September 17, 2018

From Hallowed Space to Holograms: A Conversation with Hayim Herring


Center for Congregations President Tim Shapiro spoke with Hayim Herring, consultant, nonprofit organizational futurist and author of Leading Congregations and Nonprofits in a Connected World: Platforms, People, and Purpose. Below are snippets of their conversation. Tim: Thanks to you and your colleague Dr. Teri Elton for introducing us to the phrase “Foresight is 20/20.” In…

July 25, 2018

Foresight is 20/20


“Foresight is 20/20” is not a typographical error. Rather, it relates to a theme that Dr. Terri Elton and I wrote about in our recent book, Leading Congregations and Nonprofits in a Connected World: Platforms, People, and Purpose. Foresight is one capacity that will enable congregations to thrive in the future. The velocity of change…

July 10, 2018

Doing Something New? Five Key Questions


Is your congregation planning something new? If so, there are five key questions you can ask yourself and the group with which you are working. The five questions apply to almost every kind of congregational project. These key questions provide focus. Responses to these questions will provide structure for your work. You and your colleagues…

June 6, 2018

Your Caring Congregation


Congregations have long been places that nurture the care of souls. Long ago, the early church created strategies and tactics to care for widows and children. Nowadays, care in congregations involves visits to the sick, end-of-life care, support for grieving families, celebrating life transitions, encouragement for older adults, befriending those who experience loneliness and so…

January 8, 2018

Attachment as an Alternative to Pastoral Capital


As a pastor, have you earned enough pastoral capital to accomplish what you seek to do? In seminary, my leadership professor described the importance of building capital with parishioners. We learned that if the pastor made enough hospital calls, wrote thank you notes, officiated with grace and excellence at weddings and funerals, then she or…

November 6, 2017

A Conversation with Tod Bolsinger


Center for Congregations President Tim Shapiro spoke with Tod Bolsinger of Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Canoeing the Mountains. Below are snippets of their conversation. Tim: Early in your book you share your epiphany “that your people need you to lead them even more than preach to them” (page 36). If preaching, teaching and…

October 11, 2017

The Only One Who Wasn’t Lost


“The future is already here, it is just on the margins.”  -Dave Gibbons, author and pastor of Newsong Church, Santa Ana, California   On February 11, 1805, a sound rang out through Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery that they had never expected to hear. Not the roar of a grizzly bear, not the thunder…

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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