Are you speaking the truth in love?

Are you speaking the truth in love?

I’m revisiting some of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Few have written better on the matter of community.

I came across his thoughts on speaking the truth in love in community that I find timely.

I’ll confess I remain perpetually…

How to be a Popular Leader

Every once in a while I need to challenge someone by asking, “Do you want to be liked or do you want to be effective?”

In one sense it’s a false choice, but in another, leaders often will have to…

Learning and Experience

A couple of educators I know are high on what they call “experiential learning.”

They try to be “creative” in the use of “interactive” learning methods in their teaching: skits, simulations, role-play, art activity, dramatizations, etc.

Given the dearth of…

7 Things to know about leadership

The concept of leadership has seen its own evolution.

What constitutes a leader and leadership in fields of study and in various contexts have changed over the decades.

Over the years some concepts have proven more helpful, and more…

How does transformation work in the church?

I’ve been hearing a lot about “church transformation” lately: many church denominations have transformational initiatives, to help turn around declining congregations.

There’s a lot of pressure on clergy leaders to produce results, especially numerical growth.

The pressure exists elsewhere, too:…

Teachers, this is why planning is important

One of the most frustrating things for congregational educators is the dirty little secret about their teachers and planning.

That secret being that most volunteer church educators, Sunday school teachers and Bible study leaders, tend to do a minimum of…

What Will You Do?

In Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST) the concept of differentiation of self is all about functioning.

One manifestation of the extent to which one is functioning in a self-differentiated manner is how well one can separate feeling from thinking.


The Positive Listener Assessment

Research tells us that between 75% to 80% of the communication flow in most classrooms is from the teacher to the students.

While sharing information and directing instruction is a necessary part of the classroom learning experience, so is a…

Improvisation in Ministry: “Yes, and…”

Improv has become, for me, more than playing a collection of silly games aimed at making an audience laugh.

Rather, improv is becoming a way of living.

Improvisers talk about “Yes, and…” If you know anything about improv beyond “Whose…

Self Care and Christian Educators

The ministry and work of the professional church educator is challenging and demanding.

The fact is that the more you stay in the field and in the ministry (especially if you stay in the same ministry context) the job only…

The Validity of Prayer

First, I think I need to start this post by saying that I believe in prayer and am a practitioner (although I must confess that I didn’t really know how to pray until I was forty, even though I grew up…

A Formation Approach to Continued Education

In 1966 Jerome Bruner, Harvard psychologist and educator, wrote:

There is a dilemma in describing a course of study.

One must begin by setting forth the intellectual substance of what is to be taught, else there can be no sense…

Your Advice Isn’t Helping

Some time ago someone sent me an e-mail asking for advice on a matter.

I wrote back saying, “I don’t give advice,” though I did provide some resources related to the question.

Later, this person asked me to explain what…

The Balancing Act

When I was a teenager I had the opportunity to play in a woodwind quintet for a wedding. It turned out to be a highlight of my musical experiencemy clarinet joining in with the flute, oboe, bassoon, French horn.


Get Understanding

Few things escape the consequences of their own success.

This axiom seems true even of Bowen Family Systems Theory.

It seems that systems theory is now the “in” thing—never have there been as many courses on it, or more “experts”…