Mobilizing for Ministry

by John Wimberly
Fair or unfair, the younger generations have negative assumptions about the way committees function. Teams, however, are something they understand and embrace. My first clue was at the church I was serving. When I asked the growing number of Gen-Xers and Millennials to serve on committees, I usually got, “Thanks, but no thanks.” However, when I asked them to serve on a team, they responded, “What does the team do?”

We Can See Clearly Now

by John Wimberly

As a consultant, when I first meet with the leadership of a congregation, I ask them a straightforward question: “What is your congregation’s primary purpose, your driving reason for being?” Usually, the response is halting, filled with qualified statements, and includes a laundry list of things the congregation does. The exchange leaves me and the leaders with one clear conclusion: they aren’t sure what their primary purpose is. They have purposes. But not one, clear, driving purpose.

I can receive this response even in congregations that have recently gone through a strategic planning process. They emerge from the planning exercise with goals and strategies. But a clear, passionate sense of purpose? Too often, it is missing.

The Stories We Don’t Tell

by John Wimberly
One of the things I love about consulting is listening to the way congregations describe themselves. The narratives they spin about themselves are usually filled with a great deal of pride and love—problems they have overcome, faithful work they have done together, loving their favorite pastors, surviving their least-favorite pastors, the list goes on. Since I like to start a consultation by having members tell me what they love about their congregation, the dominant, guiding narrative emerges very quickly.

On Your Mark—Get Set—Stop—(and Reflect)—Plan

by John Wimberly
When a congregation is bleeding, the bleeding needs to stop before anyone can step back and think big picture. But a key to discerning God’s will is to stop listening solely to ourselves and the world so that we can be truly open to the new things to which God is calling us. Do our planning processes include an intentional openness to being surprised; to being quiet and listening for God’s will?

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

by John Wimberly
Occasionally, congregations are presented astounding opportunities to grow. One of those opportunities is upon us. The opportunity is called the Millennial Generation. We have 80 million people between the ages of 18-33, 86% of whom say they believe in God, and we are bemoaning the future of our congregations? In Wisconsin, where I grew up, that is called “looking a gift horse in the mouth.” read more…