Browsing: Leading Ideas

Leading Ideas
Delivered every Wednesday, our free e-newsletter Leading Ideas offers articles by thoughtful, cutting-edge leaders on subjects you care about — navigating change, reaching younger people, financing your ministry, communicating effectively — to help you be the leader God is calling you to be.

The Lewis Center is committed to helping congregations and denominations thrive and grow by providing ideas, research, resources, and training for vital and fruitful leadership. Through Leading Ideas, we share vignettes of leaders and congregations, book reviews, leadership quotes, and helpful “right questions” built around the premise that leaders don’t need answers — they need to know the right questions.


Leading Ideas
0 8 Strategies for Reaching and Developing Gen Z

How can congregations build meaningful connections with young adults? Brandi Nicole Williams, Director for the African American Church Evangelism Institute, offers eight practical strategies for bridging the generational gap and fostering relationships with Gen Z to build a more relevant church community.   In today’s rapidly changing world, the church faces a critical challenge: engaging and connecting with Generation Z, born…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Compass Points Guide Character Formation and Lifelong Discipleship for Youth

The Fuller Youth Institute’s “Faith Beyond Youth Group” research initiative explored character as the vehicle for both faith longevity and faith vibrancy throughout the week. Their research yielded five compass points to guide the formation of character in young people — cultivating trust, modeling growth, teaching for transformation, practicing together, and making meaning.   The findings from the Faith Beyond Youth…

Leading Ideas
0 Is Voting the Best Way to Make Collective Decisions in the Church?

Voting is part of the organizational culture of many congregations. But it can create winners and losers, leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths. While there are times when voting is necessary and even desirable, churches should consider, explore, and adopt other methods of collective decision-making whenever possible, according to Mary Gladstone-Highland, Katy Stokes, and Christina Wichert, authors of a…

Leading Ideas
0 3 Strategies for Doing Church Online

Heidi Campbell, who has studied online churches since the early days of the internet, describes three online church strategies that emerged during the pandemic. The most common strategies mirror or modify the aspects of normal worship. But she sees the greatest promise in strategies that reimagine worship to take advantage of the unique possibilities of digital technology. This article was…

Leading Ideas
0 Healing Fractured Communities: An In-Depth Interview with Doug Powe and Jessica Anschutz

How can congregational leaders be healers and agitators at the same time? In this in-depth interview, Doug Powe and Jessica Anschutz reflect on the new book Healing Fractured Communities and the stories of pastoral leaders engaged in the work of renewal, resilience, and resistance in congregations, on college campuses, and in communities.  Listen to this interview, watch the interview video on…

Leading Ideas
0 Build Resilience. Reduce Burnout.

Are you feeling underchallenged, neglected, or overloaded? Diane Owen shares three pillars that provide the fuel to avert these three types of burnout. She offers practical ways to make small changes to avoid the downward spiral toward burnout. Resiliency, simply stated, is the ability to navigate difficult challenges. But sometimes our resiliency muscle has atrophied to a point where burnout…

Leading Ideas
0 7 Strategies to Thrive as a Single Person in Ministry

What are the opportunities, joys, and challenges for single persons in vocational ministry? Kevin E. Lawson and Jane Carr conducted focus groups and interviews with 45 single church staff members to answer these questions. They share seven ways unmarried staff can thrive in ministry. As more young adults delay marriage, date longer before becoming married, or stay single, it is…

Leading Ideas
0 Preaching in the Wake of Mass Trauma: An In-Depth Interview with Kimberly Wagner

How would you preach next Sunday if tomorrow your community fell victim to a mass shooting or was devastated by a natural disaster? Ann Michel of the Lewis Center staff interviews Kimberly Wagner, Assistant Professor of Preaching at Princeton Theological Seminary, about approaching this increasingly unavoidable homiletical task in ways that hold in tension loss and grief and the promise…

Leading Ideas
0 Restoring Trust in the Institutional Church Requires Allegiance to Our True Purpose

Gil Rendle says all institutions eventually gravitate from serving their stated purposes to satisfying powerful institutional constituencies. The current deep mistrust of the institutional church is fueled by the fact that we focus more on our own people, clergy, resources, and rules than on our true, lifegiving mission. Trust can only be restored when leaders have the courage and capacity…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Addictions the Church Must Overcome to Grow in the Future

Carey Nieuwhof explains that churches must respond to a culture that has become even more digital, mobile, and home-centered since the COVID-19 crisis. He predicts growing churches will focus less on place-based ministry and packed rooms and will adjust budgets and attitudes to fit a new reality. This article was originally published on October 6, 2020.  You’ve probably learned a…

