Blog

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

What is Unity?

On the Sunday morning after the deadly riot at the United States Capitol, Father William Corcoran put on his black suit and clerical collar and stepped into St. Elizabeth Seton church in the Chicago suburb of Orland Hills to celebrate the 7:30 a.m. Mass. So…

Stuck in the Past: Making America Great…Again? Look Back with Honest Eyes.

My mother used to tell me that, “If you lie, you will cheat, if you cheat, you will steal, and if you steal, you will kill.”  She would follow by telling me that there’s nothing worse than a liar.  “You can guard yourself against a…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

What is Truth?

As our nation reels from the violent assault on the women and men of Congress and the Capitol Building last week, church boards need to direct their feet. They need to walk toward conversations about shared truth and walk away from the language of false…

Resolving to Change

It’s January, and that means one thing: New Year’s Resolutions. Eat better. Exercise more. Spend less. Make it through one of those read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year programs. Whatever the goal, New Year’s Resolutions produce two contrasting impulses in me. The first is hope. January heralds the possibility of…

Looking Forward: A New Year’s Letter of Updates, Support, and Encouragement

Dear friends and colleagues, At the outset of this new year, we wanted to express several pressing things to you. First and foremost, thank you.  Thank you for the faithful, inspired, life-changing work you’ve given yourself to over the past year. You’ve been sharing in…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Grace, Actually

Colossians is a guide for every church board in every season, but perhaps in no season more than this one at the end of 2020. At the beginning of the letter, we read: In our prayers for you we always thank God, for we have…

Questions of the Year

Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com revealed their “word of the year” last week.  Unsurprisingly, that word was “pandemic.”  More interesting were the words that were “runners-up”- including “bubble,” “pod,” “social-distancing,” “face-masks,” and “lockdown.”  There was another set of runners-up that dug deeper into how this year has…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Charity, Justice, Debt—and your Church Board

It’s rare that a major news outlet covers the charitable work of American churches. (Is that the fault of the news media, or the churches?) Bucking this trend, a recent New York Times Op-Ed by Elizabeth Bruenig, “Churches Step In Where Politicians Will Not,” highlights…

“Hold On, Just a Little While Longer…”

The Birmingham 2.0 Cohort of The Ministry Collaborative have transitioned to the next phase of our journey together.  Our official time together ended this month, but the relationships that began over three years ago have been deepened and our commitment to support on another has…

Church Beyond Buildings

One of the things we’re learning during COVID-19 is that many in our communities are longing for “thirdspaces.” Thirdspace is a term used by sociologists to describe where we spend time when we’re not at home (“first” space) or at work (“second” space). Thirdspaces can…

What Have We Learned?

As I sat down to write today’s article pondering the prompt, “What have we learned?” I immediately began pulling up emails, and scouring studies, and statistics. I then turned to several bloggers I respect and read their brilliant think pieces. I even logged onto some…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Push Pull

The year 2020 has launched an armada of articles that bear the same rippling banner.  “The coronavirus could be the crisis that finally propels X industry into the 21st Century.” This week’s flotilla led off with a New York Times piece by Stefanos Chen about…

There Are Some Really, Really Gifted Pastors and Congregational Leaders Out There.

As we enter the last stretch of 2020, we want to share what we’re seeing and learning about pastors and congregations across the country.  I’m sure we’ll get into to some nuts and bolts analysis of these themes in the coming weeks, but I simply…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Can We Survive It?

They had become so focused on the aches and pains in the system that they had been thrown off course by the complaints. They had stopped supplying vision or had burned out fighting the resistance; they had ceased to be the strength in the system….

Holding Our Breath

Over the past week, many of us have held our breath as we awaited results from the election. In the agonizing period between Tuesday and Saturday, I must have hit refresh on the blue-and-red map a thousand times. Never have four days felt longer. Yet,…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Listening

Our inboxes—perhaps like yours—have been flooded with election-related emails in the last month.  There have been requests for money (and more requests, and more requests), pleas for volunteers, and updates on polls and strategy.  As we headed into election week, however, there came a change. …

By Contrast…

One of the strong impressions this year has made on me is the growing distrust – or disdain – of words.  There are active attempts to undermine the words of those in positions of responsibility.  But there is something more personal involving so much hard…

Macedonian Ministry Foundation, Inc. Receives $1 Million Grant for Thriving Congregations Initiative

Macedonian Ministry Foundation has received a grant of $1,000,000 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish and build collaborative, adaptive, and joyful congregations. The program is funded through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the national initiative is to strengthen Christian congregations so…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Can We Get T-Shirts for Everyone?

