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 …

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 …

Just How Small Are Most Congregations?

Recently the Presbyterian Church (USA) released information about the distribution of its congregations by size.  The chart below provides the data in a manner that clearly displays the prevalence of small congregations. Put differently, 51.9% have 100 or fewer members 83.7% have 300 or fewer members 3.6% have 800 or more members So What? Since completing my education I have served exclusively in mainline congregations with well over 800 members, including a PC (USA) parish. Read More …

Taking Advantage of Mainline Decline

Emmy Award winning journalist Chris Yaw is an Episcopal priest who effectively blends his expertise in media and ministry with his passion for building healthier congregations in his new creation: ChurchNext. Recently he interviewed me on the topic of the continued decline of mainline Protestantism in America.  You can view the video or download a mp3 here. So What? Yaw asked me the kind of questions congregational leaders should be discussing as they consider what it means to be a part Read More …