Author Archive | Sarai Rice

The Self-Organizing Congregation

by Sarai Rice Most congregations occupy buildings. They gather for meetings around long or round tables in the library or parlor. They worship in the sanctuary. They learn in classrooms. And when they want to eat, they organize in the kitchen and sit together in the fellowship hall. Their buildings have been designed for these […]

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Visual Cues, or Sometimes You Can Tell a Church By Its Cover

by Sarai Schnucker Rice Six years ago, I made my very first trip overseas – to New Zealand – and it was fabulous! Breathtaking scenery, generous people, amazing art. With the exception of the indigenous Maori culture, which was literally another world, I felt like I “got” everything about the country. My next trip? China. […]

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How do we practice change?

by Sarai Schnucker Rice Congregations unavoidably, inescapably, inevitably, unalterably change. Which is really a good thing, of course, or we would still be lighting our sanctuaries with candles and timing our sermons with sundials. So, given the inevitably of change, how do we make it possible for our congregations to move their furniture around, sing […]

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Does Size Matter?

by Sarai Schnucker Rice Congregational life has very few reliable metrics, and when we think we’ve found one, we all seize upon it, grateful for some measure of certainty in an otherwise murky world. For example, it seems as if we’ve been talking forever about family, pastor, and program. Even without any additional information, you’ve […]

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What Should a Minister Be Good At?

by Sarai Schnucker Rice As it turns out, not Greek and Hebrew. Or at least not only Greek and Hebrew. And even if the list of things to be good at were to include all the other usual subjects taught in seminary—Greek, Hebrew, Old Testament, New Testament, systematic theology, liturgy, preaching, teaching, pastoral care, all […]

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What Should a Congregation Be Good At?

by Sarai Schnucker RiceCongregational leadership is actually always collective, not singular. In a continual process of discernment, decision-making, praying, studying, and shared living, the faith leader and members together create the congregation. Sometimes they do a good job together and other times not so much, but each brings something to the table and each is […]

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