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The Lewis Center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge, and exercised in effective practice.

News




News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center for Church Leadership Releases Right Questions for Church Leaders: Volume 3 by Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Lewis Center for Church Leadership has released Right Questions for Church Leaders: Volume 3 by Lovett H. Weems, Jr. This ebook was created in response to requests for a collection of questions used over the years in “The Right Question” column of Leading Ideas, the Lewis Center’s free e-newsletter. Weems, director of the Lewis Center, organized selected questions by topic and makes them available in this new collection.

Weems says, “‘The Right Question’ column grew out of my realization years ago that leaders spend far too much time trying to figure out the ‘right answers’ to a range of issues facing congregational life while that time would be more profitably used in discerning a few key questions that can change the direction of a church.”

The topics covered in Right Questions for Church Leaders: Volume 3 are: Vision; Understanding Your Church’s Identity; Organizational Integrity; Reaching New Disciples; Mission and Outreach; Stewardship and Finance; Planning; Reviewing Programs; Remembering a Ministry’s Purpose; Priorities; Identifying and Supporting Leaders; Staffing and Hiring; In Times of Transition; Dealing with Differences; Facing Challenges; and Personal Reflection and Assessment.

Right Questions for Church Leaders: Volume 3 is available for Kindle for $3.99 and PDF for $5.99. Volumes 1 and 2 of Right Questions for Church Leaders are also available. More information is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/resources/RightQuestions.asp.

About the author

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., was born and grew up in Mississippi where he was a United Methodist pastor for many years. His work in Mississippi led the late Willie Morris to describe him as “one of the persons who added much to the growing civility of Mississippi.” After 18 years as a seminary president at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, he became distinguished professor of church leadership and the founding director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. He is the author of many respected books on church leadership, including Church Leadership, widely used as the standard textbook on the subject, and a recent series on fruitful leadership. He co-edits Leading Ideas, a free online newsletter for congregational leaders available from the Lewis Center.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is a resource for clergy, lay, and denominational leaders. Through resources, research, and teaching, the Center supports visionary spiritual leaders in addressing issues crucial to the church’s faithful and fruitful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, June 27, 2014
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center Releases Ebook Changes Congregations Are Facing Today by Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

WASHINGTON, DC –The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has released a new ebook, Changes Congregations Are Facing Today by Lovett H. Weems, Jr., to help churches better recognize and prepare for the recent and ongoing changes in our congregations and communities.

As the Lewis Center approached its tenth anniversary, it surveyed the changes churches have faced over the past decade. From worship attendance patterns to diversity, finances to mission engagement and more, the church of 2014 is not the church of 2004. From this research emerged “Changes Congregations Are Facing Today,” a series in Leading Ideas: Update e-newsletter by Lewis Center Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

Changes Congregations Are Facing Today is an ebook that brings together the articles from that series, along with discussion questions and sources for further information for each topic covered. Changes Congregations Are Facing Today is an ideal conversation starter, especially for congregations evaluating their own ministries or engaging in planning for the future.

Changes Congregations Are Facing Today covers these topics: worship attendance patterns; diversity; newcomers; finances; mission engagement; pastoral leadership; lay staffing; and challenges facing different size churches.

Changes Congregations Are Facing Today is available for Kindle for $3.99 and also as a PDF for $5.99 that may be shared with up to five people. More information is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/resources/ChangesCongregationsAreFacingToday.asp

About the author

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., was born and grew up in Mississippi where he was a United Methodist pastor for many years. His work in Mississippi led the late Willie Morris to describe him as “one of the persons who added much to the growing civility of Mississippi.” After 18 years as a seminary president at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, he became distinguished professor of church leadership and the founding director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. He is the author of many respected books on church leadership, including Church Leadership, widely used as the standard textbook on the subject, and a recent series on fruitful leadership. He co-edits Leading Ideas, a free online newsletter for congregational leaders available from the Lewis Center.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is a resource for clergy, lay, and denominational leaders. Through resources, research, and teaching, the Center supports visionary spiritual leaders in addressing issues crucial to the church’s faithful and fruitful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Thursday, January 30, 2014
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center to Host Conference and Offer Resource to Help Congregations Develop Successful School-Focused Service Initiatives

WASHINGTON, DC –To help congregations develop successful school-focused service initiatives, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is hosting the Engaging Local Schools Conference and releasing an accompanying resource.

Conference

For many congregations, local schools are the new frontier of mission. Schools, perhaps more than any other institution, mirror the needs and hopes of every segment of our community. The day-to-day challenges of children, teachers, and parents intersect with the hope that education promises. What happens in our schools matters. To us and to God! Therefore, increasing numbers of congregations are considering how they can best support and engage their local schools.

Engaging Local Schools will guide congregations in considering questions that are critical to the success of school-focused service initiatives:

  • How can your church express more fully a heart for the needs of children and schools?
  • How can you discern a vision for a school partnership that responds to the needs present in your context and utilizes the unique gifts your church has to offer?
  • What are models and best practices for ministries that support students and teachers?

The conference is Saturday, March 22, 2014, from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on the campus of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Engaging Local Schools is ecumenical and designed for both laity and clergy.

The conference begins with “The Power of Doing What Matters,” a presentation by Rev. Tom Berlin, pastor of Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Va., and coauthor of Overflow: Increase Worship Attendance & Bear More Fruit.

Following the presentation, conference participants may attend their choice of workshops led by knowledgeable Lewis Center staff, including Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr. The workshop topics are: Discerning a Vision for Supporting a Local School, Supplying Student Needs, Supporting and Affirming Teachers, Helping Students Succeed, and Developing a Heart for the Needs of Children and Schools.

The conference concludes with “Why Schools Matter to the Church,” a presentation by Rev. Asa J. Lee, assistant director for programs of the Lewis Center.

Additional conference and registration information is available at www.churchleadership.com/serveyourneighbor. An early-bird registration discount is offered through March 3, 2014, and .5 clergy CEU credit is available.

Engaging Local Schools is the inaugural conference of the Lewis Center’s new Serve Your Neighbor program, designed to help congregations build ministries of service outreach that can transform churches and communities.

Resource

The Engaging Local Schools Resource features content from the conference. It includes videos, narrated presentations, PowerPoint presentations, and supplementary materials to help congregations develop successful school-focused service initiatives. The resource is available in DVD/CD and downloadable formats, and it will be released in mid April.

A preorder discount for the Engaging Local Schools Resource is available through March 22 at www.churchleadership.com/serveyourneighbor.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is a resource for clergy, lay, and denominational leaders. Through resources, research, and teaching, the Center supports visionary spiritual leaders in addressing issues crucial to the church’s faithful and fruitful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center to Host Annual Funding Conference in Charlotte, NC

WASHINGTON, DC – To help congregations develop secure and reliable funding to support ministry, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is hosting its annual Funding Your Congregation’s Vision conference.

The theme of this year’s conference is Increase Generosity in Your Church, and attendees will learn concepts and strategies to develop sound approaches to stewardship and finances. Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, will present three practical and engaging sessions to help congregations enhance resources for ministry:

  • From Paying the Bills to Serving God’s Vision
  • Practices That Lead to Greater Giving
  • Moving People from Beginning Givers to Joyful Generosity
The conference is Saturday, March 29, from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC. Increase Generosity in Your Church is ecumenical and designed for both laity and clergy. Generous support for the conference is provided by the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina.

Registration information is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/funding, and .5 clergy CEU is available.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is a resource for clergy, lay, and denominational leaders. Through resources, research, and teaching, the Center supports visionary spiritual leaders in addressing issues crucial to the church’s faithful and fruitful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Thursday, December 19, 2013
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Most Popular Leading Ideas Articles of 2013

WASHINGTON, DC –The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has published its annual issue of the most popular Leading Ideas articles of the year. Leading Ideas, the Center’s free e-newsletter, offers information, resources, and strategies for forward-thinking church leaders and is read by more than 14,000 subscribers around the world.

