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 Two Views of Vision

What kind of vision helps a church finds its way forward? Lovett H. Weems, Jr., says a vision needn’t be grandiose, nor is the process necessarily linear. Drawing on Margaret Wheatley’s “circular” understanding of vision, he explains that visioning can involve a series of small, next-step visions that become a field of energy from which a larger vision emerges. Margaret…

Leading Ideas
0 A Spiritually Inviting Food Pantry

Sue Nilson Kibbey, author of the new book Flood Gates: Holy Momentum for a Fearless Church, describes how a food pantry ministry provided the opportunity for a congregation to develop deepening relationships with the food pantry clients. It started with serving a warm meal and eventually led to the creation of a new community of Christ followers. A church leader…

Leading Ideas
0 Ten Ways to Build the Beloved Community

Baltimore Pastor C. Anthony Hunt lifts up Martin Luther King, Jr.’s powerful vision of the Beloved Community, calling on individuals and churches to continue to promote peace with justice. He provides ten suggestions for heightening our commitment to community building and social engagement. A universal human striving is for authentic community. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was among those who…

Leading Ideas
0 Why Some Ministries Need to Die

Every ministry has a lifespan, according to pastor and author Graham Standish. When a church forces dying ministries to stay alive, it prevents new ministries from being resurrected from the death of the old. A major problem of any struggling church is that it consistently does what it’s always done before, and avoids doing what it’s never done before. Whenever…

Leading Ideas
0 Stewardship Resolutions for the New Year

Stewardship consultant Cesie Delve Scheuermann suggests planning your calendar of stewardship activities for the year. But before you do any asking, she stresses that you need to be deliberate about thanking contributors and telling the story of how their giving is changing lives and making the world a better place. Now that Christmas is over, you have (maybe) a moment…

Leading Ideas
0 Top Lewis Center Resources of 2016

Lewis Center resources guide you in strengthening your personal leadership and renewing your congregation. Following are our most popular free and purchased resources of the year. Save 10% on downloadable and DVD/CD video tool kits and PDF ebooks with coupon code TOP2016 through December 31, 2016. Top Free Resources 50 Ways to Increase Worship Attendance Free to read, share, and…

Leading Ideas
0 Top “Leading Ideas” Articles of 2016

What Leading Ideas subjects are trending this year? We have assembled this list to give you another opportunity to glean insight and inspiration from the authors and articles most popular with our nearly 18,000 subscribers. 10 Ways to Reach Unchurched People at Christmas Pastor Carey Nieuwhof says unchurched people want to celebrate Christmas, so there is no better time to…

Leading Ideas
0 Room at the Inn

Doug Ruffle, who once served as a missionary in Argentina, shares the heartwarming story of a Christmas pageant that went off script, yet captured the true meaning of Christmas. It invites us to make room for the Christ Child in our lives. As a missionary in Argentina, I served Peace Community Church in Rosaria. It was an intimate community of…

Leading Ideas
0 A Birthday Party for Jesus

Margie Briggs, pastor of two small churches in Missouri, describes how the annual tradition of hosting a “birthday party for Jesus” has attracted children and families from their community into the church, helping to bring new vitality to an aging congregation. A few years ago, our small rural church in Calhoun, Missouri, wanted to do something at Christmas time for…

Leading Ideas
0 10 Qualities Your Church Doesn’t Need to Grow Young

What types of churches attract young people? Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin, the authors of Growing Young, dispel a number of common myths. Their research indicates that size, location, denominational tradition, worship style, and several other variables don’t matter as much as imagined and that congregations of all types have the potential to “grow young.” Whether you’re a senior…

Leading Ideas
0 7 Ways to Help Unchurched Guests Feel Welcome without Selling Out

Making new people feel welcome isn’t a sell out to a marketing and customer service mentality, says Rich Birch. It’s consistent with Scripture’s overarching theme of making space for the outsider. He outlines seven basic ways of making sure guests feel welcome. Some church leaders look down their noses at churches that go out of their way to create environments…

Leading Ideas
0 So That: Two Powerful Words for Mission Results

Lovett H. Weems, Jr., says that churches often invest a great deal of energy in activities without ever asking how they relate to what God is calling the church to accomplish. He says that one of the simplest ways a congregation can stay focused on the ends it seeks to achieve, rather than becoming preoccupied with the means, is to…

Leading Ideas
0 Does Your Church Have Barking Dogs?

