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PERSPECTIVES for Congregational Leaders

  • Out of controlWhen a Leader Spins Out of Control
    When a congregation's leader starts to exhibit strange and harmful behavior, the experience can be frightening and divisive. To reduce the harm such a spinout can do to the congregation long-term health, others must face up to the situation promptly and take firm steps.
  • voiceWill Organized Religion Find Its Political Voice?
    Congregations don’t take sides in elections, but they can never be neutral about moral issues. Especially in times of sharp disagreement, clergy and lay leaders face a hard dilemma: How can we speak politically with a religious voice?
  • How to Avoid Fighting About Stupid Things
    by Sarai Rice Anxious people fight about stupid things. I learned this years ago, mostly from congregations. But I was reminded of it recently by a close encounter with party politics during the most recent election cycle, so I thought I would share […]
  • Conversation“Talk Amongst Yourselves”
    "I'm a little verklempt." When hot topics come up in congregations, we know we ought to have a conversation. But instead, like Linda Richman, Mike Myers's character on Saturday Night Live, we get all “verklempt” and change the subject. Throwing out a random topic, in effect we say, "Talk amongst yourselves.”
  • RootednessA Bigger Brand (Part 2): Rootedness
    I want to suggest “rootedness” as a potential brand or image for congregations. In a highly mobile, rapidly changing society, who isn’t attracted to the idea of being rooted instead of rootless?
  • MillennialsHow to Repel Millennials
    by David Brubaker Most observers would agree that the campaign to keep Millennials out of our congregations has been nearly a complete success. Despite our best efforts, however, young adults occasionally are spotted in the pews. So we need to […]
  • What Can We Expect, When We Pay So Little?
    Healthy employment relationships require accountability. Accountability involves setting clear expectations, providing ongoing feedback, and inviting employees to step it up if performance falls short of expectations. This fundamental cycle of communication seems easy enough to grasp, in theory. In practice, many of us demonstrate a failure of nerve when it comes to holding church employees accountable. We grapple with whether we can expect much from our employees, especially when we pay them so little.
  • BullyingAre You Being Bullied?
    Many ministers, male as well as female, have experienced bullying. We tend to excuse it—“every congregation has someone like this”—or think we caused it somehow. We may feel powerless if the member is important or seems to be tolerated by others. We don’t often talk about what’s happening to us because we’re ashamed or because we think we’re called to forgive bad behavior. But at work and at school, there’s a name for our experience and there are policies for dealing with it. It’s time we were clear about bullying in the church as well.
  • Teams Made Simple
    One good way to make things happen is to organize a team. At their best, teams benefit from members’ varied strengths and reach results no one imagined in advance. But what makes a team effective? A lot has been written about teams—by John Wimberly and George Cladis among others—and I don’t mean to replace or duplicate their work. Instead I want to share a simplified approach to that has been useful to me in building teams, and to my coaching and consulting clients. You may find it useful, too!
  • After the Earthquake: Congregations after the U.S. Election
    Most Americans were surprised by the outcome of the November 8 election. More than 90% of Clinton supporters and a plurality of Trump supporters expected Clinton to emerge victorious. Congregational leaders faced a dilemma the following weekend. How does one speak both to those who were celebrating and those who were grieving?

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