I’m Back: My Return to Ministry

Today, I am pleased to announce my return to ministry.  In just a few weeks I will begin serving as Director of Social Enterprise at the Wesley Mission Center (WMC) in Mansfield, Texas. In sharing the news with those closest to me, I am answering the same important questions over and over again. What exactly will you be doing? When did you become a Methodist? What about your love of education? Director of Social Enterprise Social enterprise is a term that has increased in Read More …

Top 5 Posts of 2015

My most popular posts written in 2015 (according to the number of page views during this calendar year) are Sermon: Lost –> Found –> Party Effective Leaders Ask for Feedback Leaving Parish Ministry World Religions from 2010 to 2050 Leaders Clear Obstacles So What? Leadership is the only topic to appear more than once on this year's list. While four of last year's top posts related to worship, only one worship related post made this year's list. Which of these five Read More …

Leaving Parish Ministry

For the last fifteen years I have served in a variety of parish based ministry positions in Mainline Protestant congregations ranging in size from a few hundred to a few thousand.  My job titles have included Director of Ministries with Children and Families Youth Director (and Youth Minister) Associate Pastor Interim Senior Pastor Transitional Pastor Director of Education (and Director of Adult Education). The job title I have held the greatest number of times is Director of 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 …

Ways to Engage Volunteers

I have been in more than a few meetings this year when someone at the table said "people don't volunteer like they used to" or "we just don't have enough volunteers."  Churches should be about helping every member (as well as every active participant!) be engaged in ministry.  Creating a congregational culture that promotes volunteerism doesn't happen by chance. Phil Bowdle, creative arts director at West Ridge Church (Atlanta, GA), recently shared four ways his congregation improved their Read More …

Ministry in 2014

Todd Rhoades, a prolific blogger on matters of faith, recently reminded his readers of the importance of churches doing ministry in the present using 2014 friendly approaches.  Not only is Rhoades troubled by congregations that behave more like what one would expect in 1984, 1994, or 2004, he also believes many congregations that have moved beyond those years but are not quite up to date are nuts: If you’re using the same communication methods, technology, music, delivery style, and format that Read More …

The Retirement Boom

Casey N. Cep recently wrote about the importance of listening to the elderly. She notes that those age 65 and better are a significant part of the American population now, and that they will grow significantly over the next few decades: OLDER AMERICANS ARE ONE of the fastest growing demographics in our country: Baby Boomers began turning 65 in 2011, and by 2030 older Americans will number 72 million, nearly 20 percent of the total population. In a culture so obsessed with youth, it is easy to Read More …

Pastor: Best Job Ever

Carol Howard Merritt, a Presbyterian pastor and the author of Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation (2007 – read my review here) and Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation (2010 – read my review here), recently shared her list of 10 reasons why being a pastor is the best job ever.  It included relating to anyone, writing, and variety. So What? Pastoral ministry is one of the more diverse professional pursuits.  While many immediately think of a pastor Read More …

One Man’s Greener Grass

Jason Savage's recent explanation of his decision to leave parish based ministry is an excellent example of the-grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence thinking. Savage is concerned by a decades long trend in the church toward what he calls "professionalism," a broad term that seems to include everything from leveraging the best marketing and management practices from the wider non-profit and for-profit world to accepting the evolving demands of leadership and roles of Read More …

The Value of a Blog Post

Rob Jenkins, a community college professor, recently wrote a blog post for the Chronicle of Higher Education in which he questioned the value of blogging.  Most who teach in higher education are involved in a world that requires them to publish in order to retain their livelihood, yet blog posts are often not counted as published material.  Since blogs have the power to shape how people think about issues, Jenkins asks important questions: Which ultimately does more good—an article or monograph Read More …