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 Ducking Spears, Dancing Madly: A Biblical Model of Church Leadership

Lew Parks and Bruce Birch have made a marvelous contribution to church leaders as they bring together Bible, theology, and leadership studies for their model of church leadership. The book is enriched by the incisive exegetical work of Birch on 1 and 2 Samuel, the extensive pastoral and judicatory experience of Parks, and the astute theological sensibilities and writing gifts…

Leading Ideas
0 Moving Established Congregations through Change

1. Learn the story of the church you serve.   I have found that laity who have been in a church a long time love to talk about the life they have enjoyed there. They feel complimented when you ask them lots of questions about how that church has changed over time and what values have remained the same. If…

Leading Ideas
0 All the Mainline News That’s Fit to Print

The statistical decline of mainline denominations has been well documented. Less certain is any decline in cultural influence since social impact and numbers are not always synonymous. Online resources make certain types of tracking and research much easier today than in the past. With this in mind, we set out to track the use of identifying words for several mainline…

Leading Ideas
0 Opening Up the Small Membership Church

Anthony Pappas is area minister for the Old Colony Association of the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts. He was formerly pastor on Block Island. His book Entering the World of the Small Membership Church (Alban, revised edition 2000) is a fine resource. More recently he edited a collection of articles from newsletters and magazines, Inside the Small Church (Alban, 2002).…

Leading Ideas
0 New Life for a 100-year-old Church

Before going to this church eight years ago, I heard tragic stories about the church. Most of the members were dead or dying, I was told, except for the mean ones who are alive and well! Needless to say, I went reluctantly, but leading this church has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. A turning point came…

Leading Ideas
0 Basketball Coaching and Leadership

Last Christmas I received a copy of Phil Jackson’s book, The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul. It is Jackson’s reflections on his last season as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team. Though it was not Jackson’s explicit purpose, I realized the book contains some important insights about leadership. There is always a transcendent element…

Leading Ideas
0 Successful Planning and Evaluation for Religious Organizations

Churches, along with many serving institutions, tend to focus more on “what we do” and “how we do it” than on “what we accomplish.” Church leaders can always claim that what the church is about is “hard to measure.” While that is true, when a church begins any endeavor, from a worship service to a food pantry, there are certainly…

Leading Ideas
0 Demographics and Leadership

A community recently celebrated a citywide religious observance that sought to bring together all the churches of that community. It was an impressive gathering in many ways. However, I was struck that the only persons of color present were those participating as part of a Girl Scout troop that shared in a presentation of flags. I could not help but…

Leading Ideas
0 Working with a Volunteer Treasurer

Last fall I discovered that the various money accounts of the church had not been audited for the year. I was going to get everything done and look good when the district superintendent came for the annual Charge Conference. I began handing out the necessary report forms, including the audit forms. I was not prepared for the assault I received…

Leading Ideas
0 Stages in Leadership

A few years ago, I was scheduled to preach on the first Sunday of January in a community about two hours from where I lived. When the day of the service came, I got up very early to begin the trip since the weather was not good. I called to make sure the service would still be held. As soon…

Leading Ideas
0 Leading Your Congregation to New Life

Do the following characteristics describe your church? More than seventy-five years old. Clear sense of a rich past. Less clarity about the present. No vision for the future. Deeply committed members. Some effective areas of ministry. Members glad to be there. Sense of community within the congregation. Limited evidence of a desire to share the gospel with persons outside the…

Leading Ideas
0 Leadership Lessons from Peter F. Drucker (1919-2005)

Peter Drucker, who died in November, was often called the world’s most influential management thinker. Over sixty-six years, he wrote more than three dozen books that have been translated into thirty languages. They shaped the thinking of business leaders at all levels of responsibility. In his later years, he gave considerable attention to the nonprofit sector, including churches. Many of…

Leading Ideas
0 I Hope They Will Know I Believed in Them

One study that examined differences between growing churches and declining churches found that one of the leadership factors found in pastors of churches that lost members was a “negative view of the laity.” This point was on my mind during several recent experiences. While speaking at a pastors’ conference, I was struck throughout by a “we-they” attitude of clergy toward…

Leading Ideas
0 Orchestrating Conflict

Upon returning home after a week away, I learned that several key leaders in the church were in disagreement with one another. Their disagreement had escalated to a point of personal hostility. Knowing the problem needed to be addressed, I called each of them to set a time when we could all meet to address the problems. I could stand…

Leading Ideas
0 Reviving Old St. Patrick’s Church

Jack Wall is a Roman Catholic priest in Chicago. A few years back he was assigned to a church that had been virtually abandoned. It was located in the heart of Chicago with four remaining members. The church was like so many urban churches. Thousands of people pass by each day, but only a handful are left in the worshiping…

Leading Ideas
0 Points of Vulnerability

Dr. Marianne E. Inman, president of Central Methodist University in Missouri, keeps a list of items that she calls the school’s “Points of Institutional Vulnerability.” The list is quite public within the college community, especially among key leaders. The dominant role of a leader is always to celebrate the strengths and successes of group life. But there is an important…

Leading Ideas
0 Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge

For more than twenty years, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have had a profound impact on the way leaders think about their work. While their research has been primarily in the business world, their work is read and quoted widely in the nonprofit sector, including among church leaders. Their most widely known book isThe Leadership Challenge. This book, which has…

Leading Ideas
0 Which Comes First — Belief or Belonging?

Robin Gill, an English ethicist and theologian, contends that in matters of faith, belonging is primary. A more intellectualized approach to faith tells us that people first believe and then they come to belong. Gill is convinced that it is the other way around. People belong and then they believe. He set out to test his assumption against research data.…

Leading Ideas
0 A Review of Leading Beyond the Walls

Adam Hamilton was my pastor for thirteen years. He is a remarkable pastor and preacher and one of the most gifted leaders in the United Methodist Church today. He has given us in this book the outline of what led this church to become such a beacon of light to mainline Christianity in the U.S. Two years after completing seminary,…

Leading Ideas
0 Predictors of Youth Returning to Church as Adults

A longitudinal study of youth in the suburbs of Washington, DC, followed youth who were active in the church at age 16 to see if they were active at age 38. The purpose of the study was to determine if there were significant variables that might serve as predictors of which youth would be active as adults. Youth of all…

1 27 28 29

Shop