Browsing: Focus

Focus — For Denominational Leaders
While Focus is designed for those within the United Methodist Church with responsibilities beyond a single pastoral charge, leaders of other traditions may find the resources useful. If you’d like to receive an update of the latest relevant information for judicatory leaders from Lewis Center Senior Consultant Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., subscribe free to Focus e-newsletter.


Focus
0 6 Trends Revealed in 2018 Clergy Age Report

Lovett H. Weems, Jr., highlights some of the significant findings in the Lewis Center’s annual Clergy Age Trends Report. Of note is the modest downturn in recent years in the number of clergy under 35 as well as the number and percentage of young women clergy, following a decade of improvement. Download the 2018 Clergy Age Trends Report.   For over…

Focus
0 Young Clergy Effectiveness: Good News-Bad News

Data from the Lewis Pastoral Leadership Inventory™ (LPLI) suggest that younger clergy share many of the same strengths as their older colleagues and that they get high marks for their creativity and new ideas. The challenges seem to be sustaining that creative edge over time and translating new ideas into fruitful outcomes when it comes to worship attendance and discipleship…

Focus
0 5 Reasons the Church Still Needs Young Clergy

For many years the Lewis Center has monitored the presence of younger clergy in the church. Why do these trends still matter? Lovett H. Weems, Jr., and Ann A. Michel remind us that despite modest progress in the past decade, encouraging the ordination of more young candidates for ministry is just as important as it was when they first articulated…

Focus
0 What’s at Stake when Schism is an Option?

Originally published Dec. 12, 2017. United Methodists are facing major decisions about our legacy and future in the coming months and years. Myriad actions taken over many past years have set up a classic win/lose situation, particularly regarding human sexuality, quite common in today’s politics but strangely out of character with the generous spirit of our Wesleyan heritage. Many United…

Focus
0 Matters of Life and Death

Ann Michel of the Lewis Center staff reports on William B. Lawrence’s book A Methodist Requiem that examines the legacy and impact of the church from several different angles and considers what’s at stake in a potential split. At a time of great concern about the future of United Methodism, William B. Lawrence reflects on the importance of the Methodist…

Focus
0 Resource to Help Churches Engage Local Schools

Many conferences and districts are encouraging churches to engage their local schools to connect with their communities. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership sponsored a conference on this topic and later developed a resource to guide congregations in considering questions that are critical to the success of a school-focused service initiative. Engaging Local Schools provides models and best practices on…

Focus
0 Free Pastoral Transition Resources

The Lewis Center offers a range of resources for pastors and congregations anticipating transitions, including these free downloads. 50 Ways to Improve Pastoral Transitions 50 Ways to Welcome a New Pastor Suggestions for Churches with a Clergywoman Suggestions for Churches with a Single Pastor Suggestions for Churches with a Young Pastor Why Women Are Clergy

Focus
0 United Methodism’s Unfinished Business

Recalling the sermon Albert C. Outler preached 50 years ago at the birth of the United Methodist Church, Lovett H. Weems, Jr., says that Outler’s hope for “a church repentant in order to be a church redemptive” is vitally relevant today in the face of the divisions currently plaguing the United Methodist Church. In recent weeks, much attention has been…

Focus
0 Bishop and DS LPLI Versions Available This Fall 

Over 3,000 clergy have used the Lewis Pastoral Leadership Inventory (LPLI) since its introduction. Many clergy use it as individuals, but most often it is used in connection with a district, conference, or Board of Ordained Ministry group. Bishops and District Superintendents have requested versions that fit their roles to permit them to receive the same type of 360-degree feedback. This fall,…

Focus
0 Free Pastoral Transition Resources

As you work with pastors and congregations anticipating transitions, I want to remind you of these free resources from the Lewis Center: 50 Ways to Improve Pastoral Transitions 50 Ways to Welcome a New Pastor Suggestions for Churches with a Clergywoman Suggestions for Churches with a Single Pastor Suggestions for Churches with a Young Pastor Why Women Are Clergy …

Focus
0 A Delta Moment in the Church

David McAllister-Wilson, president of Wesley Theological Seminary, posits the metaphor of a delta region to describe the dangerous yet fertile waters the church must navigate in our times. He sees a promising course in Methodists reclaiming their identity as progressive evangelicals believing in a personal God who expects things of each of us personally. The church in the U.S. is…

Focus
0 Methodism as an Experiment in Grace

David McAllister-Wilson sees the distinctive spiritual heritage of Methodism as something uniquely suited to our times — a legacy that cannot be sacrificed as the denomination considers whether staying together is the way forward. Our Genetic Legacy Living things thrive over time if they adapt and yet stay true to a basic identity. Why can’t humans fly? It’s because the…

Focus
0 Resources You Can Suggest Related to Gun Safety Research

In last week’s issue of Leading Ideas, the Lewis Center newsletter for congregational leaders, Lovett Weems asked “Can Church Leaders Reframe the Gun Debate” in an article that is being shared widely. If you wish to refer those with whom you work to further resources that deal with the subject of gun safety, you may find the following links helpful.…

Focus
0 The High Price of Division Historically

Donald W. Haynes, a retired pastor and district superintendent, suggests that key questions raised by the Way Forward Commission should be considered in light of the history of other issues that divided Methodism and the consequence of those divisions. Haynes asks, do we risk the loss of voice in our own generation as our nation and world need our unified…

Focus
0 Reaching More Diverse People in Suburbs

Lovett H. Weems, Jr. shares recent findings indicating that mixed-race neighborhoods are becoming more common and enduring, even in the suburbs. Data suggest that Americans increasingly are choosing to live near people of other races, rather than move away from them, as was often the trend in the past. Polls among United Methodists, as well as among the U.S. population…

Focus
0 LPLI Helps Good Clergy Become Better

LPLI, the Lewis Pastoral Leadership Inventory, is a confidential, online, 360° leadership development instrument. It helps pastoral leaders improve their ministry effectiveness by identifying individual strengths and weaknesses within a three-fold understanding of fruitful leadership encompassing Character, Competence, and Contribution. Users receive a personalized leadership profile report that can be used for self-discovery, gathering feedback from others, setting goals for…

Focus
0 Free “50 Ways” Resources

Need practical, actionable strategies to reach people more effectively? The Lewis Center’s popular “50 Ways” series provides tips for building strength in areas of ministry that are vital to church growth. Topics include 50 Ways to: Welcome a New Pastor; Improve Your Annual Stewardship Campaign; Welcome New People; Increase Worship Attendance; Strengthen Ministry with Children; plus many more. Read now…

Focus
0 Pastors Moving to New Churches Need the Right Start

Are you a pastor preparing to begin ministry in a new setting? With The Right Start Video Tool Kit, you’ll learn how to end your current ministry well, develop a personal transition plan, and make the most of your first days, weeks, and months in your new congregation. The Right Start is available in both Pastor’s and Group Training Versions. Learn…

Focus
0 The $6.5 Billion Enigma

On the first day of a new year, all United Methodist churches begin working toward their common mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” To achieve this mission, the United Methodist Church in the United States has: over 30,000 local churches with nearly 7 million members with thousands of clergy and lay leaders, and…

Focus
0 Good Time to Review Clergy Age Trends in Your Conference

As Boards of Ordained Ministry conduct interviews and Cabinets make appointments, it may be good to review the age trends among elders, deacons, and local pastors in your conference. The short video Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church (4:21) gives you and your colleagues a snapshot of recent figures and trends for your conference. A full report is…

Focus
0 States with Higher Potential for Growth in 2018

Population growth is only one factor in whether churches grow, but it is a key factor. At the end of December, the U.S. Census Bureau released the projected population changes in the United States for the period beginning July 1, 2016, and ending July 1, 2017. The charts below indicate the states (and District of Columbia) that showed the largest…

Focus
0 Clergy Taxes and the New Tax Law

Two resources may be of help to you and those with whom you work regarding the new federal tax legislation. There are minimal changes that will impact churches and clergy specifically. An article that features a discussion with three tax law experts who work with churches and clergy is “The GOP Tax Bill Just Passed. Here’s What Church Leaders Need…

Focus
0 Succession Planning for Larger Churches

A few years ago, I received a call from a member of a Staff-Parish Relations Committee of a very large United Methodist Church. She said their pastor was retiring after a long tenure, and she was assigned to make some calls for the committee, with the bishop’s blessing, about potential successors. I assured her that there were much stronger options…

Focus
0 Who Should Follow a Founding Pastor?

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership conducted research across the United Methodist Church about “second pastors,” those who follow founding pastors. This project was commissioned by the North Texas Conference, and Jim Ozier from that conference does training on this topic. You may find the report at Findings about Pastors Who Follow Founding Pastors. Download and read report (PDF).

Focus
0 The Calling of an Annual Conference

When thinking about the appropriate roles for any part of the church, it is important to ask, “What is the ‘calling’ of this unit”? What is it that the entire church looks to this body to do, so that if it does not do it, no one else can or likely will? What are those things that no other group…

Focus
0 The Annual Conference as the Basic Unit of the Church

The Constitution of the United Methodist Church identifies the annual conference as “the basic body in the Church.” The annual conference admits persons into ordained ministry, and it is from the annual conference that clergy go to their assignments. Clergy hold their membership in the annual conference and not in congregations. With the focus on local churches in recent times,…

Focus
0 Reaching More People, Younger People, More Diverse People

The United Methodist Church faces a looming adaptive challenge that can only be addressed by major learning, innovation, and prayerful discernment. United Methodists in the United States have a future only to the extent that we can reach “more people, younger people, and more diverse people.” This phrase, now commonplace among United Methodists, emerged out of clues from multiple conversations…

Focus
0 Watch “Reaching More People: Toward a Mixed Economy of Church”

Dr. Kenneth H. Carter, bishop of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, addresses the challenge of reaching more people. He explains the need to reach the 80 percent of people who are not inclined to find their way to church on their own.  He advocates moving toward a “mixed economy of church” in which the work of strong,…

Focus
0 Watch “Reaching Younger People: Overinvesting in the Young”

Dr. Janice Riggle Huie, a retired bishop of the United Methodist Church now serving with the Texas Methodist Foundation, addresses the challenge of reaching younger people. She explains how the “pipeline” that used to transport young people through children’s, youth, and campus ministry, and then back into local congregations as spiritually mature adults is now “full of cracks and leaks.”…

Focus
0 Watch “Reaching More Diverse People: Embracing the Neighbors Around Us”

Rev. Dr. Joseph W. Daniels, Jr., lead pastor of Emory United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, addresses the challenge of reaching more diverse people. He maintains that churches must learn to see their communities as their congregations and embrace the neighbors that surround them. Meeting the metrics of the Kingdom of God involves meeting people’s tangible needs.more. Watch now.

Focus
0 Free Staff-Parish Resources Available

Some of you work with Staff-Parish Relations Committees regularly. Keep in mind some one-page resources that you may want to use or share with them on these topics: Effective and Ineffective Staff-Parish Relations Committees Theological Foundations for Evaluation Types of Evaluation Giving and Receiving Feedback

Focus
0 Risking Experiments for God’s Reign

What are the challenges we currently face for which we presently have no answer but must address if we’re to live into God’s future for us? — Alan J. Roxburgh Most of us with denominational responsibilities spend much of our time trying to help congregations rethink their ways of operating in these changed times. The need is great. However, all of us…

Focus
0 Welcome to “Focus”

In my new role as senior consultant for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, I have been asked to build on our past efforts to equip conference and judicatory leaders. One new resource is Focus, a periodic e-newsletter specifically designed for leaders who have responsibility for more than one congregation or pastoral charge. The Lewis Center’s very popular weekly newsletter, Leading Ideas,…

Focus
0 New Online Course: “Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age”

Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age, a new online course in the Keeping Our Sacred Trust series, explores issues of clergy ethics in an era of instantaneous electronic communication. The course helps spiritual leaders stay healthy and attentive to appropriate boundaries amid new ministry challenges including social media, texting, online pornography, and more. The original Keeping Our Sacred Trust online course, Understanding Clergy Sexual Ethics,…


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