Creativity in Learning

Last week I attended a conference in San Diego, California.  It was a wonderful opportunity to network with other learning leaders, share best practices, attend insightful sessions and workshops, and listen to challenging keynotes - including one by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (co-founders of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream) that introduced Stamp Stampede 2.0 focused on getting money out and voters in to American politics. The experience inspired and challenged me; it also surprised me.  As a Read More …

Small Congregations – Big Challenges

While I have spent most of my life affiliated with large congregations, I realize that there are more small congregations than large ones and that small congregations increasingly face big challenges. The FACT The 2015 FACT (Faith Communities Today) research (American Congregations 2015: Thriving and Surviving) was published earlier this month.  It is the latest survey in a series that started in 2000, and was repeated in 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2015.  Since the 2015 survey includes Read More …

Toward Church Renewal

Cameron Trimble, CEO of the Center for Progressive Renewal, recently offered five suggestions to aid in the work of congregational renewal: Stop settling for mediocre worship. Turn members into ministers, not managers. Create environments of innovation. Seminaries are great, but we need more learning partners. Start embracing technology. I agree with Trimble that each of these is an important step toward renewal.  Furthermore, I believe the time for conversation that doesn't lead Read More …

Prioritizing Innovation

Sustained innovation doesn't happen by accident in an organization.  Unfortunately, I have encountered more than a few people for whom the phrase innovative congregations/churches was an oxymoron.  For many in the mainline the phrase is one that doesn't connect to current or prior experiences in church life. While a younger congregation (one established more recently) is more likely to be innovative because of where it is within the organizational life cycle, churches of all ages (as well as Read More …

Future Church: Another Perspective

Carey Nieuwhof, lead pastor of Connexus Community Church, recently shared his thoughts on how the church will evolve over the next decade.    Nieuwhof identified 11 traits that he believes will be common among those congregations that have a significant impact over the next ten years: The ability to say no Outsider focus Quick decision making Flexibility A willingness to embrace smaller to become bigger A quicker, lighter footprint Valuing online relationships as real Read More …

Build Great Things

Eric Dye, editor-in-chief for ChurchMag and Finding Justice, recently applied the words of Google's CEO to the church. In his keynote address at I/O earlier this month, Larry Page said: "We should be building great things that don’t exist.”  Dye, in turn suggests that the church must embrace these prophetic words as it seeks to innovate for a new era. So What? Imagine a church that seeks to build great things that don't yet exist.  Imagine your church embracing this as a core part of its Read More …

Pastor of Innovation

When I was a seminary student, it was understood that the vast majority of students would go on to pastoral ministry in a parish setting.  Most of these individuals would spend all of their years in ministry as solo pastors serving smaller congregations.  In recent years, the expectations have shifted significantly.  Only about half of all recent seminary graduates enter parish ministry.  For those who do enter this form of ministry, increasing numbers serve in large, mega, and/or multi-site Read More …

Future Church – More Innovative

Church v.2020 - Ten Changes: #3 More Innovative – Less Predictable When compared with the American church of 2012, the future church (v.2020) will be markedly more innovative and significantly  less predictable.  This change will be evidenced in many ways, including: A move away from a model of risk aversion best known by the so-called seven last words of the church ("we never did it that way before") to a mentality of welcoming new possibilities and giving people permission to fail. Read More …

Different by Design

Yesterday I realized that I had not upgraded to the newest release of Mozilla Firefox.  On the upgrade page, I found a video that everyone should see (whether or not you ever have used or will use this browser).  It is, without qualification, the best video I have seen in 2012.   So What? Imagine if the idea captured within this video were to be applied to your local congregation.  I transcribed the video, then gave the words a makeover for a new audience.  I relied heavily on Read More …