I am Joining WCA (but I am not in a bad mood about it)

For years now, I have been standing in the middle ground of the United Methodist Church.  Right-middle to be sure but middle none-the-less.  My plan was to batton down the proverbial hatches, keep Fairview Heights Christ Church growing (we have grown for twenty consecutive years) and hope the denominational storm would pass.  When asked aboutContinue reading “I am Joining WCA (but I am not in a bad mood about it)”

Doing Good to Death (literally)

Is your Church Doing Good to Death?  “The purpose of the church is not to do good, it is to connect people with Jesus Christ. A lot of churches are literally doing good to death.”   I know this will hit some folks sideways, but let me explain. Every dying church I know (and thereContinue reading “Doing Good to Death (literally)”

United Methodist Clergy Trading Cards (2017 Edition)

United Methodist Clergy Trading Cards At a St. Louis Cardinal Baseball game a few years back, a fellow United Methodist clergy member and I were discussing the need for our denomination to attract more gifted people into ordained ministry.  It seemed to us that many of our brightest and best young people don’t even considerContinue reading “United Methodist Clergy Trading Cards (2017 Edition)”

Imagining Humility

Imagine what might happen if the American church stopped trying to defend that of our history that is indefensible? What if we owned our collective sin and humbly asked God and society for forgiveness? And what might happen if we Christians took it to the personal level and asked for forgiveness for our own failureContinue reading “Imagining Humility”

Getting Smaller (to reach more people)

“In 2014 Christ Church became a sociological mega-church.   Now I think we have to get smaller.” Though we average over 2,000 per week in worship, we don’t feel like a mega-church.  Our weekly attendance is the aggregate total of eight worship services of varying sizes held in four locations (nine services in five locations if you count ourContinue reading “Getting Smaller (to reach more people)”

Methodists Need Leaders…Fast

I was not reared in the Methodist tradition.  Melissa and I were loved into the  church when I was teaching and coaching in Louisville, Illinois in the mid-80’s.  It was only then I began to take a serious look into historical Methodism.  In Methodism I found a theological tradition to call my own and myContinue reading “Methodists Need Leaders…Fast”

I Love You Enough for Both of Us

  Experpt from “Exactly as I Remember It” Maddox (Fairview Heights, Illinois, circa 2011) One Sunday evening after I wrapped up 6:00 church, I was headed to the car to scare up a late supper.  Melissa was already waiting on me, but I noticed that my daughter Lydia and her family were still in theContinue reading “I Love You Enough for Both of Us”

A Beautiful Christmas Disaster

 The center sanctuary window at Christ Church was created by artist Ken von Roenn.  It is huge, round and is comprised of four panels.  The piece was scheduled to be installed on November 27, 2007 as the final touch before the Christmas grand opening of our new 1,100 seat sanctuary.  The first three panels wereContinue reading “A Beautiful Christmas Disaster”

And This is Good?

I remember the call I received in the spring of 1997 from Mississippi River District Superintendent Jim Rhea on behalf of Illinois Great Rivers Conference Bishop Sharon A. Brown Christopher.  I was informed that I would be moved from the Sumner/Beulah Charge in Lawrence County to the recently relocated Christ United Methodist Church in FairviewContinue reading “And This is Good?”

Determining the Speed of Change

“A large church staff determines the direction of change. The laity determine the speed of change. The negotiation process between the two will determine the health of the church.” -Shane L. Bishop, Senior Pastor, Christ Church, Fairview Heights, Illinois