In March of this year Gallup released survey results showing that fewer than half of Americans belong to a religious congregation—the lowest percentage ever recorded. Yet despite declining participation, congregations offer valuable gifts to their members and their surrounding communities.
I used to run laps—now I am more apt to walk. Either way, I find that if I can muster the will power to begin, I can almost always finish the first lap. But if the loop is too short for a full run, I’m faced with a decision: should I quit or start my second lap? Lap number two is where adrenaline leaves off and perseverance gets its test. As we move out of 2020 into 2021, clergy and lay leaders face the challenge of rekindling energy for a year of new and different challenges.
Every year about this time, I get calls from lay and clergy leaders who want help writing a mission statement. They hope that with a clearer sense of mission, their congregations will stop reliving yesterday and start building tomorrow. I think they’re on the right track, and once upon a time I would have joined them in the mission-writing process. But today I usually suggest starting instead with a vision statement.
For some pastors and lay people in mainline/established traditions, the word evangelism has become, if not a “dirty” word, an unpleasant one. How can we get more comfortable with the e-word?
by Dan Hotchkiss
When I ask members of a governing board about the board’s job, someone (frequently a lawyer or a banker) often uses an obscure word that speaks rather deeply to the nature of the board’s role: “The board is a fiduciary.”
And what might a fiduciary be? read more…