What Should a Minister Be Good At?

by Sarai Schnucker Rice

As it turns out, not Greek and Hebrew.

Or at least not only Greek and Hebrew.

And even if the list of things to be good at were to include all the other usual subjects taught in seminary—Greek, Hebrew, Old Testament, New Testament, systematic theology, liturgy, preaching, teaching, pastoral care, all the spiritual disciplines, and 2000 years of church history—not even these would be all that a minister should be good at, because none of these will have taught the minister how to manage an organization.

Free to Discern

by Susan Beaumont

“This is a congregation, not a business.” If only I had a dollar for every time a congregational leader made this bold assertion in my presence. Typically, right after making this claim leaders go on to conduct the meeting at hand, exactly as if the church were a business. Oh yes, someone begins by offering a 5 minute devotional, followed by a prayer, but then it is business as usual.

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?

Why Lone Rangers Always Fail

by David Brubaker
Leading a successful change process in a congregation, even a very traditional one, is possible. But to do so a leader must earn the right to make that change and partner with others to make it happen. Lone ranger leaders who ride into Dodge and transform an entire community exist only in the movies. In the reality of congregational life, we need a patient posse.

The Rabbis

by Dan Hotchkiss
The job was to facilitate what may have been the most diverse and ecumenical gathering of rabbis ever. For this three-day rabbinical retreat, I had prepared three days’ worth of material. But I became an awed spectator of a learned debate, with lasting admiration for the willingness of fourteen rabbis to struggle with their differences in the name of a shared purpose.

What Should a Congregation Be Good At?

by Sarai Schnucker Rice
Congregational leadership is actually always collective, not singular. In a continual process of discernment, decision-making, praying, studying, and shared living, the faith leader and members together create the congregation. Sometimes they do a good job together and other times not so much, but each brings something to the table and each is responsible for the congregation’s faithfulness.

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…