Empowering “If” In Local Congregations

Empowering “If” In Local Congregations

In the Industrial Age, national and regional denominations had a religious monopoly, producing and providing programs for local churches. Pre-planned activities and structures, like gumballs, were placed in the chute in Nashville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, or...
Trusted Leadership Begins Here

Trusted Leadership Begins Here

Today’s church faces great uncertainty and risk. To be alive and well calls for trusted leadership. Imagine two lists: One contains the qualities that a pastor should have, and another that includes the attributes most pastors would say they wouldn’t choose to lead...
Two Ways to Say the Same Thing

Two Ways to Say the Same Thing

Not many people quote Chuck Colson and William Sloane Coffin in the same breath. That is one of the problems in the church today. We draw lines in the sand between liberal and conservative and tend to camp out on one side of the line or other. However, if we really...

What Does Real Leadership Look Like?

I recently had the privilege of teaching a week-long Doctor of Ministry seminar in a seminary to a group of very bright and thoughtful students. Our topic was leadership that is adaptive, visionary, innovative and entrepreneurial. We read some fine books on the...
Necessary Leaders

Necessary Leaders

I have known dozens of churches well.  Some I served; some were served by colleagues.  Others were neighboring congregations.  A few of these churches handled difficulties well.  They took the initiative to deal with problems in the earliest stages.  They set...
Life in Pieces: Lessons from a Jigsaw Puzzle

Life in Pieces: Lessons from a Jigsaw Puzzle

Here’s my confession: I enjoy piecing together jigsaw puzzles. I’m still not sure whether my affinity for puzzles parallels my work as a pastor, but I have discovered that bringing order to the chaos of this fragmentation is both relaxing and reflective. As an...
Worth Fighting Over

Worth Fighting Over

As part of our work with congregations who are engaging in the process of imagining their future, we invite them to first look back and connect with their past. One effective tool for doing that is to create a timeline that includes significant events from the life of...
Conflict: It’s Complicated

Conflict: It’s Complicated

Conflict.  Just the word gives many of us a sinking feeling.  And it seems to be everywhere these days: in our homes, our churches and other ministry settings, and in our national and global interactions. Two weeks ago I had the privilege of spending a week in Israel...
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: Part 2

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: Part 2

In part one of this two-part column, I wrote that healthy churches give considerable attention to a full process of communication that includes: quality of decisions, quantity of messages, accuracy of information, and consistency of practice.  In part two, I will...