One of the wise practices I believe churches (in general, but not all) are taking up in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic is honoring the stay-at-home mandates issued by city mayors, state governors, and even the federal government. I do not believe this is an infringement upon our first amendment rights, nor is it persecution. Persecution would be if the stay-at-home mandate was issued only for Christians (or any religious group, for that matter). Rather, this is something being issued to as much of society as possible, all to protect from the spread of the virus and to help flatten the curve, as we await possible vaccine options to be uncovered. In a sense, we could say there is an aspect of loving our neighbors as ourselves through this practice of staying at home.
With that, churches have typically moved their services to online streaming on Sundays. Or, as in the case of my own church and others, we are recording the service and posting the videos, all in an effort to help ease technical difficulties.
Through all the streaming and videos of church services, what is interesting to note is the rise in church “attendance” over these past weeks. I put the word attendance in quotes because it is somewhat challenging to track this in the time of the Coronavirus, mainly because all one has to do is watch the video for a few minutes and he or she can be tracked as an attendee. Still, the numbers are saying attendance is up quite a bit. Continue reading
I was first introduced to Chris Smith’s work back in 2013 when he released his little ebook, The Virtue of Dialogue. I immediately held an appreciation for his work and perspective of the Christian life.
I continued to follow his work with Slow Church in 2014, noting it was one of the top books I had read in my Christian life. Lastly, I enjoyed his Reading for the Common Good back in 2016. So, one can imagine that I was looking forward to the release of his newest work this April, How the Body of Christ Talks. Continue reading
This past week the world learned of the fires that burst aflame in the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. There have been a lot of responses across the spectrum, both amongst religious and non-religious folk.
I myself have been interested in the response of religious folk, Christians especially. In particular, I came across a social media post in which, on the day of the fire, someone responded with a paraphrase of Acts 17:24: God does not dwell in temples made with hands.
From this post, and my subsequent interaction with the person, what he was basically saying was this: “God doesn’t care about buildings. There are more important things, spiritual things, things of the Spirit.”
Something of that effect, as far as I can make out. Continue reading
Since that legendary day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door’s of the Wittenberg church building, the last 500 years have been filled with movements amongst God’s people that have brought change, reformation and transformation amidst churches, cities and nations never to be forgotten. It’s not that great stirrings never happened prior to the great Protestant Reformation. It’s just that, for the better part of half a millennium, following the breaking away from the state-institutionalized church of Rome, God’s people have been perpetually prompted towards reformation and transformation.
The unfortunate thing is that, when such movements of reformation have stirred over the past 500 years, at times, there has been an extreme amount of persecution against such groups. And much of it has been offered by religious leaders within the ranks of the church. Perhaps that is part of the nature concerning persecution – the establishment of the day will always persecute. Such was the reality as Jesus walked the dusty roads of Judea, Samaria and Galilee.
I recently re-posted a link to an article I wrote a couple of years back entitled, Is It Time to Rethink the Church Website?
What I have suggested is that church websites may be geared more toward the already initiated, meaning those who are a) already a part of the church or b) those who are looking for a new church (what we may call “church transfers” due to being displeased with a previous church, moving cities, etc). However, the unchurched and de-churched are not really looking for what we might usually find on church websites: statement of faith, sermon series, upcoming activities, leadership team, or donate button – if they are looking at all.
So, my question is: How can we consider being more “missional” with our church websites, engaging the non-Christian landscape.
The re-post has caused some good interaction through social media channels – both agreement and disagreement. But a bigger question has arisen as well (and the same question came up two years ago): What alternatives would I suggest to the current church website model? Continue reading