Posts Tagged ‘church leadership’

Enough moaning, already.

I’ll admit it: I’m guilty of doing my fare share. In various places, I have lamented the paradigm shifts that the North American church is facing. For example, in a paper I wrote when I was interviewing for the job I now hold, I wrote:

We no longer hold the privileged position we once held as America’s moral and spiritual voice. For many people, religion is simply a private matter that encompasses little more than self-esteem or the maintenance of personal values and mores. People inside the church are left wondering, What happened to the church that we once knew and loved? People outside the church have little reason to re-evaluate their judgment that the Christian faith has little or no place in the contemporary world, outside of the individual believer’s life.

crisisAnd I’m not the only one. Maybe it’s just the friends I keep and the news feeds I read, but I constantly see posts and articles about the decline of the church, the irrelevance of the church, the stubbornness of the church, and what looks like the end of the church as we have known it. The sky is falling, and we’ve been saying that to one another for more years than I care to remember. Enough already.



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So how’s it going in your life? Are you simply getting through the week or trying to keep your head above water? Heard from God lately?

How’s it going in your ministry? What’s your conversation with others in your church like? Is everyone “tending to business as usual,” or struggling to keep the ship afloat? Heard from God lately?

In her book, Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully through the Hours of the Day, Sister Macrina Wiederkehr describes her “examen of consciousness” (think of it as a prayerful review) as a means of reflecting on what happened, and seeing God’s presence—and call—in the nitty gritty of daily life. In her daily reflection, she asks these questions: (more…)

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Last year I was asked to host a book study on what it means to be pastors who sees their call principally in terms of preparing and empowering people for ministry in their everyday lives. I was amazed to find out that—as popular as the topic is—there are many books aimed at helping the laity identify their ministry, but there are few books designed to help pastors in their work of equipping people for ministry in daily life. So I scheduled a series of conversations that were designed to explore questions such as:

What does it mean to be an equipping pastor? How is that different from what most pastors were trained to be and do? What implications does this hold for program, staff, structure, and day-to-day operation of a congregation? How does one shift from being a ‘pastoral’ or ‘program’ pastor to being an equipping pastor?

I hoped that 6 to 12 pastors might respond. Before the conversations were over, I had engaged over 100 pastors on this topic. I heard some amazing, encouraging, and puzzling things from them. Among the findings were: (more…)

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