A View from the Pew: A Day for All Saints

For years I thought the end of October was solely the devil’s territory. Trick-or-treat, scary or revealing costumes, and general tomfoolery were reserved for Halloween leaving churches few good options for experiencing the season.

A View from the Pew: Losing the Game Against Sports

There are three ways you can tell what people care about: what they talk about, how they spend their time, and how they spend their money. The scoreboard in church vs. sports shows sports with a sizable lead in all three categories.

A View from the Pew: Worship Wars’ Next Battlefront—the Thermostat

If your church is anything like mine, there’s a battle being fought this time of year that impacts the quality of worship more than the music, length of the sermon, or the translation of the Bible used. Of course, I’m talking about the air conditioning.

A View from the Pew: Camp Worship

What is it about worship at camp that engages campers in profound ways while their weekly worship experiences in their home churches often fail to connect?

A View from the Pew: Not Everyone Can Go

We are in the season of mission trips. Churches across America are sending members to a variety of ministry opportunities around the world and undertaking projects close to home.

A View from the Pew: Mothers and Fathers

Church is a place for celebration. That celebration gets tricky when we as the church are handed a set of holidays outside of our faith tradition and the Scriptures.

A View from the Pew: The Resurrection Applies to Chreasters, Too

The Resurrection is for everyone. Infrequent attendance at worship services does not exclude a person from accessing the hope of the risen Jesus Christ. But for consistent church attenders, high holy days such as Christmas and Easter can create a sense of protective exclusion.

A View from the Pew: Doing ‘Sorry’

Whether or not you have ashes dabbed on your forehead this Wednesday, the season of Lent presents an opportunity to do more than say “I’m sorry.” The season of Lent is a chance to engage in active repentance.

A View from the Pew: Eyes Wide Open

There are many postures for prayer in Christianity, but nearly all of them involve closing your eyes. I followed the eye-closing rule for prayer in church dutifully until my twenties.

A View from the Pew: Counting the Choir

I have a confession: for reasons I’m about to explore, each week during worship, I silently count the members of the church choir. Bizarre, I know.

A View from the Pew: Words and Hands

My church recently ordained three of its members as new deacons, setting them apart for special service to God’s church and its people. Each time I participate in such a worship service, I am blessed because it presents me with an opportunity to literally and tangibly be a blessing to someone.

A View from the Pew: Making the Most of a Ministerial Transition

An unexpected resignation of a church staff member can feel like a punch to the gut. When a trusted staff member resigns, it’s not unusual to feel an acute sense of loss and even betrayal.

A View from the Pew: “Back to Church” Season

As a child, the most dreaded words uttered every July on the commercials interrupting TV reruns were “Back-to-school sale.” Like the first few bars of “Jingle Bells,” heard nowadays in late September, that phrase was the harbinger of homework, research papers, and exams.

A View from the Pew: The Fervent Chaperone

Those minor inconveniences pale in comparison to the overwhelming benefits of giving up a few days of work or personal time to go to camp. This month’s dispatch comes to you live from PASSPORTkids Camp in Crossville, Tenn., where I’m wrangling four boys from Parkway Baptist Church.

A View from the Pew: Summertime Blues

It’s easy to see it from the pastor’s perspective: you visit the sick, you counsel the anxious, and you show up on Sunday with a heart and mind overflowing. But when you reach your seat on the platform and look out at the smaller-than-normal congregation during the prelude, you question your calling.

A View from the Pew: Asleep at the Pew

Of all the human frailties that impact my ability to worship God, none frustrates me more than fatigue. As a child, I never slept in church. I was always a wiggler, which in hindsight I prefer to describe as “an active listener.”

A View from the Pew: Dressing for Success … in Worship

It is news to no one that church culture has shifted radically in recent years in most every area, from worship style to attendance. One such cultural move is toward more casual fashion choices by church goers. Only the most traditional of us pew sitters insist on wearing “Sunday clothes” anymore.

A View from the Pew: Devotions by Any Other Name

Long before I find myself in a chair or pew on a Sunday morning, preparations have been made for the corporate worship of God. Musicians have learned music through hours of rehearsal. Ministers have prayerfully selected texts to be read responsively.

A View from the Pew: An Hour a Week

I am not a dreamer. That’s not to say I lack ambition or that I don’t hope for certain positive life outcomes. No, I mean, literally, I don’t have dreams; at least I don’t remember dreams.

A View from the Pew: What We See in Worship Makes a Difference

As I age, I find myself not only physically sounding more and more like my Baptist-preacher father but repeating his aphorisms. One of my favorites about church is “You should always sit close to the front because the sermon gets worn out by the time it reaches the back.”