Preserving Sacred Places

Recently I’m working on a pair of projects on opposite ends of the congregational survival spectrum. One project is a survey of the vulnerability of Philadelphia’s “sacred places.” The other is a freelance writing gig for Association Reserves, a company that does “capital plans” for various nonprofits, including congregations. The Philadelphia project is about the ever-looming threat of congregational closure, while capital plans are all about sustainability and thriving. Sometimes the contrast makes me dizzy!

What Should a Governing Board Be Good At?

Many people dread board meetings, and for good reason. Boards spend too much time passively receiving information and transacting routine business. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Some boards have interesting meetings. Clergy and lay board members feel their time and energy has been well used. How do they do it?

Meeting and Voting Online

Glitchy video and scratchy sound still spoil a lot of online meetings, but the technology gets better all the time. Meeting “virtually” by audio and video can be convenient, but it raises some new issues and exacerbates some old ones, especially for governing boards. Boards that want to meet and vote online need to sharpen and update their policies and skills.

What Does it Mean to Be Non-profit?

I had always assumed that religion was a naturally nonprofit enterprise. But then, while touring Nashville with a fellow minister, I heard the story of a Presbyterian named Frist. “You know how Bill Frist’s family became billionaires?” my colleague asked.

Boundaries and Partnership

by Dan Hotchkiss
Building a healthy partnership—negotiating roles, addressing misbehavior, setting and achieving goals—is hard work that requires an atmosphere of trust. Firm boundaries and self-differentiation—knowing who I am and how I feel while keeping lines of communication open—are essential for a healthy partnership.

What’s Your Brand?

by Dan Hotchkiss
Successful store managers know there’s one thing customers like even more than quality, convenience, or low prices: People like to get what they expect. And so smart store managers advertise a strong, distinctive “brand” and consistently deliver customer experiences that fit that brand. Churches and synagogues can learn from this.