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Barrett Owen

Barrett Owen is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Waynesboro, Virginia, and a Baptist Center for Ethics board member. 1. Where did you grow up? Cross Plains, Tennessee, 30 miles north of Nashville. 2. What is your favorite verse, book or story in the Bible? Why? Acts 4:20. John and Paul stand in the […] Read More

Millennials have been the topic of debate. Blogs, books, newspaper articles and religious institutions have spent time, energy, money and a great deal of worry trying to label the differences between “millennials,” “Gen-X’ers,” “boomers” and “builders.” Experts (and others with access to a computer) debate on defining whether or not millennials will be a positive […] Read More

In college, I took an Old Testament course that challenged me to think of Genesis 1 not as a sweet fairy-tale or myth, but rather a very intentional, nuanced and structured environment that took fully into account the use of the six-day metaphor. My professor wasn’t arguing for a six, 24-hour day creation story, but […] Read More

It seems to me that in order to join a church in today’s religiously charged culture, you have to do more than declare “Jesus is Lord!” You also have to have an opinion on a litany of questions: MSNBC or Fox News? Republican or Democrat? Liberal or conservative? NPR or Rush Limbaugh? Evangelical or mainstream? […] Read More

Diana Butler Bass (along with others) is publishing frequently about the sociological shifts occurring in churches. She’s helped us see that church growth used to be based on the formula: “Believe. Behave. Belong.” If you believe what we believe and behave the way we behave, then you will eventually come to belong. Unfortunately, for some […] Read More

I’m finding myself in a liminal space, reflecting as I gear up for another semester of marriage, school, ministry, recruiting, traveling, speaking, learning, preaching and pastoring. And I’m noticing a trend – it’s difficult to live out of my “best” self.  In other words, the rat race of life, scheduling, recruiting and preaching break me […] Read More

My wife and I went looking at Christmas lights last Christmas. We saw the usual carolers, snowmen, nutcrackers, reindeers, sleighs and so forth. At one particular house, we saw two things I’ll never forget. The first was a birthday cake covered in white lights. Green lettering spelled out “Happy Birthday Jesus.” The theologian in me […] Read More

I’ve been pastoring traditional, Baptist churches for four years. I’ve worked in them for six. In these years I’ve heard the cries of God’s people. I’ve listened to their stories, and a lot of these stories are similar – even though the geography isn’t. It’s as if the Southern, mainline, Protestant (particularly Baptist) circles carry a […] Read More

The latest buzz about the postmodern, millennial group in Baptist life is that “they don’t care about the conservative resurgence.” There is also a growing feeling that says, “They don’t care about the institutional church.”  Perhaps a third reality is emerging saying, “I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious.”  I realize these are generalizations, but I’d be […] Read More