From the Branches Blog

When It Comes to Stewardship, What Is Required?

guest post by John Zimmerman For decades, the giving of a tithe has become the go-to standard to understand faithful stewardship in the church. The practice of tithing is a universally embraced belief in the Church that outlines the expectation of our giving. Most sermons on stewardship and most stewardship campaigns adopt the tithe as the foundational principle and benchmark for how much we should give. This has certainly been true in my local church leadership over…Keep Reading

How Keystone Habits Help Me Grow as a Spiritual Leader

guest post by Jack Shitama Both the spiritual life and leadership are like riding a bike. You’re either moving forward or falling down. Growing in faith and growing in effectiveness are ongoing tasks for the spiritual leader. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement was a paragon of habits. The term “Methodist” was a pejorative coined by those who mocked John, his brother Charles, and others in the Holy Club at…Keep Reading

Fairy Tales and Homecoming

guest post by Bill Lewis Oh, to live in a fairy tale: where our current hardship (whether real or perceived) will be followed by living happily ever after – content, loved, and at peace. As a child, we think one day we’ll grow to up be and do exactly what our dreams convince us is possible.  But then we scrape our knee or realize our limitations and feel embarrassed for…Keep Reading

Personal endurance training for the ‘caregiving marathon’

guest post by Evelyn Weaver, Ed.D. The responsibility to be a caregiver comes to most of us as a surprise, like an unwanted task that presents itself in our “to do” box. This was my situation when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We had just moved away from family and friends to a new home in the Texas countryside where we planned to spend our retirement years. All of…Keep Reading

Even the NFL is talking about Domestic Violence. Is your church?

guest post by Martha E. Banks, Ph.D. With all of the excitement and money that swirls around the Super Bowl each year, football fans gather to watch the games – and the commercials.  In 2015 and 2016, the NFL surprised fans with public service ads about domestic violence.  This followed considerable media coverage of football players and other athletes who were abusive of their wives and girlfriends. Many Christian football fans watch…Keep Reading

A New Life Verse for BeADisciple

post by Lisa Buffum A couple of weeks ago, I received the following email from a learner in How to Build and Provide Your Course Online: I would like to thank you for sharing with the body of Christ the knowledge necessary for today’s communication.  Because of your faithfulness we are able to exercise Eph. 4:12 God’s Word Bible “Their purpose is to prepare God’s people to serve and to…Keep Reading

The Mission Field in Our Own Backyard

guest post by Nancy Golden  Are you thinking about taking a mission trip, but not sure about traveling to a foreign country? In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After His words, Jesus ascends into heaven, leaving…Keep Reading

Growing older teaches me that God is good, even when bad things happen

a guest post by Brian McCaffrey Aging is something that comes naturally; all that is required is taking another breath. However, the wisdom that is supposed to come with it takes a little more effort! In the midst of tragedy, thankfulness When I was a student chaplain at the University of Minnesota Hospitals, I was assigned to the women’s oncology unit. I was fresh out of seminary. I was encountering…Keep Reading

The invitation to a nonviolent life

a guest post by Bill Lewis Thomas Kelly writes: “Life from the Center is a life of unhurried peace and power. It is simple. It is serene. It is amazing. It is triumphant. It is radiant. It takes no time, but it occupies all our time. And it makes our life programs new and overcoming. We need not get frantic. He is at the helm. And when our little day…Keep Reading

3 Quick Tips for New Committee Chairs

It’s January, and new committee members are starting their roles at churches across the United States.  They’ll look to the committee chair to guide their work.  But — help!!  What if you’re the committee chair?  Here are some quick tips from experienced volunteer organizer Pamela Deck: 1. Get to know your volunteers and build personal relationships with them. They will all bring unique gifts to your committee. (I Cor 12: 18-20)…Keep Reading

Where is God? Or: Is God Where I Am?

Guest post by Ryan Peak In tough times, the question is often posed: Where is God? In tough times in my life, I also wonder: Is God where I am? I have often felt that God is not where I am. To say it another way: I am not where I ought to be, so God cannot be where I am. All the assurances of scripture, the assertions of classical and…Keep Reading

Mary and Eve: a new way of looking at Advent

Guest post by Molly Just Last Christmas, I received this print – it’s one of the most profound pieces of religious art that I have ever seen. This picture was hand drawn by a sister at the Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey in 2003. This drawing has been so well received over the last few years that the monastic community from which it comes has begun selling prints of it around…Keep Reading