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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.