People talk. They talk behind your back. They talk about you. They talk about your leadership decisions. It’s normative. Expect it. And don’t call this talk gossip. Most of the time it’s not. If you’re a leader, then you probably lean towards being a control freak. It’s expected. Laissez-faire leaders don’t typically last long. In many ways, leadership is simply interference with the status quo. When people talk, you want to shape the conversation. That’s healthy. That’s leadership. What Read more [...]
This column originally appeared in a local magazine in the region where I pastor. Last month I began writing a regular column for the magazine. At times, I’ll post them on this blog. I have vague memories of “stealing” from the church pantry as a child. My father tasked me and my two brothers with grabbing a couple of items. I probably went for peanut butter and SpaghettiO’s. We were poor, living in the heart of the densest county in Florida. My dad was the pastor of the church. Few in Read more [...]
Is your church healthy or not? It’s a difficult question to answer. When people ask, I often reply, “What is your definition of ‘healthy?’” There are many metrics that point to—or signal—the health of a congregation. If attendance has declined for 50 years and the church has not baptized anyone in 10 years, then the likelihood of that church being unhealthy is high. But a fast-growing church may or may not be healthy. Defining church health is a bit of a moving target. As most established Read more [...]

When Vision Stops

March 30, 2014 — 9 Comments
Not every church leader will face a vision-crushing blow. But they exist. They hurt like a heavy-weight sucker punch. You didn’t see it coming, and it was hard like an Acme anvil. Church leaders (especially us pastors) can overreact. We can cry wolf when it’s just sheep around. There are cases, however, when one event jars everything loose, when something unforeseen grinds the church to a halt. The vision stops. No one moves. How do you respond when your church experiences collective blackout? Read more [...]
She was adamant about going through with the baptism. I tried to convince her to put it off a week. The heating element in the baptistery had gone out. It was January. The morning’s temperature was somewhere below zero. It wasn’t a crisis, but it felt like it. We spent the Bible study hour boiling water and pouring it into the fiberglass pool, pot by pot. The effort helped. At least some of the chunks of ice melted. The church gasped with her when she came up out of the water. Leadership Read more [...]