The most popular Leading Ideas articles of 2013 as measured by webpage views and social media shares are:

  • “Stop Complaining about Sunday Morning Sports” by Keith Anderson
  • “Unclutter Your Church” by Dottie Escobedo-Frank
  • “The Missing Person in Worship Planning” by Lovett H. Weems, Jr.
  • “The Ten Minute Rule” by Gary L. McIntosh and Charles Arn
  • “The Go-To Church” by Bryan Collier
  • “Add Off-Site Christmas Eve Services This Year” by Mack Strange
  • “‛Keeping it Real’ When Launching an E-Newsletter” by Martin Davis
  • “Working with Committees and Boards” by Alan Rudnick
  • “Creating Positive Staff Dynamics” by Laura Heikes
  • “Reach More Volunteers” by Jim Cowart and Jennifer Cowart
  • “Welcoming Newcomers to Your Congregation” by Jessicah Krey Duckworth
  • “Lessons on Engaging Young Adults Effectively” by Asa Lee
The articles and subscription information are available at http://www.churchleadership.com/leadingideas/issues/2013issues/131218.html.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is a resource for clergy, lay, and denominational leaders. Through resources, research, and teaching, the Center supports visionary spiritual leaders in addressing issues crucial to the church’s faithful and fruitful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Wesley Theological Seminary Accepting Applications for Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership

The combined resources of the Wesley faculty and the Lewis Center for Church Leadership bring depth and energy to this program.

WASHINGTON, DC –Wesley Theological Seminary is accepting applications for Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership Excellence. The application deadline is Dec. 2, 2013 for the May 2014 cohort in Washington, DC. The program provides clergy the enhanced knowledge, skills, and motivation to increase congregational and denominational service, vitality, and growth. A serious engagement with contemporary secular leadership studies is held in tension with theology as participants examine the biblical, theological, and ethical foundations of ministry through the lens of leadership to enhance their own fruitful practice of leadership. The combined resources of the Wesley faculty and the Lewis Center for Church Leadership bring depth and energy to this program.

Prospective students are encouraged to visit www.wesleyseminary.edu/doctorofministry for more information or contact Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., director of the Lewis Center, at (202) 885-8621 or lovettw@wesleyseminary.edu.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is a resource for clergy, lay, and denominational leaders. Through resources, research, and teaching, the Center supports visionary spiritual leaders in addressing issues crucial to the church’s faithful and fruitful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, September 13, 2013
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

New Book Helps Congregations Improve Worship Attendance

WASHINGTON, DC – Worship is at the center of a congregation’s life, and improvements in worship tend to spur improvements in the church’s other ministries. In the new book Overflow: Increase Worship Attendance & Bear More Fruit, authors Tom Berlin and Lovett H. Weems, Jr., share research-based insights, tactical ideas, and practices that lead to increased worship attendance.

The authors instruct church leaders on the importance of paying attention to factors critical to worship growth, and demonstrate new approaches to worship planning. They present church leaders with another resource that is foundational and practical, convicting and accessible. Overflow encourages and equips church leaders who yearn to see more people worshipping God.

More information about Overflow: Increase Worship Attendance & Bear More Fruit is available at www.churchleadership.com/resources/overflow.html. The book was published this year by Abingdon Press, an imprint of The United Methodist Publishing House. Overflow is the second book in a series by Berlin and Weems. It follows the best-selling Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results published in 2011.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is a resource for clergy, lay, and denominational leaders. Through resources, research, and teaching, the Center supports visionary spiritual leaders in addressing issues crucial to the church’s faithful and fruitful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Contact: Joe Arnold - jearnold@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

2013 Clergy Age Trends Report Shows Older Clergy Bubble Growing Larger

WASHINGTON, DC –The number of older clergy continues to grow according to the Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church report released today by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. The annual report is prepared with assistance from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church.

Older Clergy Reach Historic High as Share of Elders

  • Elders between ages 55 and 72 comprise 54 percent of all active elders, the highest percentage in history. This group reached 50 percent for the first time ever in 2010. This age cohort represented only 30 percent of active elders as recently as 2000. Previously their percentage of the total was even lower.
  • This oldest cohort of active elders makes up 59 percent of elders in the Western Jurisdiction and 58 percent in the Northeastern Jurisdiction.
  • The median age of elders remains at 55 in 2013, the highest in history, reached first in 2010. The median age was 50 in 2000 and 45 in 1973. The average age remains at 53, an historic high, and the mode age (the single age most represented) is now 61, also a high.

The Percentage of Middle Age Elders Continues to Shrink

  • The percentage of elders aged 35 to 54 continues to shrink, from 65 percent of all active elders in 2000 to 39.81 percent in 2013. In addition, the total number of active elders decreased again in 2013 and all the loss took place in the middle age group, with modest increases in actual numbers for both young and older elders.

The Number of Young Clergy Stays about the Same

  • There are more young elders, deacons, and local pastors than ten years ago, though the percentage of young elders remains low compared to historical patterns, though the trend line is up modestly but consistently.
  • For example, there are more young elders than since before 2000, and the percentage of young elders is higher than since before 2000. Young elders as a percentage of all elders stayed in the 4 percent range in the first half of the 2000s and since then have made steady progress in the 5 percent range, moving closer to the 6 percent or higher range last seen in the 1990s.

Full Report Available for Download

Much more information is available in the complete Clergy Age Trends report, which is available as a free PDF download at www.churchleadership.com/clergyage. It shows the average and median ages of elders by United Methodist conference and features a breakdown of young, middle age, and older clergy by conference for elders, deacons, and local pastors.

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is pleased to provide this report as a service to the church.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center to Host Reach New Disciples Conference and Offer Resource to Help Congregations Open Their Churches to the Transformative Presence of New People

WASHINGTON, DC – To help clergy and laity open their churches to the transformative presence of new people, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is hosting its annual Reach New Disciples conference and releasing an accompanying DVD/CD Resource.

Conference

The theme of this year’s conference is The New Welcome. Attendees will learn to welcome newcomers by acknowledging the changing ways that people enter into the life of churches. They will learn concepts and strategies to welcome and respond to first-time and repeat visitors, reach younger generations, expand their entry points, and get new people involved.

The conference is Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on the campus of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.

The conference begins with “The New Realities of Engaging Newcomers,” a presentation by Lovett H. Weems, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership and Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary.

Following the presentation, conference participants may attend their choice of workshops led by Lewis Center staff and Wesley Seminary faculty. The workshop topics are: Expanding Your Church’s Entry Points, Getting Newcomers Involved, How African American Congregations Can Reach New Generations, Responding to First-time and Repeat Guests, and Welcoming Younger Adults.

The conference concludes with “How Newcomers Can Renew the Church,” a presentation by Rev. Asa J. Lee, Assistant Director for Programs of the Lewis Center.

Additional conference and registration information is available at www.churchleadership.com/newdisciples. An early-bird registration discount is offered through October 7, 2013, and .5 clergy CEU credit is available.

DVD/CD Resource

The New Welcome DVD/CD Resource will feature content from the conference, including videos, narrated presentations, PowerPoint presentations, and supplementary materials to help congregations foster generosity. The DVD/CD Resource ships in December.

A preorder discount price for The New Welcome DVD/CD Resource is available through November 2, 2013 at www.churchleadership.com/newdisciples.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center Offers Free Resource to Help Churches Improve Congregational Giving

WASHINGTON, DC – To encourage the spiritual gift of giving, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers the free resource Why Giving Matters and Clues for Improving It. Hosted by Lewis Center Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr., this eight-minute video provides an overview of the importance of giving and offers practical ways to improve it. The video is available online at www.churchleadership.com/funding; it may also be downloaded.

In addition to the video, the Lewis Center offers many additional giving and funding resources. Of note is CGP, the Congregational Giving Profile, a DVD/CD resource which more accurately determines whether giving is on track to meet church budget. Also available are the free handouts 50 Ways to Encourage Faithful Giving and 50 Ways to Improve Your Annual Stewardship Campaign. These and more resources are available at www.churchleadership.com/funding.

This congregational giving information is offered as part of the Lewis Center’s Funding Your Congregation’s Vision program. The goal of this program is to provide tools and resources to help congregations develop secure and reliable funding to support ministry.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center for Church Leadership Releases Right Questions for Church Leaders: 2013 Collection by Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Lewis Center for Church Leadership has released Right Questions for Church Leaders: 2013 Collection by Lovett H. Weems, Jr. This booklet was created in response to requests for a collection of questions used over the years in “The Right Question” column of Leading Ideas, the Lewis Center’s free e-newsletter. Weems, director of the Lewis Center, organized selected questions by topic and makes them available in this new collection.

Weems says, “‘The Right Question’ column grew out of my realization years ago that leaders spend far too much time trying to figure out the ‘right answers’ to a range of issues facing congregational life while that time would be more profitably used in discerning a few key questions that can change the direction of a church.”

The topics covered in Right Questions for Church Leaders: 2013 Collection are: Understanding Your Church’s Identity; Supporting Leaders; Mission and Outreach; Reaching New Disciples; Staffing and Hiring; Reviewing Programs; Use of Time; Planning In Times of Transition; Seeking Feedback; Fruitful Leadership; Making Good Decisions; Facing Challenges; Preaching; Looking for Clues; and Personal Reflection and Assessment.