It is inevitable for most church boards that, during times of uncertainty (like now) or contentious board discussions (potentially like now), people get to thinking, if only we knew more … or if only the people on the other side of the issue understood more…

No Safe Place Down Here

Growing up my mother always warned us, “There’s no safe place down here.” Whenever we went to her for an explanation of something crazy happening in the world she reminded us that this world is not our home and safety wasn’t hers to give. Yesterday…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Moving Toward Bigger Questions

What is the church for? Increasingly, this question is coming into focus as an essential question to ask – and answer – for congregations, their pastors, and their church boards.  Most faith communities have long assumed they know what they exist for.  Sadly, the year…

Curating this Crisis?

2020 is one for the books for sure.  We have all been riding this ridiculous rollercoaster for months now and are likely worn thin by worry and anxiety.  Our souls are disquieted by the uncertainty of the times.  But amid these crises, I offer you…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Rainy Day Fund

Before writing our piece this week, we called a colleague who is a gifted pastor of a mid-sized healthy congregation.  “So, what are you thinking about in the midst of this fall’s stewardship emphasis in your church?” The pastor’s succinct response:  “Ugh.” Among pastors and…

Wholehearted

Half-hearted ministry is killing us. Every bit as much as half-hearted living leads us into dead ends, half-hearted ministry is leaving congregations adrift and clergy and other church staff looking for, as more than one pastor has said to me lately, “a ticket out.” This…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Unlikely Stories

For some, it is the loss of salad bars.  As the Wall Street Journal reported last week: A casualty of the pandemic, the days of the salad bar are gone for the foreseeable future. …[T]o devotees, the banishment of buffet bars signifies the closing of…

Getting Precision about Ministry Paradigm Shifts

“The antidote to exhaustion is not rest, it’s wholeheartedness.” – David Whyte. This simple yet profound statement has captured the imaginations of The Ministry Collaborative (TMC) staff since we discovered it last spring. At that time, we were all new to pandemic life and experiencing…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

What Time is It?

Once you reach your 60s (or so we hear . . .), the annual physical at the doctor’s office may include a memory test. Spell “world” backward.  Sure. Subtract 7 from 100 until you get less than 50.  Got it. What day of the week…

Embodying Justice: A Lesson Written in Crayon

“The antidote to exhaustion is not rest, it’s wholeheartedness.” – David Whyte. This simple yet profound statement has captured the imaginations of The Ministry Collaborative (TMC) staff since we discovered it last spring. At that time, we were all new to pandemic life and experiencing…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Rewrites

As the multiple challenges of 2020 lengthen and deepen, and the pressures on pastors and  church boards proliferate, it is helpful to hold onto some Biblical and theological truths and then follow those truths wherever they lead.  Here’s one such truth, supported by creation accounts…

Holy Inefficiency

“The antidote to exhaustion is not rest, it’s wholeheartedness.” – David Whyte. This simple yet profound statement has captured the imaginations of The Ministry Collaborative (TMC) staff since we discovered it last spring. At that time, we were all new to pandemic life and experiencing…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Efficiency

Today, we take you to the NBA three-point line. We tend to stay away from sports analogies, but this one is less about basketball and more about risk, efficiency, change, and the development of new skills. The three-point shot was introduced to NBA games in…

A Word of Thanks and Important Updates from The Ministry Collaborative

Dear friends and colleagues, Your continued support for one another from coast to coast is inspiring. We have the privilege of being able to observe how you all are connecting, communicating, encouraging, and challenging one another in this truly remarkable time of ministry, and we…

Recovering Identity

“The antidote to exhaustion is not rest, it’s wholeheartedness.” – David Whyte. This simple yet profound statement has captured the imaginations of The Ministry Collaborative (TMC) staff since we discovered it last spring. At that time, we were all new to pandemic life and experiencing…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Gifts

It’s helpful for those of us working in or with churches to remember that we – and our institutions – are not as special as we often think we are. For every invaluable reminder that the church has a unique calling in our world (the…

When Are We Going Back?

