Featured image for “In Lament of Praise Bands”
May. 12, 2022

In Lament of Praise Bands

We gave up worshiping in Latin 500 years ago. It didn’t fit our incarnational theology. At Pentecost a messy diversity of languages showed up. And the Spirit sent us to all the people. So we changed our worship to the vernacular—everyday words spoken by ordinary people in each particular place. Everyday. Ordinary. Particular. 

The mission of the Church belongs in the vernacular. The best gifts of Right-Here. From every Even-Us group of folks. Context.

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Featured image for “Four Hybrid Worship Lessons from Small Congregations”
Apr. 25, 2022

Four Hybrid Worship Lessons from Small Congregations

Now it’s time to share what you’ve learned. These are the four biggest small-congregation-hybrid-worship lessons that I’ve observed and that you’ve sent to me.

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Featured image for “Small-Group Worship in Big-Group Space: The Challenge, Two Fixes, and How the Good News Talks Back”
Apr. 18, 2022

Small-Group Worship in Big-Group Space: The Challenge, Two Fixes, and How the Good News Talks Back

But there’s a bigger issue for small congregations in less-than-ideal buildings. The worship space may be whispering anti-gospel nonsense. Like “this is not-good-enough” or “you can’t keep up” or “just look: you’re barely alive anymore.”

Pay attention if you’ve heard these whispers. Because this challenge can’t be undone with a simple project. Or even with a bulldozer and new blueprints. Because this is a challenge of theology, not architecture. It marks a crisis of faith, not space. It means your building has become your hope. 

Let’s be clear: the kingdom of God cannot be reduced to brick and wood. Our hope has never been in our addresses, furnishings, and facilities. The Good News has no trouble talking back to sin and death, so buildings can pose no threat. By God’s grace, we are enough, we have enough, and resurrection overturns once-and-for-all the lie of “barely alive.”

God’s people have worshiped in temples and cathedrals. But we’ve also worshiped in wilderness and underground burial chambers. Ezekiel  announced it long ago. God rolls with us like a wheel. Even through the rubble of a destroyed temple. Wherever. Emmanuel is our good news. God with us. Here! So we roll out, too. Our worship buildings are simply tools of our ministry. 

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Featured image for “Co-Creating Palm to Passion with Your Small Congregation”
Mar. 28, 2022

Co-Creating Palm to Passion with Your Small Congregation

Palm-To-Passion Sunday solves the problem of Sunday-only folks missing out on Good Friday worship. It’s a problem, of course, because Good Friday is essential for grasping the depths to which divine love goes for us.

But the Palm-to-Passion format creates a different problem. Including the passion alongside the palm parade can create a bit of … well, worship whiplash. It’s a lot. 

Want to avoid the whiplash? Let the scripture guide that impossible journey. That’s the point of this reader’s theater resource…. 

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Featured image for “3 Holy Week Resources for Small Congregations: Let the Scripture Work”
Mar. 20, 2022

3 Holy Week Resources for Small Congregations: Let the Scripture Work

It’s not all on you.

And it’s not even close.

You don’t need all the perfect sermon words. 

You don’t need to dilute the Holy Week stories with clever, original explanations. 

In Holy Week, you can trust our scripture to work. 

That’s the point of the following resources. They simply allow the scripture to speak to us. With us. Intimately. They are designed for messy participation. Not perfect performance. And intimate, messy, high-participation worship is one of your strengths.

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