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…

January 28, 2016

Good News and Bad News about Congregational Decline


For many, the condition of United States congregations and denominations is worse than reported by sociologists. In sundry settings, the decline is now irreversible. See Jim Collins’ research about the irreversible decline of other once strong institutions, How the Mighty Fall. Unreported pain It is upsetting to be the one who has to tell a…

January 28, 2016

Five Things to Know about Assessments


Assessment tools are used in congregational planning. Such tools are helpful in strategic planning, formation of new programs, improvement of existing projects and more. There are internal assessment tools and external assessment tools. Internal tools help you learn about your congregation, its members, staff and other constituents who are part of your congregation. External tools…

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