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The world is changing. 

Stay up to date on the latest research, resources, and reflections exploring how to cultivate Christian faith in the 21st century. 

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May. 19, 2020

What I’m Reading: Returning to In-Person Gatherings

As local communities begin to gradually open up, congregations must weigh many decisions about resuming in-person worship. In light of these discussions, the ELCA has issued a guide called, “Considerations for Returning to In-person Worship” . From the document: “In all situations, you will want to err on the side of love for your neighbor and know that change will
Featured image for “What I’m Reading: Congregational Music in the Age of Coronavirus”
May. 08, 2020

What I’m Reading: Congregational Music in the Age of Coronavirus

Find out the most recent recommendations for singing in worship during the pandemic.
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Feb. 26, 2019

Cultivating & Letting Go This Lent

There are many ways to minster. This week, we hear from the Reverend Lisle Gwynn Garrity, who uses art as a tool for spiritual formation. In the piece below, she reflects on stewardship and the story of the prodigal son. Plus, as a bonus for church leaders planning for Lent, Lisle links these themes to Lenten worship and reflection materials
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Sep. 11, 2018

What are We ‘Offering’ at the Offering? Part 2

In the stewardship course I teach, one assignment invites students to “design from scratch” stewardship practices for a new congregation. In other words, students try to step back from the inherited practices of the church, and for a moment, at least, imagine new ones. Of course, the assignment is a bit dangerous — tradition and existing practices really matter, but
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Sep. 04, 2018

What are We ‘Offering’ at the Offering? Part 1

For many of us, the tradition of collecting the offering in baskets is deeply etched in our early worship memories. In fact, I share a particular experience with Martha Moore-Keish, this week’s writer. We both came to the faith in the old pews of First Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, Florida. Martha is one of those great friends and mentors I’ve
Featured image for “The Importance of Gifts Policies – Part Two: Retiring Gifts”
Jul. 17, 2018

The Importance of Gifts Policies – Part Two: Retiring Gifts

In his “The Importance of Gift Policies” post last week, The Importance of Gifts Policies – Part One: Receiving and Refusing Gifts, Bruce Barkhauer describes what Gift Policies are and why they matter. This week in part two of the series, Bruce tackles a topic that might be controversial for your congregation: what to do with that really old and,
Featured image for “Singing Stewardship: A List of Stewardship Hymns”
Feb. 06, 2018

Singing Stewardship: A List of Stewardship Hymns

Hymnal indexes can only be so helpful, and broad terms like “stewardship” can stymie even the wisest hymnal editor. So, we’ve combed through the hymnals of several denominations to select our favorite stewardship-related hymns. Many are related to money, but we’ve also sought a more holistic list for those of you seeking to embrace year-round stewardship teaching, money, and more.
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Jul. 18, 2017

Singing Stewardship

I’m writing this week’s post while leading parts of a Worship and Music Conference in beautiful Montreat, North Carolina. After singing dozens of hymns in daily worship over the past two weeks, my mind is draw to — what else? — hymns that touch on stewardship. I only have time to touch upon three below and invite you to consider
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Sep. 06, 2016

Unholy Sundays

Do you have a story of a time when a pastor — maybe even you — tried to shock the congregation, but went too far? The challenge for pastors is that “too far” is in the eye of the beholder. As Jesus taught time and again, one person’s scandal is another person’s holy justice. I was very glad to meet
Featured image for “iPad Giving Stations: Increase Your Congregation’s Engagement in Giving”
Aug. 16, 2016

iPad Giving Stations: Increase Your Congregation’s Engagement in Giving

I was recently reading through a congregation’s annual report (hey, I’m a seminary professor, what else do we do for fun?) and I noted the report broke down five different methods of giving: electronic, giving kiosk, plate offerings, non-cash stock gifts, and “bill pay” automatic checks. Twenty years ago, only a few of these existed at all. Today, there’s even