January 2020 E-news from the Siburt Institute

Discerning a Path for Renewal In an ongoing search for resources to aid churches in the work of renewal, I found a work from a British author that offers a simple and useful way to reflect on the practices and life of a congregation. Robert Warren, in his book, The Healthy Churches’ Handbook, offers seven […]

The Church of Christ as Hillbilly Religion

Do people still argue about whether Taylor Swift is country? My daughter has been a Swifty her whole life so, even though I’m more of a 21 Pilots guy, I confess to knowing most Taylor Swift songs by heart. Her new song “Lover” may turn me into a Swifty yet (it’s such a great song!), […]

How to Start Well

Ministers who work with congregations might do well to pay attention to how they begin.  Working with a congregation is much like marriage – it matters how you start.   The following suggestions may be very helpful if you are beginning a new work.  On the other hand, these suggestions may also be helpful even if […]

Somewhere South of Atlanta: What Makes for Peace

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Romans 14:19 Last month, I had about 12 hours of “windshield time” on New Year’s Eve as we drove from Florida to our home in Alabama. Those long stretches of highway gave me plenty of time to think. Somewhere south of Atlanta, […]

The Positive Impact of Christian Universities

If you have been in church any length of time and/or enjoy reading books by Christian authors, you have benefited from the fruit of private Christian Universities. Many of us take for granted that the preparation for the sermon on Sunday, the class on Wednesday and even the pastoral work during the week came out […]

Theoporn: An Epidemic of Epic Proportions

Anytime we attempt to blend Spirit and flesh the result is all flesh and no Spirit. What that combo produces is theological pornography. Theological pornography is when we put things in the guise of religiousity, righteousness, and biblicality but in reality it is base, crude, and appeals to our worst instincts. We see people in […]

Investing in the Church’s Interior Health

The present condition in Churches of Christ looks bleak. I have a three-part thesis as to how we got here. It’s more complicated than this, I know, but this informs what I think is (and isn’t) needed at this crucial juncture. First, Churches of Christ thrived in the can-do era of post-World-War-2 America because we […]

That’s Church

If you don’t feel like going to church, then don’t go…for you. Go for the struggling. Go for the broken. Go for those grieving the love of their lives. Go for those raising children. Go for those who haven’t heard from their children for too long. Go for those who long for children. Go for […]

Vision Casting

Vision: “The goals that an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the future.” Vision is intended to serve as a clear guide for both current and future courses of action.  A vision’s effectiveness, whether good or bad, depends on how it is brought together and executed. It is almost, if not completely, impossible […]

Christianity and Culture: A New Study

In this post-modern era where concepts like right, wrong, truth and justice are often defined by an individual’s own viewpoint rather than by a single standard of belief, the question arises as to how concepts such as Ultimate Authority, Sin, and Absolute Truth fit into the culture in which we find ourselves. Are Christianity and […]

What Bighorn Sheep can Show Us: Vision, Leadership, and Brooming

This past summer, our family got to visit Colorado National Monument.  At one of the visitor centers, a ranger talked about the different animals in the park and showed us a skull of a Bighorn Sheep.  He pointed out how the horns curved around the skull, but were broken off at the end.  The ranger […]

Restoring Vision

There must be a lot of churches trying to determine if they met the 2020 vision goals they set however many years back. Vision is difficult because it is hard to know how to find it and how to be sure you found the right one. How do we know God has directed us in […]