Shifting from “Why?” to “Why Not?”

Shifting from “Why?” to “Why Not?”

Over the past eight years, I’ve had the opportunity to work as a consultant with numerous congregations around the country, trying to help them look directly into the adaptive challenges we all face.When I talk with them, they know the way they did church 20 years ago...
When you pastor the Titanic

When you pastor the Titanic

What if you knew that your congregation was on a collision course with its demise? What would you do? Who would you tell? How would it change the way you lead? Would it affect your sense of urgency? Would it help you better distinguish between minor and major...
Interdependence and Staff Transitions

Interdependence and Staff Transitions

The Center for Healthy Churches uses the garden as a metaphor for healthy churches as we “seek to bring hope, help and healing to churches and clergy in the spirit of Christ.” One of the components of this metaphor is interdependence. Just like a garden depends on the...
Leading in Public Prayer

Leading in Public Prayer

“Oh, Lord, as you read today in the Courier-Journal…”  That’s how one worship leader began a prayer in our seminary chapel.  The prayer created quite a discussion among all the young theologues on campus.  The one thing no one doubted was that God knew about the event...
Are You a Minister or a Musician?

Are You a Minister or a Musician?

Many years ago, I interviewed for a position as Minister of Music with a church in a college town. It seemed like a good fit for my gifts and I could imagine myself having a long and productive ministry there. There was a point in the process when my wife and I were...
Are you Ill? 

Are you Ill? 

My grandmother often used a word to describe herself or other people. It was the word “ill”. She did not use it to describe someone who was sick with a cold or the flu. She used it to describe an attitude, a demeanor, or a spirit. For example, if someone were rude or...
Intervention for Churches and Clergy

Intervention for Churches and Clergy

Intervention is an award-winning reality show about addiction and the extraordinary lengths it can take to face one’s unhealthy compulsions. Each episode chronicles the attempts by family members and friends to bring health to someone who is destroying their life. The...
Time for a New Door

Time for a New Door

Have you ever visited Seattle? It is a magical place.  In Seattle, the coffee tastes better (skip the green mermaid, you can’t get her here), the soccer is better (Go Sounders!), and even the views are better (when it’s not raining). But it wasn’t always...
What If?

What If?

Yesterday I was with a group of inter-faith pastors and educators. When we introduced ourselves, we shared our names, where we served, and the greatest challenge we faced in ministry. The answers to the last question surprised no one:  “My church has been declining –...