Right Questions for Church Leaders is available as an e-book for Kindle and iBooks for $4.99 and as a PDF for $6.99. The 2012 Collection is also available. More information is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/resources/RightQuestions.asp.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Monday, July 1, 2013
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Twenty Outstanding Young Pastors Selected for the 2013-2014 Lewis Fellows Program

WASHINGTON, DC – The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has selected 20 outstanding young clergy to participate in the 2013-2014 Lewis Fellows program. The young clergy were chosen from a broad field of applicants and represent five denominations and 11 states.

Every year the Lewis Fellows program brings together outstanding young clergy persons (generally those under the age of 35) for intensive leadership development activities and sustained peer interaction. To date, more than 150 young clergy from more than a dozen denominations have been named Lewis Fellows. The program is supported in part by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

The members of the 2013-2014 cohort of Lewis Fellows are:

  • Andrew Amodei, Pastor, Cherokee United Methodist Church, Johnson City, Tenn.
  • Emily Berkowitz, Pastor, Buckeystown United Methodist Church, Buckeystown, Md.
  • Laura Blevins, Pastor, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Saint Joseph, Mo.
  • Catherine Burton, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Wichita, Kan.
  • Hyunjin Cho, Pastor, Lecompton United Methodist Church, Lecompton, Kan.
  • Paula Cripps-Vallejo, Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Bensenville, Ill.
  • Stacy Dickson, Pastor, San Jacinto & Winchester Community United Methodist Churches, Winchester, Calif.
  • Alexander Houston, Pastor, Cohansey Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Nicole Houston, Associate Pastor, Severna Park United Methodist Church, Severna Park, Md.
  • Jermaine Johnson, Pastor, Word of Life Christian Community Church, Owings Mills, Md.
  • Sarah Locke, Associate Pastor, Calvary United Methodist Church, Stuarts Draft, Va.
  • Hung Su Lim, Pastor, Pleasant View United Methodist Charge, Winchester, Va.
  • Laura Lyter, Teaching Elder, First United Presbyterian Church, Loveland, Colo.
  • Jason Mackey, Pastor, Cross Point, Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Yvi Martin, Associate Pastor, King’s Way United Methodist Church, Springfield, Mo.
  • Juel Nelson, Pastor, Succasunna United Methodist Church, Interlaken, N.J.
  • Thomas Parkinson, Pastor, Faith United Methodist Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Andy Smith, Associate Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Topeka, Kan.
  • Aisha Taylor, Associate Minister, Salem Missionary Baptist Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • David Van Barkle, Pastor, DeWitt Community Church, DeWitt, N.Y.
More information about the Lewis Fellows program is available at www.churchleadership.com/lewisfellows.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 20, 2013
Contact: Joe Arnold - jearnold@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-8560

Lewis Center Helps Salvation Army Officers Grow as Leaders

WASHINGTON, DC – In 2009, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary launched the Lewis Pastoral Leadership Inventory™ (LPLI), a 360-degree leadership assessment instrument created especially for pastoral leaders in congregational ministry. Over the past four years, the LPLI has become a premier instrument for helping pastors receive the feedback they need to grow and improve as leaders. Approximately 2,000 pastors serving many different denominations have participated in the program. In naming 75 specific criteria of effectiveness in ministry, the LPLI has provided a language and framework for understanding and communicating about fruitfulness in ministry in objective and meaningful ways.

When leaders in the Central Territory of The Salvation Army sought a feedback tool to help their officers grow in ministry, they turned to the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. They brought a particular challenge because, in addition to performing the full range of pastoral duties within their congregations, Salvation Army Officers also provide executive leadership for community agencies that meet basic human needs. The Lewis Center staff worked with territory leaders to create a Salvation Army Version of the LPLI™ with 20 additional questions addressing the unique responsibilities of Salvation Army Officers as program administrators and community leaders. Over the next several years, hundreds of officers will benefit from this opportunity to receive valuable feedback and develop as more effective church leaders.

The LPLI is based on a three-fold definition of effectiveness in ministry that focuses on character (who a leader is in terms of spiritual authenticity, wholeness, and integrity), competence (what a leader knows and does in the diverse areas of pastoral ministry), and contribution (what a leader accomplishes to advance the mission of making new disciples, fostering spiritual growth, and serving the world.)

The Lewis Center was established 10 years ago by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. Additional information about LPLI, including how it was developed and how it can be used, is available at www.lpli.org.

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News Release

For Immediate Release

Monday, February 4, 2013
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Early-bird Registration to Lewis Center Funding Conference Ends February 11

WASHINGTON, DC – To help clergy and laity develop secure and reliable funding to support ministry in their congregations, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is hosting its annual Funding Your Congregation’s Vision conference. Early-bird registration discounts of $15 are available through Monday, February 11, 2013.

Conference

The theme of this year’s conference is Fostering a Culture of Generosity. Generosity is a critical expression of Christian discipleship and key to healthy congregational stewardship. Conference attendees will explore faith, generosity, and how generous congregations give rise to generous people. They will learn concepts and strategies to cultivate generous stewardship in their congregations to fund their ministries better.

The conference is Saturday, March 9, from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on the campus of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.

The conference commences with “Generous Congregations, Generous People,” a presentation by Lovett H. Weems, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership and Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary.

Following the presentation, conference attendees may attend their choice of workshops led by Lewis Center staff and other knowledgeable experts. The workshop topics are: Generosity in the Bible; Cultivating Giving Among Younger Generations; Increasing Revenue Streams Beyond Offerings; Electronic Giving; Building a Year-round Stewardship Plan; and Financial Audits: Options and Best Practices. The conference concludes with “Faith and Generosity,” a presentation by Dr. David McAllister-Wilson, president of Wesley Theological Seminary.

Additional conference and registration information is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/funding. One-half clergy CEU credits are available. A conference flier is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/pdfs/2013GenerosityFlier.pdf.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center to Host Annual Funding Conference and Offer Resource to Help Congregations Foster Generosity

WASHINGTON, DC – To help clergy and laity develop secure and reliable funding to support ministry in their congregations, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is hosting its annual Funding Your Congregation’s Vision conference and releasing an accompanying DVD/CD Resource.

Conference

The theme of this year’s conference is Fostering a Culture of Generosity. Generosity is a critical expression of Christian discipleship and key to healthy congregational stewardship. Conference attendees will explore faith, generosity, and how generous congregations give rise to generous people. They will learn concepts and strategies to cultivate generous stewardship in their congregations.

The conference is Saturday, March 9, from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on the campus of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.

The conference commences with “Generous Congregations, Generous People,” a presentation by Lovett H. Weems, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership and Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary.

Following the presentation, conference attendees may attend their choice of workshops led by Lewis Center staff and other knowledgeable experts. The workshop topics are: Generosity in the Bible; Cultivating Giving Among Younger Generations; Increasing Revenue Streams Beyond Offerings; Electronic Giving; Building a Year-round Stewardship Plan; and Financial Audits: Options and Best Practices.

The conference concludes with “Faith and Generosity,” a presentation by Dr. David McAllister-Wilson, president of Wesley Theological Seminary.

Additional conference and registration information is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/funding. An early-bird registration discount is offered through February 11, 2013, and .5 clergy CEU credits are available.

DVD/CD Resource

The Fostering a Culture of Generosity DVD/CD Resource will feature content from the conference, including videos, narrated presentations, PowerPoint presentations, and supplementary materials to help congregations foster generosity. The DVD/CD Resource will be released in mid April.

A preorder discount price for the Fostering a Culture of Generosity DVD/CD Resource is available through March 9, 2013 at http://www.churchleadership.com/funding.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Contact: Ann Michel - amichel@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-8582

Lewis Center Offers Conference and Resource to Help Congregations Reach New Disciples through Worship

WASHINGTON, DC – To help congregations reach new disciples through worship and improve attendance, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is hosting its second annual conference and releasing an accompanying DVD/CD resource. Both are part of its Reach New Disciples initiative.

Conference

The half-day Reaching Others through Worship Conference is Saturday, November 3, from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on the campus of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Building on the Lewis Center’s continuing work, the conference will equip clergy and laity with tools and strategies to improve worship attendance and reach new disciples. The conference commences with How to Reach More People in Worship, a presentation by Lovett H. Weems, Jr., distinguished professor of church leadership and director of the Lewis Center.

Conference attendees will attend their choice of workshops led by knowledgeable Lewis Center staff and guest leaders. The workshop topics are: How Do People See Your Church?; Learning Clues from Attendance Patterns to Improve Attendance; Putting out the Welcome Mat; The Ministry of Greeting; Tips for Making Worship More Visitor Friendly; The Sermon Series as Outreach Tool; and Ways to Improve Summer Attendance.

The conference concludes with the presentation The Power of Worship by The Rev. Tom Berlin, pastor of Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Va., and co-author of Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results.

Additional conference information and registration is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/newdisciples. An early-bird registration discount is available through October 8, 2012, and .5 CEU credits are available.

DVD/CD Resource

The Reaching Others through Worship DVD/CD Resource will offer conference presentations and workshop content through videos, narrated presentations, PowerPoint presentations, and handouts. The resource will be available in December.

A preorder discount price for the Reaching Others through Worship is available through November 3, 2012 at http://www.churchleadership.com/newdisciples/resource.asp.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center Offers Free Resource to Help Churches Improve Worship Attendance

WASHINGTON, DC – To help churches improve worship attendance, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers the free resource Why Worship Attendance Matters and Clues for Improving It. Hosted by Lewis Center Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr., the 10-minute video provides an overview of the importance of worship attendance and offers practical ways to improve it. The video is available online at www.churchleadership.com/attendance; it may also be downloaded.

In addition to the video, the Lewis Center offers several additional attendance resources, many of which are free. Of note is How Do New People See Your Church, a free handout with suggestions to help congregations view their churches and worship services from the perspective of new people. This and more resources are available at www.churchleadership.com/attendance.

The attendance information is offered as part of the Lewis Center’s Reach New Disciples program. The goal of this program is to help congregations better connect with their communities through practical resources and insightful conferences.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center for Church Leadership Releases Right Questions for Church Leaders by Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Lewis Center for Church Leadership has released Right Questions for Church Leaders by Lovett H. Weems, Jr. This booklet was created in response to requests for a collection of questions used over the years in “The Right Question” column of Leading Ideas, the Lewis Center’s free e-newsletter. Weems, director of the Lewis Center, organized selected questions by topic and has made them available in this new collection.

Weems says, “‘The Right Question’ column grew out of my realization years ago that leaders spend far too much time trying to figure out the ‘right answers’ to a range of issues facing congregational life while that time would be more profitably used in discerning a few key questions that can change the direction of a church.”

The topics covered in Right Questions for Church Leaders are: The Church’s Purpose; Remembering a Ministry’s Purpose; Identifying and Supporting Leaders; Communication; Reaching New Disciples; Seeing Your Church as Others Do; Reviewing Programs; Creative Abandonment; Assessing Differing Directions; Planning; Understanding Your Church’s Identity; Knowing What’s Going On; Making the Most of Meetings; Making Good Decisions; Facing Challenges; and Personal Reflection and Assessment.

Right Questions for Church Leaders is available as an e-book for Kindle and Nook for $5.99 and as a printable PDF for $7.99. More information is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/resources/RightQuestions.asp?id=news20120731.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, July 13, 2012
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Twenty Outstanding Young Pastors Selected for the Lewis Fellows Program

WASHINGTON, DC – The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has selected 20 outstanding young clergy to participate in the 2012-2013 Lewis Fellows program. The young clergy were chosen from a broad field of applicants and represent five denominations and 15 states.

Every year the Lewis Fellows program brings together outstanding young clergy persons (generally those under the age of 35) for intensive leadership development activities and sustained peer interaction. To date, more than 150 young clergy from more than a dozen denominations have been named Lewis Fellows. The program is supported in part by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

The members of the 2012-2013 cohort of Lewis Fellows are:

  • Shalom Agtarap, Pastor, Ellensburg United Methodist Church (UMC); Ellensburg, Wash.
  • Errick Baldwin, Pastor, Bickham Chapel AME Zion Church; Amite, La.
  • Katie Bishop, Pastor, New Hope UMC; Brunswick, Md.
  • Becca Clark, Pastor, Trinity UMC; Montpelier, Vt.
  • Andrew Conard, Pastor, El Dorado First UMC; El Dorado, Kan.
  • James Ellis III, Baptist; W.Va.
  • Vicki Flippin, Pastor of Social Justice, Exploring Faith, and Inter-generational Ministries, UMC of the Village; New York, N.Y.
  • Mira Hewlett, Pastor, First UMC; Carlisle, Pa.
  • Nathan Hill, Minister of Church Life, East Dallas Christian Church and the Table; Dallas, Texas
  • Kristin M. Holbrook, Pastor, Central UMC; Salem, Va.
  • Mike Holly, Pastor for Contemporary Worship, Canterbury UMC; Birmingham, Ala.
  • Norm Jones, Pastor, Lilesville Charge of the UMC; Lilesville, N.C.
  • David Lessner, Associate Pastor, Stonebridge UMC; McKinney, Texas
  • Meggan Manlove, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church; Nampa, Idaho
  • Seth McPherson, Pastor and Cultivator, Good Shepherd UMC; Leeper, Pa.
  • Katrina Moore, Director of Next Generation Ministries/Children's Church Pastor, The Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church; Atlanta, Ga.
  • Sara Elizabeth Pugh, Associate Pastor, Braddock Street UMC; Winchester, Va.
  • Mark Reisinger, Pastor, Grace UMC; Mechanicsburg, Pa.
  • Elizabeth Sillerud, Associate Pastor, American Lutheran Church; Billings, Mont.
  • Jordan Thrasher, Lead Pastor, Bold Spring UMC; Carnesville, Ga.

More information about the Lewis Fellows program is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/lewisfellows.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

New Book Addresses Core Issues and Concerns of the United Methodist Church

WASHINGTON, DC – A new book from Lovett H. Weems, Jr., engages the core issues and concerns that he feels must be addressed if the church is to follow God’s leading into the future. In Focus: The Real Challenges That Face the United Methodist Church, Weems, director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, illustrates what the UMC must “reset” about itself. He suggests the church start by asking these questions:

  • What will happen now that the increased giving that United Methodists have enjoyed (despite declining membership numbers) has reached a plateau and begun to decline?
  • Why, with 34,000 congregations and $6.5 billion in annual giving, can’t United Methodists add a net increase of even one new disciple of Jesus Christ in a given year?
  • Why are United Methodist clergy less concerned with reaching young adults than are laity? Why are laity unwilling to make the changes to worship and budgets required to attract these same young adults?
  • If the percentage of married couples with young children has declined by half since the 1950s, why is that still the group we focus on reaching?
  • Why are so many mid-sized churches on their way to becoming small-membership congregations?

Weems challenges United Methodists not only to ask these hard questions, but to face up to the difficult decisions they require of us as they continue to seek God’s will for our lives together.

More information about Focus: The Real Challenges That Face the United Methodist Church is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/resources/Focus.htm?id=focus1. The book was published this year by Abingdon Press, an imprint of The United Methodist Publishing House.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Bearing Fruit Companion Study Guide Available as a Free Download

WASHINGTON, DC – The Bearing Fruit Companion Study Guide is available as a free download. Tom Berlin and Lovett, H. Weems, Jr., authors of Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results, prepared the guide to facilitate reflection, discussion, and application of the book’s key points. The authors say, “We have been pleased to learn of the many ways that individual church leaders and congregational teams are using the book as a springboard for discussion and planning.”

The guide is organized chapter by chapter and is intended primarily as a resource for group study, though it can be used as a self-study guide by individual leaders. Berlin and Weems say, “We hope this guide will be a helpful resource for those seeking to bear fruit in their ministries.”

The Bearing Fruit Companion Study Guide is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/Resources/bearingfruit.html?id=bf5.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center Offers DVD/CD Resource to Help Congregations Track and Improve Worship Attendance

WASHINGTON, DC –To help congregations better track and improve worship attendance, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has released CAP, the Congregational Attendance Profile.

Lewis Center Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr., says, “Though most every church tracks attendance, too few do so in a way that reveals long-range trends.” CAP helps congregations more easily see these trends, revealing clues to improve attendance.

To use CAP, a person simply enters past attendance into the CAP spreadsheet and adds new figures weekly. CAP monitors attendance against a 52-week running average, so churches will know instantly whether each Sunday’s attendance is higher or lower than the year-to-date average. Also, CAP creates a two-year trends chart that shows whether overall attendance is rising, declining, or flat. A CAP seasonal attendance chart superimposes the 52-week average over actual attendance, revealing peaks and dips. To help make sense of it all, Weems explains on a CAP video segment how to interpret and use the data from these charts. He says, “Churches have shown major improvement in attendance by acting on lessons learned from CAP.”

CAP is designed for churches with a single worship service as well as those with many.

CAP begins shipping on February 1, 2012, and more information is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/CAP.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Monday, January 23, 2012
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center to Host Annual Funding Conference and Offer Resource to Help Congregations Better Fund Ministries

WASHINGTON, DC – To help congregations develop secure and reliable funding to support ministry, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is hosting its annual Funding Conference and releasing an accompanying DVD/CD Resource Guide.

Conference

The half-day Building a Hopeful Financial Future Conference is Saturday, March 10, from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on the campus of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Building on the Lewis Center's continuing work in funding ministry, this conference will explore congregational funding issues vital to the church. The conference commences with "Leadership Essentials for the Church's Financial Future," a presentation by Lovett H. Weems, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership and Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary.

Following the presentation, conference attendees may attend their choice of workshops led by knowledgeable Lewis Center staff and these guest workshop leaders: Rev. Tom Berlin, pastor of Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Va., and coauthor of Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results; and Karl Mattison, executive director, Presbyterian Endowment Education and Resource Network.

The workshop topics are: Tithing and Biblical Standards of Giving; Preaching and Stewardship; Planned Giving: What Every Church Can and Should Do; Key Questions in Assessing Your Church's Financial Future; Best Practices for Financial Integrity; and Using Endowments to Build the Future.

Clergy and laity may find more conference information and register at http://www.churchleadership.com/funding. An early-bird registration discount is available through February 13, 2012, and .5 CEU credits are available.

DVD/CD Resource Guide

The Building a Hopeful Financial Future DVD/CD Resource Guide features content from the conference, including video recordings of the presentation and workshops, PowerPoint presentations, templates, handouts, and other resources which are useful in congregational settings. The DVD/CD Resource will be released in mid April.

A preorder discount for the Building a Hopeful Financial Future DVD/CD Resource Guide is available through March10, 2012, at http://www.churchleadership.com/funding/resource.asp.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Thursday, September 29, 2011
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Wesley Theological Seminary Accepting Applications for Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership

WASHINGTON, DC – Wesley Theological Seminary is accepting applications for Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership Excellence. The application deadline is Dec. 1, 2011, for the May 2012 cohort. The program provides clergy the enhanced knowledge, skills, and motivation to increase congregational and denominational service, vitality, and growth. A serious engagement with contemporary secular leadership studies is held in tension with theology as participants examine the biblical, theological, and ethical foundations of ministry through the lens of leadership to enhance their own fruitful practice of leadership. The combined resources of the Wesley faculty and the Lewis Center for Church Leadership bring depth and energy to this program.

For more information, prospective students may visit www.wesleyseminary.edu/doctorofministry or contact Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., director of the Lewis Center, at (202) 885-8621 or lovettw@wesleyseminary.edu.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

2011 Clergy Age Trends Report Shows More Older and Younger Clergy

WASHINGTON, DC – The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has released its annual Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church report. This year's report, prepared with assistance from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, shows an increase in the number of both older and younger clergy. Conversely, the percentage of middle age elders has shrunk dramatically over the past decade. Also of note, older clergy between the ages of 55 and 72 constitute the largest share of clergy in history, and the median age of elders remains at a historic high of 55.

Highlights of the 2011 Report

Older Clergy Constitute Largest Share of Clergy in History

  • Elders between ages 55 and 72 comprise 52 percent of all active elders, the highest percentage in history. One year ago this group reached 50 percent for the first time ever. This age cohort represented only 30 percent of active elders as recently as 2000. Previously their percentage of the total was even lower.
  • The median age of elders remains at 55 in 2011, the highest in history, reached first in 2010. The median age was 50 in 2000 and 45 in 1973.

The Percentage of Middle Age Elders Continues to Shrink

  • The percentage of elders aged 35 to 54 continues to shrink, from 65 percent of all active elders in 2000 to 43 percent in 2011.

The Number of Young Clergy Continues to Grow Slowly but Steadily

  • There are more young elders, deacons, and local pastors than ten years ago.
  • The numbers and percentages of young elders and local pastors grew slightly in 2011. Young deacons declined very slightly after growing much faster than elders and local pastors for several years.

Full Report Available for Download

Much more information is available in the complete Clergy Age Trends report, which is available for free download at http://www.churchleadership.com/research/um_clergy_age_trends11.htm?id=ca2. Of particular interest to many are the average and median ages of elders by conference. Also, the report features a breakdown by conference of young, middle age, and older clergy for elders, deacons, and local pastors.

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is pleased to provide this report as a service to the church.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


News Release

For Immediate Release

Thursday, August 11, 2011
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center Adds Additional Session of Free Webinar to Help Churches Expand Income Sources

WASHINGTON, DC – The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary will offer an additional session of the free webinar, Expand Your Church’s Income Sources, on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, from 4-5 p.m. EDT. The webinar, led by Lewis Center Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr., will teach participants about a range of income sources available for churches. Participants will also receive worksheets and instruction to help them assess which sources make the most sense for their congregations.

Weems says, “We want to help churches answer these vital questions: ‘Do we have income sources that could be enhanced? What income sources are other churches using that might benefit us?’”

An earlier Webinar session scheduled for 2-3 p.m. is nearly full, so the Lewis Center added the additional session to share information with a larger number of people.

Those interested in participating in the second session of this Webinar may visit https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/661075830 for more information and to register. Registration is limited, so those interested should register soon.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Contact: Matthew Lyons - mlyons@wesleyseminary.edu, (202) 885-6086

Lewis Center to Offer Free Webinar to Help Churches Expand Income Sources

WASHINGTON, DC – The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary will offer the free webinar, Expand Your Church’s Income Sources, on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, from 2 - 3 p.m. EDT. The webinar, led by Lewis Center Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr., will teach participants about a range of income sources available for churches. Participants will also receive worksheets and instruction to help them assess which sources make the most sense for their congregations.

Weems says, “We want to help churches answer these vital questions: ‘Do we have income sources that could be enhanced? What income sources are other churches using that might benefit us?’”

Those interested in participating in this Webinar may visit https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/379484254 for more information and to register. Registration is limited, so those interested should register soon.

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The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.


The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has researched age trends in the United Methodist Church in the United States by examining one key indicator — death rates. This Lewis Center report, released in May 2009, is a comparison of membership and age–adjusted general population death rates within United Methodist annual conferences. Read more.


A resource package of materials collected from the Lewis Center's March 2009 event, Funding Your Congregation's Vision: Enhancing Resources for Ministry in Challenging Times, can now be purchased for use in local churches. Read more.


The Lewis Center was engaged by the South Central College of Bishops to assists in the process the adjustment of Episcopal areas. This report was given in the early Spring of 2009. Read more.


Wesley's Doctor of Ministry Program in Church Leadership is accepting applications for a group to study in May 2009. This program draws on the combined resuorces of the Wesley Seminary faculty and the Lewis Center for Church Leadership so that students will receive the enhanced knowledge, skills, and motivation to increase congregational and denominational service, vitality, and growth. Read more.


Lewis Center Report on Clergy Age Trends 1985-2007 is now available. This report updates and expands on the groundbreaking 2005 report. While focusing on the United Methodist Church the report also contains information on trends in other denominations. Click Here to see the report.


New Book Probes The Crisis of Younger Clergy

 A book just released by Abingdon Press explores in detail The Crisis of Younger Clergy. Starting with the grim statistics that reveal a precipitous decline in the number and percentage of under-35 clergy in the United Methodist Church and many other denominations, The Crisis of Younger Clergy considers the reasons for this decline and what might be done to reverse the trend. It also explains why having a proportionate number of young persons entering ordained ministry is so vital to the future of the church.

Written by Lovett H. Weems, Jr., and Ann A. Michel of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, the book corrects the common misperception that the shortage of young clergy is primarily a result of young pastors choosing to leave ordained ministry. “The notion that young clergy are dropping out in droves was not supported by our research,” says Michel. “In fact, there is good news in the fact that most young clergy register very high levels of satisfaction in their work and would recommend it to others. The primary source of the problem is that too few young people choose to enter the profession in the first place.”

The book calls for the revitalization of youth ministry and intensified efforts to cultivate a sense of call among the young. But Weems cautions, “No amount of recruiting will be successful in the long run unless the church itself changes. Unless the church demonstrates a commitment to reaching younger, more diverse constituencies, many of our most promising young people will not see ordained ministry as an attractive path of service.”

Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, calls The Crisis of Younger Clergy “a must-read book for everyone who cares about the future of the UMC.” Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, President-elect of the Council, says the “authors have offered focused conclusions and hopeful recommendations. To ignore either is to further jeopardize our future.”

The Crisis of Younger Clergy is available for purchase at Amazon.com and Cokesbury.com.


Taking Clergy Mentoring to the Next Level

Research and experience indicate that mentoring holds great promise for improving effectiveness in ministry, particularly in the early years. Yet too often, mentoring programs fail to live up to their potential. Together with members of the Transitions into Ministry Task Force of the Making Connections Initiative, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is working to devise approaches and resources that will take clergy mentoring to the next level.

In August 2007, the Lewis Center of Wesley Theological Seminary will provide a highly specialized training for conference leaders responsible for developing clergy mentors within their conferences. This “training of trainers” will build upon and complement denominational training. A key component will be the sharing of materials, exercises, and resources that can be used by conference trainers. This pilot event will inform the development of new resources and approaches to be made available more widely in the future.

Part of this work involves developing a vision for clergy mentor programs grounded in a clear definition of mentoring and how it differs from coaching or supervision, an appreciation of the importance of mentoring in developing leaders, and an understanding of the biblical and theological foundations of mentoring. Outlining best practices is another key component – whether for mentoring in groups or in one-on-one settings. There is also a need to tailor approaches for elders, deacons, and local pastors, and to consider concerns related to ethics, boundaries, and racial and gender issues in mentoring.

This pilot training will be held August 20-21 at the Maritime Institute near Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Conferences that are part of the Making Connections Initiative have been invited to send the person responsible for training mentors to this event. For more information contact Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership (202-885-8582 or lovettw@wesleyseminary.edu.)


Young Clergywoman Launches Satellite Service from Two-Point Charge

The Rev. Amy Yarnall, pastor of the Chesapeake City Charge in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church, led her two congregations through a discernment process that resulted in the birth of a new worshiping community on Easter Sunday, 2006. The new contemporary service, Jacob’s Well, which had been averaged about 100 people in worship since the launch, has enjoyed a surge in attendance this fall following a direct mail campaign.  In September, their attendance has been 130 to 150 weekly.  

For the past two years, Yarnall (age 34) has participated in a leadership development program for twenty-two outstanding young clergy sponsored by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. This group, known as Lewis Fellows, is aimed at achieving and sustaining excellence in pastoral leadership. Through intensive and ongoing peer interaction, the program sharpens leadership skills and generates new visions for ministry in ways that benefit not only the participants, but their congregations, communities, and denominations. The young clergy group is one of several Lewis Center programs addressing the needs of clergy at critical junctures in ministry. A grant from the Lilly Endowment's Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Initiative supports these programs.

The launch of Jacob’s Well was facilitated through a project component of the Lewis Fellows program. During the two-year program, each Fellow was responsible for designing and implementing a new ministry project with input and guidance from their peer group.  When Yarnall entered the program, she had already been talking and praying about a new service, but she says the Lewis Fellows experience has "informed, blessed and enriched the process."

Recounting the experience bringing Jacob’s Well into being, Yarnall says, “The idea was first conceived in casual conversation around the idea of starting a contemporary worship service. But making that dream a reality took a year of prayerful discernment, deliberate decision making, and careful planning.” Team work was key as plans for music, technology, and Christian education for the new venue took shape.

A striking aspect of this new worship initiative is that it is the cooperative venture of two congregations – Town Point UMC and Trinity UMC. Holding the new services at a local high school instead of one of the two churches’ sanctuaries was a key decision, according to Yarnall, because it allows both congregations to feel a part of Jacob’s Well. To accommodate the new service at ten o’clock on Sunday mornings, both congregations had to adjust the time of their existing Sunday morning services.

Yarnall remarks, “It has been quite a journey to witness God bringing together a launch team and then multiplying their efforts to create Jacob’s Well. Our music, hospitality, and tech teams have all grown. I never cease to be amazed at what God can do!”


Major Decline in United Methodist “Clergy Location” Discovered

The use of “location” by clergy (honorable location) or conferences (administrative location) has dropped dramatically in the past twenty-five years, according to research done by Joseph E. Arnold of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington , DC . The use of location has dropped precipitously. In 1970, 264 clergy were located; in 1981, 112 clergy were located. By 2003 and 2004, the number had fallen to 30 and 48, respectively.

Location has historically been one of the ways utilized to ensure competent and effective clergy. Location was a means to remove clergy who are “ineffective, inefficient, or indifferent.” Arnold traced the history of the denomination’s procedures to ensure clergy effectiveness back to the origin of American Methodism.

The report attributes the decline in rate of removal of ineffective clergy to legislative changes introduced at the 1980 General Conference that have put the focus on the preservation of clergy rights and downplayed the annual conferences’ need to ensure an effective body of clergy. Confusion over the new rules and procedures and fear of civil litigation have made bishops and district superintendents reluctant to initiate location proceedings, according to Arnold . He concludes that annual conference responsibility to assure effectiveness among its members must be affirmed and supported. Arnold recommends developing clearer definitions of effectiveness and a greater separation between administrative and judicial processes.

A three-page synopsis of the research with charts documenting recent trends in locations rates is available at http://www.churchleadership.com/research/location.htm


Young Clergy Trends Report Continues to Receive Media Attention

A Lewis Center report, Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church: 1985-2005, continues to generate interest. The research prompted a story broadcast on NBC’s Today Show August 6 highlighting the growing challenge of finding younger persons to lead congregations. On August 28, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution featured a similar story. The clergy age report, issued in March of this year, documents a serious and sustained decline in both the number and percentage of clergy under the age of 35, from 15.05% to 4.69% in the past twenty years. A copy
of the report and links to many more press articles can be found at www.churchleadership.com/research/um_clergy_age_trends.htm.


Weems Interview Featured on Congregational Resources Guide Website

An interview with Dr. Lovett H. Weems Jr., director of the Lewis Center, is currently featured on Congregational Resources Guide, a website that is a joint effort of the Alban Institute and the Indianapolis Center for Congregations. The interview is part of the “Wise Voices” series, which gathers thoughts and essays from people with “know-how” resulting from first-hand knowledge, academic study, and practical experience. Appearing under the title, “So That” … - Leadership, Accountability, and the Future of the Church, the interview highlights Weems’s thoughts about leadership, young clergy, and the future of the church. The feature ends with an annotated list of suggestions for research and continued reading and a list of Weems’s books.


Lewis Center to Study New Church Starts

The Lewis Center has received a grant from the Texas Methodist Foundation to study United Methodist new church starts in Texas since 1980. The project seeks to understand the economics
of new church development in a detailed way, to understand what variables affect the likelihood that the new church start will succeed, to identify best practices related to new church development, and to identify models that are working best, and the advantages and disadvantages of each model. The study will begin with the Texas Conference with hopes of expanding the research to other conferences across Texas. A research partner for the project is RRC, Inc., an economic research consulting firm located in Bryan, Texas. The Texas Methodist Foundation, located in Austin, serves United Methodist churches, institutions, and individuals within six Annual Conferences to strengthen their ability to advance Christian ministries.


NBC’s Today Show Broadcast Features Lewis Center Clergy Age Data

Lewis Center research documenting the declining number of young clergy was the basis of a Today Show segment broadcast on August 6, 2006 .  Citing the Center's finding that fewer than five percent of clergy in many mainline denominations are under 35, the Today Show reported on the growing challenge of finding younger persons to lead congregations. It highlighted the tendency among many younger seminarians to eschew local church pastorates in favor of ministry in a variety of other settings, such as chaplaincies and mission agencies. The Today Show interviewed Professor Robert Franklin, a board member of the Fund for Theological Education, who expressed concern about a potential clergy shortage in Protestant churches. “The vast majority of the nation’s more than 300,000 congregations, if they fail to provide excellent, dynamic leadership, are going to see a kind of waning,” said Franklin, who fears the “mothballing” of many congregations that “lived well but then slowly died.”

In March, 2006, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary released a research report, Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church 1985-2005, documenting a twenty-year decline in the number of United Methodist elders under 35, from 15.05% of all elders in 1985 to 4.69% in 2005. And the report shows similar trends in many other denominations. The research is available online at www.churchleadership.com.

The project originated from a concern that the age of United Methodist clergy is getting disproportionately older than the population the church seeks to reach. “Efforts to encourage younger persons to respond to God’s call to ordained ministry must be a priority for the United Methodist Church ,” says Lovett H. Weems, Jr., director of the Lewis Center.  "Vital and growing churches are a key to attracting such younger leadership.”


