Becoming a Guest

Each summer in high school I traveled with my church youth group from North Texas to New Mexico for camp. We almost always stopped in Amarillo on the way, staying in the homes of church members there. We were strangers to them, but because we were part of the church, they welcomed us.  On one […]

Affirmation and Challenge

Jesus retreated once with his disciples north of Nazareth to Caesarea Philippi, where he asked them what they were hearing people say about his identity and purpose. Their responses ranged from reincarnations of John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or some other prophet. Then Jesus asked them for their own beliefs about his identity: “Who do […]

Responding to the Loving Voice of God

“If I disobey, God will burn me for it.”   That was more or less what my grandfather — a self-described “West Texas Gospel Preacher” in the Churches of Christ — said to me in the doorway of my parents’ home in my mid-twenties.  He had visited my parents’ house over the holidays to admonish us […]

New (To Us) Wineskins for Church

My first instinct was to write about a specific model or expression of church. And then I recalled something I heard Brian Sanders say in an old dilapidated Dillard’s department store that had been repurposed into a training center for missionary leaders. Sanders is the co-founder of Tampa Underground, a network of more than 200 […]

Cultivating Zoom Community

Like many churches in Covid, the church I’m part of has been meeting online since March of last year. Because we’re a small community, we opted to use Zoom (video conferencing application) for our worship gatherings, rather than a live-streaming platform like Youtube or Facebook, in hopes that we could maintain some of the connection […]

The Power of Contemplative Prayer

By Charles Kiser Elaine Heath, in her book The Mystic Way of Evangelism, recounts a time she took a group of her SMU students to visit the Missionaries of Charity in Dallas — a branch of the ministry started by Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India in 1950. The ministry was located in a little red […]

When God Moments Become Missionary Movements

In October 2003 I attended the World Missions Workshop at Lipscomb University in Nashville. God had been stirring in my heart about church and mission and I wasn’t quite sure what he wanted from me. I remember descending to the basement floor beneath the Collins Auditorium. I entered a musty classroom where light was shining […]