Articles by The Rev. Chris Yaw
Monday July 15, 2013
If your faith community wants to grow younger, you’ve got to let the young people lead. So says United Methodist Churchman and consultant Paul Nixon. In this interview Paul discusses the deep transition the modern Church is enduring – as we cope with a new generation that doesn’t want much to do with established churches. He also shares with us the key to vibrant church communities: they help people go deeper in their spiritual lives.
Friday July 05, 2013
Young ministry legend Mark DeVries says raising faithful children in churches is all about mentoring – and congregations offer unmatched opportunities for making a real difference in the lives of young people. Mark, who heads Youth Ministry Architects, says ”˜gone’ is the youth minister as ”˜charismatic camp counselor’ – and ”˜in’ is the ability of congregations to come around youth, teens, and young adults, by providing the natural mentorship that accompanies intergenerational institutions like the Church.
Friday June 28, 2013
The mission statement at Pine Valley United Methodist Church in Wilmingon, NC is all about looking outward – and that’s why pastor Tim Reaves thinks his congregation is growing. Reaves, who’s in his first year at the helm, says articulating the vision – leading from the pulpit – has been one of the areas he feels most called to undertake.
Friday June 21, 2013
Keeping young people coming to church after they’ve been confirmed is an ongoing problem for many congregations – but it’s even less so for faith communities that are using an increasingly popular curriculum called ”˜Confirm Not Conform.’ Laura Toepfer runs the project, which has been used by more than 500 churches, and says the percentage of youngsters who stick around after Confirmation, is sizeable.
Monday June 10, 2013
After all, Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit – why not make it a fruit of Sunday morning worship? So says pastor Russell Clark of First United Methodist Church in Reddick FL. Russell, just a few years out of seminary, has seen Sunday attendance more than triple in his 3 years of ministry there.
Tuesday June 04, 2013
Taking over a faithful but dormant congregation 17 years ago, Joe Phelps began preaching an image of openness to the community and acceptance of those who are different. Today, people are flocking to Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, KY to hear a progressive message that is not only inspiring folk, but giving them a new vision for the community.
Monday May 27, 2013
It’s time to get out of the (church) box, says the gifted and creative rector at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Mohegan Lake, NY. The Rev. Claire Woodley says the Matthew 28 command to Go! has sent her to regular visits to local businesses where the offers to pray with employees, open up a coffee shop for local teens, and to approach just about every community leader to ask, How can St. Mary’s help you?
Monday May 06, 2013
Ministry in smaller congregations takes expertise and enthusiasm for people not programs, says United Methodist minister and small church consultant Ron Crandall. A retired seminary dean, Ron has a contagious excitement for the small church, and says that building a core team of leaders within the congregation is key. In this interview, Ron unpacks this and tells us how building energy around helping people identify the active work of God in their lives builds health into a congregation.
Monday April 29, 2013
Presbyterian pastor Byron Wade says one way he’s energized his mainline congregation is to change the vocabulary that speaks of maintenance to that which speaks of mission. Byron’s Davie Street Presbyterian (USA) no longer has committees, but Ministry Teams – that take ownership and intentionality toward the work they’ve been called to do.
Saturday April 20, 2013
While there are more women in the pews, there are still lots more men in the pulpit. And this can lead to ill-informed preaching and community formation that can be offensive to women and even drive them from the faith. Feminist Erin Lane knows this well, she’s the editor of an upcoming book on women, faith and taboos. She says there are things church leaders can do to be more attentive to women, and in this interview she offers some advice.
Monday April 15, 2013
Our pastors take care of us, that’s their job – but should my job also be to take care of them Retired Presbyterian pastor, author, and consultant Stephen McCutchan says, ”˜Absolutely!’ He created the Pastoral Care Network whose litany is: Healthy Clergy, Healthy Church, and he’s devoted his life to coming alongside church leaders to bring about renewed health and vigor in church leaders so that congregations can flourish.
Saturday April 06, 2013
Just a few months into his new position at First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, NC, Pendelton (Pen) Peery is doing a lot of listening. This dynamic pastor, and leader of the PCUSA renewal movement called Next Church, Pen has learned to listen for the unique gifts his new congregation possesses, with plans to first begin building upon them.
Monday April 01, 2013
The Well is a United Methodist church plant that, by most indicators, is a home run. It’s hip, it’s relevant, and on its first Sunday, 7 months ago, welcomed more than 800 people. However, pastor Arthur Jones says the challenge of discipleship-making remains: how do we help young people deepen their knowledge of Scripture, increase their commitment to the community, and unlock stewardship realities that are life-giving?
Monday March 25, 2013
Author, journalist, and pastor Jason Byassee says it was the natural move at his rather large, well-established Boone United Methodist Church in North Carolina: that his first hire would be someone charged to coordinate care of those who were not already members. Jason, an author who writes for the Christian Century and is a popular conference speaker, says churches do well to tap into the natural urge people have to give.
Thursday March 21, 2013
How does a church of 19 (mostly grandparents) get to nearly 150 in just a few years? Intentional Christian practice found at the heart of the Methodist tradition. Matt Smith, co-founder of The Table at Central United Methodist Church says the growing congregation, that already has one ”˜plant’ at a local coffee house, is all about helping people make sense of what God’s doing in their lives.
Friday March 15, 2013
Ministry in real-life Mayberry has its blessings and challenges..Steve Lindsley, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Airy, NC, says it’s great to be involved in such a loving community, however the financial struggles take a toll.
Friday March 08, 2013
Taking what’s best of the old and freshening it up with the new is the challenging work facing nearly every congregation today says Duke University theologian, author, and UMC minister L. Gregory Jones – so how do we do this?
Monday February 25, 2013
Exegete means to interpret – and long-time Presbyterian pastor and consultant Tom Tewell says this is what congregations need to do in their neighborhoods – to interpret what God is doing there. Tewell says that the simple act of gathering your church leaders together and walking (or driving) around the neighborhood watching, listening, and praying, can have an incredible impact.
Monday February 25, 2013
He grew up in the pews of his denomination, now Pastor Quinn Caldwell is taking the helm at Plymouth Congregational Church in Syracuse, NY and is ready to make some noise. Caldwell says many mainline denominations suffer from a sense of complacency, as if the highest calling of the Christian was quiet dignity. He is hoping to inspire people to reach out to others with the love of God.
Thursday February 21, 2013
Ordained Methodist, PhD candidate, and USA Messy Church coordinator Andrew Holmes ponders the role of ”˜fun’ when it comes to Christian worship – and at the end of the day he’s in favor of it. Hear the words of this seasoned clergyman who thinks churches miss out when they avoid lightheartedness.
Thursday February 14, 2013
The popular vision of monastics may include ancient religious observation in drafty, stone chapels – is this hardly a place of innovation? Jamie Coats works for the Society of St. John the Evangelist near Boston. He helps this community of 20 monks, who are devoted to preaching and teaching, get the word out in some pretty cool ways.
Friday January 25, 2013
Valley and Mountain is not your typical church – in fact now, in its infancy, it is best described as a movement – which may be where the next generation of vibrant congregations is going. John, a gifted United Methodist Church minister, is a few years into this Seattle, WA plant, which meets in different locations and centers around intentional practices, social justice and something kind of cool called deep listening.
Friday January 11, 2013
Average sermon length is now over 17 minutes these days – signalling the first increase in average American sermons in 200 years – says Thomas Long, Candler professor and preaching expert. There are several reasons, says Long, one of them is that people are looking for ”˜useful’ sermons – that take longer to unpack.
Saturday January 05, 2013
You were made in the image of God – is it time for some restoration? That’s the tag line for Episcopal priest Christopher Martin’s latest project: The Restoration Project – which aims, through sequential classes, small group discipleship, and personal rules of life – to deepen the spirituality of local congregations.
