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 Is Your Building Impeding Your Mission?

Evangelism professor Mark Teasdale writes that, while a church building demands respect, too many congregations let upkeep of their facilities become more important than serving God’s purposes. Churches need to be open to renting, selling, or redesigning buildings to further God’s mission. Church buildings are more than just brick, mortar, wood, nails, and shingles. They are holy ground. Even though…

Leading Ideas
0 4 Ways to Engage Busy People

Lewis Center Director F. Douglas Powe suggests strategies that can make it possible for those with significant time constraints to serve as church leaders — not merely to meet the church’s leadership needs but to help the individual know the satisfaction of serving. “I’d like to get involved, but I just don’t have the time.” How often have you heard…

Leading Ideas
0 7 Steps for Making Disciples Through Relational Mentoring

Kenneth H. Carter and Audrey Warren describe a simple, step-by-step process for making disciples and mentoring friends to be closer to Jesus — a process of faith formation that is increasingly important as more and more nontraditional expressions of church emerge. For the unchurched, or “nones,” the language of becoming a disciple is entering a new world of practices, habits,…

Leading Ideas
0 Martin Luther King Jr.’s 4 Key Principles of Prophetic Witness

C. Anthony Hunt explains how Martin Luther King, Jr.’s prophetic witness was grounded in four principles — call, conviction, courage, and commitment. Even fifty years after King’s assassination, these principles are still relevant to leaders engaging in prophetic witness and public ministry. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that God intended for the human family to live in community as interrelated…

Leading Ideas
0 Toward a Year-Round Stewardship Ministry

Ann Michel of the Lewis Center staff says that forming people for faithful stewardship and extravagant generosity requires more than a single annual sermon. She advocates the development of a stewardship calendar to make sure that different aspects of stewardship receive ongoing attention throughout the year. As a child, I would roll my eyes when my mother repeated herself again…

Leading Ideas
0 4 Church Tech New Year’s Resolutions

Will Rice, who blogs on issues related to technology and churches, says that the beginning of the year is a good time to take stock of your computer and IT needs and to make plans for the coming year. Whether or not you are one to make New Year’s resolutions, the beginning of a year is a good time to…

Leading Ideas
0 Top “Leading Ideas” Articles of 2017

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 18,000 subscribers. The Case of a Small Church in an Oversized Building Lewis A. Parks, author of Small on Purpose, describes how smaller congregations can easily squander their…

Leading Ideas
0 Why Tradition Matters at Christmas

Stephanie Remington of the Lewis Center staff reminds us that Christmas traditions can move the spirit and renew the hope of people in our culture, even those who don’t profess faith. She suggests that in developing Advent and Christmas Eve worship, it’s important to hold tight to some familiar traditions. A friend in his forties, who has largely rejected the…

Leading Ideas
0 Regifting Joy, Hope, Peace, and Love

Lewis Center Director Doug Powe reimagines the common practice of regifting an unwanted gift. He invites us to think of regifting positively — as a way of passing along to others the welcome Advent gifts of joy, hope, peace, and love. Most of us have received a gift we did not need or one that did not quite fit our…

Leading Ideas
0 7 Ways to Invest in Your Staff Culture

Phill Martin, a clergy coach and an executive with the National Association of Church Business Administrators, says a typical church invests half its operating budget in staff. So, it’s important to invest in strengthening your staff by recognizing their gifts, building trust, strengthening community, and providing honest feedback. A typical congregation invests 45 to 55 percent of its operating budget…

Leading Ideas
0 Toward a Compelling Theology of Lay Ministry

Ann Michel of the Lewis Center Staff says that as the number of laypersons engaged in professional ministry grows, there is a need to articulate a robust and compelling theology of lay ministry — one that affirms the diversity and inclusiveness of God’s call. The number of lay persons with serious involvements in ministry, both professional and volunteer, has grown dramatically…

Leading Ideas
0 Welcoming Millennials by Preserving Their Anonymity

Churches often welcome young adults with such urgency and expectation that younger visitors can feel overwhelmed. Scott Chrostek, pastor of Resurrection Downtown, says it is actually more hospitable to maintain their sense of anonymity and personal privacy in worship — to help them blend in and feel comfortable without attracting undue attention. There is an urgency fueling churches these days.…

