Stop Worrying About Worship Attendance — Thrive Instead!

For a long time, clergy have taken credit when attendance rose and felt guilty when it fell. Most people assume that the best measure of a congregation’s spiritual vitality is the headcount at weekly worship. But some congregations have begun to think beyond that metric and focus more broadly about how their ministry transforms lives. As a result, they’re finding new ways to think about worship, vitality and effectiveness.

Why We Aren’t Learning

by Susan Beaumont

“What are you seeing out there that is working?” the pastor asked when we met for lunch. The assumption behind the question was that someone, somewhere had discovered a way forward, one that we might all benefit from knowing.
This era of congregational life calls for innovation and learning. We praise reinvention, yet our congregations aren’t doing much risk taking. We stay in maintenance mode and wait for someone else to discover a magic bullet that we can replicate.
Why aren’t we practicing what we preach? Why aren’t congregations everywhere taking more risks, experimenting and learning new pathways forward?

Taming the Bureaucracy Beast

by Susan Beaumont

The church needs innovation, experimentation and risk taking. The church has bureaucracy; inactivity in the name of good order and process. Senseless bureaucracy keeps us endlessly mired in reporting, approval seeking and communication. We end up with repetitive meetings, multiple levels of approval, over-reliance on procedure, and postponed decision making until everyone is informed and happy. What would it take to free ourselves from all of this and just get things done?

Goal-focused Evaluation

Many people flinch at the mention of evaluation, and with reason. Research shows that in many workplaces, the main effect of employee reviews is to hurt productivity by annually lowering morale. In congregations, staff evaluation too often is conducted as a popularity poll with anonymous respondents rating staff performance on the basis of subjective impressions. …

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Working around Incompetence on the Team

by Susan Beaumont
We aspire to build staff teams of competent, motivated individuals who work in dogged pursuit of a clearly articulated vision. What most of us have are teams with some outstanding staff and some not so outstanding staff, working side by side towards a vision that seems clear, on some days.