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 Choosing Joy in the Face of Disruption and Loss

We can choose to dwell on the loss and change COVID-19 has brought to our lives, or we can shift our focus and choose joy. American University’s Bryan Champion says during this time of isolation we have received the precious gift of time to spend with those most dear to us, advance goals, and improve our own leadership. I know…

Leading Ideas
0 Preaching to an Empty Room

How can preachers maintain a sense of presence and engage their audience when COVID-19 has their congregants viewing worship via livestream? Read these tips on preaching to an empty room by Alyce McKenzie, Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director of the Center for Preaching Excellence at Perkins School of Theology. Our current situation…

Leading Ideas
0 10 Thoughts on Leading Through the COVID-19 Crisis

Alex Shanks says that people pay particular attention to what leaders say and do in times of crisis. He shares ten lessons to help leaders be more deliberate in how they chose to lead in the face of the unprecedented challenges of the unfolding COVID-19 crisis. The unfolding COVID-19 crisis presents unprecedented challenges for virtually every sector of our society.…

Leading Ideas
0 Leading the Church in the Face of Coronavirus

How can the church provide timely and proactive leadership when there is no tried and true template? Bill Owen, a consultant and coach with the Center for Healthy Congregations, lists best practices, but more importantly stresses the importance of leaning in toward the challenge and into your values as the Body of Christ. There’s no denying the stress in recent…

Leading Ideas
0 Staying Connected in a Time of Social Distancing

How can congregations sustain a sense of community and care for one another when most gatherings have been suspended? Some simple strategies can be used to stay in touch with those who are isolated and maintain an ongoing spiritual presence says F. Douglas Powe Jr., Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, and James C. Logan, Chair of Evangelism…

Leading Ideas
0 10 Ideas for Church Financial Leaders Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

Ken Sloane of Discipleship Ministries shares ten ideas for church financial leaders to help sustain the church and its ministries in the face of interruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Numerous good resources are available for churches about how to prepare for the reality of the spreading COVID-19 virus. The following list of ideas is specifically directed to financial leaders…

Leading Ideas
0 6 Leadership Practices that Enhance Involvement and Collaboration

Are you leading in a way that inspires, invites, and engages others? Katie Carson Phillips outlines six basic leadership practices that support greater collaboration and more meaningful engagement. Does your church suffer from a lack of committed involvement? Your committees may be full. People may show up. But they lack passion, investment, and a willingness to act. It’s tempting to…

Leading Ideas
0 Resources for Church Leaders about the COVID-19 Pandemic

Information about COVID-19 is changing seemingly by the hour. Tom Pruski, a registered nurse and director of Wesley Theological Seminary’s Heal the Sick Initiative, urges church leaders to stay current with the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Also, we’re sharing a lot of great information on Facebook and…

Leading Ideas
0 Are You Teaching People about Faith? Or How to Practice It?

Johannah Myers describes a paradigm shift in how we form disciples with a move away from Christian education toward an emphasis on forming people in the practices of the faith. In place of age-level classrooms she sees a need to help people of all ages live out their faith through intergenerational mentoring and experiential learning. When I first started serving…

Leading Ideas
0 6 Silver Linings in the Clouds of Doom and Gloom

Ann Michel of the Lewis Center staff points to six positive factors that may offer clues to churches seeking a way forward in an environment shaped by so many discouraging trends and challenges. Do you feel barraged by the discouraging trends and challenging circumstances defining church life today? Aging clergy. Denominational struggles. Decreasing average worship attendance. Worrisome giving trends. The…

Leading Ideas
0 3 Key Lessons from Leadership Pioneer Mary Parker Follett

Lovett H. Weems Jr. explains how Mary Parker Follett, a pioneering leadership thinker who valued human interaction and interconnectivity, influenced his thinking on key leadership themes such as vision, collaboration, and reconciliation. Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933) was ahead of her time. Her life was that of a pioneer and, perhaps more importantly, her ideas were and continue to be groundbreaking.…

Leading Ideas
0 What Does Religious Freedom Mean Today?