Leading Ideas
0 3 Suggestions When a Ministry Project is Unsuccessful

Pastor Vincent Howell, an expert on project management in ministry, says even when a project doesn’t fully meet expectations, it’s important to keep a positive outlook and learn from the experience so that team members are encouraged to try new things without fear of failure. Not all projects, no matter how well-intentioned, will achieve the planned objectives. So, it’s important…

Leading Ideas
0 For Multicultural Churches — A Variation on the Golden Rule

Douglas Brouwer, author of How to Become a Multicultural Church, says in diverse settings it’s not enough to treat people the way you would like to be treated. It’s important to learn how they want to be treated. Doesn’t it make sense to treat others as you would like to be treated? It sounds right, and of course, it’s biblical. But…

Leading Ideas
0 Worship and Mission Should Go Hand in Hand

Evangelism Professor Mark Teasdale says that an essential function of worship is to undergird a congregation’s missional identity. In worship, God consecrates us to carry forth God’s holiness as we serve in God’s mission of making disciples. Worship and mission go hand in hand, each supporting each other. Worship is essential if we are to be missional. I confess that…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Leadership Lessons That Shaped My Ministry

Lovett H. Weems, Jr., founding director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, recently shared leadership ideas particularly influential in his own ministry. His top five leadership lessons underscore an approach to leadership that is centered on others and directed toward God’s ultimate will, even when the first faithful step is an incremental one. I have often said, “I don’t…

Leading Ideas
0 Power Is about Influence, Not Control

Lovett H. Weems, Jr., founding director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, draws on the example of Judge Warren K. Urbom’s skill in presiding over the Wounded Knee Trials to illustrate an important leadership principle: The more willing we are to be influenced by others, the more likely they are to be influenced by us. Last July, retired U.S.…

Leading Ideas
0 Why Don’t People Volunteer at Church?

Mike Schreiner and Ken Willard say the key to getting a higher percentage of people involved is understanding the difference between volunteering and Christian service and between recruiting and inviting. They name five best practices for engaging people in meaningful ministry roles. When you talk to pastors and ministry leaders you will likely hear that the 80/20 rule is alive…

Leading Ideas
0 Deal with People

Lovett H. Weems, Jr., says rather than dealing with a problem person head-on, churches will instead try to resolve the difficulty by formulating a policy addressing the situation. But such policies rarely serve the organization well. Nor do they deal with the root of the problem. It’s better instead to deal with the problem person directly. Have you noticed how…

Leading Ideas
0 What are the True Costs of Church Programs?

Are key leaders in your church covering project costs out of their own pockets? Lewis Center Director Doug Powe says owning up to the true costs of ministry prevents new leaders from being blindsided and helps the congregation embrace a stewardship model that funds all ministries — not just those supported by particular donors. One of the challenges many congregations…

Leading Ideas
0 Does Your Faith Community Live out of Memory or Imagination?

Bill Wilson, director of the Center for Healthy Churches, says that while memories of the past are vital, they must be balanced with a creative and innovative vision for the future if your faith community is to remain vibrant and sustainable. Some call it a battle. Others a wrestling match. Let’s go with something a bit less confrontational and call…

Leading Ideas
0 4 Opportunities for the Church in the Current Political Tension

Pastor Carey Nieuwhof believes the church is uniquely positioned to respond to the political tension and division that characterize our age. He discusses four ways Christians can bring hope to the increasingly fragile culture around us. You don’t need to be anything more than a casual observer of American (and Western) culture to know that something significant is happening. The…

Leading Ideas
0 5 Steps to Church Vitality and Turnaround

Baltimore Pastor C. Anthony Hunt outlines a five-part process helpful to churches or non-profits looking to renew their vitality. He shares how this process helped his church reorganize for mission and develop new worship and service initiatives to reach new people. Working as a consultant with new church starts, I became familiar with a visioning process that draws on the…

Leading Ideas
0 Leadership and the Small Membership Church

Understanding the unique leadership context of smaller congregations is vital to the future of the church, says Lovett H. Weems, Jr. Leaders of small churches need to be sensitive to their unique history and culture, while also bearing hope for the future. According to the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, the average worship attendance of a U.S. church is 90 persons;…

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