HOT TAKE: The United Church of Christ should have an ordained diaconate.

The United Church of Christ, over the past few years, has had a number of discussions and debates about revising and “fixing” the Manual on Ministry.  The proposed changes have been controversial, particularly in the collapsing of the categories of licensed and commissioned ministers into one ordained minister category.  This has been met with concern, and some derision.

I’m going to propose an alternative: an ordained diaconate.

My proposal is to create one order of ordained minister with two forms: the presbyter and the deacon.  The presbyter (or elder?) would probably look like what most of think of when we consider a Protestant minister serving in a church today: primarily called to the ministry of Word and Sacrament within a local church or chaplaincy.

In my vision, an ordained diaconate would be intentionally bivocational, focused on the intersection of church and society, and be tied intimately into the life of our local churches

Let me expand on what I envision…

Continue reading “HOT TAKE: The United Church of Christ should have an ordained diaconate.”

5 Things Every Good Church Website Should Have

I’ve looked at quite a few church websites in my day, as someone looking for a church, as a denominational official, and as a pastor.

Here’s five things I believe every church website should have.

  1.  Worship Times Visible On Every Page
  2. Pictures of church members being joyful in worship
  3. Pictures of church members and guests interacting in positive ways outside of worship (including coffee hour)
  4. Video or Written Testimonies about life in the church, and what it means to be a part of it.
  5. Staff Names and Contact Information, available through one or two links from the home page

If you notice, this includes a lot of visual media; don’t be scared of this!  If your church doesn’t have any professional or amateur photographers or videographers, someone probably knows someone who would do that work, and do it well.  This is also a great project for teens and youth to get involved with.

It’s worth it.  A website (and facebook page) is a virtual front door and window into your congregation.  If all visitors see are pictures of your empty building, they might assume that your church is more of a historical building preservation society (which it’s not!).

When I go to a website, I want to be able to imagine my family there, worshiping with you. I want to feel the warmth of a passing of the peace that goes on too long, or a hymn that is sung with gusto (but a little off key). I want to know how YOUR church can become OUR church.