32 Remember Lot’s wife. [1] Luke 17:32   When are we going back?  One of the greatest things I ever learned from running in track meets in grade school and high school was never to look back.  Even if you thought you were winning a…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Real Work

When, in July, Lifeway Research asked pastors what was causing them the most stress, the number one answer was not what you might expect. It was not congregation members’ safety and well-being (that was named by 13 percent). It was not personal exhaustion (that was…

Seeing What’s Important

Everyone loves a superhero. At least I do. There is something about the way ordinary people, with ordinary lives are transformed by some hidden ability allowing them to do extraordinary things. We recently lost a beloved actor, Chadwick Bosman, who gave us King T’Challa in…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Arguments

While we hope these pieces are helpful and relevant whenever they are used, we do not write them to be “evergreen.”  That is especially true this week.  Conversations with pastors, church leaders, and church board members in diverse settings in the last several days have…

Lists

The pain, grief, dislocation, and uncertainty generated by this pandemic feel endless.  As it turns out, so do the lists. Top Ten Comfort Foods in Quarantine Fifteen overlooked movies of the 1980’s Essential TV shows to Binge Today (yes, it is time to watch The…

Digging a Deeper Well

The Struggles You Choose

In the days after the deaths of C.T. Vivian and John Lewis, which happened on the same weekend in July, the digital displays outside Lincoln Center in New York City – usually pre-occupied with upcoming performances but mostly blank amid the pandemic –  displayed alternating…

Weakness, Convenience, and Faithfulness in a Pandemic

  A member of Macedonian Ministry’s Atlanta 4 Cohort, Matt serves as Executive Pastor at The Living Room Community Church in the Tri-Cities of Washington where he architects structures and processes that support the vision and mission of the church. He leads change, builds culture,…

Groundhog Day

Is it me or does it seem like we are stuck in the movie Groundhog Day? For some reason the past couple of weeks feels oddly like the first weeks of quarantine life back in March (April or May depending where you live). Although we’ve…

Confronting Social Justice Fatigue

In recent weeks, I’ve begun hearing people talk about social justice fatigue. This refers to the physical, mental, and/or emotional toll incurred through advocating for social change. There’s no doubt, standing up against racial injustice or any other form of violence and marginalization is exhausting…

Maybe the Most Important Decision You’ll Make

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ― Frederick Buechner  In this moment, there are a lot of variables that seems out of our control, and a lot of variables that simply aren’t going very well. But we can make a…

Rest

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  Matthew 11:28-29 The…

Grind Culture Will Not Save Us

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For…

What Now?

Our colleagues at RootedGood are offering a terrific tool to help pastors and church boards navigate the challenging decision making that is inherent in ministry today as we seek to be faithful to the urgent demands of the moment.  Though Digging a Deeper Well is taking a…

Narratives

A recent post by my favorite daily blogger, Seth Godin, contains a great deal of complexity in its few lines: When you talk about your last job, your last vacation, the things that happened when you were 12… What do you lead with? Do you…

Where are You on the Edge of Inside?

Over the past several weeks, I’ve found myself reflecting on Richard Rohr’s notion of “The Edge of Inside.”  Being on the edge of inside means being connected to an established system but not being beholden to it or reliant upon it. Sometimes, being too far…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Love, Actually

Last weekend, The New York Times ran a front-page story about Chris Thomas, pastor of First Baptist Church of Williams, Alabama. In early 2017, President Trump had been inaugurated the week before, and the new administration was already making headlines with a travel ban that…

Who Is My Neighbor?

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29 When we think about naming and labeling, recall how God gave Adam the job of naming what He created. That naming was not just a vocabulary challenge, but it…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Dustbins

If the current season of crisis and change doesn’t end “strategic planning” and consign it to the dustbin of history, nothing will. Speaking of dustbins, go into most pastors’ offices, and there on the highest shelf you will find the last four strategic planning reports,…

What Story is Your Church Telling?

