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April 2015
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June 2015

When is the Lord's Supper Not Just the Lord's Supper?

SVBC WorshipTomorrow/Sunday in my church of membership the congregation will partake of the Lord's Supper--perhaps communion or Eucharist in your tradition. Even though I have been an ordained minister for almost 42 years, in my own church I function more like a layperson. This year in my Baptist congregation I am chairperson of the Deacons.

In this role it is my responsibility to administer the Lord's Supper with the Pastor. I also have to line up 16 Deacons for each of the two worship services. The lining up has happened--with a few substitutes in case an oxen falls in a ditch overnight and one or more Deacons are unable to make it. But I will not be there tomorrow. My vice chairperson will help the Pastor. I know it will go well!

This year--as time allows when the Deacons gather or I communicate with them by e-mail--I am trying to emphasize the holy nature of the Lord's Supper and the seriousness with which we ought to take our role of serving the elements. Before the first time we did the Lord's Supper this year, we met in the worship center, got our assignments out of the 16, and then prayer-walked the worship center stopping at each pew to pray for each person who might be sitting there during the observance of the Lord's Supper.

We prayed that each person would be open to what the Holy Spirit is seeking to nudge in them during the time of observance and after. May this same attitude be present tomorrow/Sunday. This is my prayer. Philippians 2:5-11 [NASB].


5th Random Reactions to the Pew Research--America's Changing Religious Landscape

Landscape CharacatureHere are further random reactions to America's Changing Religious Landscape research report from the Pew Research Forum. 

Today I had the opportunity to be on a conference call sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations out of New York City where the presenter was Alan Cooperman, Director of Religion Research, Pew Research Center. He was discussing not only this research, but also The Future of World Religions study.

11. Interesting insights into their research methods. One that would be expected, natural, and ethical is they do objective statistical/demographic research. They take what they are told at face value without attaching their subjective values to it. That is good for sound scientific research. However! Implications are that they do not do focus group interviews that would help acquire qualitative research results, which are also subjective. But that means they do not know the story behind the story. They do not know the "why". The facts, therefore, can scare the average church. It should not. It is just a beginning or a pointing in the right direction for further dialogue. It will still be about person-to-person relationships.

Another issue has to do with the size of the Unaffiliated group in their study. Anything a person says that names an affiliation or even a personal religion, and they are not counted as Unaffiliated. Therefore, the truly Unaffiliated--Nones--may be a larger number/percentage than the study shows. That is legitimately scary!


Help Me Figure Out What Book to Write Next!

Man at Computer WritingI need your help. I am getting ready to write my fourth book. I want the opinion of a bunch of people as to which one of five books I ought to write. Which one is needed? Which one would you want to read? Which one would you likely recommend to others? 

Take this survey. Help me out. Leave your name and e-mail address only if you want to hear how it goes, which one I write, and perhaps even help out with it.

Take survey HERE.

Questions? Contact me at GBullard@TheColumbiaPartnership.org.


Implications of the Pew Research Study on America's Changing Religious Landscape

Pew Research CenterThe FaithSoaring Churches Learning Community [FSCLC] of The Columbia Partnership is conducting a conference call dialogue on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. EDT on the Rew Research study on America's Changing Religious Landscape. Click HERE to see their report.

Guest panelists are Wes Granberg-Michaelson, Carol Childress, and Twyla Hernandez. Wes has already made his response public through an article published by the Washington Post.

You are invited to participate by becoming a member of the FSCLC. This and all conference calls are for members only. You may connect with the FSCLC by going to www.ConnectwithFSCLC.info. You may join for 12 months for $99, or use the "Subscribe" button at the bottom left of that web site's front page and set up a recurring payment of $9 per month.

This is one of 44 conference calls to be held over the next 12 months on subjects relevant to transforming congregations. Questions? Contact Client.Care@TheColumbiaPartnership.org.


God’s Knows the Heart of Single Adults. Do You?

Singe

A Travel Free Learning Article 

By George Bullard

Recently a ministry acquaintance posted a very personal statement on Facebook about her life as a single adult and an affirmation of her worth and value as a person of worth created in the image of God to live and to love. Seldom do I experience such an insightful personal statement about life, being single, loneliness, and God’s mission for life.

I asked her for permission to share her statement for multiple reasons. First, I believe it speaks to the life situation of a bunch of single adult persons. Second, I believe it provides a learning opportunity for many people–beginning with me. Third, I believe the vast majority of congregations misunderstand single adults and are largely clueless how to engage in genuine, meaning ministry among single adults.

Continue reading "God’s Knows the Heart of Single Adults. Do You?" »