September 23 Workshops Focus on Strategies for Fruitfulness  

Looking for ways to connect with those beyond your church – especially younger and more diverse people? These and other challenges of fruitfulness will be addressed in workshops offered at The Fruitful Congregation, a day of learning for lay and clergy leaders held on the Wesley Seminary campus on Saturday, September 23 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Each attendee will have the opportunity to participate in two workshops. Some workshop topics address common contemporary challenges in achieving fruitful ministry – such as the need to reach out to more people, younger people, and more diverse people, as well as the challenges faced by smaller congregations. Other workshops help in developing the basic building blocks of fruitfulness – such as stewardship, communications, and prayer. Click here to view a list of workshop topics and leaders. The registration fee is $55 per person or $45 per person when four or more from the same church register together. Lunch is included. Click here for a complete schedule and registration information.  


A Day with Mike Slaughter - Tuesday, September 12

Mike Slaughter, lead pastor of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Tipp City, Ohio , will be at Wesley Seminary for a day of exploring exciting new ways of being church. “In 1979 he became pastor of what he calls “a small country church called to birth a huge global dream.” Today that small country church has over 4,000 in worship and its reach is indeed global. Mike is a pastor, innovator, global thinker, rule breaker, spiritual entrepreneur, and mission-driven leader. On September 12 he will preach on “The Mission-Driven Church: Post-Modern Witness” in Oxnam Chapel at 11:00 a.m. From 1:15 to 3:00 p.m. , he will speak on “Exploring the Emerging Church .” Both events are free but reservations are required for the afternoon session. Contact Sara Sheppard 202-885-8688 or ssheppard@wesleyseminary.edu to make a reservation for the afternoon session or to make a lunch reservation. Lunch is $7.50.


Learn About Wesley’s Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership

 Wesley Theological Seminary will host an exploration event on Tuesday, September 12, for those interested in learning about upcoming Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) degree programs, including the “Church Leadership Excellence Track.” Click here to download a brochure listing dates, course offerings, and instructors for the leadership track. The Seminary is currently accepting applications for a new entering group in this track to begin in May 2007. Applications are due December 15, 2006. To register for the September 12 exploration event, contact the Office of Admissions, admiss@wesleyseminary.edu. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 1:30 p.m. Lunch is provided. For more information about all Wesley D. Min. programs go to www.wesleyseminary.edu, or contact Dr. Lew Parks at dmin@wesleyseminary.edu or (202) 885-8670.


Patrick Matsikenyiri to Lead Music at The Fruitful Congregation, September 23

Patrick Matsikenyiri of Africa University in Zimbabwe will lead music and worship at The Fruitful Congregation -- an event sponsored by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership on Saturday, September 23. This day of learning for lay and clergy leaders will be held on the Wesley Seminary campus from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The Fruitful Congregation will feature inspirational speakers; practical, actionable strategies; stimulating workshops; helpful resources; and valuable opportunities to network and build connections. The registration fee is $55 per person or $45 per person when four or more from the same church register together. Lunch is included. Click here for more information or to register.


Briefing on Clergy Leadership Offered at Resurrection Leadership Institute

Lovett H. Weems, Jr., director of the Lewis Center, will offer a workshop on “Clergy Leadership for a Growing Church” on Thursday, October 5, at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. This workshop is designed for boards of ordained ministry, district superintendents, denominational staff, and other leaders who seek the latest information on trends and findings about clergy leadership needed for congregations to thrive and grow. It is one of the “pre-institute” events held the day before Resurrection’s annual Leadership Institute (held October 6–7.) Anyone may register for this pre-institute workshop – whether or not they attend the Leadership Institute. The cost is $29. The workshop is from 1:00–5:30 p.m. For more information about the workshop and the entire Leadership Institute, or to register for either, click here http://www.cor.org/catalyst/li/li2006.html.


PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly Features Young Clergy Shortage

On Sunday, July 2, PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly aired a piece entitled “Young Clergy Shortage” growing in part out of the recent Lewis Center report on Clergy Age Trends. An interview with Lewis Center Director Lovett Weems was included in this broadcast. The show presents the perspectives of younger pastors, seminarians, denominational leaders, and theological educators. It also highlights some of the challenges mainline denominations face in attracting younger persons into ordained ministry. A transcript and video of the report can be viewed online at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week944/feature.html.


Field Testing of Lewis Pastoral Leadership Inventory Begins - June 2006

The Lewis Center will field test the pilot version of the LPLI beginning this summer. Pastors in the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church will take the pilot inventory this fall. This first pilot version will lead to at least one other pilot version that will also need extensive field testing. If you are a pastor or associate pastor interested in more information about how you might participate in the pilot phase, click here.

Lewis Center Developing a Pastoral Leadership Inventory - June 2006

Responding to the need for a leadership development tool specifically designed for clergy, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is in the process of developing a 360º leadership inventory focusing on practices of effective pastoral leadership. The Lewis Pastoral Leadership Inventory (LPLI) uses online questionnaires to assess how pastors see their strengths and weaknesses and how they are seen by five observers familiar with their pastoral work. This approach integrates self appraisal with peer feedback providing comprehensive input for improvement and growth in ministry.

The pilot version of the LPLI covers seventy criteria of effectiveness in ministry. The Lewis Center developed these measures based on a three-fold definition of effectiveness in ministry that includes character, competence, and contribution. (For more information see Leading Ideas, March 1, 2006.) These categories and the seventy criteria have been compiled from the definitions used by different judicatories, from the literature on pastoral effectiveness, and with input from church leaders and theological educators, following careful protocols required for the development of such an instrument. Click here for more about the LPLI.


Tom Berlin is Keynote Speaker for The Fruitful Congregation - June 2006

How can your congregation's ministry be more fruitful? The Fruitful Congregation is a day of learning designed to inspire, empower, inform, and equip lay and clergy leaders. Sponsored by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, it will be held on the Wesley Campus on Saturday, September 23, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. This year’s keynote speaker is the Rev. Tom Berlin, Senior Pastor of Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Virginia. Under his leadership, the average worship attendance at Floris has grown from 375 to 820 with high member involvement in congregational ministries and mission throughout the world.

The Fruitful Congregational will feature inspirational speakers; practical, actionable strategies; stimulating workshops; helpful resources; and valuable opportunities to network and build connections. The registration fee is $55 per person or $45 per person when four or more register together from the same church. Lunch is included. Click here for more information or to register.


Leadership Resource for Seminary Presidents Edited by Lewis and Weems - June 2006

The first comprehensive resource specifically designed to guide those who lead over 250 theological seminaries in the United States and Canada has been published by Eerdmans Publishing. Commissioned by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada ( ATS), A Handbook for Seminary Presidents is designed guide the chief executives of graduate theological schools preparing the next generation of Christian leaders.

Edited by G. Douglass Lewis and Lovett H. Weems, Jr., four dozen other seminary presidents contributed to the volume. The book considers a seminary president’s role in everything from boards and enrollment to facilities and academics, with special discussions of women and racial/ethnic persons in leadership; Canadian schools; and the challenges of university-based schools. Deans, faculty, and administrative staff will also find the book extremely helpful.

The project led by Lewis and Weems was coordinated by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Lewis served for twenty years as president of Wesley Theological Seminary. He currently serves as a senior fellow of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, which is named in his honor. Weems, who was president of Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri, for eighteen years, is currently executive director of the Lewis Center and distinguished professor of church leadership at Wesley.


Wesley Accepting Applications for Doctor of Ministry Program in Church Leadership

Wesley Theological Seminary offers a Doctor of Ministry track in “Church Leadership Excellence.” The Seminary is currently accepting applications for a new entering group to begin in May 2007. The Church Leadership Excellence Track focuses on the personal issues and public practices of those called to lead the church toward the coming reign of God. The combined resources of the Wesley faculty and the Lewis Center for Church Leadership bring depth and energy to this advanced degree program. Courses are offered during periods of intensive study scheduled in early January and early May each year. The degree requires thirty hours of course work. Applications are due December 15, 2006. Click to download a brochure listing dates, course offerings, and instructors. For more information, call the Doctor of Ministry Office at 202-885-8670.


Lewis Center Offers Resources to Help Pastors Make a Right Start

Moving from one church to the next is a critical juncture in pastoral ministry, full of promise and potential pitfalls. “Right Start Conferences” are one way the Lewis Center helps clergy as they transition into new ministry settings. During May, the Lewis Center is providing leadership for such events for clergy who are preparing to move this summer in the Baltimore-Washington, Central Pennsylvania, and Missouri Conferences of the United Methodist Church. If you are interested in scheduling such events in 2007, contact the Lewis Center.