“Anger and tears create the space for the work of the Spirit. They are the groaning of the Spirit for renewal of creation and an expression of compassion thus revealing a deep spiritual well. To fear our tears or to suppress our anger is to…

Rev. Dr. Darrell Guder Receives Award for Excellence in Theological Education

Congratulations to Macedonian Ministry Foundation’s Advisory Board Chairman, Rev. Dr. Darrell Guder, for being awarded the Excellence in Theological Education Award, presented by the Presbyterian Foundation, for his lifetime of distinguished service.  Dr. Guder was honored in a virtual Facebook Live ceremony on June 10th….

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Listening for (a) Change

In a recent Ministry Collaborative podcast we were talking with Tod Bolsinger, who teaches and directs leadership formation at Fuller Seminary and is also a member of our advisory board.  Tod was asked what he learned after writing the widely read Canoeing the Mountains that…

Get Out of Haran

This past weekend I participated in a protest here in Atlanta, Georgia organized by my daughter and some of her former classmates at The Lovett School. The small group of college freshman and sophomore’s decided to hold a protest in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta,…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

What is Needful?

We can only imagine the items on your church board’s agenda as you head into June. If/when/how to open the building and for what purposes. If opening, how to establish new cleaning and seating and singing and greeting protocols. Which programs to postpone, and which…

Christian Conscience in Crisis: A Statement About The Most Recent Painful and Poignant Examples of Racial Injustice In Our Society.

Christian Conscience in Crisis: A Statement About The Most Recent Painful and Poignant Examples of Racial Injustice In Our Society.   The Ministry Collaborative has long been committed to creating spaces and processes for nurturing deep, trusting relationships across perceived barriers in communities, especially between…

Peace-Making is Not Peace-Keeping

To assume that peace exists or can be maintained simply by remaining silent, is a misrepresentation of what peace is. To remain silent in the face of oppression or violence, is not “peace,” and that silence is not “golden.” This false peace is more akin…

Listening & Learning: A Resource for Leading in Hope Through Change & Uncertainty

Over the past two months, we’ve been listening and learning alongside pastors and lay leaders from all over the country, from a broad diversity of backgrounds and contexts, about the complexities of ministry right now. Below, we’ve attempted to compile a list of quotes, questions,…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

A Special Message

Digging a Deeper Well will return on June 4.  Our 18- month archive of past articles is available at any time, here. Also, if you would like a more focused conversation about the challenges and opportunities of engaging your church board, the Macedonian Ministry Team…

Questions That Cannot Go Away

Our Advisory Board here at MMF is an amazing group of women and men  who are engaged in ministry from many different angles in diverse places around the country.  On a call with them last week, we were talking about all the challenges facing pastors…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

What Is Your Question?

For some time before the Covid-19 crisis (if we can remember back that far), we were hearing concern from pastors that they were becoming “soft targets” for the frustration boiling over in our society.  Clergy told us that they were increasingly on the receiving end…

Leaving Normal Behind

Last December I read the book, “Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose” by Jean Case who uses compelling storytelling to illustrate how bold decision-making and acts of fearlessness have changed the world. I remember it as a decent read, but…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

“Normal” is Not a North Star

by:  Elizabeth Lynn and Mark Ramsey  I  May 7, 2020   8 …You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before…

Let’s All Try to Move the Conversation Forward by Answering This One Question

  And actually, the question is about a question. What do you think are the most important questions that pastors in congregations can be asking right now? Click here to respond. Our aim is to gather as much information as possible from ministry leaders everywhere…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Psalms of Lament

by:  Elizabeth Lynn and Mark Ramsey  I  April 30, 2020 Recently we invited you, our readers, to tell us what issues you would like us to address in the area of church board leadership. Among the responses we received, one theme predominated:  the challenge of thinking together deeply about…

Toi Derricote, African American Poet

Joy as a Matter of Protest?

“Joy is resistance to disorder, cynicism, entropy and despair. It is not simply resistance but courageous resistance that, I suspect, transcends reason. Most miraculous experiences baffle reason…”  ~ Toi Derricote, African American Poet As Christians, our joy is rooted in the living hope we have…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Trust and Relationship

Some things that seemed rock solid before the global crisis are suddenly not so reliable anymore, a reality humorously captured in this three-minute video from Julie Nolke.  Think regular haircuts. In-person doctor visits.  Annual conferences. The right to accompany your loved ones into surgery. Other…

Don't Jump Blog

Don’t Jump.

