Two Dilemmas Facing Churches Today

Two Dilemmas Facing Churches Today

A friend took me out to lunch recently. He’s a retired pastor, former seminary professor, former interim minister, and currently a part-time hospice chaplain. Ministry offers varied vocational outlets, so that profile is not that unusual.

 

As two vocational…

Goals vs. Magical Thinking

In my consultations I often have to help folks think through what is a realistic goal and what is aspirational, or, as I call it, “magical thinking.” Their ideas for a goal are often fuzzy (“more,” “better”). People consistently overreach…

The Number 1 Cause of Clergy-Congregation Conflict May Not be What You Think

When asked what the number one issue is that causes clergy-congregation conflict (often leading to a forced termination) one can guess several: money, theology, or leadership style for example. Those are good guesses, but they may not be the most…

Eight Ways to Kill an Organization

I’ve done enough consultations long enough and studied organizations carefully enough to recognize a pattern in some organizations. I refer here to those whose organizations, some young, some old, that ended their institutional lifespan. Though many were surprised by the…

Finding a great children’s minister

A friend recently contacted me for advice (despite knowing I don’t give advice). She had accepted the call to be the chair of her church’s search committee for a children’s minister. She asked about some book resources on children’s ministry….

Education by Israel Galindo

Understanding the Difficult Parishioner

Interacting with seminarians typically raises two affections in me. The first is hope. God is still calling people to participate in the redemptive mission of the Kingdom, and people are still answering that call. The second, is a bit of…

Leaving Well

I have had many conversations with clergy who are contemplating leaving their ministry settings.

It’s not unusual for these consultations to come in waves, and it is always interesting that they do.

It seems that issues, crises, fads, and topics…

Everything Takes Five Years

The new year is here but don’t expect everything else to be new. Everything takes five years.

I am often reminded of what my friend Margaret Marcuson, author of Leaders Who Last, says about bringing about change in congregations, which…

It Only Takes a Few of Them

The forced termination of clergy remains one of the most difficult, and often tragic, issues for congregations.

It can take a congregation years to recover from the forced termination of a pastor—and so, also, for the pastor.

A single episode…

Reframing Leadership

June 10, 2019—What does it take to be an effective leader? That’s a complex and perennial question that has spawned countless books, lectures, seminars, courses, and workshops (and countless moments of personal self-doubt on the part of anyone in the…

Four Systems Traps When Starting at a New Ministry

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 trap of…

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…

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…

Size Mattters, But Not Like You May Think

September 24, 2018—One common and practical schema used to understand congregations is the congregational size approach to classifying churches. Looking at congregations through this lens is used not only by denominational strategists in assessing and planning, but also by sociologists…

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