Four Systems Traps When Starting at a New Ministry

Four Systems Traps When Starting at a New Ministry

May 27, 2019—Bill Wilson, founder and director of the Center for Healthy Churches in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, wrote about “4 Traps for Clergy Moving to a New Congregation.” He named them as the trap of expectations, the…

Phrases You Should Never Use Around Church Members

May 13, 2019—We all have that painful memory of a moment when our emotions got the better of us during a moment of reactivity. As soon as we said those words we regretted them, or, if not immediately, then eventually,…

When the Honeymoon is Over

April 8, 2019—Beginning a ministry at a new church is an exciting experience. New challenges, a fresh start, promising possibilities, new relationships, can all be energizing. For most clergy, the first year at a new church is filled with excitement…

What Clergy Don’t Talk About

Most pastors are good preachers, and some fine pulpiteers and wordsmiths. In their preaching and teaching ministry they need to cover a wide range of topics, issues, and subjects, from the Bible to contemporary complex social issues; from marriage to…

Four Proven Strategies to Prevent Leadership Failure

March 25, 2019—Leadership is, arguably, an organization’s greatest asset; even in congregations. As much as we desire to believe otherwise, congregations tend to make little progress in terms of mission, new initiatives, new programs, outreach, or organizational health in the…

Why Leaders Fail

February 11, 2019—Decades of leadership studies have produced well over 50,000 books with ‘leadership’ in their title but almost none on leadership failure. Adrian Furman called this “the elephant in the boardroom.”(1) Furnham noted that “more leaders fail and derail…

A Leader’s Responsibility

December 17, 2018—One major trap for clergy leaders is the demand for them to take responsibility for things that rightly are not theirs. This is exacerbated by the propensity of pastors to accept that demand. After all, they are in…

The Middle of the Story (and hurrying up to catch up)

November 26, 2018—One of the most mystical concepts in Bowen Theory is that of the multigenerational transmission process of relationship systems. This multigenerational process is a powerful force at work in biological families and in congregations. The concept…

The Burnout Cycle

November 19, 2018—During a recent conversation with a new clergy friend, he shared his experience of burnout. After five years at his previous church he’d not taken a vacation. Weariness led to seriousness, then a neglect of self-care, then a…

Why Bowen Theory is Useless

November 12, 2018—Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST), or “Bowen Theory,” continues to grow in its interest to, and influence among, clergy, denominational leaders, and seminaries. I think this is a good thing, overall. Many have found in BFST a frame…

Chaos Results When Small, Vocal Minority is Allowed to Rule

September 3, 2018—Jerry Harvey, author of The Abilene Paradox, tells an interesting story that took place years ago on a sweltering July Sunday afternoon in the small town of Coleman, Texas. Harvey and his wife were sitting with her parents…

15 Most Common Anxiety Triggers in Congregations

August 27, 2018—It’s no secret that congregations experience times of anxiety. Those periods of acute anxiety can be triggered by any number of events, conditions, or situations. Here are the 15 most common anxiety triggers in a congregation (in no…

Maybe the Problem is With You

July 30, 2018—Have you ever heard a pastor say, “Why is it that no matter what church I go to I always end up with the same bunch of @&#* idiots?!” If you’ve had a string of dysfunctional churches, the…

Church Conflict Can Take On A Life Of Its Own

July 23, 2018—Chris Hedges states that after a period of time, war begins to develop its own life. The former theology student turned journalist wrote in his book, War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, that those involved…

Thriving in Ministry

July 11, 2018—We believe thriving in ministry is theologically connected to a commitment to continual growth and maturation, individually and as a minister: growth as a person of faith, growth in interpersonal relationships, and continued growth in ministry competences—in short,…

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