More Religion Links

Peter Johnson: Presbyterians and “Decently Ordered” Schism.

Why it’s time for Christians to call for an end to payday loans. Related: facts about the payday loan industry. Such as: There are more than two payday loan storefronts for every Starbucks!

Ed Stetzer: Am I My City’s Keeper?

When we talk about seeking the welfare of the city we must remember the city is dead in its trespasses and sins. Jesus looked over Jerusalem and wept because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Why? They needed the good news of the gospel. If we’re going to serve the city, we should join Jesus in his full mission. We should go serving and saving. We do that by offering not just a meal or a touch, but offering them the Savior of the world.

Everybody panic! Why we are all wrong about church decline:

Conversations about church decline are almost always accompanied by the lament of the loss of cultural Christianity. There is talk of prayer in schools and town council meetings, the 10 commandments on display at courthouses, sports, music and dance happening during Sunday morning worship, the church as community centre and neighbourhood gathering place.

But, as Matt Marino writes about the Episcopal Church: Being Poised for Growth is not growth. “One still needs talent + preparation + expectations + effort in order to go get the results that opportunity leaves us “poised” to achieve.”

Our results stare us in the face: In numeric decline for thirty years, we are now in numeric freefall. … And, as if we have not had enough bad news, we are about to enter what church statistician Lovett Weems calls “the tsunami of death” as our builder generation attendance core become, paraphrasing St. Paul, “absent in the body to be at home with the Lord” over the next decade.

Three Reasons Evangelical Churches Are Growing When Others Are Not. The question is old and tired, and I’m not sure it’s as true for evangelical churches as nondenominational churches. But the answers aren’t limited to a particular theological outlook. Two should be part of every church: an ability to change, and a call to discipleship.

Brené Brown (of the famous TED Talk on vulnerability) talks about her return to faith.

Methodism: Economist Donald House projects that the UMC has 37 years left, unless things change. From Donald House’s report, I learned that elders (“ministers”) are rarely appointed to churches with less than 60 worship attenders. Also, that’s where closures occur. Honestly, he had me at hello:

The explanatory variables include each of the spending components, age and gender of the senior pastor, years the senior pastor has been in the appointment, affinity population, and a “decay” variable. The decay variable is a time trend that decreases worship attendance as time passes. The magnitude of the decay variable is based upon historical trends, measured over the 1990 to 2009 period. The magnitude of the decay variable differs across church size. For our purposes, the decay variable measures a growing anti-church theme in society.


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