Last week Mark Ramsey wrote a thought-provoking article titled “Timing,” wherein he challenged us as clergy to open our thinking to the wondrous things that Jesus is doing “out there” in the world. He stated that the resurrected Jesus had gone ahead of the disciples and their…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Now What?

We will return next week with a new post on Digging a Deeper Well. Now that every congregation has done the hard work to celebrate Holy Week in this challenging time, the question for many is becoming: now what? What questions do you have about…

Timing.

Last Friday afternoon – Good Friday – I talked with three pastor colleagues, all of whom had “finished” their work for the weekend.  They had concluded recordings of their Good Friday and Easter services.  Now, they were contemplating what was usually the most stressful weekend…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Easter

We hope that every pastor – and every church board member – who has been working so diligently to lead through these challenging times will be able to find rest and restoration in this week where, biblically speaking, God performs the work of resurrection! There…

He Is Not Here…

Matthew 28:6–8 ESV 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he[a] lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to…

Don’t Forget!

To all you pastors, lay leaders, volunteers, and congregation members who are rapidly adjusting, adapting, and trying new things, some of which are going well and others which aren’t going well at all, don’t forget… God is rejoicing over you! In the midst of an…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Point of View

So much bold, imaginative, and tiring work has gone into the last few weeks, for pastors and church boards alike.  It’s been a time full of “how on earth do we …?” questions.  Those questions will keep coming, but the urgency of answering them all…

Where We Find Easter

In faith communities all over – large and small, rural and urban – church leaders are wrestling with the challenges of Easter Day. Many are trying to figure out how to do it online, in a way that captures the “specialness” that has usually accompanied…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Fast and Slow

Think back to where you were a month ago, and where you thought you were going to be this week and what you thought you were going to be doing. Now think about where you are and what you have been doing instead. The pace…

One of the Metrics that Matters Most Right Now

We’ve been in awe over the last couple of weeks witnessing the extraordinary resilience, creativity, and faithfulness of pastors and lay leaders all across the U.S. and the world.  It’s amazing to see how quickly we can interpret the circumstances and adapt when necessary.  It…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Please, Over-React

On one of the Sunday morning news shows this week, Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health was talking about the COVID-19 crisis. “You know, we think we are over-reacting in our plans to deal with things like this,” he noted, “only to find…

The Urgent Need to Lead, Not Manage

Join us for a nationwide Zoom call on Wed, 2pm ET, at https://zoom.us/j/173865252. No registration required. Just click and join us! As the COVID-19 global health crisis continues to expand, we are in a rapidly increasing number of conversations with pastors all over the country…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Going the Distance

It’s hard to imagine any church board meeting in the next couple of weeks in which we don’t discuss handshakes or hand sanitizers. Or how to visit the most vulnerable members of our congregations. Or how the peace can be passed without human contact. Or…

Stop the Insanity

For the past couple of weeks my colleagues Adam Borneman and Mark Ramsey have been posting our reflections, observations and findings from a recent gathering we held on the economics of ministry. The fact that we are still mining nuggets of wisdom is proof of…

Fewer Answers, More Questions, Please!

Last week in Atlanta, we convened about two dozen pastors, lay leaders, and other church leaders from around the country to talk about the pressing challenges of ministry economics with a focus on property, space, and buildings. Now if that doesn’t get you amped up…

Sharing versus Curating

Recently, Stacy Williams-Duncan of the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!), addressed ministry leaders on the topic of digital culture.  Among a score of important insights, one sentence stood out:  “Sharing on social media is not the same as curating information for your audience.” It may be…

A Boy and a Fish Sandwich? Shared Consumption – Participating in the Miraculous…

9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” John 6:9 In our previous post, Rev. Jennifer Watley Maxell, used the phrase ‘shared consumption’ as a form of collaboration.  It stuck with…

We’re So Glad You’re Here

A friend who sometimes calls herself a ‘serial parishioner’ tells the story of visiting churches in her midwestern community some years ago.   I went to the United Church of Christ for several months. When I expressed interest in joining, the pastor replied: We’re so…

Discovering Your Green Growing Edge

  “The hard thing when you get old is to keep your horizons open. The first part of your life everything is in front of you, all your potential and promise. But over the years, you make decisions; you carve yourself into a given shape….

