Search for a Church: 9 Months & Counting

Last September following a move across the country my wife and I began to search for a church.  That search is ongoing.  To date we have reviewed the websites of 40+ Mainline Protestant congregations in our area identified 26 congregations for visits visited 23 congregations and planned visits to the 3 remaining congregations selected 5 congregations that appear possible matches and committed to visiting each a second time this summer Several key categories help me process my Read More …

Sermon: 1967 Sundays and Counting

Sermon Text: 2 Corinthians 13:11, 14 Sermon Excerpt What in the name of God is going on here? What in the name of God is going on with Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ? Nine months ago I started my first sermon as your Transitional Pastor with that same question. After journeying with you for some time, I can begin to answer the question.  FMC UCC is doing a lot, and all we are doing we do in God’s name. While it would be impossible to share all that has Read More …

Leaders Clear Obstacles

Dave Odom, Executive Director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School, recently explained an important yet often underdeveloped and under-appreciated aspect of leadership: clearing obstacles.  After leaders set vision and motivate people to move toward that vision, they must also be intentional about assisting people in moving forward by removing or helping to remove obstacles that emerge in their paths. Odom explains: In my experience, the senior management of larger organizations Read More …

Maintenance vs. Mission

Jennifer Thomas, an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Vice President of Missouri Faith Voices, recently blogged about the challenges pastors face when seeking to help congregations transition from a maintenance mentality to one focused on mission.  Regrettably, seminary didn’t prepare me for the backlash I would receive as a missional leader in a congregation. Some folks prefer a maintenance model of ministry, where the pastor is called primarily to care for Read More …

Marketing, Mission & Money

Last weekend First Congregational Church (Winter Park, FL) welcomed Cameron Trimble and Michael Piazza of the Center for Progressive Renewal.  They led a workshop for leaders from churches across Florida focused on marketing, mission and money - three of the most challenging issues facing the church today. While I was unable to attend, I benefited from it by reading some of the quotes Sarah Lund, Regional Minister of the Western Region of the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ, Read More …

Churches: Be Who You Are

David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going to Church and founder of Church for Men, recently blogged about the strength that comes when churches know who they are and work within that framework.  For Murrow the importance of such was illustrated when he visited a traditional church that made a poor attempt at offering an occasional contemporary worship service.  His sound counsel for all local congregations follows: . . . be who you are. Do what you do well – and do it over and over. If you Read More …

What Makes A Vital Congregation?

The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell has served as senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, TX since 1982.  During that time the church has grown from around twenty-five active members to over 18,000.  Recently, the Rev. Caldwell was asked, by the United Methodist News Service, "What makes Windsor Village a vital congregation?"  He answered: When I came in 1982, I shared with the administrative council then that we were going to do three things, and we’re still trying to do Read More …

The Nature of the Church in the 21st Century

Cynthia Holder Rich is currently the Interim Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Muskegon, MI and serves on the Special Committee on the Nature of the Church in the 21st Century of the Presbyterian Church (USA).   In the latter role she posted five questions, which were developed by the committee: What is your vision for the church in the 21st century? What characteristics will draw the great diversity (racial ethnic, age, gender, etc.) of our country into our community of faith in the Read More …

Vision & Strategy Trends

Will Mancini is the founder of Auxano – a church consulting group with a unique approach to developing a church’s vision frame before providing traditional consulting services.   He is the author of Church Unique: How Mission Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture, and Create Movement (read my review here). Mancini's first blog post of 2011 is packed with relevant information about trends in vision and strategy for churches.  He sees eleven trends for 2011 and beyond: Expect Increasing Read More …