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 Quit Making Assumptions

Lewis Center Director Doug Powe says incoming leaders are often frustrated when others assume that they already know the ins and outs of the job. He says it is critical to stop making assumptions and provide new staff or volunteers with all the information and support they need. How many times have you found yourself frustrated when taking on a…

Leading Ideas
0 7 Simple Mind Shifts that Unlock Outreach Potential

Every church wants to reach new people, but unhelpful attitudes and practices get in the way. Kevin Harney outlines seven simple adjustments to our ways of thinking that can enhance outreach and evangelism. Our thinking shapes our actions. Sometimes a simple adjustment in our thinking can have far-reaching repercussions. If we shift the way we look at the world and…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Turnoffs for Millennials Seeking a Church

Drawing on research conducted by the Barna Group, Jeremy Steele outlines some of the turnoffs for millennials when they visit new churches. An outdated digital presence and a lack of diversity top the list. Even though there are a growing number of “nones” (individuals who claim no religious affiliation) among the millennials, Barna reveals this does not indicate disinterest in…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Ways to Overcome Common Obstacles to Change

Leading change is challenging. It requires that leaders surmount a barrage in internal and external obstacles. Daniel Cash and William Griffith outline strategies for getting beyond some of the common hurdles that can block needed change. Leading is a challenge in the most tranquil of circumstances within congregations today. When you add the layer of introducing or working toward change…

Leading Ideas
0 New Possibilities are All around You

Churches often see their circumstance through the lens of scarcity and fail to recognize assets and opportunities within their grasp. Joe Daniels and Christie Latona explain how adopting a mindset of abundance can reveal overlooked assets and open new possibilities. Jesus taught his disciples — and teaches us — to assume that there’s always a fish sandwich in the crowd.…

Leading Ideas
0 4 Ways Preaching Can Boost Worship Attendance

Popular preacher and author Charley Reeb shares four preaching strategies to grow your church, all based on the notion that we have to connect with people’s interests and meet them where they are. Pastors will disagree on just about anything except their common desire to grow a church. Even the humblest of pastors secretly wants to see more people in…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Ways to Develop New Leaders

Marv Nelson says lending influence to younger leaders is an essential way of affirming and developing them. He outlines five ways you can use your personal influence to strengthen and support emerging leaders. One of the best ways to affirm young emerging leaders and the best way to let them know you believe in them is to give them influence.…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Keys to Great Online Worship Hospitality

Olu Brown says churches that livestream their worship need to be intentional about making online attendees feel welcome by showing love through hospitality. He outlines five ways to connect more effectively with those who worship remotely. More and more churches across the country are using online worship to reach people beyond their current circle of influence and are seeing new…

Leading Ideas
0 7 Things Bad Leaders Tell Themselves and Their Teams

Carey Nieuwhof explains that ineffective leaders tend to lay the blame on seven common excuses. Successful leaders are aware of these traps and lead people beyond them. Nobody sets out to be a bad leader. You didn’t. I didn’t. Yet according to a Gallup study, only 18% of managers have a “high degree of talent” in leading people, which includes…

Leading Ideas
0 Welcoming Is the Top Factor in Church Choice

A recent study among spiritual seekers aged 25–49 suggests they have a strong desire for genuine community. Knowing everyone will be welcomed, making friends and nurturing friendships, and support during difficult times were the top motivating factors in considering a church. A survey of spiritual “seekers” released last year found that the top motivators for considering a church are knowing…

Leading Ideas
0 Before You Rent Church Space, Calculate the Costs

Churches often struggle to determine a fair price when they rent space to community groups. Partners for Sacred Spaces, an organization helping congregations develop creative community partnerships, says the hard costs of maintaining any shared space is an objective factor that must be considered in determining the rental value. It’s not always easy to pin a dollar value on our…

Leading Ideas
0 7 Suggestions for Welcoming New Pastors

Barry Howard outlines ways a congregation can prepare spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally for the arrival of a new pastor to make the most of a new beginning. When a congregation welcomes a new pastor, it is an exciting time, a new beginning for both the congregation and the new minister. To maximize this new beginning, it is important to prepare…

