- DECEMBER 7, 2011
- NOVEMBER 2, 2011
- OCTOBER 5, 2011
- SEPTEMBER 21, 2011
- SEPTEMBER 7, 2011
- AUGUST 10, 2011
- JULY 13, 2011
- JUNE 1, 2011
- MAY 4, 2011
- APRIL 6, 2011
- MARCH 9, 2011
- FEBRUARY 9, 2011
- JANUARY 12, 2011
- NOVEMBER 3, 2010
- OCTOBER 6, 2010
- FALL SPECIAL REPORT
- SEPTEMBER 8, 2010
- AUGUST 11, 2010
- JULY 14, 2010
- JUNE 16, 2010
- MAY 19, 2010
- APRIL 21, 2010
- MARCH 24, 2010
- FEBRUARY 24, 2010
- JANUARY 27, 2010
A Report from the Director
||JANUARY 27, 2009
The Wisdom of Ants
I was struck recently by an article that begins with a statement about ants by Stanford biologist Deborah Gordon. "Ants aren't smart," she wrote in a National Geographic article; "ant colonies are." Today more and more people are recognizing the "wisdom of crowds" in which collective thought and action by groups are superior to the individual ability of even their most gifted members.
I thought about this as someone was telling me about a high school football team that consistently wins championships even though few of their players go on to compete at the college level. Their players are not top recruits for major colleges because the players on this team tend to be smaller than is required for big college football. Keep in mind that colleges recruit individual players, not teams. So here is an outstanding team but few individual outstanding players.
Their accomplishments without the benefit of star individual players come from a plan involving vision, teamwork, and leader development. It begins in the middle schools that feed into the high school, with the middle school coaches all being assistant coaches for the high school team. Therefore, from the time they begin football, the players are learning plays and formations, as well as values, that will continue through high school. When they join the high school team from their various middle schools, they continue with the same football philosophy and system.
The result is that a good football vision and game plan, consistency, and years of player development result in teams that are superior without necessarily having superior individual athletes.
As you begin the new year, consider whether your congregation has its vision, team, values, and goals in alignment. If so, you have a good chance of accomplishing in 2010 far more than you can even imagine now. If this sounds familiar, it should. The writer of Ephesians said it long ago: "Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine . . . ." (3:20)
Lovett H. Weems, Jr.
Register for the Lewis Center's Funding Conference on March 20
"Practices that Lead to Greater Giving" is the theme for the Lewis Center's annual Funding Your Congregation's Vision conference on Saturday, March 20, 2010. It will be held at Glen Mar United Methodist Church in Ellicott City, Maryland. Building on the Lewis Center's past work in funding ministry, this half-day event (9 a.m.–12:50 p.m.) will explore the theme through plenary presentations by Lovett H. Weems, Jr., and David McAllister-Wilson and will include workshops on a variety of subjects. Click for more information or to register.
After the event, the Lewis Center will make available an electronic resource package with DVDs and other resources from this conference. Normally $60, the package can be preordered by event registrants for $35. Those unable to attend can preorder the package at the special price of $50. Reduced prices are also available on resource packages from the 2008 and 2009 Funding Your Congregation’s Vision events.
New Free Resource: "50 Ways to Increase Worship Attendance"
An addition to the Lewis Center's popular 50 Ways to Build Strength series is "50 Ways to Increase Worship Attendance" prepared by Dr. Robert Crossman, minister of new church starts and congregational advancement for the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Suggestions include ways to improve attendance of current members, to invite new people, to make your church visible and attractive, to welcome worship guests warmly, to make worship accessible to newcomers, and to follow up with visitors. To see resources available on all topics, go to 50 Ways to Build Strength.
Request for Information
Was your church established before 1960? If so, do you have the annual membership for your church from its beginning? The Lewis Center is trying to gather as many full membership histories of long-established congregations as possible for a research project. If you have such information for your church, please send it to the Center's research manager, Joe Arnold, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thirteen Trends Affecting the Church
Ian Evison, congregational services director for the Central Midwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association, called our attention to a report from Roman Catholic Faith Formation 2020 that identifies well some trends congregations and denominations face today and in the future. To view or download, go to "Thirteen Trends and Forces Affecting the Future of Faith Formation in a Changing Church and World."
Update is a monthly report to subscribers of Leading Ideas
on the work of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.