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…

March 1, 2016

Leadership and Management

Many congregational leaders know the importance of clear mission and vision statements. However, congregational leaders are less capable at enacting plans. Years ago, Kennon Callahan described this as “calling plays the players can play.” There are lots of visionary congregational leaders, but not so many who can pull off Vacation Bible School. There need to…

February 3, 2016

Mission and Vision Statements

Many congregational leaders know the importance of clear vision and mission statements. Some of us have experienced positive energy working with a team that articulates congregational hopes and dreams. It can be a creative endeavor. It can be fun. There is a sense of standing in the presence of hope. What’s the difference between the…

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