mainline churches

Practice Conversational Prayer

Over coffee one day, a friend, Jennifer Malcolm, said she enjoyed reading about the saints in college. “Which ones?” I asked. Saint Francis of Assisi came to her mind. Then she added, “and that guy who prayed while he was washing dishes in a monastery.” “That would be Brother Lawrence,” I noted. She added, “It …

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The Path to a Better Prayer Life

In my 1993 research of prayer practices of Lutheran church members, I almost overlooked the 51 percent among the other percentages in the table. Slightly more than half agreed that “prayer is the most satisfying experience in my life.” The question was deliberately asked in the extreme form—“the most satisfying experience of my life”—to discourage …

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Trust God in a New Venture

The fifth of the GROWTH practices I advocate is to Trust God in a New Venture. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone and do something new and different to help God’s Kingdom come in some person or group’s life. This is what you are asking for in the Lord’s Prayer. As Luther …

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Practice Self-Denial

In the GROWTH practices I have identified, O is the first stretch practice. The six practices are Go to God in worship and prayer, Receive God’s Word for you, Opt for self-denial, give Witness to your Spiritual experiences, Trust God in a new venture, Humble yourself before God. In my personal walk with the Lord, …

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Growing Closer to God is Similar to Peak Performance by Athletes

Over my years of membership in the American Psychological Association, I watched my division of industrial and organizational psychology spin off a new specialty called sports psychology. Those psychologists focus on helping athletes to reach peak performance. They explore mental practices that allow an athlete to squeeze out a little more speed or increase endurance …

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Chart Your Spiritual Journey

Telling about one’s spiritual journey is common in Evangelical communities. It’s an invitation to talk about your conversion. But there is no reason why mainline Christians can’t do that, too, even though we are usually baptized as infants. I advocate telling about your spiritual journey in terms of how close or far from God you …

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Their End Is Practically in Sight

The Office of Research and Evaluation of a major mainline church denomination just released their projections of decline in membership and attendance. From 5 million in 1988, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America can expect fewer than 67,000 members thirty years from now.  Average attendance will be less than 16,000 in about twenty years. This …

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