Could the rise of the nones—those who claim no religion when asked by pollsters—actually be good for some churches? That’s the attitude of many mainline churches whose ranks have been hardest hit by defections. And they might even have a point. Mainline denominations include the Episcopal Church, American Baptist Churches, United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). And they have been unable to stem their membership losses. The trend dates back in some cases to the mainline’s peak in the 1960s. In 1972, these denominations …
I am trained as a journalist. And I’m trained as a preacher. You might be surprised to learn there’s significant overlap between these callings. Both teach by distilling complicated concepts about how the world works. Both herald news, good and bad. You might not know about the overlap between these callings because journalists and preachers generally don’t like each other. Journalists rank among the most skeptical professionals. They don’t trust anyone they cover. They’ve seen enough double-talk and corruption both within and without the church to last several lifetimes. A pastor recently told me his church convenes meetings for Christian …
Church leaders today find themselves caught between two equally valid but competing realities. Social media have become valuable, even necessary, tools for teaching and exercising leadership. Yet Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs cannot substitute for the local church, which is a living testimony to Jesus Christ. Striking the right balance requires wisdom and discernment to prioritize the local church while learning the strengths and weaknesses of social media. Awkwardly co-existing, the real and virtual worlds undoubtedly shape one another. Look no further than the recent resurgence of Calvinism among younger evangelicals. Whereas Calvinists outside the confessional denominations once found fellowship …
Sometimes younger Christians give the impression that we have things figured out. We’re the future. We’ve found the old methods wanting, so we’ve developed new ones. We’re the generation that will strike the right balance where our forebears fell over to one side or the other. We’ve learned from your mistakes. And we don’t mind telling you.
Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. He is author of Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church,; Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists, and co-author of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir.