Author Archive | John Wimberly

green leaves growing

To Grow or Not to Grow: Not Always an Easy Question

Most congregations say they want to grow in membership and mission—a goal that feels more urgent as the members age. In worship, a person aged 65 is likely to see mostly older people. It’s a good way to feel young at age 65! However, it is not a great sign for the congregation’s future. If […]

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Binary Millennials

Asking Millennials to Give

“Boomers at our church don’t understand how we give.” I hear this from young people around the country. In a striking example of how generations can see things in opposite ways, boomers say, “Millennials don’t know how to give the way we do.” Let’s unpack these conflicting perceptions of millennial financial support for the congregations […]

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Tiny church | by Loozrboy <a href"https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(CC BY-SA 2.0)</a>

In Praise of Small Congregations

We live in a society that assumes larger is better. But as Isaiah wrote, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” (55:8) Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that Jesus challenged the assumption that larger is better: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Jesus’ […]

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Using Nonprofits for God’s Purposes

Congregations start nonprofit organizations for many worthwhile purposes: to feed the hungry, care for victims of domestic violence, care for and educate children, build health care facilities in distant corners of the world, and so much more. Starting a nonprofit often is the most effective way to carry out parts of the congregation’s mission. However, […]

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Teams: Not Easy, Just Necessary

As an advocate for using teams to carry out the work of a congregation and for eliminating as many committees as possible, I often get phone calls like this: “John, we read your book and decided to move from a committee-driven to a team-driven organization. But it hasn’t gone smoothly!” If I or other advocates […]

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The Lone Ranger and his horse Silver

Looking for the Superstar

Many congregations think the answer to their problems is a superstar—a charismatic senior pastor, a superb musician, or a Pied Piper youth director. Research on teams reveals a deep flaw in such thinking, and congregational leaders are well advised to pay attention to the data.

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Schleiermacher as a young man

Why “Spiritual but not Religious” is a Good Thing!

As a baby boomer, I am disappointed by church members in my generation who, all too frequently, dismiss millennials and others who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” It is a theme I hear constantly in my consulting practice. “Why focus on them when they have already told us they are spiritual but not […]

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