Clergy often try to change their congregations, and a rule, their efforts meet resistance. It hurts to be seen as a threat by the very people you are trying to serve, but when a leader’s first move is to advocate for change, that’s generally what happens.
We live in a “VUCA” world—a world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. A recent Harvard Business Review article called VUCA “a catchall for ‘Hey, it’s crazy out there!’” Religious leaders can engage these “crazy” times intentionally by cultivating practices that I’ll describe here. Though there can be no guarantees of success when dealing with volatile change and uncertainty, I offer these practices as a starter list—you’ll add your own.
Those of us who are older cannot expect the church to stay the same to accommodate our preferences. Every church needs to change if it is to continue to be faithful, and the only way for that to happen is if each of us agrees to start with ourselves.
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.
by Sarai Rice
First, apparently, by leaving it.
According to America’s Changing Religious Landscape, the latest report from the Pew Forum, the percentage of adults who describe themselves as Christians dropped from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. In the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated—atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular”—jumped from 16.1% to 22.8%.
by Sarai Rice Mature congregations (the ones with parlors, pipe organs, and portrait galleries of past pastors) usually want to grow, and they program for growth by doing some version of the following: A person or group gets an idea The idea is laboriously perfected by a committee over a period of months The idea …
by John Wimberly
Many congregations are stuck. Despite their members’ sacrifices and love, they just don’t seem to change. The same problems—building issues, financial problems, the same group doing all the work—seem impossible to solve. The intractable nature of these problems sucks the joy out of ministry. What should be energizing becomes energy-draining. What should put wind in the sails of members’ lives becomes a drag.read more…