December 19, 2019

Your Congregation and Innovation


The Harvard Business Review defines innovation as “the difficult discipline of newness.” What new thing is forming in your congregation? The congregation I attended last Sunday is starting a Friday night dinner, which will end with communion. In explaining the gathering, the pastor said “We don’t have to wait for Sunday to break bread together.”…

February 28, 2018

It’s About Life


A generation ago, congregational observers noted that congregations experiencing growth were those which gave clear-cut, right and wrong, direction about life. I want to note a subtle correction to this observation. Vital congregations are those which give more attention to the lives of adherents than the needs of the institution. Congregations which are flourishing are…

January 28, 2016

Good News and Bad News about Congregational Decline


For many, the condition of United States congregations and denominations is worse than reported by sociologists. In sundry settings, the decline is now irreversible. See Jim Collins’ research about the irreversible decline of other once strong institutions, How the Mighty Fall. Unreported pain It is upsetting to be the one who has to tell a…

January 28, 2016

Five Things to Know about Assessments


Assessment tools are used in congregational planning. Such tools are helpful in strategic planning, formation of new programs, improvement of existing projects and more. There are internal assessment tools and external assessment tools. Internal tools help you learn about your congregation, its members, staff and other constituents who are part of your congregation. External tools…