Tuesday January 01, 2013
Times may be tough for traditional churches, but Parker Palmer, founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal, is not only hopeful, but inspired by the faithful and steady labor of today’s church leaders. Parker finds hope in failure and potential growth in conflict. He also sees the importance of forming deep communities of cto help those who help better fulfill their callings. In this interview Parker gives his signature pearls of wisdom on community, health, and leadership issues.
Monday December 24, 2012
Fr. Jim Hamilton really thought the new Sunday night service he was hired to create would flop – but then God has a sense of humor. Out of Christ Church, Cranbrook”˜s desire for a contemplative service for 20-somethings came Lex Orandi which, two years later, is a vibrant community that has far surpassed expectations. In this interview Jim tells us how established churches might go about launching similar ventures.
Monday December 17, 2012
It’s not that they’ve never been churched, it’s that they’ve been de-churched – says Foundry United Methodist pastor Dean Snyder – which calls for ministering in a whole new way. Pastor Snyder’s helped design a whole new worship service, with different time and liturgy, in hopes of capturing the attentions of Washington, D.C.’s young urbanites.
Thursday December 13, 2012
Seems like a no-brainer: have the entire congregation read the Bible in one year. This was the epiphany Fr. Marek Zabriskie, of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Whitemarsh, PA had – so he mustered his congregation, had them do it, and now The Bible Challenge is an international movement.
Saturday December 08, 2012
Church planting in Silicon Valley… it’s about encountering an incredibly gifted and brilliant community… that can be disinterested or even antagonistic toward the Gospel. But that’s not stopping Nicole Lamarche from her work planting Silicon Valley United Church of Christ. She’s moving forward on the Spirit’s prodding that there’s plenty of room for a progressive expression of the Gospel in this very young area (average age is 34!)
Monday December 03, 2012
One of the advantages to leading a church in a country where few people go to church is that you can be creative. That’s what’s behind the Fresh Expressions movement in the U.K. – where David Male has the job of training ”˜pioneer missionaries.’ These are folks are entrepreneurs and innovators who listen for the Spirit’s voice outside church walls – and are creating congregations in some invigorating ways.
Saturday December 01, 2012
Mark Allan Powell’s book, Giving to God, is the best stewardardship book I’ve ever read – and in this interview Dr. Powell takes on the biggest objections to giving to church. This seminary professor also shares with us ”˜what he would do’ were he in charge of the annual stewardship campaign at his church. Enjoy the wit, wisdom, and seasoned advice of this very well informed thinker.
Monday November 26, 2012
The unkeepable promise of certainty is what the world offers – and the Church shows its own fears when it tries to compete. That’s why author and theologian Peter Rollins urges congregations to embrace the truth of life’s deep mystery and unknowing – as a way to open us up to God’s presence and purpose. Meet this deep thinker, and founder of Ireland’s IKON Community.
Friday November 23, 2012
David Emery serves the 100+ year old congregation at Middletown Christian Church which, ten years ago, had half the people on Sunday mornings that it has today. David says the old church ran by more of a ”˜membership model’ than a ”˜transformation model’ – which emphasizes the changed hearts and lives of its members.
Monday November 12, 2012
Ten years ago Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. was near death’s door. With less than 40 people in the pews, nearly all well-past retirement, many thought the church would close. But, God had a different plan. Pastor Amy Butler’s story is one that’s getting a lot of publicity. Learn from this determined shepherd the importance of vision, compassion, and fortitude.
Monday October 29, 2012
Does our brain react differently to a sermon than any other kind of verbal communication? What makes sermons memorable? And how can we preach more memorable sermons? These are questions that psychologist, theologian, and preacher Dr. Richard Cox explores in a new book called Rewiring Your Preaching in which he gives pointers to preachers about how the preaching experience can improve.
