Time For Thanks

The weekend before Thanksgiving is always a very special one around here. It’s when we ask for money. A few notes about that. First, we only ask for money once a year. Not counting the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, which we have no control over, we only ask for money once year when it comes to […]

WOW! Matter 15

If you were with us for Matter 15 there is nothing I need say, nothing I could say that would adequately express the experience. This post is for those of you who couldn’t join us. And to tell you the truth, I hesitated even making the post at the risk of sounding self-congratulatory. But, frankly, […]

Matter 15

Matter has mass and occupies volume. Our Catholic faith is grounded in matter: The Sacraments of the Church and the Incarnation of the Lord all rely on matter. Our parish churches are all about matter: people, buildings, a geographical location, and parish boundaries. Matter also refers to meaning and importance and is a value we […]

Five Core Values of a Healthy Church

The Church is a living thing. It’s a body, not a building. When we talk about a healthy church, it’s important we make that distinction, because often our plan for growing healthy churches is aimed more at the latter than the former. And they are very different in practice. Think of some healthy churches and […]

Teaching Tithing

This past week at Nativity we preached a tough message, at least for most Catholics: Giving. And not just giving, but we dared to call it by its biblical name: Tithing. Everybody knows churches, like any organization, need money and resources to function, but for any number of reasons, giving and tithing have become a […]

The Countdown Begins

Matter 15 Conference is now less than a month away. Whether you are looking for tools for widening your evangelistic reach to the unchurched, or new ways to deepen the faith of disciples already in your pews, this is a conference for everyone involved in parish leadership. In fact, there’s no other conference out there […]

Reality Check: Signs Your Parish Might Be in Maintenance Mode

The tug of day-to-day church culture will always be away from Evangelization and Discipleship and toward simple maintenance. Why? Because it’s easier and church people will always try and drive the culture that direction. In maintenance mode parishioners don’t do any of the work and get all the attention, so why wouldn’t they lean that […]

If You Like Pope Francis…

Two of the most highly contagious things in the world are 1) a smile, and 2) a yawn. Depending on where you go, you’ll find both of them in our churches. One thing about Pope Francis is that he is always smiling. More than his provocative wisdom, what really keeps people engaged is his contagious […]

52% Have Walked Away, Now What? How About Make Church Matter

Things are certainly abuzz around the Catholic Church in America these days. With less than a week until Pope Francis’ historic first visit to the United States, some heavy theological debates on the table, and a whirlwind year of intense political change and debate, it’s hard to stay focused on our parish ministry. On the […]

Eight (Completely Reasonable) Excuses Why First-Time Guests Don’t Return to Your Church

There are many reasons why people never come to church. But there are others who try coming and, based on their experience, decide not to come back. Here’s a list of some of the most common reasons and responses given by first-time guests. They may sound superficial to the committed churchgoer, but they matter to […]