Stress and Anxiety in the Church

Stress and Anxiety in the Church

Managing Stress and Anxiety in the Church

Stress and anxiety have never been higher – in our country, in our families and in our churches.

There is always stress in our lives and churches, but today’s environment makes soaring anxiety…

Love Those Classics

Every once in a while, at my former church, we’d break out the old (and I mean old) hymnbooks for a Wednesday evening hymn sing.

People would call out the numbers of their favorite hymns to the song leader and…

What are the basic functions of a congregational educator?

I had an interesting discussion with a layperson who has just accepted the call to lead her congregation’s Christian education ministries.

She was feeling a bit overwhelmed (close to panic, actually) as she started to get a grasp of the…

Save Your Masks, and Your Stories

Recently, the New York Times published an article about how museum curators are already collecting artifacts from this year that they will use to tell the stories of what happened: the pandemic, the struggle against racist violence, the cracks in…

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…

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