Top Leading Ideas Articles of 2018

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What Leading Ideas subjects are trending this year? We’ve assembled this list to give you another opportunity to glean insight and inspiration from the authors and articles most popular with our nearly 20,000 subscribers.


4 Reasons Visitors Do Not Return

4 Reasons Visitors Do Not Return

Lewis Center Director F. Douglas Powe says it’s important not only to attract visitors, but to create a space where they will want to stay. Congregations wondering why their visitors don’t return need to honestly assess how they respond to visitors and what their church has to offer.

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4 Traps for Clergy When Moving to a New Congregation

4 Traps for Clergy When Moving to a New Congregation

Bill Wilson of the Center for Healthy Churches says that the arrival of a new minister can be a marvelous opportunity to start anew for both the minister and the congregation — but only if the pastor steers clear of four common traps that can derail the new relationship.

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5 Lies We Like to Tell About Church Growth

5 Lies We Like to Tell About Church Growth

Church consultant Dan Hotchkiss exposes some of the reassuring lies that cause many churches to stagnate at a comfortable size while ignoring well-established truths about church growth. Growth, he says, requires doing something new.

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5 Practices for Fruitful Congregations in a Post-Attractional Era

5 Practices for Fruitful Congregations in a Post-Attractional Era

Robert Schnase’s five key practices — radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service, and extravagant generosity —- have helped thousands of congregations be more fruitful in ministry. But churches today face a more challenging reality. In a new, revised version of Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, Schnase reframes these key practices to move beyond attractional assumptions.

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Developing an Intentional Discipleship System

Developing an Intentional Discipleship System

Junius B. Dotson says that churches cannot do the hard and intentional work of making disciples unless they are clear about what a disciple is and how disciples are formed. He outlines the key characteristics of a more intentional system for forming disciples.

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9 Top Trends Impacting Church Leadership9 Top Trends Impacting Church Leadership

Lewis Center Director F. Douglas Powe and Associate Director Ann A. Michel outline some of the major trends evident in their research and interactions with church leaders. While many of the trends are quite sobering, they also reveal possibilities for innovative and adaptive approaches to ministry.

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5 Ways Female Leaders Undermine Themselves5 Ways Female Leaders Undermine Themselves

Church consultant Susan Beaumont says that power accrues more easily to men than women in our culture, so women need to be especially savvy about how they use their power. She outlines five common ways that women can undermine themselves when it comes to using power.

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4 Tips for Preaching on Politically Charged Topics

Ginger Gaines-Cirelli, author of Sacred Resistance, says it’s up to preachers to address the pain, injustice, confusion, and chaos in our days even when it is risky, and she offers guidance on approaching controversial issues in meaningful and responsible ways.

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Reaching People Who Don’t Look or Act Like “Church People”

Reaching People Who Don’t Look or Act Like “Church People”

Rev. Olu Brown started Impact Church in Atlanta 11 years ago with a group of 25 people. Now, it’s one of the 25 fastest growing churches in the country, with almost 4,400 worshipers weekly, onsite or online. He shares tips on reaching people — even those who don’t look or act like “church people.”

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Engaging Millennials in Small Groups Requires Constant Adaptation

Engaging Millennials in Small Groups Requires Constant Adaptation

In his book The Kaleidoscope Effect, Scott Chrostek says permanent, static programming doesn’t work with emerging generations. He describes how Resurrection Downtown in Kansas City has succeeded in drawing Millennials into small groups by constantly adapting their approach.

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When Churches Hire Members

When Churches Hire Members

It’s increasingly common for churches to hire their own members. Ann Michel of the Lewis Center suggests we need to consider how congregations and the church members in their employ can best navigate what is admittedly a gray area with potential risks and rewards for both employee and employer.

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9 Questions to Assess Your Church’s Financial Health

9 Questions to Assess Your Church’s Financial Health

Lovett H. Weems Jr. says paying attention to various indices of your congregation’s financial health is a key practice in remaining economically viable and sustaining vital ministry. He offers nine questions to help focus attention on important considerations related to your church’s long-term financial sustainability.

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Apply Now for Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership at Wesley

Apply Now for Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership at Wesley

New cohort begins May 2019 in Washington, DC

“The coursework and faculty were passionate and diverse, delving into cutting-edge areas and methods I had never used or considered. The development of my own project changed the direction of my work and ministry forever.”
— United Methodist pastor

Wesley Theological Seminary and the Lewis Center together offer a Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership Excellence. With this track, clergy will receive the enhanced knowledge, skills, and motivation to increase congregational and denominational service, vitality, and growth.

Learn more and apply today.
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The Lewis Center staff has assembled and edited this material.


Adult Education Studies from the Wesley Ministry NetworkAdult Education Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

The Wesley Ministry Network brings the best of contemporary Christian scholarship to your congregation’s small groups and adult Bible studies.These video-based group study courses encourage the energetic discussion and personal reflection that are keys to a life of informed discipleship. Courses are designed for use in small groups in a wide range of denominations, but they are also appropriate for individuals seeking self-study opportunities. Learn more now.

Ecumenical studies: Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes SenseJourney through the PsalmsDevotion to Jesus: The Divinity of Christ in Earliest ChristianitySerious Answers to Hard QuestionsReligion and Science: Pathways to TruthIn God’s TimeA Life Worthy of the GospelWomen Speak of God
United Methodist studies: Methodist Identity — Part 1: Our Story; Part 2: Our BeliefsWesleyan Studies Project — Series I: Methodist History; Series II: Methodist Doctrine; Series III: Methodist Evangelism