In my work, I’ve discovered that most congregational leaders are paying attention to the latest business practices. I’m being told that we’re not necessarily very good at those practices, but at the least, people are paying attention to them. Marketing, web presence, surveys, democratic decision making, time management and mission statements all have come to us from the business world.
But in my work I’ve found something that’s troubling: In our rush to adopt the latest and greatest business practices, we’ve lost touch with the ancient sacred practices of the church. Too often our decision making goes like this: We ask God’s blessing on our meeting, then we politely ask God to step out into the hall while we work. If we remember, we invite God to come back in at the end of the meeting to bless what we have already decided. Or, as another pastor put it, too often we start a program and when it doesn’t work, then we pray.
So a major part of my work in the past two years has been to develop the Sacred Practice Leadership Series in conjunction with the Alban Institute. It’s a series of six, three-day events over the course of two years. Twelve major authors, theologians and/or leaders in the church will explore the question: What would it mean to reintroduce some ancient practices of the church (e.g., prayer, discernment, service) to the leadership of a congregation. In between sessions, participants will experiment with the practices in their home context, then return to report their results.
Check out the website. There’s still time to register!
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