Leading Ideas
0 4 Ways to Build Your Social Media Presence

The use of social media is so prevalent today that it is essential for churches to master ways of creating connections and community online. Lia McIntosh, Jasmine Smothers, and Rodney Smothers outline four critical steps in building your church’s social media presence. With 1.5 billion users on Facebook, the majority of our U.S. communities and most churchgoers are connected using…

Leading Ideas
0 9 Ways Leaders Can Respond to Conflict Constructively

Leaders need to understand the emotional dimensions of conflict and minimize the inevitable anxiety and systematic stress. Leadership Consultant Peter L. Steinke draws on the wisdom of family systems theory to outline nine beneficial responses to a system in uproar. In times of crisis, a system functions best when its key leaders regulate their anxiety. It is a crucial time…

Leading Ideas
0 Prayer is the Spiritual Electricity of Congregational Revitalization

Sue Nilson Kibbey says a robust prayer life can be a powerful catalyst for congregational renewal. It can shift a church’s gaze “up and out,” countering negativity and doubt. Leaders live into their prayers with an openness that powers transformation when they pray with the genuine expectation that it really does make a difference. If your church or ministry is…

Leading Ideas
0 Does Your Church Have the Necessary Leaders?

Church Consultant Joel Snider says a critical characteristic of healthy churches is the presence of “necessary leaders” who can make hard decisions in the right spirit and act in the best interest of the congregation, even when facing criticism. He outlines six characteristics of such leaders and key questions for identifying your church’s necessary leaders. What are the characteristics of…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Habits Your Church Must Unlearn to Increasing Giving

Their study of rapidly growing churches led Matt Miofsky and Jason Byassee to understand the importance of elevating the practice of giving. But for most churches, before they can learn more effective behaviors around giving, they need to unlearn bad behaviors that stifle generosity. Most church are caught in a contradiction. They believe that generosity is an essential component of…

Leading Ideas
0 4 Ways A Weekday Childcare Webpage Can Connect Families with Your Church

Church tech expert Will Rice says churches with weekday childcare programs will have people looking for daycare regularly visiting their websites. He outlines ways to maximize the opportunity for families seeking childcare to connect with the other things the church has to offer. Does your church have a highly regarded daycare program or weekday children’s ministry? You may proudly dedicate…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Ways to Engage People the Way Jesus Did

Looking for ways to connect with new people, organize them for action, and lead them to a deepening commitment? Joe Daniels and Christie Latona remind us of five basic practices Jesus used to organize and engage people. Jesus put energy into connecting people and pulling individuals together for the common good. He did so persistently, intently, and sometimes effortlessly even…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Reasons Millennials are Drawn to Mainline Churches

Don’t assume your church doesn’t have anything to offer the Millennial generation, says Andrew Ponder Williams. He outlines five ways that mainline churches are distinctively called and gifted to connect with younger generations and offers tips on how your church can maximize these advantages. I consistently encounter the presumption in congregations of all sizes that Millennials don’t like mainline churches.…

Leading Ideas
0 Letting Go of This Pastor and Preparing for the Next

Church consultant Susan Beaumont shares four leadership practices that can help a congregation prepare when their pastor is getting ready to leave. Approaching the situation honestly and communicating openly can help a church understand that times of loss, experienced openly and fully, lead into times of promise. A pastoral transition is announced. One era of leadership winds down as the…

Leading Ideas
0 The Changing Face of Ministry

Lewis Center Director F. Douglas Powe describes shifting staffing patterns and ministry models emerging as more and more mainline congregations suffer decline. The Lewis Center is launching a three-year research effort supported by Lilly Endowment Inc. to study these and other changes in the religious workforce, the impact on local congregations, and implications for how people prepare for ministry. Many…

Leading Ideas
0 10 Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah

Editor’s note: This is one of our most popular Leading Ideas articles. We present it again for our many new subscribers. Examining the biblical account of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, Lovett H. Weems, Jr., sees a compelling example of how a leader should function. Nehemiah defined the reality of the situation, named a vision, and then engaged the…

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