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Healthy message: Pastor’s weight loss is ministry’s gain

By Yonat Shimron, Faith & Leadership… BAILEY, N.C.—The Sunday bulletins at Bailey and Pleasant Grove United Methodist churches list the usual items: the order of worship, upcoming events, requests for prayers, the total offerings received so far this year. But the bulletins for these two small eastern North Carolina churches also include an entry that […]

Florida church finds rebirth in mission

By Michelle Bearden, Faith & Leadership… TAMPA, Fla.—The call came from the bishop on the Rev. Jim Harnish’s 45th birthday. “Can you come by the office tonight?” the bishop asked. Dr. Harnish, then pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando, knew an urgent summons from the bishop was serious. He suspected that he […]

Duo creates model for training church leaders

By Abe Levy, Faith and Leadership… SAN ANTONIO—The Rev. David McNitzky hired a young man 15 years ago to launch a contemporary service in the church gym—a new option for worship at his large, historic United Methodist congregation here. The new pastor shadowed him on hospital visits and pre-wedding talks with couples. Dr. McNitzky went […]

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 […]

Q&A: The power of the pulpit and the church

Every day, the church must use all its power, spiritual and otherwise, to work for the good of the gospel, says the Rev. Zan Holmes Jr. As a religious and political leader in Dallas, Texas for almost 30 years, he knows well the uses of power. He served two terms in the Texas Legislature and, […]

Q&A: John Wesley says, ‘Take care of yourself’

A focus on health and wellness was essential to the ministry of Methodism’s founder John Wesley, says the Rev. Randy Maddox, a noted Wesley scholar. He believes the emphasis on integrating the physical and the spiritual is just one of many lessons that Wesley’s writings and thinking on health offer the church today. Dr. Maddox, […]

Clergy learn: Self-care is not self-ish

By Kate Rugani, Faith & Leadership… When the Rev. Jeanette Hicks graduated from seminary in 2010, a mentor cautioned her about overwork. A retired pastor, the mentor hoped that Ms. Hicks and other young clergy would do better at staying healthy over the long run than she and her contemporaries had done. But just six […]

Q&A: Churches should connect with their cities

Andy Crouch is the author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling (Intervarsity Press), and special assistant to the president at Christianity Today, where he is also executive producer of This Is Our City (, a multi-year project featuring documentary video, reporting and essays about Christians seeking the flourishing of their cities. For 10 years […]

Youth pastor shook things up, and stuck around to lead

By Jason Byassee, Special Contributor… Vern Collins appeared at Boone United Methodist Church as a be-sandled, multiple-earringed recent graduate from our town’s college, Appalachian State, where, Vern admits, he was far more interested in fly-fishing than in studying. Vern was a shock to the system for a staid, high-steeple, university church like ours, where the […]

Q&A: Constant is the call for leadership

Leadership in the church has always been a daunting task. Fortunately, now as always, the early church offers some of our best resources for effective ministry, says Christopher A. Beeley, author of the new book Leading God’s People: Wisdom from the Early Church for Today (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2012). Dr. Beeley is the Walter H. […]