local church

The Rev. Ben Gosden shares his answers to the often-irritating but necessary question, "How can the church be relevant?" Read more

Local Church

Setting ministries down can be a difficult thing, but it is sometimes easier to do when there is a ritual to do so, writes the Rev. Jason Valendy, who offers counsel on how to go about it. Read more

Ordained Ministry

Preaching and local church worship can too often fall into the pit of predictability, like the New England Patriots going to the Super Bowl again, writes the Rev. Jim Parsons. Read more

Jim Parsons

Head Gear Required

Photo by Holly McCray.

How will your congregation practice mission in 2018? The Rev. Scott Parrish has some penetrating questions to help assess whether your church is relevant in the world. Read more

Local Church


Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

The Church, as a product of culture, has come to rely more on a god of efficiency than the God of all time, writes the Rev. Jason Valendy. Read more

Local Church

Unpopular Opinion

R.L. Bryant Graphic

Too many United Methodist congregations have become like the statues and monuments at the center of the current controversy over Confederate symbols, writes the Rev. Richard Lowell Bryant. Read more

Local Church

Focusing on the local congregation can be helpful, but it also makes people forget they were birthed by the larger United Methodist connection, writes the Rev. Jason Valendy. Read more

Local Church

Now's the time for United Methodists to focus on research and development in congregations, says the Rev. Ben Gosden, who offers five ways for local churches to put new ideas to work immediately. Read more

Local Church

The memorial service for his recently deceased mother reminds the Rev. Jim Burklo of how Christianity serves as the vessel for life's most potent moments. Read more

Local Church

Sweet Spot

Photo Courtesy of Laurie Haller

Churches are often afraid of what might happen if they find their "sweet spot," but the Rev. Laurie Haller contends that's precisely what creates vital congregations and people, too. Read more

Local Church

Tower of Babel

Wikimedia Commons Photo

Unity isn't the same thing as uniformity, and that not understanding and accepting that reality could be the church's greatest sin, writes the Rev. Andy Bryan. Read more

Local Church 2 Comments

Definitions of "the church" range far and wide, but nowhere near the typical institutional understandings, writes the Rev. Andy Bryan. Read more

Local Church

John Wesley Preaching

Public Domain Photo

A district superintendent's effort to provide more training for pastors reminds Geoffrey Kruse-Safford that the true ministry of United Methodism goes on in local churches far removed from big global debates. Read more

Local Church

First Impression

Courtesy Laurie Haller

A chance encounter with a super-friendly server in a local deli gives the Rev. Laurie Haller some insights in what makes a congregation genuinely welcoming to visitors. Read more

Local Church

Mexican Folklore Dancers

Photo by Gustavo Vasquez, UMNS

The annual meeting of Hispanic/Latino United Methodists looks at ministries in local congregations as well as issues expected to come before the 2016 General Conference. Read more

Local Church

Sacred Cow

Courtesy of Jim Parsons

Knowing what constitutes a congregation's "sacred bundle" proves crucial in shepherding the process of change, writes the Rev. Jim Parsons. Read more

Local Church

Wolf pack

Wikimedia Commons Photo

For all its gifts at keeping believers connected, participating in online Christian exchange without being grounded in a local church holds tremendous personal and social peril, writes the Rev. Drew B. McIntyre. Read more

Perspectives 2 Comments

Construction cranes

Photo by Till Krech via Wikimedia Commons and Flickr

Seminarian Gabe Horton finds an apt analogy for building a church from the techniques needed to put up a tall construction crane. Read more

Local Church

Sycamore Creek UMC Video

YouTube Screen Capture

New churches that gather around a meal for worship and education hold out a vision for the future, writes the Rev. Jeremy Smith. Read more

Jeremy Smith

Trash Soccer Ball

Photo Courtesy of UMC LEAD

Churches don't need shiny new programs or old retreads, but genuine innovation using the resources they have on hand, writes seminarian Gabe Horton. Read more

Local Church