Bearings: Navigating Life-as-Ministry
June 2017

Listening to the Bittersweet Songs of Summer

Sumer is icumen in. Lhude sing cuckoo! Summer has come in—or so the “Cuckoo Song,” also known as the “Summer Canon,” tells me. The piece, which dates to the 13th century, is the oldest known musical composition to feature six-part polyphony. In other words, it was composed as a round that could feature up to six different voices or groups simultaneously singing... 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

Binge Watching Scripture

My daughter is being confirmed this year. Now I understand why parents always say that they don’t know where the time goes. It feels like it was just yesterday that she was baptized. Now she is claiming all those baptismal promises we made on her behalf as her own. At our church, the confirmation program capstone is a “faith statement” that confirmands write... Read more