Leading Ideas
0 New Possibilities for Engaging Ministry Participants and Leaders

Ann Michel of the Lewis Center staff says that churches need to think outside the box when seeking to involve new people in ministry and leadership. Church membership or even church attendance should no longer be the assumed starting point in the process.   Are you sensing a new level of challenge when it comes to engaging congregants in ministry and…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Tips for Pastors on Using AI

What is artificial intelligence (AI) and how can it enhance your ministry? Josh Burnett offers five things pastors need to know about AI. He also shares some ideas for using AI to strengthen your ministry so that you can spend more time cultivating relationships with the congregation and the community.   The era of artificial intelligence (AI) is here. Once confined…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Things You Need to Know about Donors who are Retired

What do church financial leaders need to know when discussing generosity with retirees? Stewardship expert Ken Sloane shares five considerations that might shape a recent retiree’s mindset when it comes to sharing their treasure and their time. I’m getting older. Some would say I’m already old. While I’m not retiring yet, I recognize that it’s true that what retirement looks…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Reasons Churches Suffer Management Chaos

Focused on ministry, churches often give too little attention to organizational management. Church consultant Rich Sider outlines five common management problems that can result in confusion and conflict. This article was originally published on May 23, 2018. Churches correctly give priority to ministry to their members and their communities. However, if they don’t also give priority to how they are…

Leading Ideas
0 Twenty-Five Percent of Churches Disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church

The Lewis Center has issued a final report on disaffiliating churches in the United Methodist Church covering 7,631 churches approved by annual conferences for disaffiliation by December 31, 2023. There continue to be more similarities than differences between the cohort of disaffiliating churches and the total pool of United Methodist churches. Disaffiliating churches are disproportionately in the Southeastern (50 percent)…

Leading Ideas
0 Some Questions for Further Research from the Disaffiliation Process

The recent disaffiliation process in the United Methodist Church leaves in its wake grief, hope, and many unanswered questions regarding the impact of prior unifications, the impact of clergy and judicatory leaders in the process, and the various motivations for disaffiliation. Lovett H. Weems of the Lewis Center staff raises some of these significant questions and identifies areas where qualitative…

Leading Ideas
0 Embracing Mutual Ministry: An In-Depth Interview with Lydia Bucklin

How can your congregation function as a community of ministers rather than a community gathered around a single minister? Lydia Bucklin of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan explains the Mutual Ministry Initiative and how this approach to shared ministry is flourishing among smaller churches in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan. Listen to this interview, watch the interview video on YouTube,…

Leading Ideas
0 Leaders Help Their Communities Dream Big Dreams

Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech proposed a big dream for what America can become. What big dreams do you have for your congregation and community? Lewis Center Director Doug Powe shares four key characteristics of big dreams that propel us toward a future shaped by participating in God’s transforming work. Many of us have heard Dr.…

Leading Ideas
0 The Mutual Benefits of Church-School Partnerships

Jake McGlothin, author of The Mission-Minded Guide to Church and School Partnerships, says it’s only logical that the two most important social institutions in our society should work together. He outlines what churches can share with schools as well as how engagement with schools can positively impact a congregation. This article was originally published on February 22, 2017.  Two of…

Leading Ideas
0 7 Trends Impacting Church Leadership for 2024

Ann Michel, Doug Powe, and Jessica Anschutz of the Lewis Center staff identify seven trends church leaders should keep in mind as they develop creative ministries to reach new people in 2024. Many of these trends are daunting, reflecting the long-term decline in worship attendance and the increasing percentage of Americans who claim no religious affiliation. But there are also…

Leading Ideas
0 3 Ways to Listen Well

Effective leaders are skilled listeners. C. Kavin Rowe offers three practices that center on developing our attention and improving our ability to listen.   Leaders need to know how to listen well. It seems so obvious. Why bring it up? Because the truth is that many leaders are more focused on telling people what to do than they are on listening…

Leading Ideas
0 Top “Leading Ideas Talks” Podcast Episodes of 2023

How to Keep Preaching Fresh How can preachers keep their preaching fresh? Teresa Fry Brown, professor of preaching at Candler School of Theology, shares strategies for preaching familiar texts for different generations, preaching for in person and digital audiences, and sermon preparation for bivocational pastors. Listen, read, or watch now. Funding Forward: How Congregations Can Develop New Revenue Sources Is your congregation too dependent on…

Leading Ideas
0 Top “Leading Ideas” Articles of 2023

Report on Disaffiliating United Methodist Churches through 2022: Comparing Similarities and Differences What are the characteristics of churches disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church? Lovett H. Weems Jr. reports that there are more similarities than differences between the cohort of disaffiliating churches and the total pool of all United Methodist churches. But disaffiliating churches are overwhelmingly in the South with…

1 2 3 56

Shop