Some people misuse the cause of religious freedom by making it a weapon against their opponents, says Lovett H. Weems Jr. However, this cherished freedom was established on behalf of those with minority views and beliefs. It is not a pretense for discrimination, a license to do anything in the name of religion, or a guarantee of religious comfort. The…

Leading Ideas
0 3 Characteristics of Genuine Christian Hospitality

Christian hospitality doesn’t begin at the church’s front door, writes Philip J. Brooks. It extends Christlike love into the surrounding community, builds relationships, and risks change for the sake of including someone new. Hospitality is a word one hears often in church. Many congregations have a permanent hospitality committee or dedicated team to ensure guests on Sunday are welcomed warmly. But…

Leading Ideas
0 4 Steps to a More Welcoming Church Building

Lovett Weems reminds us that visitors often form a first impression of a church based on the appearance of the areas they first encounter, such as the parking lot, entry, and restrooms. He recommends four steps to assess and improve the message sent to newcomers by the condition of your facilities. Do you remember what it was like to go…

Leading Ideas
0 4 Ways to Multiply Disciples the Way Jesus Did

Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird explain that for our ministries to have a truly exponential impact, we need to be mentoring, developing, and multiplying disciples. They share four key learnings about how Jesus nurtured his followers by investing time in them. In John 3:22, the Bible makes an easily overlooked, seemingly mundane statement: “Jesus and his disciples went out into…

Leading Ideas
0 7 Things to Do When a Church Is in Decline

Ron Edmondson says addressing decline promptly and honestly is difficult but critical work for congregations in a slump. Objectively evaluating problems, avoiding blame, and charting a clear way forward are some of the steps he recommends. What should you do when a church is in decline? I get asked that question a lot. It should be noted there are no…

Leading Ideas
0 3 Keys to Congregational Success: Meaning, Belonging, and Values

Dave Brubaker says making meaning of life, providing a network of relationships, and transmitting essential values are three essential ways congregations respond to core human needs. These aspects of congregational life are key to success and may help reach “Nones” and others missing from our pews. Meaning making and belonging are core human needs. For parents and others who care…

Leading Ideas
0 The 4 “C’s” of Impactful Leadership

Lewis Center Director F. Douglas Powe says that courage, conviction, collaboration, and creativity are four characteristics of effective leadership evident in the powerful legacy of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. These four “C’s” can also set apart our leadership if we learn to harness their collective power. What sets a great leader apart from others? What are some of the…

Leading Ideas
0 3 Ways to Lead More Collaboratively

Justin Irving and Mark Strauss write that collaboration is an important factor contributing to effective leadership. Leading with humility, celebrating the contributions of others, and embracing the benefits of teamwork are three key principles vital to more successful organizational leadership. Whether it is engaging a community with shared vision or embracing more team-oriented practices in your organization, fostering collaboration is…

Leading Ideas
0 Nurturing a Dementia-Friendly Church

Bishop Kenneth Carder considers how churches can be in ministry with those with dementia and their families. His practical advice to congregations is informed by his poignant personal journey and his profound reflection on the spiritual aspects of coping with dementia. One of the last words to leave my wife Linda’s vocabulary was church. Each week a couple from the…

Leading Ideas
0 Ways Your Building Can Generate Income and Bless Your Community

Mark DeYmaz writes that churches should leverage their buildings and real estate not just to survive, but to thrive. Using your building more creatively can not only generate income but also expand your presence in the community and bless your neighbors. It’s no secret. Throughout the United States church buildings, parking lots, and real estate sit idle from Sunday to…

Leading Ideas
0 Leading When You Don’t Know the Way

Consultant Susan Beaumont says church leaders need a different set of skills in ambiguous, disorienting periods of transition. In such seasons of change leaders must manage anxiety, embrace the freedom of unknowing, explore new possibilities and avoid acting prematurely. Times of transition are often characterized by a state of ambiguity or disorientation referred to as “liminality.” A person or group…

Leading Ideas
0 The Case for Church Membership

People are less inclined today to join a church than in the past, even if they are interested and involved. But membership still matters, says Jayson Bradley, as it is a proclamation of commitment, belief, mutual support, and a desire to mature as part of a community. Church membership is a concept that some people really struggle with. I can…

Leading Ideas
0 F.I.S.H. Differently! Take Stock of all Available Capital Resources

Sidney Williams says that established congregations seeking to develop transformational ministries must learn to fish differently by taking full advantage of all the capital resources available to them — Faith Capital, Intellectual Capital, Social Capital, and Human Capital. Established congregations face a climate of declining attendance, increased financial pressure, and a growing frustration with the decline in church membership. The…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Disciplines of Teams that Thrive

Ryan Hartwig and Warren Bird studied leadership teams in more than 2,500 churches to discover the distinctive features of thriving teams. They found that the key factors in successful teamwork are a shared purpose, leveraging of differences among team members, exercising of leadership through inspiration rather than control, clear decision-making processes, and a culture of ongoing collaboration. Studying more than…

1 2 3 4 40

Shop