Of Donkeys, Elephants and Other Animals

Anxiety, incivility, trauma, fear, dismay–these are all words I’ve heard in the past few days as the U.S. election draws near. How do U.S. Pastors and church leaders  navigate this moment that is so fraught with anxiety, incivility, and congregational members who are at odds with one another? The temptation may be to ignore what’s going on, not mention it during … Read More

A Step of Discernment – Defining Reality Part Five

We’ve been spending time looking at defining reality in our councils. We’ve looked at the culture that shapes our council and at the kind of people who are typically nominated and elected to our council. Many of us will see a need at this point to take some steps forward—especially if we are to fully live into both the forms … Read More

A Step of Discernment – Defining Reality Part Four

Charles Olson’s book Transforming Church Boards into Communities of Spiritual Leaders has formed the foundation for this series of blogs. Before we go to the next part of defining reality, it is helpful to get an overview of his book. Charles Olson points out that the two most common complaints by those serving on church councils are: Our council is … Read More

A Step of Discernment – Defining Reality Part Three

In the previous two posts we looked at naming how the council works together. What is the culture that shapes the council? Is it strategic, corporate, managerial, etc.? Alongside of naming this reality is naming what’s expected of council members. What are the spiritual practices expected of council members? What kind of life do we expect council members to live … Read More

A Step of Discernment – Defining Reality Part Two

Part of the Council’s discernment work is to define the congregation’s present reality. Charles Olson in his book Transforming Church Boards into Communities of Spiritual Leaders points out that the council’s culture is an important area to define reality in. Only when the council names this reality can it move toward becoming a community of spiritual, discerning leaders. In the … Read More

A Step of Discernment – Defining Reality Part One

Part of the Council’s discernment work is to define the congregation’s present reality. Charles Olson in his book Transforming Church Boards into Communities of Spiritual Leaders points out that the council’s culture is an important area to define reality in. Only when the council names this reality can it move toward becoming a community of spiritual, discerning leaders. Olson sees … Read More

Passing off critical work?

One of the interesting and perhaps a little bit disturbing realities in congregations seeking their God-given, hope-filled futures is having councils that pass this critical work off to others because they have more important business to attend to. Passing off the calling of seeing the congregation’s God-given, hope-filled future reminds me of Scrooge and Marly. Scrooge says to Marly, “You … Read More

New Wine is Better?

He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins … Read More

A Holy Imagination – Hearing from the Seven Churches

“Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” Revelation 2.7,11,17,23; 3.6,13,22 Imagine God speaking to your church. What would he say? What commendations would he give? Where would he call your congregation to make changes? What warnings might he give? Some 2000 years ago 7 churches didn’t have to imagine what God … Read More

#COVID19-Reflecting on Losing Important Things

“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he … Read More