstra, teaching pastor of The Next Level Church, shares how his own disillusionment with ministry made him question the...

Ministry Taxidermy: Don't Stuff the Dog

October 26, 2005 8:29 AM

(Our friend Angie Ward is a writer, mentor, and ministry leader in North Carolina. She is the founder of Forward Leadership, a ministry coaching ministry. She is also a regular contributor to Leadership journal and our e-newsletter, Leadership Weekly.) When...

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