Blogs/Columns


Latest from the Bishop

Preparing our hearts and minds for General Conference

2/14/2019

I humbly offer you several considerations for your spiritual preparations for General Conference. Let us set all our hope on the grace of Jesus Christ!


Preserving photos

8/17/2011

Church historians and others who take care of historical documents: Do you wonder what to do with piles of photographs of many sizes, shapes, and conditions? Photographs provide a special challenge as they need different care than regular paper documents. Here are some guidelines for photo care. First, when possible, store photographs separately from other paper documents. Because of the...


What pension & health benefits decisions face General Conference?

8/17/2011

Delegates to the 2012 General Conference will have hundreds of pages to read and understand as they prepare to vote on items that will have lasting implications for the church and individuals who serve the church. The items relating to pension and benefit changes for United Methodist clergy are among the most complex pieces of legislation that delegates will consider. During March I ...


Year of the sums

7/25/2011

At annual conference session, Bishop Sally Dyck drew our attention to the “nones”—people who indicate “none” when asked their religious affiliation. This is the fastest growing “religious” group in America. They may be spiritual, but not religious. They may be emerging adults or mature adults. They may have roots in one or more faith traditions or be severed from any heritage of faith. ...


What’s stopping us?

7/1/2011

Once there was a small church with a large sanctuary. About 30 to 40 people attended worship each Sunday, scattered throughout the sanctuary. When I visited this church, I noticed how uncomfortably empty it seemed. It was too large a space for this small group of people. I wanted to rip out the pews, carpet the floor and put in flexible seating so the environment was more conducive to a ...


A third place

5/6/2011

Last month on a flight from Minneapolis to Portland, I struck up a conversation with a young woman in the adjacent seat. I introduced myself and asked, “Are you coming or going?” Jamey, I’ll call her, explained that she was a researcher for one of the large Minnesota food companies. She was part of a local team headed to the Pacific Northwest to monitor focus group responses to a new ...


Will our children have faith?

5/6/2011

How many baseball games will be you be sitting at this summer? Having a couple of nephews who love and live for baseball, I’ll be attending a few games. I have watched their games from T-ball through high school. Sports have been a huge part of their lives and have given them much joy, and their parents have done everything they could to give their children that experience. How many of ...


We believe in resurrection churches

4/1/2011

We have been closing churches in the Minnesota Annual Conference. When we think of church, we often image a pastor, a building, and a group of people who meet there. In that model, when a church drops below 100 people in average worship attendance, it usually cannot afford a full-time pastor anymore. When attendance drops to 30 or 40, and particularly as the congregants age, they find it...


What should General Conference delegates know about pension and benefits legis

4/1/2011

Delegates to the 2012 General Conference will have hundreds of pages to read and understand as they prepare to vote on items that will have lasting implications for the church and individuals who serve the church. The items relating to pension and benefit changes for United Methodist clergy are among the most complex pieces of legislation that delegates will consider. During March I ...


A new frontier

3/4/2011

Since news came out about my new appointment, I’ve received responses ranging from “How far did they have to twist your arm to take that job?” to “Just as the whole nation cast Tina Fey as Sarah Palin for Saturday Night Live in 2008, so the entire Minnesota Annual Conference was pulling for you to be in this role in 2011!” While the energy for church growth probably falls somewhere ...


Bridging the we/they divide

3/4/2011

A business CEO who is also an active United Methodist presented five leadership pillars at a recent gathering I attended. With these five pillars, he has transformed every company he has led. He claims that they work in every setting. His second pillar really struck a chord with me: 100 percent trust. A key practice to building trust is to ban the word “they” from an organization. Within...


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