Viewpoint: Fewer churches growing, more churches declining

From 1978-1983, 30.5 percent of churches in the Southern Baptist Convention were seeing at least a 10 percent increase in total membership over a five-year period of time. During this same time, 51.9 percent of our SBC churches were plateaued and 17.6 percent were in decline. Declining churches, as defined in this denominational study, are […]

At the Movies: ’40’ & ‘Redeemed’ reminders of God’s grace

Dramatized precautionary tales for the Christian come at a cost, whether tackling the issue of abortion in the documentary “40,” or adultery in “Redeemed.” The pro-life documentary 40 examines the effects of abortion during the 40 years since Roe v. Wade. The film takes a straightforward stand and sends a warning to young women, making […]

Viewpoint: Should churches have stand-and-greet times?

I conducted a Twitter poll (not scientific, I assure you) asking first-time church guests what factors made them decide not to return. In listing the top 10 in order of frequency (http://thomrainer.com/2014/11/01/top-ten-ways-churches-drive-away-first-time-guests), I was surprised that the number one issue guests don’t like is a time to stand and greet one another. So what is […]

Fresh Ideas: A Hashtag Thanksgiving

Try this simple, fun way to inspire church members to give thanks to God this Thanksgiving season. Use it for your entire church, or adapt it to fit a Bible study group or family Thanksgiving celebration. Step 1:  Use white, legal-size card-stock paper to print a sign with huge black letters reading “#ThankYouGod.” (The hashtag […]

With Thanksgiving for the Local Church

The local church in America gets a bad rap. And in many ways, the negative news is warranted. You’ve seen the dire trends and statistics. You’ve read about the moral failures of many church leaders. We certainly don’t need to have our proverbial head in the sand about the dire state of our churches. But […]

Worldview: Quarantine Fear

There’s a disease on the move that’s even deadlier than Ebola. It is invisible and highly contagious. It spreads with lightning speed and paralyzes its victims. It turns people, communities and nations against each other. The disease is fear. Anxiety and dread seem to permeate our nation — and many of our churches — at […]

Viewpoint: Lotteries — Monopoly Millionaires’ Club

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have devised a new scheme for fleecing their residents — it’s called Monopoly Millionaires’ Club. When we think of a club, we usually think of some kind of gathering in which people meet together to accomplish some common good. This club, however, is not a club at all. […]

Viewpoint: When the Body Betrays

Walking back from the mailbox last week, I stopped cold in my tracks as I eyed the last envelope in the stack of magazines, junk mail and bills. I knew what it was before I even opened it — a letter informing me it was time for a mammogram. Instantly my mind raced back exactly […]

Viewpoint: What’s become of Christian hospitality?

I wish I could remember the name of the brother who greeted me and my family when we worshipped with Shadow Hills Church in Las Vegas. Many years later, I keenly remember the warm, enthusiastic way he took us under his care to find the worship center, receive bulletins and meet a few others before […]

Viewpoint: The Nerve of Some People!

I witnessed a stampede the other day that might rival a grand opening sale, but in this case, it was a mass exodus of churchgoers leaving during the invitation. Yes, during, not after, the invitation. While our choir, praise team and congregation sang “Let Faith Arise,” an astounding number of people did just that: They […]