Thursday October 25, 2012
Three decades ago John Wimberly came to Western Presbyterian Church and found 70 people near the age of 70. Thirty years later that number is around 350 – and growing younger. No, there’s no silver bullet, just a great combination of preaching, pastoral care, and commitment to study – to name a few.
Monday October 08, 2012
A wide open, Wiki-community, more dependent on the wisdom of many will dominate the church of tomorrow says author and speaker Diana Butler Bass. This is just one trend Diana, a historian by background, has been tracking. She says the next generation is much more apt NOT to believe in God – so it’s important for churches to come clean in the areas of honesty and a willingness to admit we don’t know it all.
Thursday October 04, 2012
Ask anyone at Pastor Martin Copenhaver’s Wellesley Congregational Church what their community’s purpose is and you’ll get, ”˜Growing in faith.” That’s behind an increased emphasis on adult faith formation. In this interview, Martin, a noted author, speaker, and UCC minister, shares about adult, and pastoral faith formation programs – as well as his Ten Marks of a Healthy Church.
Thursday September 20, 2012
Sure the surveys say they don’t pray, go to church, or read much of the Bible – but Katherine Douglass says research also shows most young adults are interested in God and growing their faith. Katie is a PhD candidate at Princeton Seminary where she’s discovering how the arts resonate with young adults.
Saturday September 15, 2012
The religious mocking and jabbing of modernism is getting its own comeuppance by many postmodern thinkers – who are affirming the limits of human understanding, especially around religious knowledge. Philosopher, professor, and author John Caputo has spent his career pondering what we know, why we know, and the ways we know it – and he is hopeful about the future of religion.
Monday September 10, 2012
Margot, an author, speaker, and Presbyterian minister, just moved with her family into a community being formed around young adult friends with disabilities. In Chris Yaw's video interview, Margot talks about the need for Christians to live authentically, and purposely give of themselves for the benefit of others.
Thursday September 06, 2012
Which is rubbing off more: the Church on the Marketplace, or the Marketplace on the Church Journalist, author, and UCC minister G. Jeffrey MacDonald is convinced that North America’s consumer mentality is shaping the Church in some worrisome ways – that we’re becoming more interested in value, convenience, and comfort vs more biblical values of sacrifice and discipleship. Watch Chris Yaw's interview with him.
Monday September 03, 2012
Probably not – but he would’ve used Facebook! So says Vanderbilt University Scripture scholar Amy-Jill Levine. Her insights into the Jewishness of Jesus and the Scriptures, have helped many Christian leaders come to a more authentic understanding of Jesus and his ministry.
Tuesday August 21, 2012
When Princeton Seminary PhD candidate Stephen Cady embarked on research to discover where high school aged young adults find God in worship, he never expected nearly all the responses to say they don't. In this interview, Stephen unpacks the motives and messages behind this eye-opening research that will really help us better minister to and with younger people.
Tuesday August 14, 2012
Raising up the next generation of Christian leaders is something today’s church 1) needs, and 2) is not doing well – so says Dwight Moody, which is why he’s doing something rather substantial about it. Dwight runs The Academy of Preachers and says it’s the most ecumenical outfit in North America – attracting hundreds of young preachers from all Christian faith traditions to its many preaching events.
Tuesday August 07, 2012
Very soon the demographics of America will see a major change: the European-American majority will become the new minority. Welcoming America’s new faces is an opportunity and challenge for U.S. churches, and one Jose Morales takes seriously. He’s an executive with the Disciples of Christ, which is committed to planting and transforming 2, 000 congregations by 2020.
Monday July 23, 2012
It’s a lament often heard in churches: where are all the kids? And Princeton Seminary”˜s Kenda Creasy Dean says we often not need look further than parents.
Tuesday July 17, 2012
Stan Ott, seasoned consultant with the Vital Practices Institute, says helping leaders get past the tyranny of the immediate is the most common challenge he sees in today’s churches.
Monday July 09, 2012
Don’t be afraid to fail gloriously, says Episcopal Bishop Andy Doyle, of the Diocese of Texas. He’s all about planting new churches in unexpected places, and reinvigorating older congregations through diocesan-wide activities that encourage faith sharing.
