Will They Never Retire?

by John Wimberly

“Will they never retire?” is a question I hear a lot from younger clergy these days who wonder when my generation (the Baby Boomers) will retire. The Center for Retirement Research reports that 40% of men are still working at age 65 today, double the rate of 20% from a decade ago. Gallup recently released data showing that the average retirement age is now five years older than in the early 1990s. Similar trends are happening with women. The reason younger clergy are wondering, even complaining, about the retirement plans (or lack thereof) of their older colleagues is obvious: they want their jobs. (read more)

Rightsizing Teams

by John Wimberly

Building on my last post on teams, I want to talk a bit about the size of teams. As I researched my upcoming book on teams, I was surprised at the unanimity of opinion on this topic. Five to seven members is what research reveals to be the most effective number of people on a team. read more

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.

It’s Time to Talk about Performance

by John Wimberly
To change the world, our congregations need to be performing at peak efficiency. If we can make “performance” a driving agenda rather than a dirty word, a lot of obstacles to our effectiveness will disappear.

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?