On a warm day during Lent, you’re driving by a church in a suburban neighborhood. You see a Christmas wreath hanging on the church door. Quick, what’s your first thought? Is it, “That’s the place for me!” or “What’s wrong with those people?” Church buildings convey volumes of information, much of it by accident.
Author Archive | Sarai Rice
by Sarai Rice on April 23, 2018
As a strategic planner, I encourage congregations to look for places where their gifts and skills can meet the particular needs of their neighbors. As a human service provider, I watch my clients trudge all over town, piecing together services they need. I worry that despite our good intentions, sometimes congregations make life harder for […]
by Sarai Rice on February 19, 2018
Six of the eight Presbyterian congregations in my community are small enough to be within sight of closing. But I’m done being sad for them or anxious about them, and I think they should be done, too. I think it’s time for all of us to play!
by Sarai Rice on December 4, 2017
Many congregations are seeing a decline in contributions and attendance. Most of them try to address the decline, usually by tweaking staff size and deferring maintenance. But I rarely encounter a church that is willing to consider one of the biggest and potentially most energizing changes: letting go of the building.
by Sarai Rice on October 16, 2017
Innovation is a standard expectation for leaders who want congregations to attract and retain new members or reach out to the community in new ways. But many congregations, having never had to go beyond small programmatic tweaks, don’t know where to start. Based on recent experience with a major innovation at the faith-based nonprofit that […]
by Sarai Rice on September 11, 2017
If all that’s left is a building and some folks who gather once a week to sit and chat, is it still a church?
by Sarai Rice on June 19, 2017
Most congregations have at least one jerk. You know who I mean—the one who takes up far more than one person’s share of time and energy and leaves the group feeling discouraged, disempowered, and exhausted. How can you be sure it isn’t you?