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.

How to Have a Better Conversation

by Susan Beaumont

Board leaders long for meaningful meetings. Instead, many participate in mind-numbing meetings that repetitively chase topics, with little forward momentum. Agendas are rigidly structured around the receipt of reports, with little work that actually impacts the future of the congregation. What would it take to foster more fruitful board conversations?

Four Ingredients of Successful Congregational Change

by David Brubaker
How can congregational leaders make needed changes without incurring wrenching conflict? In addition to working as part of a Team, successful change leaders set a Tone of invitation and listening, take Time to understand the system and to earn the right to propose change, and nest their congregation’s story in Theology–their larger sacred story.

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.

How to Give Away Your Power

by Dan Hotchkiss
It’s relatively easy to find people willing to do tasks. It’s hard to cultivate real leaders—people to take charge of projects and gather others to get something done. As one pastor put it, “We have willing workers, but I can’t seem to create leaders. I can delegate work, but I don’t know how to delegate authority.” To delegate effectively, you need to balance three things: authority, guidance, and accountability. This is true for delegating tasks, and truer still for delegating leadership. Until we learn to bring people to full competence in little things, we can’t lead them to full competence in bigger things. Learning to delegate tasks completely is a necessary step toward readiness to delegate power.

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.

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.