How Disappointing

Pastors and church leaders are quick to assert that they are not in competition with other churches.  But most will admit that, while they aren’t trying to compete, they do feel pressure to “keep up.”  This leads to many spiritual ailments:  distraction, envy, disappointment, and—most…

Get Out of Your Lane!

One of the traps we see ministries falling into revolves around this set of assumptions: We have the youth ministry lane, the worship lane, the adult education lane, the missions lane, the communications lane, and so on.  And then an individual, group, or committee is…

Enter Imagination

  Where does imagination enter into our work? How do we learn to see new possibilities in the resources available to our congregation? Who teaches us how to imagine our church life together? What possibilities do they help us to see?   We think these…

Two Charts that Explain Why Ministries Struggle with Collaboration.

These two charts (among many others!) have been very helpful to me for understanding why so many ministries struggle with collaboration even while rightly naming it as a priority. Simply put, we tend to talk a lot about collaboration without describing what we actually mean…

Church Board Improv

In church life, January–not April–can seem like the cruelest month.  All the routine meetings, tasks, and assignments that everyone deferred in December land back on the calendar with a thud.  And there are budgets to finalize, and often congregational annual meetings, and sometimes new board…

More Than This

For many of us 2020 has started the same as any other year with an endless list of task, chores, errands and to-do’s. No matter how we ended 2019, 2020 demands that some things must be done. As for pastors and church leaders, there are…

Top of the List

Most of us learned a certain way of doing chores:  we were told to get through with all the “compulsory things” and then we would be “rewarded “ with something fun or meaningful. First the mundane, then the meaningful. I think we’ve imported this approach…

Thank YOU!

This year has been amazing! To each of you who has joined us in this wonderful work of supporting, equipping and transforming pastors and congregations, we say thank you! Whether you have served as a facilitator, a cohort member, a presenter, a conversation partner, a…

Looking to 2020

As we conclude the year, we are appreciative of all the comments, ideas, and suggestions you have offered in response to these posts.  We are always eager to hear from you with suggestions of topics to explore.  Just let us know here if you have…

Really. No One Cares.

What are your church’s biggest problems?  You know – the ones that have people talking in meetings, in the hall, in the parking lot… Chances are that if you’re a leader in your congregation, you could make a list of problems in a quick minute. …

Sounds of Silence

Ah, Advent! Well, certainly in church, you will hear congregational leaders saying, with at least a little exasperation, “Ah, December!”  What a month! Crowded calendars, last minute financial asks, special programs and everything else. It is unlikely that the First Century gospel writers could have…

No One Cares.

I am a life-long Presbyterian who loves the church. I went to a Presbyterian seminary, where I was formed by Presbyterian theology. It has been Presbyterian pastors and lay people who have shaped me, and it is a Presbyterian pension and medical plan that secures…

Facilitator Spotlight: Rev. Chaz Howard

Rev. Charles L. Howard, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, University Chaplain, Macedonian Ministry Cohort Facilitator, Philadelphia, PA. Chaz, why did you say, “Yes!” to being the Facilitator of this cohort? “‘Oh how good and how pleasant it is for brothers (and sisters!) to dwell together in…

Send in the Crowds

Isn’t it ironic that a season set aside for contemplation has become so crowded? During Advent, the world crowds in on us and our churches. At closer look, though, church itself – with very little help from culture – crowds in too. There’s the sign-up…

Use Your Turn Signal!

“Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them…” Philippians 4:5a – The Message I’ve been in Alabama for twenty years now and perhaps one of the most annoying things I…

It’s Not a Game.

Sometimes we find ourselves trying to win at church. We don’t like to admit it, but since we’re among friends, we can be honest in this space. We track all kinds of data attempting to paint a picture of positive progress and success in ministry….

We Welcome Our Newest Dallas, TX Cohort!

Meet Our 2019 Dallas, TX Cohort! “We have a very diverse cohort of pastors from across Dallas who are committed to engaging with their City, and who want to learn from one another and from a variety of resources how to do that more faithfully and…

The In-Between Times

At a recent cohort gathering (thank you, Denver) a question arose:  “It’s good to dig deeper in church board meetings, but what are the implications for what we do between meetings?” Practically, if monthly board meetings are going to provide enough time for prayer, Bible…