Small UMC churches and the pain of disaffiliation

My heart swells with joy as I reflect on the wonderful opportunity given to me to pastor several small United Methodist churches in the earliest days of my ministry. I was a true Methodist “circuit rider” with four churches on my “charge.” I would start early on Sunday morning and preach at 8:00 to a […]

Happy New Year – Preparing for the Coming Revival

There is no more common and “sunshine” greeting at the New Year than to say to someone, “Happy New Year!”  But, this is clearly more aspirational than descriptive of how Americans actually feel about the upcoming year.  For example, a recent Pew Research Center Survey revealed a growing pessimism in the country about what most […]

UMC Churches and Disaffiliation

This is a momentous time for thousands of United Methodist Churches across the world who are contemplating disaffiliating from an increasingly wayward denomination. Faithful churches have worked tirelessly for decades to prevent the demise of historic faith in the United Methodist Church. Despite the fact that those committed to historic faith have been victorious in […]

What is the Difference between Evangelism and Missions?

All Christians should understand that the good news of the gospel that Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead and universally offers redemption and reconciliation to the entire created order is central to our identity as the people of the Risen Lord.  The challenge comes is knowing what this actually looks like in a local […]

The Multiplication of Laborers:  A Centennial of Fruitfulness

Asbury Theological Seminary 14th Convocation Address for the launch of Asbury Theological Seminary’s Centennial Text:  Matthew 9:37, 38 A desert road leading to Damascus; a quiet garden in the city of Milan; a stormy day in Stotternheim, Germany; three women conversing in a doorway in Bedford, England; a Moravian prayer meeting on Aldersgate St., London; […]

Let our People Go: The Cry of Disaffiliating UMC Churches

There are hundreds of UMC churches across the country who are currently seeking to disaffiliate with the increasingly wayward United Methodist Church.   This is the beginning of what will be a long, slow “adoptive curve” rather than any huge “split” which happens all at once.  It is important to remember that none of these departing […]

The Multiplication of Laborers: A Centennial of Fruitfulness

Asbury Theological Seminary 14th Convocation Address for the launch of Asbury Theological Seminary’s Centennial A desert road leading to Damascus; a quiet garden in the city of Milan; a stormy day in Stotternheim, Germany; three women conversing in a doorway in Bedford, England; a Moravian prayer meeting on Aldersgate St., London; riding to the Oxford […]

The Transforming Power of the Word of God

I began my ministry in the mountains of North Georgia.  I was the classic circuit riding preacher.  I had four churches which were scattered across the county.  I would drive one direction for an 8:30 service.  After that service was complete, I would jump in the car and drive across the county to arrive at […]

Repairing the World Through Love

Our Jewish friends, dating back to the Mishnah, have a wonderful phrase “tikkun olam.” It means to “repair the world.”  The Jews understand that God’s covenant love, known as hesed, is the means through which God “repairs the world” (tikkun olam).  We all realize that our world is in a mess.  Our society is broken.  […]

An Argument for Non-Argumentative Argument

Pastors need a lot of skills today, don’t they?  Pastors have always needed good theological and biblical sensibilities.  They have generally needed to be strong communicators, as well as be pastorally sensitive.  The sheer scope of a “day-in-the-life-of-a-pastor” can be overwhelming.   In a given day you may find yourself in a hospital praying for the […]