A Fresh Approach to Cooperative Parishes

The idea of cooperative parishes is nothing new.  In the past couple of decades, they have most commonly been used to solve an appointive dilemma. In other words, when a church can no longer afford a full-time pastor, no pastor at all, or experience some other reduction in pastoral support, the judicatory leader responsible for […]

Shifts Happen

Yep, that’s right . . . shift happens.  And most of the time we didn’t even see it coming – or going for that matter.  It just happened slowly over time.  It wasn’t intentional.  Shift just happened. Missional shift is so very common in the life of the church.  While it is likely common in […]

Become Relevant or Die

“Shifts are happening in the religious landscape, and churches will either adapt or become irrelevant.” Rev. Owen RossDirector of Church DevelopmentNorth Texas Conference UMC (Excerpt from the Foreword offered by Rev. Owen Ross,Inside Out: Everting Ministry Models for the Postmodern Culture) I am charged with leading church planting, congregational vitalization, and strategic initiatives for the […]

Defining, Naming, and Claiming Your Neighborhood

How would you define your church’s community?  Yes, it includes the people already gathered as part of the congregation, but our primary focus must be those yet-to-be gathered.  In fact, in ¶202 in the UMC Book of Discipline, it states, “Therefore, the local church is to minister to persons in the community where the church […]

Is the Sunday-Centric Model Working?

Have you ever considered how much the Sunday morning experience is costing your church?  That likely sounds like a funny question to ask.  The church has focused on Sunday morning as its primary time of being open and gathering the congregation for decades.  Have you ever stopped to wonder why this might be the case […]

Closing Window of Opportunity

While we will never return to the norm of pre-pandemic times, we are beginning to find our way towards a new rhythm of life.  This is true for most of us personally and for our churches, too.  Maybe we have not completely exhaled wondering if there might be another resurgence.  But the level of disruption […]

The Case for the Collective Functions of APEST

In the previous post, we explored the APEST model and why each function was critical to the health of a church. The apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, and teacher are all individually and communally an integral part of being a vital church reflective of the fullness of Christ’s ministry.  These five “functions” show up in Jesus’ […]

Who and What Has Gone Missing from Your Church?

In Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul explains ministry functions are carried out by five unique types of giftedness: apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, teaching, and shepherding.  Collectively, these five gifts are often referenced as APEST.  “Individually, these gifts reflect parts of a whole that, when seen together, manifest the full image of God and the full measure […]