The Lewis Center offers other resources to pastors in transition. Those preparing for a move may be interested in these online resources, some of which come from past issues of Leading Ideas:


Weems Speaks at Summit on Young Clergy Recruitment and Development

Lewis Center Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr. recently addressed a summit on the recruitment and development of young clergy. The event, held in Atlanta on May 2, was sponsored by the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Weems shared recent data compiled by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership on the declining number and percentage of clergy under thirty-five in the denomination. (Click for clergy age data.) In his address, “Young Clergy: United Methodism’s Endangered Species,” Weems maintained that efforts to increase the enlistment of young persons in the ministry are only part of the solution. He framed the young clergy crisis more broadly, lifting up the need to rename and reframe the “probationary process” and to support and encourage young clergy in their early years of ministry. “Ultimately, the issue is the vitality of the church itself,” said Weems, “a vibrant, growing, more broadly inclusive church will yield more young candidates for ordained ministry. And younger clergy are one way to help the church restore that vibrancy.” For more information about the summit, click here.


Study of United Methodist Clergy Age Trends Released

There has been a dramatic drop in the number and percentage of United Methodist elders under the age of 35 in the last twenty years according to a newly released report on clergy age trends. The number of elders under 35 declined from 3,219 in 1985 to 850 in 2005. Young elders as a percentage of all elders dropped from 15.05% in 1985 to only 4.69% in 2005.

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, has released a report documenting this decline. The project originated from a concern that the age of United Methodist clergy is getting disproportionately older than the population the church seeks to reach.

The primary focus of the project is the increasing age of elders in the five jurisdictional conferences of the United Methodist Church, but some comparable information was also gathered on deacons and local pastors. Available data on clergy age trends in other denominations are included for comparisons.

“Efforts to encourage younger persons to respond to God’s call to ordained ministry must be a priority for the United Methodist Church,” says Lovett H. Weems, Jr., director of the Lewis Center.  "Vital and growing churches are a key to attracting such younger leadership.”

Some of the other findings of the report are:

  • The decline in young elders has been significantly greater than the decline in church membership, number of churches, and number of pastoral charges.
  • The proportion of elders aged 55 and above has increased from 27% to 41%.
  • The median age of elders (half older, half younger) has increased from 48 to 52.
  • The mode age among elders (single age most represented) in 2005 was 58, the age of the first Baby Boomers to become elders.
  • The Southeastern Jurisdiction has the most young elders – 42% of the total.
  • The percentage of elders, deacons, and local pastors under 35 is generally the same.

This research was conducted in cooperation with the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church and with support from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.


Lewis Center for Church Leadership Launches Redesigned Website

An expanded online resource for church leaders is now available from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. A new version of www.churchleadership.com was launched recently by the Lewis Center. Pastors, students, congregational leaders, and denominational officials will all find thoughtful, current, relevant information to improve their leadership

The redesigned website contains recent research issued by the Lewis Center as well as information on the Center’s programs, resources, and events. Users can subscribe online to Leading Ideas, the free, biweekly electronic newsletter published by the Center, and access a comprehensive archive of past Leading Ideas articles. The archive’s listing of dates, titles, and authors is easily scanned, and a new search feature leads users to whatever type of information they seek. The site also contains news about the Lewis Center and its popular resources on building congregational strength.

“The new version of the Center’s website is a vital means of making the Lewis Center’s resources available to church leaders worldwide,” says Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., director of the Center and distinguished professor of church leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary. “We believe it will substantially further our efforts to build a new vision of church leadership.”

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership, located in Washington, DC, seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership. Through teaching, research, publications, and training, the Center seeks to be a trusted resource for church leadership so that congregations and denominations thrive and grow.


Brian McLaren Interviewed by Lewis Center Director

Brian McLaren, one of the most prominent voices in the "emergent church" conversation, was interviewed recently by Lewis Center Director Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr.  The interview, titled "Unless We Become Humble People," appears in the March/April Issue of Circuit Rider Magazine.  It can be found at www.umpublishing.com/pdfs/circuitrider/Q104UWHP.pdf.  McLaren is pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Maryland and author of eight books, including A Generous Orthodoxy.

In the interview, McLaren calls on the church to really listen to people who have dropped out of the church, and to break free of the "program mentality" that seeks the solution to every problem in gimmicks or new techniques.  "Unless we become humble people who care enougth to ask questions and listen and understand," McLaren said, "it will be the same old "us" running another program that will smell inauthentic to postmodern people."   

Other articles in the May/April issue of Circuit Rider focus on the theme:  "Leadership for Reaching Emerging Generations."  Weems served as guest editor of the entire issue, bringing the topics, authors, and articles together.


March/April Circuit Rider Focuses on Emergent Generation Leadership

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, served as guest editor of the March/April issue of Circuit Rider magazine, which is published by the United Methodist Publishing House and sent to all United Methodist clergy. Built around the theme, “Leadership for Reaching Emerging Generations,” the issue focuses on the need to recruit and develop more young clergy and includes a series of articles on efforts throughout the church to make disciples of more young persons. There is also an interview with Brian McLaren, one of the principal voices of the emergent church movement. To view the articles, go to www.circuitrider.com.


Campus Ministry: Meeting Spiritual Needs Top Strength, Funding Top Concern

Meeting the spiritual needs of college students is seen as the greatest strength of today’s United Methodist campus ministries and better funding for these ministries is a major concern among United Methodist campus ministers. This is the conclusion of an online survey distributed by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry on behalf of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership in the fall of 2005. Ten years ago, a similar study also found funding to be the top concern, but this challenge is even more pronounced today. Another concern identified was the desire for the church to make campus ministry a higher priority, with better understanding and cooperation. To view a summary of the survey’s results, go to "Survey of Campus Ministers" at www.churchleadership.com.

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, director of the Lewis Center, used the results of the survey to inform his work with Doctor of Ministry students enrolled in Wesley Seminary’s Campus Ministries Track. In January, Weems taught “Best Practices in Leadership and Administration in Campus Ministry.” Campus ministers interested in doctoral studies at Wesley Theological Seminary should contact Dr. Lew Parks, director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at lparks@wesleyseminary.edu.  The next track of study in Campus Ministries will begin in January 2008.


Lewis Center Provides Continuing Education for Baltimore-Washington Probationers

In partnership with the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, the Lewis Center has developed a program of continuing education specifically designed for clergy who are in their first three years out of seminary in the denominational probationary process. On March 24, the probationers will gather for an event on “Conflict Transformation.”

A three-year cycle of offerings was developed based on needs identified by the probationers, their mentors and district superintendents, and board members. In addition to the session on conflict, the other topics covered are Church Finances, Clergy Spiritual Life, Reaching New Disciples in a Changing Culture, Assessing the Fruits of Ministry, and Equipping Others for the Discipleship Journey.

The Lewis Center is involved in ongoing research on the effectiveness of the probationary process in the United Methodist Church. This research indicates allowing probationers a role in selecting topics covered during the probationary process is a key variable determining whether continuing education contributes to their growth and success. View the probationary reserach report, The Journey From Readiness to Effectiveness.


Developing Leaders in Highly Transient Congregations

“How to move people into leadership roles more quickly?” is a key question for churches in communities with high residential turnover. Clergy and staff from several such congregations gathered recently for a Lewis Center workshop on leadership development.

The theme of the day was “Taking Leadership to a New Level” – striving for leadership that is about more than tasks, leadership that is empowered, focused, confident, and spirit-led. “While many churches focus their efforts on developing effective recruitment systems,” said Ann A. Michel, associate director of the Lewis Center, “even the best recruitment mechanisms fall short if the individuals coming into the process are not spiritually mature and motivated, and if the church’s leadership climate is not open and receptive to newcomers." Much of the group’s discussion focused on how churches could address these challenges.

Lovett Weems discussed three essential elements in helping leaders develop. The first is “challenge.” This involves having to lead beyond one’s normal comfort zone. The second is “support.” Help in dealing with the challenges of a new leadership experience is also critical. The final element is “assessment.” Both formal and informal processes for receiving feedback are essential to leadership growth.


Lovett Weems Speaks to United Methodist Conference Leaders

Lovett H. Weems, Jr., director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, served as a leader for the “Conference Connexion” gathering in Dallas, Texas, January 19-21. Sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship and the Association of Directors of Connectional Ministry, this event brought together annual conference leadership teams to focus on the issue of identifying, equipping, and transforming leadership – both clergy and lay. In addition to serving as plenary speaker, Dr. Weems led a workshop on sustaining clergy excellence. He also gave the opening plenary address for the meeting of Directors of Connectional Ministries that followed the “Conference Connexion” event.