Church Leadership

Crossing the Great Divide

I’m attending the School of Congregational Development this week in Evanston, Illinois, and in just the first few hours I am struck by a radical disconnect in our church.  There is such energy and passion here.  There is a deep vision for transformation of individual lives, congregations, communities and the […]

How?

In strategic planning work with both conferences and congregations it is common practice to focus first on “who we are, why we’re here, and what we need to do” before moving on to “how.”  Getting to “how” to do things is the bane of successful planning — too often we […]

Superstitious Atheists, Superficial Believers

I read with some amusement the article in USA Today about “de-baptism” yesterday, and it raised for me the same question such stories always do: “What are atheists so afraid of?”  In the past year, disgruntled and former believers have gathered in Ohio, Texas, Florida, and Georgia have gathered before […]

Mean Christians Suck, Too

Some people shouldn’t be allowed to own and display bumper stickers.  Going home from the office, a little Honda swerved around me, causing me to slam on my breaks and almost hit another car in a turn lane.  The driver popped his arm out the window and gave me a […]

Stewardship TOE

          In the scientific worlds of physics and astronomy an enormous effort is underway to discover a unifying force or principle that underlies all of creation.  Scientists are pursuing nothing short of a theory of everything, or T.O.E.  Since Einstein transformed our understanding of the known world, the universe, and […]

How Good Is Your Vision?

Look at the following images.  Which one most resembles your vision for mission and ministry in the church? There are visions, then there are visions.  Let’s take a look at the various types of vision in our church and what impact they have on our overall effectiveness.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

This is the reprint of an article that appeared in The Wittenberg Door (September/October 2007), Alive Now! and on the General Board of Discipleship website, and a sequel to yesterday’s, The Church in the Plastic Bubble.  Since I wrote the original article, I discovered that this is not an aberration, […]

Spiritual Dispurnment

For the past fifteen years I have had opportunities to meet with a wide variety of congregational, conference, and agency leadership teams to look at their processes and practices.  Generally, I am there by invitation to offer insights and suggestions for improvement.  One of my most frequent suggestions often meets […]

Designer Wineskins

Two recent experiences stay in my mind that cause me to question some of the current values driving many of our churches.  Three values specifically call for some reflection: do we prefer substance or do we prefer style? are we more concerned about our identity or our image? is being […]

A Clash of Values

It is said that one of the most important functions of leadership is to bridge the gap between where we really are and where we say we want to be.  Where we are — our current reality — reflects our lived values.  Lived values are those that cause us to […]