God Nods

Jill DuffieldTelling Our Stories

Early into my tenure as the pastor of a small church in rural North Carolina, when I was anxious about preaching every week and unsure God would indeed supply the words through the Word from Sunday to Sunday, I received a gift. I received a divine gift, what a friend of mine calls a “God nod.” A God nod is a small, but unmistakable affirmation of God’s presence. As I drove to worship on this … Read More

Art as Prophecy

Steven TuellPop Culture

A former student told me this story about a conversation overheard at her seminary. A classmate said that she had always loved Roman Catholic cathedrals: dim and cool and beautiful, illumined with jewel-colored stained glass, they had always felt to her like holy places. Her professor replied, “I prefer the hard, clear light of reason.” In that exchange, I think, is everything that is wrong with Protestantism. We sometimes treat people as though they were … Read More

Spiritual Practices for Congregations

Lynne BaabSpiritual Practices

After church on Sunday, a family prays together for the upcoming week. A small group sets aside a day to fast and pray for one of their members who has cancer. A congregation buys copies of a Lenten devotional so everyone can spend time each day reading a Bible passage and pondering the meaning of the events that lead up to Easter. Increasingly, groups of people–families, small groups, and congregations– are taking part in communal … Read More

Improvise

Julie HesterExperimenting Our Ways into New Ways

Many years ago I worked for an interfaith organization in some of the toughest neighborhoods in Houston, Texas.  Our goal was to help congregations connect with their communities. One of the congregations we partnered with overlooked a building that had been tagged with graffiti. The business owners painted over the graffiti, but it returned. Again, a coat of white paint. Again, another tag. Finally, the church had an idea. With the business owners’ approval, they … Read More

Finding Space for New Ministries

Doodle HarrisExperimenting Our Ways into New Ways

When I began working as a youth director in the church 14 years ago, I had a list of things I thought all youth should know about God. I found curriculum and experiences that helped me check off this rigid list, congratulating myself on graduated seniors that should have this particular list of values. However, one teenage pregnancy, two suicide attempts, and about five years later, I realized that my most important job wasn’t to … Read More

Thin Places in Digital Spaces

Kimberly KnightExperimenting Our Ways into New Ways

Imagine the scene at our church on any given Wednesday. As people begin to arrive, prelude music  is  playing softly while candles flicker and float in a pool of water. This group has been worshipping together for over a year now, and their joy upon returning to our space is always palpable. People greet one another as they enter the space, sometimes taking a moment to let others know where they are from—Georgia, Florida, North … Read More