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It is almost impossible to overstate the difficulties long-established congregations face as they seek to move up off a plateau in size or to reverse a long period of numerical decline.
It’s common in churches to say that our budget acknowledges our priorities. How we spend our financial resources surely represents our values in a practical way. However, there is another indicator of our priorities. Our use of time is an even more accurate indication of values, yet little attention is given to the “time budget” of how our members, staff, and pastors are asked by the church to spend their time. A good question may simply be:
Celebration is often a missing component of ongoing church life. It is important to notice and name representative examples of the good your community of faith accomplishes. Celebrate those things that all can rejoice in regardless of their level of participation. All can rejoice in lives changed and communities blessed through literally hundreds of church ministries. And remember always to celebrate what you want to encourage for the future. So, the right question is:
Becky Posey Williams of the United Methodist General Commission on the Status and Role of Women wrote about hearing a commencement speech by Dean James Ryan at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In speaking to the beauty and power of good questions, he offered five guiding questions that he encourages graduates to ask themselves in any situation.
If you can’t engage or inspire a 17-year-old, you will never engage an unchurched person.
We are more likely to learn something from people who disagree with us than we are from people who agree.
In an interview with Tony Morgan, Pastor Stephen DeFur of Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Knoxville, TN, tells about the questions his church asks, beyond attendance and financial issues, in order to monitor vitality. Questions related to “reaching new people” are below. Additional questions were included in the February 8 and 15 issues of Leading Ideas.
In an interview with Tony Morgan, Pastor Stephen DeFur of Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, tells about the questions his church asks, beyond attendance and financial issues, in order to monitor vitality. Questions related to “life changes by participants” are below. A previous set of questions was in the February 8 issue of Leading Ideas.
Humility is an incredibly overlooked but important character trait. Confidence is great, but arrogance is really deadly, and there’s a fine line there.
In an interview with Tony Morgan, Pastor Stephen DeFur of Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Knoxville, TN, tells about the questions his church asks, beyond attendance and financial issues, in order to monitor vitality. Questions related to “actions by current participants” are below.
When it comes to leadership it is not about the leader’s personality; it is all about how that individual behaves as a leader.
Jodi Goldstein, managing director of the Harvard Innovation Labs, says that when she was looking to hire new people, she looked for “amazing.” She later learned that the ability to handle adversity was a more important trait. A right question she uses in interviews is:
Becoming a leader is a process of internal self-discovery. In order for me to become a leader and become an even better leader, it’s important that I first define my values and principles.
A collection of questions about inspiring innovation and action includes one that requires a question to answer their question:
The test of our leadership is simple: Are the people entrusted to our care better off?
This article is reprinted by permission from Leading Ideas, a free e-newsletter from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary available at churchleadership.com.