Thursday July 05, 2012
Pastor Rebekah Maul, at First Presbyterian Church of Brandon, Florida, arrived 16 years ago to what she describes as a congregation that had trouble believing in itself – then she began giving permission. In this interview, Rev. Maul describes how this liberation has transformed First Pres, bringing out the joy and love of Christ that has led to all kinds of growth.
Tuesday June 26, 2012
For Christian Piatt and his Milagro Church bridging polarizing differences, which seem intractable in today’s contemporary society, is a job more churches should be putting on the front burner.
Friday June 22, 2012
It’s a problem nearly every church faces: how to motivate the beloved to making their faith community a higher priority. Longtime pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Texas George Mason wrestles with it like everyone else.
Tuesday June 12, 2012
The pastor of the fastest growing urban congregation in the Lutheran Church (ELCA) says what draws people to join St. Paul’s is the energy and vibrancy that hits them the first minute they come through the door. Peter Marty says things were not that way 16 years ago when he arrived to pastor a church that was deeply divided and faced a mountain of debt.
Monday June 11, 2012
In this ChurchNext video interview, Chris Yaw talks with the Dr. Frank Wade, interim dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, about leadership in the church today.
Saturday June 02, 2012
It’s the most important aspect of church leadership today, says Pittsburgh Theological Seminary”˜s Susan Kendall: listening. As a graduate school instructor she sees listening, in its three aspects of congregation, context, and God, as standard equipment for today’s effective leaders.
Monday May 21, 2012
John Spong is a lightning rod for criticism from our more conservative brothers and sisters, and he also continues to draw packed houses to his Bible lectures. This is evidence, he says, of a deep hunger for a deeper way of approaching faith. Chris Yaw interviews him for ChurchNext.tv
Thursday May 17, 2012
Nearly 40 years ago founders of The Alban Institute set out to resource local congregations – and its current president, The Rev. Dr. James Wind, is continuing the task. In this interview with Chris Yaw for ChurchNext.tv, Dr. Wind shares his optimism about the North American church, his insights into its challenges, and his sage advice for today’s congregational leaders.
Saturday May 12, 2012
It’s the classic definition of ”˜missional’: participating with God in what God is doing in the world – and it’s Steve Knight’s passion and profession. Steve currently serves the Disciples of Christ in their efforts to start 1,000 new churches, and transform 1,000 others by 2020. Watch Chris Yaw's interview with him for ChurchNext.tv
Tuesday May 08, 2012
He left Christendom, but kept Christ. And Frank Schaffer, a one-time leader in the Religious Right movement has much to say about what he’s learned along the way, especially regarding the importance of identifying with our brokenness so that Christ may be exalted. Watch Chris Yaw of ChurchNext.tv interview him.
Thursday May 03, 2012
It’s one of the Church’s biggest mistakes: over-reliance on one person to do the bulk of the work. In this new, inventive, age, the PCUSA’s Landon Whitsitt, author of the book Open Source Church, thinks that the day of the ”˜super-pastor’ is way over – and that the Body of Christ does its best work in collaboration. Watch Chris Yaw's interview.
Friday April 20, 2012
Bishop N.T. ”˜Tom’ Wright is a former bishop, New Testament Scholar, and author (the new one is How God Became King) who says Christian leadership has always been about the same four things: Prayer/Scripture/Sacrament/Service. Watch Chris Yaw's video interview with him for ChurchNext.tv.
Monday April 09, 2012
Chris Yaw, producer of ChurchNext.tv, interview the host and producer of Day1, Peter Wallace, on the state of preaching, the message of the mainline church, and how we need to be open to the new things that are happening today.
Monday April 02, 2012
For ChurchNext.tv, Chris Yaw interviews the Rev. Dr. David Lose, professor of biblical preaching at Luther Seminary, on the evolution of preaching.