“Are ever going to be able to leave behind this social-distancing way of life?” my neighbor wondered. As we stood chatting on the sidewalk, six-feet apart while our dogs romped and wrestled, we both marveled at the way this would change us as a society.
We won’t really know how until new vaccines or treatments make lock-downs and quarantines things of the past. However, what we do know is that “returning to normal” will not mean returning to the way things were pre-C19.
Until a new normal emerges, questions abound. In times like these, no amount of data or science can answer the questions about how this pandemic is reshaping and reforming us as human beings. What is God is up to and how is God transforming us? Quick-fix answers to questions like this won’t suffice. We cannot be today what only time will make of us tomorrow.
So perhaps... read more
Letting go is the first step in moving forward. It seems counter-intuitive, I know. A new beginning always starts with an ending. And endings can be painful. Just ask anyone who has lost a loved one, job, house, dream, etc. All of us can say that loss is painful.
So, why do we have to let go in order to start anew? The simplest answer is that we need to let go to make room for the new. For organizations, before you can become different, you must let go of your old identity. Our problem is... we don’t like endings.
One of the biggest obstacles of healthy transition and change for organizations is the failure to identify losses and prepare for endings. Leaders need to think ahead and prepare the organization for some kind of change. And that change will involve endings AND new beginnings.
"All changes, even the most longed for,... read more
Of all the seasons for our people to be sheltering in place, why the pinnacle of the church year? If summiting this festival wasn’t challenging enough for pastors now we must find ways to proclaim an empty tomb to empty pews! But before we resign ourselves to merely “salvaging Easter” this year, I wonder… could the unique circumstances of our cultural crisis actually allow for one of the most memorable and authentic celebrations of “He is Risen!” ever?
Through music, liturgy and proclamation worship seeks to escort worshipers into the story, to have them kneel alongside the shepherds at Christmas and hear the Spirit’s rush at Pentecost. But even in “usual” times we have struggled to authentically communicate the first Easter.
Our worship is spectacular and our crowds are ginormous.
The first Easter was a private... read more
A word of hope for your church or organization in this season of unprecidented uncertainty.
A word of hope in the midst of sickness, death, and unknowns.
A hope for new life, and transformation out of the chaos. A hope for resurrection.
Words of hope from Jeff Kjellberg, owner of Kairos and Associates and The Joshua Group.
“You’re doing the best you can with the resources you have” - a wise mentor once reminded me.
Churches all over the country are finding themselves at various points on the continuum of readiness in moving from a centralized onsite ministry to a remote, technology-driven ministry. For some this can be an overwhelming transition amidst a whole host of other concerns and worries.
We can feel the weight of this stress as we check in with pastors and lay-leaders trying to navigate these uncertainties. There is much we don’t know, but there are some things we DO know:
God is Faithful.
We will be pushed out of our comfort zones and expend more energy in the coming days, but we can trust that God is present and the Spirit is working in and through us.
God is Opportunistic.
In... read more
“How well your congregation navigates this crisis may depend upon the questions leaders are asking.”
Had you asked me a month ago to reflect upon “The Most Frequently Asked Question by Congregational Leaders,” I would have started typing by reflex. Whether drawing upon seven years of experience as a consultant or over three decades as a parish pastor, the answer (or the question) has been the same. “How do we grow our church?”
The primary metric for evaluating church growth during those years has indisputably been worship attendance. If you have doubt, ask a pastor if she serves a growing or declining congregation. She will not justify her response by using preschool enrollment or the number of meals served at the soup kitchen. She will share with you the same data which annual parochial reports ask her to track, i.e. the number of... read more