July 13, 2017

Disappointment: Learning from Inevitable Setbacks


New projects fill congregational life with excitement and hope. They can be a time of community cooperation, deep visioning and relationship-building. No matter the project, though, you are likely to experience disappointment somewhere along the way. In my book How Your Congregation Learns, I’ve written: “Congregations aren’t magically protected from disappointment. All kinds of good…

May 31, 2017

Program Planning and Congregational Learning


Your congregation is likely working on something new right now. You may be exploring the possibility of a youth mission trip. Or maybe your finance team wants to take an entirely new approach to the annual fund drive. When your congregation takes on something first-hand, your organization actually engages in learning to do something new.…

April 4, 2017

Relationships: Clergy and Congregation


The vitality of the relationship between clergy and the congregation is almost always an indicator of the degree to which a congregation is flourishing. In the best situations, the relationship between clergy and lay leaders is characterized by a particular kind of affection that is unique from other relationships. It includes respect, but it is…

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February 28, 2017

Your Building Project in Three Steps


The priest stands in the sanctuary. He is near the front pew, facing the back of the sanctuary looking at a tall stained glass window. The image is abstract – it is bright, blue, red and orange. With his arms crossed, the priest says, “We spent over $100,000 taking care of this sanctuary last year.…

December 14, 2016

Interviewing Potential Clergy and Staff


It doesn’t matter if the workplace is a hospital or a grocery store, finding the right people is key to effectiveness. This is true for congregations too. How does your congregation find staff? Many congregations spend much energy selecting the best clergyperson. Sometimes the match is wonderful. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. A lay leader…

November 8, 2016

Conflict


The pastor could not sleep after the team meeting. It didn’t help that the meeting wasn’t over until 10:30 p.m. It also didn’t help that he kept replaying the moment when he lost his temper. “As long as I am in this congregation, we will never hire a full-time musician.” That’s what a long-time member…

September 7, 2016

Faith and Money


When I was young, I went to worship with my parents and six siblings. My stepfather prepared our offering envelopes the evening before worship. He placed a dollar in each envelope. At the beginning of worship, he passed the envelopes to each of us. When I received my envelope, I experienced a weekly moment of…

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