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Let Kids Choose Church. — The Narthex. No hope, indeed.

Let Kids Choose Church. — The Narthex

Parents — and, I’d add, many clergy — are often incredibly inarticulate about why being a member of a community of worship, service, and learning is important. They have a hard time explaining why they choose to go to church beyond the “good person” rationale. Kids take their cues from that. However, when I asked parents to describe their own connection to their church communities, there was much depth and beauty in their responses. Eventually. It also seemed that challenges on the basis of faith to the structures of privilege that benefit their families might reveal parents as less than faithful to the teachings of their tradition. In this light, inviting kids to choose whether or not to go to church may not say that God is unimportant, that faith doesn’t matter.

At the end of the day, wrangling kids into church isn’t going to make much difference in terms of whether they stay as adults. 15 Reasons We Should Still Be Using Hymnals. Thank you for your interest in Patheos newsletters!

15 Reasons We Should Still Be Using Hymnals

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Why Creeds are not Useful in Worship. Almost a year ago, we discussed the post “John Wesley thought the Creeds were Weaksauce.”

Why Creeds are not Useful in Worship

In it, I contended that John Wesley did not see the Creeds as essential to the regular gatherings of the people called Methodists. Now a year later, I have some more to contribute to the discussion. Dr. Raymond E. Balcomb was pastor of First United Methodist Church in Portland, OR, from the 1960s to early 80s (full bio here). I invite you to consider his argument that our words should match our actions and that our actions are more important than our words. Why Don’t We Say the Creed? How to Snap Pastors Like Breadsticks  It's a verified fact: Anyone signing up for the professional ministry is nuts.

How to Snap Pastors Like Breadsticks 

Don't waste time on those psychological tests. If they want the job, they're cracked. That would be me. I've been throwing myself into the kind of work that lands us on the operating table for 25 years. It's American Anxiety Employment on steroids. And it's all sliding downhill from there. No pastor would need to moonlight in Never-Never Land, but we don't live there. We're also the poor person's counselor, available for those who cannot afford the how-does-that-make-you-feel experts. I did a bi-vocational stint in the late 1990's and it sucked the life out of me. Clergy people call this "sacrificial living.

" Bi-vocational ministry, when necessary, must be thought through carefully and, if possible, done in the context of a ministry team -- and the "other job" should have flex hours so we're free for funerals, weddings, counseling, and emergencies. Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool.’ Bass reverberates through the auditorium floor as a heavily bearded worship leader pauses to invite the congregation, bathed in the light of two giant screens, to tweet using #JesusLives.

Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool.’

The scent of freshly brewed coffee wafts in from the lobby, where you can order macchiatos and purchase mugs boasting a sleek church logo. The chairs are comfortable, and the music sounds like something from the top of the charts. At the end of the service, someone will win an iPad. This, in the view of many churches, is what millennials like me want. And no wonder pastors think so.

In response, many churches have sought to lure millennials back by focusing on style points: cooler bands, hipper worship, edgier programming, impressive technology.