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…

August 25, 2016

Your Congregation is Not in Decline


In October 2012, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported that, based on new data, 19.5% of Americans register no religious affiliation. This is an almost five percent increase over the last five years. Congregations are struggling, in part, because the religious lives of individuals in the United States are changing, according to…

July 28, 2016

In Praise of Slow


Congregations learn well when they slow things down. Creating a sense of urgency makes sense when striving to get ahead in a capitalistic economy, but it isn’t always helpful for congregational discernment. Certainly, there are some things that are urgent; emergency hospital calls, fixing a roof that is dangerous. However, learning to do new things…

July 12, 2016

The Special Meaning of the Word “Practice”


Congregational life includes beliefs. Some congregations ask folks to believe certain things in order to be members. Your congregation may welcome questions about certain beliefs. Your congregation may host learning experiences that help you go deeper into theology. Yes, congregational life includes beliefs. Congregations often invite us to deeper thinking, not just about beliefs but…

May 4, 2016

The Challenge of Partnering


Congregational partnerships can be challenging. If a congregation needs help with something beyond its grasp, its leaders are often advised to join efforts with another congregation or another group. This is common when exploring community ministry. Partnering comes to mind often when mergers are considered. Why it’s challenging The advice to partner can be counterproductive…

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