How to Become a Subversive Church, pt. 2: Catholics, not Church-Shoppers

As a minister, nothing makes my stomach hurt like the phrase “church-shopping” and the statements that often come with it: “I didn’t like their worship style.” “The pastor preached a little long.” “There weren’t enough programs available." The list goes on and on. One could write a book about the many issues that this concept of church-shopping points to in [...]

By |2019-12-22T16:47:02-06:00December 26th, 2019|Categories: Anglicanism, Theology|Tags: |0 Comments

John 17 Really Bugs Me: Church Unity and the Lack Thereof

Slightly edited from a sermon I recently preached at Church of the Savior in Wheaton, IL. There are just some passages of the Bible that you can’t get away from. Sometimes it’s because a passage is particularly inspiring, encouraging, or comforting. Think Psalm 23. Other times, it’s because the passage really bugs you. And I’ll confess that our Gospel lesson, [...]

By |2020-01-14T09:40:04-06:00August 22nd, 2019|Categories: Anglicanism, Miscellaneous, Opinion|Tags: , |1 Comment

Four Creative Constraints of the Preaching Life

This post originally appeared at LeaderWorks on January 23, 2018. Preaching may be more than art, but it is certainly not less. It is a craft and a skill. An individual may have certain gifts given by God, but those gifts are diminished if not stewarded by effort and practice. Excellence deceives us. When we see a baseball player effortlessly [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:29:40-06:00October 2nd, 2018|Categories: For Pastors, Leadership, Preaching|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Payment from the Pews

In trying to help leaders do their work, we are often talking about how to work smarter, not harder. When it comes to leading a church, this can often be misleading. After all, much of ministry work is only possible through careful, difficult effort. Whether it's pastoral care or sermon prep, shortcuts or hacks would only lead to diminished work. [...]

Five Elegant Solutions to Grow Generosity

Some of you may know the acryonm KISS. I did not when it was first whispered in my ear by an unknown man about five minutes before my first sermon many years ago. He was a robed lay reader and was seated next to me. The church was filled with the good people of my first curacy in Arizona.  Ken [...]

Interview: Kevin Miller

Kevin Miller has served as a writer, editor, and director at Christianity Today for nearly three decades. After being ordained and working as an associate at a larger Anglican church, he now serves as the rector of Church of the Savior in Wheaton, Illinois. The church had been planted a little over a decade before Kevin arrived, and he knew it would take [...]

Five Awkward Questions Your Church Needs to Answer (Part Four)

So far, we’ve talked about awkward questions that boil down to money. And surely, money can be an uncomfortable topic to tackle. Who should have access to the giving records? How much should we pay the pastor? Does the pastor need a retirement fund? Toss those questions out in your next board or Vestry meeting and you’ll be met with [...]

By |2019-10-24T08:02:42-05:00March 12th, 2018|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Five Awkward Questions Your Church Needs to Answer (Part Three)

The awkward questions are easy to ignore, but leaders can’t shy away from topics that have the potential to cripple ministry if left unaddressed. What goes unspoken can create divisions and spread distrust. Read Part Two If you haven’t caught up, here’s what we’ve discussed: In the first post, I asked the question about who should have access [...]

Interview: Matt Canlis of Godspeed

Matt Canlis wasn’t too different from most young ministers at the tail end of seminary. He was full of big ideas for big churches. But unlike most young ministers, he benefited from a mentoring word from Eugene Peterson, who counseled him to put off being swallowed up by the “American Church Machine” and discover a different, older form of pastoral [...]

It Ain’t Over…Yet

by David Roseberry I have been so grateful for the many people who have responded to the vision of Giving Up.  Several rectors have texted me and told me that the book made a difference in their thinking and in their planning for the last three months of the year. And, thankfully, in the way their church responded. One bishop [...]

Generous Resolutions

Our church year begins with Advent, but self-reflection and goal-setting are good for all of us and the turning of the calendar is as good a time as any to start. This year, why not resolve to be more generous? Lots more ideas here! As we argue in Giving Up, generosity is at the heart of the gospel. [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:27:07-06:00January 8th, 2018|Categories: For Pastors, Generosity|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Giving Even When You Receive

Last week, I talked about how to encourage generosity at the end of the year by making  Growing generosity is a part of your teaching ministry, and teachers need to be creative. We've talked about getting creative by making a Christmas Wish List for your church. It’s a way to engage the people directly with the needs of the church [...]

