Radical Gratitude as Resistance

I’m going to put a whole lot of honesty on the table: I find the age we live in very disturbing. Perhaps you share my concern or, worse yet, have been the object of concern from the likes of me. The truth is, my peace has been disturbed. As an African-American man, fighting for dignity has been a daily chore made that much more difficult because the current... Read more

Jesus is the tweet. You are the hashtag.

Reflecting on Life in the Digitally-Integrated Church

Editors Note: Each month, Bearings contributors offer insights on a key theme in the practice of life-as-ministry. As the final installment in the issue, The BTS Center’s scholar-in-residence Pamela Shellberg, PhD reflects on the articles in the issue and poses questions for further reflection by Bearings readers and the communities in which life-as-ministry plays... Read more

Re-Mediating the Global, Digital Body of Christ

A Conversation with Media Scholar Heidi Campbell

For more than a decade, new media, religion, and digital culture scholar Heidi Campbell of Texas A&M has been exploring the ways that the internet, social media, and other digital technologies engage with the religious and spiritual practices of ordinary people. Her more than seventy articles, books, and edited volumes have mapped how digital social networks... Read more

Re-Mediation in the D-I-Y Church

Lately I’ve been thinking about a passage from the Gospel of John in which Jesus reminds Peter that our youthful vigor and self-determination will always fade. “Very truly, I tell you” Jesus says, “when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will... Read more

Growing by Half

How Part-Time Pastoral Leadership Can Revitalize the Church

One year ago, I began studying a rare but important species that many church officials wrongly believe doesn’t exist: the mainline Protestant congregation that finds vitality after doing away with the full-time pastorate. To be sure, it wasn’t always the easiest species to find. Many congregations with shrinking attendance and budgets continue to struggle after... Read more

Boosting the Church’s Creativity Index

It usually goes something like this: People are in a committee or team meeting. Someone proposes a new idea. The group embraces the concept and starts talking excitedly about how to implement it. Then, suddenly, someone begins to raise the dreaded questions: Where will we find the money and the time? What will our older members think? Will people leave if we do... Read more

Crowdfunding Christian Ministry

It’s hardly breaking news that many congregations struggle with financial stewardship. Perhaps there was a time when Christians gave to the church without a second’s thought. In days of yore, giving was considered a duty and solemn obligation, and members reliably filled out pledge cards, doing their part to keep church coffers full. That’s not necessarily the... Read more

Becoming Story Collectors

As a child, I was an avid comic book collector. Every other Saturday, after I completed my chores and received my allowance, my neighborhood friends and I would walk to the nearby comic store, which would have just received its newest shipment of X-Men and Wolverine comics. I was a partisan Marvel fanboy—a true believer whose loyalty was marked by my disdain for... Read more

What Do We Mean When We Say, “All Are Welcome”?

I’ve driven by that church—you know, the one with the giant banner that says, “All Are Welcome.” I often ask myself, “If I walked through the doors, would I be embraced?” I’m an educated, queer, Black, Progressive, Transgender Christian. Would I, with all that I bring, be welcomed in that space?" When we claim that “all are welcome,” it comes from a genuine... Read more