What I No Longer Believe about Congregations

Susan Nienaber
For most of my consulting practice, I “held certain truths to be self-evident.” I used to believe, for instance, that many congregations had declined so far they could not possibly revitalize—but I have changed my mind.

Creating a New Image for Our Congregations

I confess that I’m not much of a professional sports fan. However, I do watch the Super Bowl mainly to socialize with friends and to watch the commercials and the halftime show. Did you notice how different the commercials were this year? Many of them featured cute animals, positive self-esteem, values, relationships and sensitive dads. Given all of the scandals in the NFL this past year I wondered if we were seeing the softer side of the NFL. It was astonishing. Of course, I began to wonder about congregations. (read more)

Why All God’s Children Need to Plant New Spiritual Communities

by Susan Nienaber
One of the greatest joys of my new role as District Superintendent (and part-time congregational consultant) is that I am learning so many new and exciting things. In recent years my denomination has placed a strong emphasis on starting new churches. Clearly, congregations that are growing in vitality are the ones who best engage their immediate communities and this is the essence of what a new church start is all about. read more

The Seminary Class of 2014

by Susan Nienaber

I sat down recently with two new friends, Joelle Anderson and Vanessa Williams, recent graduates of Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. As an older, mainline Protestant clergywoman speaking with two much younger women-one African-American and the other Euro-American, both graduating from an evangelical seminary-I was curious about the worldview of two young women in their 20s. I wanted to hear their concerns about church and culture and their views on controversial topics like the ordination and marriage of GLBTQ persons.