Archives for March 2013

Front and center – Church goes to school on dealing with youth

By Ken Garfield, Faith and Leadership… The youth ministries room at Clemson United Methodist Church in Clemson, S.C., still has an old sofa, the type that teenagers typically occupy on Sunday evenings far and wide across the faith landscape. But that’s one of the few vestiges of the past in a youth ministry working to […]

UM innovation extends to Easter observances

By Sam Hodges, Managing Editor and Mary Jacobs, Staff Writer… Easter is all about transformation, but Easter observances tend to be conservative, sticking to familiar (if stirring) music, and the usual texts and formats. The exceptions are out there, though.  They’re found in highly innovative congregations and in others where the weather seems a bit […]

Rehabilitating the reputation of Mary Magdalene

  You’ve got to feel bad for Mary Magdalene. Sure, she has fame many of today’s celebrities would envy. She’s played a leading role in works ranging from Renaissance paintings to just about every Passion play and movie made about Jesus’ life. But all that stardom has come with a price. Few other followers of […]

Dinner Bell ringing to fight hunger in North Texas city

By Joan La Barr, Special Contributor… SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas—You never know who is going to show up for lunch when the Dinner Bell rings each Wednesday at First UMC, Sulphur Springs. It could be someone down on his luck, a professional from a nearby business or, as on Feb. 6, the bishop of the North […]

A pastor makes the case for infant baptism

By Dalton Rushing, Special Contributor… Last Sunday was a special day in the life of our family. Our daughter, Emmaline, was welcomed into the family of God through the sacrament of baptism. Emmaline did not make the decision to be baptized, as she is 2 months old. Her parents, partners in a clergy couple who […]

Book Review: Author guides us from finances to faithfulness

By Mark Norman, Special Contributor… Rich Church, Poor Church: Keys to Effective Financial Ministry J. Clif Christopher Abingdon Press, 2012 Paperback, 120 pages We are living in a shift. With cultural changes in the United States and our global financial situation in turmoil, it is important that the work of the church expands to talk […]

History of Hymns: ‘Alas! and Did’ explores our response to the cross

“Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed” belongs to a much larger family of Passion hymns which serve as rhapsodies on the wonder of “forensic justification” (a theological term meaning that through Christ’s sacrifice we receive a righteousness that is not our own). Indeed, Watts’ chief competitor in this category is probably . . . also Watts.

Keep it ‘in the moment’: Preaching without notes

By Justin Tull, Special Contributor… Looking back on my ministry, I had three preaching style stages: (1) preaching from extensive notes after doing a rough draft manuscript, (2) preaching from a “polished” manuscript, trying to look down as little as possible, and (3) preaching without notes (with a half-sheet outline in my Bible). In each […]

Reflections: Can we ‘raise our voices’ in a new song for Easter?

Easter celebrations are filled with traditions. The hymns we sing, choir anthem selections, special prayers and litanies. Even sermons do not wander far from the norm, and there are certain phrases in particular religious traditions that are integral to the Easter message. Perhaps no other worship service is quite so predictable. Most worshippers have come […]

Holy Week in the Tate household

Together, the Rev. Sara Tate and her husband, Craig, serve as pastors of six different United Methodist churches in the Memphis area. Given that Mr. Tate is in seminary, and the Tates have a toddler, life can get hectic during Holy Week. Ms. Tate answered questions via email from staff writer Mary Jacobs; here are […]