Lee Kricher, pastor of Amplify Church in Pittsburgh, says every church has things that distract members and visitors from the church’s mission. He writes that churches sometimes need to eliminate things — even good things — to be able to focus limited time and energy on the most important things. Several years ago, I met an elderly pastor of a storefront church…

Leading Ideas
0 Management by Wishful Thinking?

Personnel matters in ministry settings are almost always more complicated than in business, says church leadership expert Mike Bonem. He names the shifts in attitude needed to manage and develop staff more effectively, including a shift from wishful thinking to a more realistic and intentional approach. Church leaders often carry a heavy responsibility related to staff. They are involved in…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Ideas to Increase Year-End Giving

Lovett H. Weems, Jr., says that giving at year-end represents an increasing portion of total giving in many churches. Recognizing the many different circumstances that may motivate people’s desire to give in December, he suggests strategies to maximize giving at the end of the year. Have you observed that more of your church giving comes in December than in any…

Leading Ideas
0 10 Ways to Reach Unchurched People at Christmas

Pastor Carey Nieuwhof says unchurched people want to celebrate Christmas, so there is no better time to connect with friends and neighbors who rarely, if ever, go to church. He offers ten ways your church can be involved in the unique opportunity to reach people at Christmas. Christmas provides a unique opportunity to reach people who no longer ordinarily attend…

Leading Ideas
0 Some Old Handbells Became Our Fish and Loaves

Pastor Rosario Picardo tells how selling two old sets of silver handbells that hadn’t been used for 20 years provided a surprisingly large infusion of cash to a fledgling church plant in an old building. He offers suggestions on how to inventory and sell smaller assets that have outlived their usefulness, but may be worth more than you think. The reality…

Leading Ideas
0 People Want to Attend a Generous Church

Tom Berlin, pastor of Floris UMC in Herndon, Virginia, says that for Christians to become generous, they need the help of a church that itself is generous. Congregations that embody their belief in the generosity and the abundance of God inspire those who want to be part of something bigger and do something more than they can do on their…

Leading Ideas
0 Leading Between Memory and Vision

Lovett H. Weems, Jr., explains that God’s leaders always live in the tension between memory of the past and hope for the future. Effective leaders draw from the heritage of faith to point toward a new vision of where God is calling us in the future. Church leaders stand today between a past that is gone and a future awaiting its…

Leading Ideas
0 Does Your Church Need a Capital Budget?

Lewis Center Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr., describes how formulating and funding a capital budget can help a church stay on top of building maintenance expenses. In the absence of such a plan, congregations often defer routine maintenance until they are confronted with a major crisis — and then don’t have sufficient resources to respond. Churches face a common dilemma…

Leading Ideas
0 Do Your Church Events Serve a Healthy Purpose?

Is your church calendar crammed with one event after another? Church consultant Tony Morgan says many congregations just keep scheduling the same events without ever evaluating whether they contribute to the congregation’s goals. He lays out a set of criteria for distinguishing between productive and unproductive events. Many churches are over-programmed and event-driven. Generally, the thought behind all the events…

Leading Ideas
0 The 75 Percent Rule to Reach Younger People

Lee Kricher, pastor of Amplify Church in Pittsburgh, says it’s unlikely that younger adults will be drawn to a service where the people in visible leadership are significantly older than they are. So his church has instituted a rule requiring that 75 percent of worship leaders in visible roles be 35 years old or younger, since that’s the average age of…

Leading Ideas
0 Why Year-End Evaluations Rarely Help Leaders Grow

Lovett H. Weems, Jr., explains why year-end performance evaluations are insufficient to help people grow and improve. While year-end reviews are important, ongoing feedback that occurs “along the way” during the course of the year is not only less anxiety producing; it is also more effective in helping someone do their job better. Year-end reviews are common for most of…

Leading Ideas
0 10 Things Great Preachers Do Differently

What separates good preachers from great preachers? Charley Reeb, a Florida pastor known as a gifted preacher, says talent is less important than approaching the task with the right perspective and preparing effectively. He outlines ten things that you can do to become a great preacher. While I wouldn’t argue that some great preachers are also gifted communicators, great talent…

Leading Ideas
0 Adopting a Missionary Mindset

Douglas Ruffle, who works with the Path 1 church planting initiative, says the role of church leaders in a culture that is increasingly estranged from the Christian context is much like that of a missionary in a foreign country. Those who have grown up in the church are called upon to learn the language and customs of the people we…

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