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Today

I think one of the most important words Jesus ever spoke was the word “today.” Give us today our daily bread. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing….

The Paradox of Blessedness

5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn,…

cohort program

What Is a Church Cohort Program?

In order to properly serve their church members and communities, ministry leaders often commit to joining learning communities known as a church cohort program. These programs include other leaders for a set amount of time, usually lasting around two to three years. Let’s take a…

pastor resources

4 Pastor Resources You Should Take Advantage Of

We all need a little extra love and support at some point in our lives. Whether facing a new challenge, you’re at a fork in the road with your faith, relationships, job, or any other difficult season or transition, many people reach out to their…

Everyday Resurrections

If you were to ask someone from the 1st or 2nd c. CE what they thought the church needed to be talking about, I’m pretty sure they would say “the resurrection.” It’s front and center in Paul’s letters. It is there in the church’s first…

Thread

What is the thread that binds together your faith community, especially in a time when our whole social fabric seems so ready to unravel? For sure, it is not Robert’s Rules of Order, or a contentious vote on the issues of the day where you…

Freeing Ourselves from Faulty Assumptions and Short-Sighted Questions

In what follows, I’m essentially banging the same “The Great Opt Out” drum as I did a couple weeks ago, though at a slightly different tempo. I think we should immediately discard any version of the question, “what do we do to get folks back…

Gratitude

So many of our posts urge church boards to risk more, to be bold, to try new things.  We continue to be convinced that this is a moment for congregations and their leadership to appreciate the ways God’s Spirit is moving us in new directions…

On Grief & Mourning

The last few years have taken something from all of us.  Some of us are bereaved and going through the stages of grief.  But all of us are at some stage of mourning.  It took my wife, the mental health counselor, to tell me that…

TMC Digging A Deeper Well

Pivoting

One of the terms that has found new life and meaning during the pandemic is the well-worn word pivot. Everyone, it seems, has been pivoting all over the place.  Indeed, we wouldn’t be surprised if your church board has discussed and enacted several pivots of…

The Great Opt-Out and the Fresh Start it Gives All Of Us

Yes, people are opting out of “church.” No surprise there. But what are they actually opting out of? And what does this say about what matters, what doesn’t, and what we might more intentionally move toward? Earlier this month, Dr. Scott Thumma, director of the…

Christian podcast

4 Tips for Finding a Great Christian Podcast

Christianity is still the most dominant religion in America, with 84% of the Silent Generation claiming they are Christian, 76% of Baby Boomers, and 67% of Generation X claiming the same, according to Lifeway research. However, it’s also a new world with amazing Christian podcast…

Up & Out: Paying Attention and Attending to What God is Doing in the World that God Loves

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It’s a Scramble

  Just to take a sampling of news headlines over the last ten days: Recent Rise in Robberies Leave Experts Scrambling for Answers What now? Steelers Scrambling for Answers After 1-2 Start China’s Thirst for Oil Sends Beijing Scrambling for Answers Research Has Scientists Scrambling…

Priesthood of all Believers

In recent weeks, my colleagues and I have been writing about what conversations pastors and their congregations need to be having right now. High on that list for me is what it means to pursue shared leadership between clergy and laity. Exodus 18 offers a…

Tesla, Hertz, and Your Congregation: what in the world do they have to do with each other?

Well, the most direct answer is that, one year ago this month, Hertz ordered 100,000 Tesla electric vehicles for its rental sites around the globe. It seems like a smart move for Hertz.  Teslas require less maintenance (no oil changes, no powertrain replacements in an…

Are You Trustworthy?

I have a confession. When my children were in elementary school, I was notorious for picking them up late. It began when I was in seminary across town and had to speed back to our side of town to get them. The teachers were amazing…

O Pioneers!

In times of stress and uncertainty, the way forward is seldom about more information.  Yet it is not surprising that church boards are currently in search of any shred of information to help them make decisions in this stressful and uncertain time. In 2015, researchers…

Fresh Ministry

John and May Hakala were second-generation Finns who lived for a time in Kotzebue, Alaska. Kotzebue is remote—even for Alaska. Pastor Michael Lindvall, who knew the Hakalas when he was growing up, heard stories of their life in this far-off place, including one about eggs….

A Change in the Weather

So many congregations right now are awash in uncertainty, haunted by loss, and longing for normalcy or a way back. It is imperative that church boards find ways to talk honestly, truthfully, with sensitivity and with tenderness, about where we are. We think that Tracy…

Yes, We Talk a Lot!

To say we have been through a lot over these past few years is a gross understatement. The seismic shifts that are still occurring across every area of our lives – the enormity of the adjustments we have had to make in our lives and…

community outreach services

Why You Should Get Involved With Church Community Outreach Services

Does your church have regular midweek events? According to Lifeway Research, only 10% of Protestant pastors say their churches don’t have regular midweek events. It’s important to participate in any community outreach services your church has. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits….

Ambition

Have your ambitions for your congregation changed over the past few years?  If so, you are not alone.  Among the many things that the pandemic has altered is our sense of ambition for ourselves and for our institutions. Signs of the change are everywhere, from…