Millennials and other young adults are turning their backs on traditional church membership, preferring to measure their fellowship by service instead. (Creative Commons photo)
Millennials and other young adults are turning their backs on traditional church membership, preferring to measure their fellowship by service instead. (Creative Commons photo)

Young adults challenging traditional church membership concepts

Churches are grappling with Millennials who want their church membership defined in terms of mission and ministry, not names on a roll.

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Adopt-a-School programs are popular among a range of civic, business and religious groups. Some are even promoted by local and state governments.  (Creative Commons photo by Minnesota governor’s office)
Adopt-a-School programs are popular among a range of civic, business and religious groups. Some are even promoted by local and state governments. (Creative Commons photo by Minnesota governor’s office)

Adopting schools is about community building, not proselytizing, educators say

The key for schools is to avoid favoring certain churches or denominations over others and not requiring student participation in church events held at school.

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VBS can be a transformative experience for congregations seeking to break down barriers between races and economic classes, clergy and lay leaders say. (Creative Commons photo by Nate Pesce)
VBS can be a transformative experience for congregations seeking to break down barriers between races and economic classes, clergy and lay leaders say. (Creative Commons photo by Nate Pesce)

For these Baptists, VBS transforms congregations and communities

A joint VBS held by Baptist churches in Waco helped break down the racial divide between them. Other churches have reported similar experiences when racially divergent congregations cooperate to host these summer programs. 

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Feds offer reward in black church fire

Investigators are still looking for a suspect in a June 24 arson at Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C.

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The role of the modern interim pastor is as much to coach and resolve conflicts as it is to preach and visit the sick, experts say. (Creative Commons photo by Jim Larrison)
The role of the modern interim pastor is as much to coach and resolve conflicts as it is to preach and visit the sick, experts say. (Creative Commons photo by Jim Larrison)

Interim pastoring has evolved into skilled calling, Baptists say

The period between pastors is an important time for churches who need the right kind of leader to guide them through it. Increasingly that role is being filled by trained, intentional interim pastors.

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Church volunteers who tutor children often find themselves learning from their students. (U.S. Dept. of Education photo)
Church volunteers who tutor children often find themselves learning from their students. (U.S. Dept. of Education photo)

Baptist churches learn that serving schools yields big rewards

Congregations and ministers experience spiritual benefits from working in schools to help at-risk children and their families.

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Authorities are investigating a number of fires at African-American churches to determine if they were intentionally set. (Creative Commons photo by Erik Olson)
Authorities are investigating a number of fires at African-American churches to determine if they were intentionally set. (Creative Commons photo by Erik Olson)

Black church fires evoke both fear and faith in Baptist communities

Baptist leaders say the recent spate of African-Amerian church fires in the South have been disturbing — even when not ruled arson — because of the recent AME church shooting in South Carolina. 

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Merianna Harrelson preaches at Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship in Lexington, S.C. (Photo courtesy of Merianna Harrelson)
Merianna Harrelson preaches at Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship in Lexington, S.C. (Photo courtesy of Merianna Harrelson)

On their own: The challenges, blessings of being sole pastors of small churches

Financial difficulties and feelings of isolation are overshadowed by the loyalty and humility found in small churches by the pastors that lead them — often alone.

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Voiding toxic thinking and behavior in church is as important as voiding toxins in the body, church coaches say. (Creative Commons photo by Josh McGinn)
Voiding toxic thinking and behavior in church is as important as voiding toxins in the body, church coaches say. (Creative Commons photo by Josh McGinn)

Finding an antidote to toxic churches and toxic leadership

Poisons can inflame the body of Christ and render missions and ministry ineffective by putting self above God, church health experts say.

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At First Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, last Sunday, the pulpit remained vacant and draped in black in memory of victims at the Charleston, S.C., church.
At First Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, last Sunday, the pulpit remained vacant and draped in black in memory of victims at the Charleston, S.C., church.

Confronted with shocking violence, pastors struggle for the right words

Sermons last Sunday focused on the racially motivated killings at a South Carolina church.

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