Archive for the ‘Churches & Ministries’ Category

Why Pastors Ride Harleys

Have you ever noticed how many pastors ride Harleys? According to my own Let’s Look Around Research Institute (LLARI) there are more motorcycle riders per capita among pastors than any other profession outside of motocross.

And I know why.

I Know Why

Riding a motorcycle is Bad. Bad, not sinful. Robbing a bank is bad…and sinful. Cheating on your wife is bad…and sinful. Riding a Harley is simply Bad. Bad as in cool. Bad as in “I’m not that wimpy, overweight, short tie-wearing, fried-chicken eating, fundamental, missionary minded, 1611, Baptist pastor.” No, I’m cool. I’m a real guy—a tough guy.

It’s not hard to spot the Harley riding pastor, especially on Sunday morning. Every fifth illustration in their “talk” begins with something like, “Earlier Harleythis week I was up on the Blue Ridge Parkway riding my Harley when…” I have to admit that grabs my attention quicker than “The other day while driving my 2003 Buick LaSabre to Wal-Mart,…”

These pastors don’t just tell the story, they show it. As the words “Blue Ridge Parkway” hit the invisible mic protruding from their right ear, up on the Hi-def screen flashes the pastor on his bike. And the congregation silently oohs and aahs. Our pastor is K-o-o-l. All across the sanctuary-turned-auditorium hundreds inwardly commit to inviting their friends and neighbors to “come hear our Bad pastor.”

Pastors have an image problem. Continue reading

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Why Elizabethton Owes a Debt of Gratitude to Joe and Elaine Hopkins

2013 marks a momentous anniversary of “the church in the Park’s Belk building.” After a gestation period of several years the Elizabethton Alliance Church (EAC) was birthed on April 17, 1988 as 32 charter members gathered in the Old Elizabethton Bus Station to celebrate the official organization of the church with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, (C&MA). I was the pastor of the new church that day and it was a day of much rejoicing for our fledgling congregation.

Joe and Elaine Hopkins accomplished much during their first 50 years of marriage, including their key role in the formation of the Elizabehton Alliance Church in Elizabethton, Tennessee.

Joe and Elaine Hopkins accomplished much during their first 50 years of marriage, including their key role in the formation of the Elizabehton Alliance Church in Elizabethton, Tennessee.

Twenty-five years later it can be said Elizabethton and Carter County have been blessed by the presence and ministry of the congregation affectionately known internally as EAC. Though our family left the majestic hills of East Tennessee to move to Atlanta in 1999, my wife and I cherish the 15 years we had with the EAC family and the people of Elizabethton.

As the church marks the milestone, I thought it important for the community to know the “why” there is an Elizabethton Alliance Church. A lot of people played key roles in the development of the new church. Some will point to the pastors such as my predecessor, the Rev. Larry Fish, and me.  Others may point to Dr. Charles Shepson. Without a doubt, there would not be an Elizabethton Alliance Church without his vision for a new C&MA church in Carter County. Shepson had recently relocated Continue reading

Worship for Dummies

Like a Georgia Pine in a sea of Dogwoods, Marva J. Dawn’s Reaching Out without Dumbing Down. A Theology of Worship for the Turn-of-the-Century Culture, stands out among the myriads of writings on worship. It tops my list of books on worship.

Knowing how to fit culture into our worship—and not the other way around—is the primary focus of Dawn. Culture cannot be avoided in our worship, and true worship should not elude us because of our culture. Dawn’s concern is that the American Christian’s worship is being “dumbed down” because Continue reading

Think Less, Pray More…Not!

The church sign along Five Forks Trickum Road in suburban Atlanta shouted its message: Think Less, Pray More. I didn’t like it! Continue reading