Slow Down This Advent

Advent is a time of waiting. As one who didn’t grow up but had to grow into the church calendar, the movement from increasing anxiety as Christmas approached to cultivating patient anticipation refreshed my hectic heart. December is a hard time for church leaders to slow down. But the always-on, always-connected world we built with blind optimism in progress is [...]

By |2019-11-22T11:21:04-06:00December 4th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Liturgy & Worship|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Make a Christmas Wish List for Your Church

We've talked a lot about increasing generosity at the end of the year. As we’ve posted elsewhere, the end of the year brings challenges. You’ve got this year’s budget gaps, next year’s budget planning, end-of-the-year appeal letters—it’s a lot. On top of that, Christmas is fast approaching. There are two temptations during seasons like this in ministry. Avoidance I’ve seen [...]

Trellises and Vines

The Church is a tended vine. The metaphor runs through all of scripture, from Isaiah 5 to John 15. It's our model for making disciples. But have we taken a moment to ask what we know about the plants themselves? Consider: Vines offer less to look at than perhaps any other plant. There's just no other way to say it: [...]

Stop Casting Vision

Though we love talking about 'casting vision', but often our 'vision' is just too big for anyone to grasp. It's too wide to take in and leaves people feeling overwhelmed and even paralyzed by possibilities. Barry Schwartz has some remarkable (and terrifying!) research about "the paradox of choice." When we are confronted by too many options, we become anxious and [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:52:25-06:00November 9th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

People of the Book

We’ve made two wrong turns so far, and that’s my fault. I keep looking up from the map on my phone at the mountains surrounding us here in northern Washington state. We are looking for a retreat center in Sumas, a town that seems to be mostly small farms patched in among the forested hills. I am here with David [...]

Hack Next Year’s Budget

It is that time of year again. Budget time! As pastors, leaders, vestries, and boards are wringing their hands about the close of this year, plans for next year are being drawn up. Over the years I developed a few ‘hacks’ for church leaders. I’ve collected a few of these tips, tricks, and rules of thumb that have proven useful [...]

The American Religious Landscape: A New Resource

The Public Religion Research Institute just released an invaluable new resource to help church leaders see what’s been happening across the American religious landscape. Their American Values Atlas is an up-to-date, representative dataset drawn from over 100,000 interviews conducted in 2016. The breadth of the data allows church leaders to target the responses of specific states and even metro areas [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:30:25-06:00September 20th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Miscellaneous|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

The Vital Role of the Small Church Leader

The mission of LeaderWorks is to help church leaders do their work. In that effort, James K.A. Smith and Tim Keller have blessed us richly with their recent conversation in Comment Magazine. Church leaders who have just begun their ministries, whether planting a church or leading a small congregation, often feel frustrated by a lack of growth. No matter how [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:30:28-06:00September 5th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Announcement: Giving Up is Coming Soon!

It’s Ready After years of gathering ideas, studying Scripture, preaching “The Money Talk”, collecting three decades worth of wisdom...and months of writing and re-writing, the book is finished.  We took our final pass at it with our red pens and now it lives with the publisher and then onto the printer...and then I hope...to you! It should be available for [...]

Introducing Our New Assistant Director

Thanks to a generous supporter of LeaderWorks, we would like to announce our new Assistant Director, the Rev. Kolby Kerr. Kolby is a fantastic young priest in our ACNA and will add greatly to what LeaderWorks is able to offer. You’ll be hearing a lot from him on the blog, so I wanted to give him a chance to introduce himself. [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:30:39-06:00July 13th, 2017|Categories: Leadership, Pastoral Ministry|Tags: , , , , , |1 Comment

St. Archimedes and your Church

[dropcap color="#333399"]I[/dropcap] was in third grade (I think) when I first learned about the Archimedes principle. I was enthralled. You remember the Greek philosopher and mathematician. He's the one who said, “Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the world!”  What a powerful statement. What a compelling vision! Archimedes never went to a church [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:55:58-06:00June 14th, 2016|Categories: Leadership, Miscellaneous|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Ash Wednesday: Are You Really Only Dust in the Wind?

On Ash Wednesday, clergy around the world will draw a cross-shaped smudge of dark black ashes on the foreheads of millions of people. It is the ancient rite of The Imposition of Ashes which signals the start of Lent. The words that accompany the ‘imposition’ on Ash Wednesday are simple, sober, and true.  Over the years I have said them to thousands [...]

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