What Leading Ideas subjects are trending this year with you and our nearly 20,000 subscribers? In addition to pandemic, the most popular articles of 2021 focus on topics including reaching younger people, adapting to change, hybrid worship, diversity, funding and finances, reaching new disciples, small churches, and more.
Barry Winders says the COVID-19 crisis is a hinge point for the church. This pivotal time demands mission-focused leaders lest the church slip back into the busyness and nonmissional activities of the pre-COVID-19 past.
In January, Doug Powe and Ann Michel of the Lewis Center identified eight notable trends in 2020’s swirl of change. Some trends have been underway for some time, but accelerated significantly in 2020, for example the church’s embrace of online ministry. But in other areas, the events of 2020 have led to renewed emphasis on the basics — prayer, fellowship, faith formation, and the call to racial justice.
Kay Kotan says many churches feel a natural desire to return to the familiar, comfortable patterns of the past. But churches that embrace this time of disruption as a catalyst for lasting change are most likely to be vital in the post-pandemic world.
Ann Michel shares the results of an informal survey among younger adults who have sensed a call to ministry in the UMC but have opted against ordination. While concerns about current denominational struggles are top of mind, a myriad of other factors are also at play. The good news is most could be addressed if we have the will and the wherewithal.
Bob Whitesel has watched many online Sunday services to identify recurring weaknesses and help churches improve their livestreaming. He offers eight practical suggestions for engaging online worshipers more effectively.
This article was published in 2017, but it is among the most read of 2021. Diversity-oriented churches, despite the challenges they face, are some of the fastest growing churches in the United States, says Brian Leander of Adelphi University. He names seven characteristics that help explain how these churches are able to embrace greater racial, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic diversity.
Lovett Weems and Ann Michel share eight key lessons to help churches deal with the financial aftershocks of the COVID crisis. Now is the time to create a healthier financial future by managing resources wisely, engaging givers more effectively, and seeking more creative approaches to economic sustainability.
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Lee Ann M. Pomrenke says the beloved metaphor of church as family can stand in the way of a congregation being truly open and inclusive. The church is a movement defined by shared values, commitments, and actions, not a household family linked by a shared heritage or appearances.
Lovett Weems highlights key findings in the 2020 U.S. Census Report of significance for churches including an aging overall population, the first-ever decline in the white population, and greater diversity. He writes that the census results upend many of the working assumptions churches hold about their future.
Thom Rainer says it is a mistake for churches to give up their digital or streaming services after returning to in-person worship. He outlines seven reasons online worship can augment your place-based worship and reach the community.
Allen Stanton says rural churches need better indicators of what it means to thrive. He outlines three characteristics of vital rural congregations able to lead the wider community toward the Kingdom of God.
Tim Snyder and Paul Erickson say that congregational renewal involves a new way of being church and new approaches to our foundational callings. They outline 10 new ways of thinking essential to reimagining the church and its mission.
New preaching strategies are needed to engage emerging generations in the digital age. Michael Beck and Rosario Picardo say sermons in the post-pandemic church will likely be shorter, more conversational and interactive, and less reliant on a single voice.
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Adult Studies for Your 2022 Small Groups and Sunday School Classes
Bring the best of contemporary Christian scholarship to your congregation’s in-person and online small groups and classes with studies from the Lewis Center. Our video-based curriculum encourages energetic discussion and personal reflection on a number of subjects. Studies include: Journey through the Psalms, In God’s Time, Simply Christian, Religion and Science, Nature: Our First Way of Knowing God, Serious Answers to Hard Questions, Leading Like Nehemiah, and more.